The final sports event for Chicago Ideas Week took place today(Saturday) at Wrigley Field. The event was to talk about the history of baseball in our nation, baseball tradition, and a few other topics. It was highlighted by talks from hall of fame players, Ernie Banks and Dave Winfield. Former All-Star pitcher, Bob Tewksbury, hosted the talks.
The first talk was by official Major League Baseball historian, John Thorn. Thorn spoke about the original roots of our national pastime and what it means to be an MLB historian.
Next, Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, talked about what the game meant to him and what it means to all players. Banks mentioned how Wrigley Field was like “The promised land” to him and he would never want to leave the ballpark. Also, Banks spoke about the importance of focus for players. In a long season, players sometimes have to block out personal distractions and just play ball. Banks closed off his speech by saying players “Win to show respect for their fans, families, and organization.”
After Banks, Gunny Harboe talked about the architect and history of Wrigley Field. Harboe is an architect himself and helps with the building of new stadiums. He mentioned interesting facts behind the history of the Friendly Confines. The original stadium was built during 1914 and took just two months to build. In 1937 and 1938, many renovations happened to Wrigley Field, including the addition of the current day scoreboard and ivy. Wrigley Field was named a city landmark in 2004.
Before Winfield gave the final talk, Adrian Burgos Jr. talked about the importance of baseball for Latin American and then author Chad Harbach talked about his new book, The Art of Fielding.
To cap the event, Winfield touched on a few different topics. First, he spent time on the history of African-Americans in baseball and Jackie Robinson. Then he talked about the tradition of baseball and challenged everyone in attendance to pass on the tradition to young kids and encourage them to get outside and be active. Finally, Winfield gave some insight on his own life and childhood. He attended the University of Minnesota, where he became a star player in basketball, football, and baseball. Winfield is the only athlete to be drafted by an NFL, NBA, and MLB team.
After the event was over, I had the honor to meet Winfield.