Continued from page 1

On his way in from suburban Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Williams thought about all the events besides baseball games that have taken place at Wrigley Field over the years. The ballpark has hosted everything from boxing to soccer to pro wrestling to the circus to the rodeo to concerts to a Chicago Blackhawks game. There was even this: On back-to-back weekends in January 1944, ski jumpers leapt from scaffolding covered in snow and ice and landed behind second base.

Wrigley Field, it seems, has seen everything but a World Series championship. The Cubs haven’t won one since 1908 - eight years before they started playing at what was then known as Weeghman Park.

Of course, the Bears celebrated a few at Wrigley. They won NFL championship games there in 1933, 1941, 1943 and 1963 before they moved to Soldier Field in 1971.

Williams recalled watching the Bears at Wrigley, back when Sayers and Butkus and Mike Ditka were playing and when George Halas was running the club.

Butkus had a few good stories, too.

He mentioned the stench one time in the locker room, one he thought was coming from Doug Bufone’s “ratty” gym shoes.

Bufone insisted the smell wasn’t coming from the shoes. Butkus didn’t believe him at first. Then, he said, they were putting something on top of a locker when a tile fell and out plopped - you guessed it - a dead rat.

“I said, ‘Oh, there it is,’” Butkus said.

To Butkus, a South Side product who starred at Illinois and his hometown team, playing at Wrigley meant he’d made it - not because of his Chicago ties, but because of the stadium itself. Because of its quirks, its imperfections

“Pros aren’t supposed to play where everything is perfect,” he said.

Dawson agreed.

“The ballpark itself, there’s just something about it,” he said. “The intricate angles. You came out and you walked around and looked around, and you just said, ‘Wow.’”