One of the first signs a baseball fan has that he is approaching an historic place is the bright red marquee on the northwest corner of Addison and Clark streets in Chicago. It is the first thing new and repeat visitors see when they approach 90-year-old Wrigley Field.
The marquee was built during the early 1930s and had an electronic message board added in the mid-1980s. Cubs fan Lynn Cook of Argenta, Ill. loves that marquee. So much that he decided to build and market a working replica, complete with digital message board that can be programmed.
"I was looking for a sign for my bar," said Cook, who lives about 3 1 /2 hours from Wrigley Field. "I started with a blackboard but wasn’t really happy with it. About a month ago, I ran across the message board and made one incorporating it. I’ve made six more since then."
The 28-by-16-inch sign includes a 21-by-4 electric banner from Digitech that can be programmed using an included remote control. It has 3MB of memory and is capable of holding hundreds of messages.
Cook’s marquee, which can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet, comes programmed to run "Cubs Win, Holy Cow, Welcome to Wrigley Field."
Early in the 1930s, the Cubs put up the marquee that today reads "Wrigley Field Home of Chicago Cubs."
"It was a fern-green porcelain," retired Cubs executive E.R. "Salty" Saltwell told Mark Jacob for his book "Wrigley Field A Celebration of the Friendly Confines." By 1960, the porcelain finish was getting dull. The Cubs considered blue paint but chose bright red.
Cook’s marquees have a suggested retail of $200, plus shipping. An eBay auction that ended last Wednesday fetched $255.31. One that ended Monday brought $390. Contact Cook at (217) 795-4899 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BARTMAN SHIRTS, PART III
Those T-shirts with ink containing particles from the foul ball Cubs fan Steve Bartman kept Moises Alou from attempting to catch in Game 6 of the 2003 National League championship series are available after all.
A &R Collectibles of Prospect Heights, Ill., is selling the gray shirts, which show the ball on front and "Blown to Pieces Feb. 26, 2004" on back. Each shirt comes with a tag that guarantees authenticity. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
A &R’s Roger Dewey said he has a limited number of shirts available. They are $24.95 each, plus $5 for shipping. To order, call (888) 667-7767 or visit www.arcollectibles.com.