This will be the first time in the Chiefs’ 26-year franchise history that they will play in a Major League facility, and it is believed to be the first minor league contest to take place at Wrigley in the ballpark’s 94-year history.
The game, presented by National City, will include family-friendly priced tickets, an array of activities for children of all ages and a fun atmosphere filled with traditional minor league attractions within the Friendly Confines.
“This is a very historic day for the Chiefs, and we are thankful for the opportunity afforded to us by the Cubs,” said Chiefs President Rocky Vonachen. “They have been tremendous partners with us, and this is going to be an outstanding day for the Chiefs and Cougars players, staffs and fans.”
Tickets will be available Friday, May 2 beginning at 9 am on www.cubs.com and will range from $10 for Terrace Reserved seats, Upper Deck Reserved seats and the general admission bleachers; $12 for terrace box seats; and $15 for club and field box seats, bleacher box seats and upper deck box seats. A total of only 280 designated premium seats, priced from $25-$30, will also be available as part of Friday’s on-sale event.
The Chiefs will announce special plans for current Chiefs season ticket holders, group ticket packages, and bus trips at a later date.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ryne Sandberg and our Peoria ballclub to Wrigley Field,” said Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney. “This game will provide our minor leaguers with their first Wrigley Field experience and give our fans a chance to see future Cubs, like our No. 1 pick from last year, Josh Vitters, at an early stage in their careers.”
The game will give Chicago area fans a chance to see Cubs legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg manage in the stadium where his number is retired. Sandberg has been back to Wrigley several times since his number was retired in 2005 but never in the role as a manager.
“It’s a great honor to have Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg back at Wrigley in a uniform, but this time as a manager,” said Fleita.
After first being traded from the Phillies in 1982, Sandberg stayed a part of the Cubs team until 1994 before retiring; however, he returned to Wrigley for two more seasons in 1996, playing his last game in September of 1997. Sandberg had his number 23 jersey retired on August 28, 2005. His flag flies below that of Billy Williams on the right field pole at Wrigley. Now, in his second year as Chiefs manager, Sandberg will return to Wrigley to make his debut on the field as a manager in the Cubs system.
“It’s a great opportunity for these guys to have a day at Wrigley field,” said Sandberg. “It was always my favorite park to play at because of the atmosphere, and I know they will appreciate that. It’ll be a big thrill for all of us, including myself.”
Fans attending this first-of-its-kind event at Wrigley Field will have the opportunity to participate in a number of traditional minor league ballpark activities such as dizzy bat races, t-shirt tosses and the opportunity for all kids ages 14 and under to run the Wrigley Field bases at the end of the game. Midwest League umpires will be calling the game.
Fans will also be entertained between innings by the mascots of both teams and an assortment of other fun characters who regularly perform at Peoria Chiefs games and several other ballparks. A special appearance will also be made by ZOOperstars! and Birdzerk.
“The only thing that would have made this one hundred percent perfect is if Harry Caray and Mrs. Vonachen could be there for Pete and Rocky,” said Oneri Fleita, Vice President of a Player Personnel for the Cubs.
Two other Midwest League teams have hosted games at the fields of their Major League affiliates. The Beloit Snappers hosted the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Milwaukee’s Miller Park on August 14, 2003 in front of 14,147 fans. They played at Miller Park again the next year on August 12 with an audience of 5,127 fans. On August 22, 2005, the West Michigan Whitecaps hosted the Fort Wayne Wizards at Detroit’s Comerica Park, drawing in 3,884 fans.
The current Midwest League single game attendance record was set last year during a game between these same two teams. On August 11, Kane County set the record by bringing in 14,492 fans to Elfstrom Stadium in a 6-1 defeat for the Chiefs.
Three former Chiefs have played at Wrigley in a Cubs uniform since Peoria again became a Cubs affiliate in 2005. Eric Patterson, Sean Gallagher, and Sam Fuld were Chiefs for the 2005 season, and all three played for the Cubs in 2007 season and are now with Triple-A Iowa.