Ryne Sandberg remembers initiation of rooftop fans at Wrigley

Ryne Sandberg remembers initiation of rooftop fans at Wrigley
April 5, 2014, 2:45 pm
Share This Post
Tony Andracki

Ryne Sandberg could sit for hours — maybe even days — and tell stories about what it was like playing at Wrigley Field for so many years.

But the one story you don't hear much of is how the rooftops surrounding The Friendly Confines became populated with fans. It started in 1984, when Ryno earned the National League MVP Award and the Cubs won 96 games.

As the Ricketts family duels the rooftop owners in city hearings and Showtime specials, Sandberg looked back at the birth of rooftop fans at Wrigley.

[RELATED - Ricketts looking at all options in Wrigley deal]

"In '84, the whole place came alive and I saw the first fans on the rooftops," Sandberg said during the Wrigley opener Friday. "It started with two guys in maybe late July on the rooftop. Then, we went away for a road trip, came back and it was maybe eight or 10 guys on the rooftop and a couple folding chairs.

"Just to see that transformation, to see it be a tough ticket here for the rest of my career and a packed house [was cool]. This is real, true baseball here. There was a lot of conversation about that from opposing players that liked coming here just for the atmosphere."

Messing with that "atmosphere" is one of the arguments from the rooftop owners who don't want an advertising sign in right field and a Jumbotron in left. The Cubs have yet to install either sign in fear of a lawsuit from the rooftop owners.

[RELATED - Cubs exploring sale of minority shares for Wrigley renovation]

On a bitterly cold day with biting winds topping 20 mph for the home opener against Sandberg's Phillies Friday, the rooftops were almost bare. But the sun emerged and the temperature rose Saturday, bringing fans back to the top of the buildings surrounding Wrigley Field.