Eight Great Non-Baseball Sports Moments at Wrigley Field

By: Alex Patt

Wrigley Field is a haven for many baseball fans, especially Chicago Cubs supporters no doubt. Yet there is a lot more history to the century-old stadium than just baseball. A number of other sporting events have taken place at the corner of Clark and Addison.

Before looking at this list, a lot of Chicago history buffs will probably assume there will be a number of Chicago Bears moments on here...and they’re right. The Monsters of the Midway called Wrigley Field home for several decades and won most of their championships while playing there. There are other moments as well, so lets take a look! Here are eight great non-baseball moments at Wrigley Field.

8.) Red Wings vs. Blackhawks: 1/1/2009

The one and only professional hockey game at the Friendly Confines took place on New Year’s Day of 2009 in the NHL Winter Classic. The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, two Original Six foes met on a frigid and snowy afternoon in front of a packed house. The Blackhawks were a young and upcoming team that was bringing the spirit of hockey back to the city while Detroit was defending their 2008 Stanley Cup championship. Wings won 6–4, but it was a great moment for the NHL and Chicago.

7.) Illini vs. Wildcats: 11/20/10

It had been several decades since a football game was played at Wrigley Field when Northwestern hosted U of I in mid-November of 2010. The marquee was painted purple and the fans were sprinkled with purple and orange spectators. Because of renovations over the years, the football field went East to West instead of North to South like it had been when it hosted NFL games. The Fighting Illini blew the Wildcats out 48–27.

6.) “The Gale Sayers Game” 12/12/1965

One of the greatest performances in a single game in Chicago Bears history goes to Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers. The rookie had himself a day scoring six touchdowns: four rushing, one punt return and one catching. In total he racked up 336 offensive yards that day against the San Francisco 49ers. Bears won that game 61–20.

5.) Bears vs Packers: 12/14/1941

At the end of the 1941 NFL season, the Bears and Packers were tied at 10–1. A divisional playoff game at Wrigley Field between the bitter rivals would determine who would go to the Title Game. Chicago would beat Green Bay 33–14. Norm Standlee recorded two rushing touchdowns with Bob Swisher rushing for one touchdown and Hugh Gallarneau with a punt-return for a touchdown. QB Sid Luckman was 4–9 passing with 41 yards.

4.) Giants vs. Bears — 1933 NFL Championship: 12/17/1933

George Halas’ team would take on Steve Owen’s Giants in the 1933 Championship game. It was a close game in which HoFer Bronko Nagurski threw two touchdown passes, but George Corbett led the team in passing yards with 79. Bears trailed in the fourth quarter, but Bill Karr scored a 19 yard touchdown late and they would win 23–21 and the NFL Title.

3.) Giants vs. Bears — 1941 NFL Championship: 12/21/1941

The same Bears that beat Green Bay in the division game would host the Giants once again in the NFL Title Game. This game was not as close as the 1933 game as the Bears won handily 37–9. Norm Standlee recorded two more rushing touchdowns and the Bears outscored the Giants 28–3 in the second half. No drama that day.

2.) Giants vs. Bears — 1963 NFL Championship: 12/29/1963

Halas would win his final championship in Chicago in 1963. Once again, Giants vs. Bears. A sunny but absolutely frigid day at Wrigley Field featured a low-scoring affair on the frozen turf. The Giants had HoFer Y.A. Tittle at quarter back while the Bears had Billy Wade. This was a special Bears team as they featured one of the best defenses in NFL history, which was key in their 14–10 victory that day. The defense picked off Tittle five times (including the final throw of the game) and Billy Wade scored both Bears touchdowns with two QB sneaks.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: My grandfather was at this game and got some footage of it with his old hand-held color camera. Video here:

1.) Redskins vs Bears — 1943 NFL Championship Game: 12/16/1943

This victory basically solidified a Chicago dynasty under Papa Bear Halas. They took on the Redskins at Wrigley in a game which Sid Luckman threw five touchdown passes in a 41–21 victory. While the Redskins took a 7–0 lead in the second quarter, the Bears would take the lead shortly after and never look back. In addition to his touchdown passes, Luckman recorded 286 passing yards and rushed for 64. Bronko Nagurski rushed for a touchdown.