Cubs coach finds old ball in Wrigley Field ivy


Cubs bench coach Davey Martinez found a very old baseball in the Wrigley Field ivy on Saturday morning before the Cubs played the Padres. 

The Chicago Cubs have played at Wrigley Field for over 100 years. In the past century certain features of the ballpark have become famous, and maybe even infamous.

One of those is the ivy resting upon the outfield wall covering the entire outfield bleachers. The infamous part of that is through the years, it has led to a great deal of controversy when a hard hit baseball has stuck in the ivy.

The official ground rules at Wrigley state that when a baseball is lodged in the ivy, the ball is dead, and the hitter is awarded a ground rule double. On Friday–aka Kris Bryant Day–Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler hit a shot into the left center gap which eventually lodged itself in the not yet grown ivy.

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But because the ivy doesn’t come in fully until summer is much closer, the ball did not stick in the ivy. It was, instead, hanging on a dead part of the ivy. A San Diego Padres outfielder could have easily picked the ball off the brush and made a play to throw the ball into the infield.

But the ground rules state that Fowler automatically be sent to second base. It was not open to debate, even though Fowler would have likely had an easy triple if the ball was ruled playable.

Cubs bench coach Davey Martinez–who was called on to take over for Joe Maddon, after the manager was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes–became curious about the ivy, and so Saturday went out to check the scene of the crime.

What he found when he searched out the dead ivy in the outfield was an old–very old–baseball. Photos later showed it was a baseball which had so disintegrated that the leather cover had eroded. Only the raw hide remained.

The photo of the ball is reminiscent of the scene in The Natural where Roy Hobbs literally knocked the cover off the ball. The Cubs have a version of the natural for themselves now in the rookie Kris Bryant–who made his major league debut on Friday, going 0-4 with three strikeouts.

Saturday, Bryant had a much better day, getting on base five of six times he went to the plate, including three walks, his first big league hit and first RBI in the Cubs 7-6 win in 11 innings.

As old as the ball is, it’s highly unlikely Bryant was the one hit that baseball out to the ivy (okay, it’s literally impossible). But maybe Martinez will have another chance in the future to find a souvenir given Bryant’s mythical power.

Maybe he’ll get to see Bryant hit the cover off a ball in a game at Wrigley.


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