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EDITORIAL: Tear the scoreboard down? The dumbest of dumb ideas

The iconic scoreboard Wrigley Field.  |  Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

The iconic scoreboard at Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Wrigley Field’s iconic scoreboard is one of the last two in Major League baseball — the other being in Boston’s Fenway Park — still operated by hand.

But Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney, sources told Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman on Tuesday, has suggested in closed-door talks with the Cubs that they tear it down and put up a flashy giant video scoreboard.

That way, Tunney says, the Cubs could make a lot more money without putting up big advertising signs that would block the view of the rooftop clubs. The alderman gets a lot of campaign money from the rooftop clubs.

The scoreboard was built in 1937 under the watchful eye of Cubs General Manager Bill Veeck Jr. He loved it.

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

No batter has ever hit the scoreboard, although golfer Sam Snead nailed it with a golf ball on Opening Day in 1952, teeing off at home plate.

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

An Art Deco clock added atop the scoreboard in 1941 has always kept perfect time.

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

The Cubs post a “W” or “L” flag atop the scoreboard after every game, like signal flags at sea, because Phil Wrigley, who owned the cubs from 1932 to 1977, was a Navy man.

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

The scoreboard has 318 openings for numbers and letters, and a fellow nobody can see climbs around inside to put them up.

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

The scoreboard took 150 men a month to build and cost $100,000. The Chicago Herald and Examiner complained that the score-by-inning figures were too small. Now people think they’re just right.

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

Atop the scoreboard are 16 more flags, one for each National League team. You can tell each team’s standing by the order of the flags. How cool is that?

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

On the back of the scoreboard, visible from the CTA L trains, is a blue pennant with the words “Chicago Cubs,” the best invitation in town to stop whatever you’re doing and catch a ballgame now.

But the alderman says tear the scoreboard down.

Of all the dumb ideas, replacing Wrigley Field’s scoreboard — as iconic a piece of Chicago as the Water Tower — might be the dumbest.

And just to save the views for a bunch of rooftop clubs that wouldn’t even exist without this great old park?

Ald. Tunney says he’s a Cubs fan.

But every so often we are reminded that he grew up on the South Side.



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