The First Wrigley Field & "W" Flag
In 1916, William Wrigley bought a share of Chicago's National League, and over the next five years steadily increased his stake. In 1921, as the team set up the field and clubhouse in Avalon Canyon, although never officially named, Avalon townspeople began calling the field Wrigley Field. During this time, the Cubs home field, back in Chicago, was known as Weeghman Park. The Cubs trained in Avalon from 1921 to 1951, with the exception of the war years of 1942-1945. Relocating the Cubs spring training to Catalina Island brought national attention to Catalina Island, which Wrigley purchased in 1919. Weeghman Park in Chicago was re-named “Cubs Park,” and eventually, in 1926, the Chicago ballpark become known as Wrigley Field. This makes Avalon the first site of a Wrigley Field.
Nineteen Hall of Fame players trained with the Cubs on Catalina Island, including such legends as Grover Cleveland Alexander, Dizzy Dean, Roger Hornsby, Joe McCarthy and Hack Wilson.
The "W Flag" also has its origins in Catalina. William Wrigley owned the Wilmington Transportation Company. The company was founded in 1877 by the Banning brothers, the original owners of Catalina Island. The company operated several vessels that transported visitors from mainland ports to Catalina Island, including the S.S. Catalina and S.S. Avalon. The Wilmington Transportation Company's logo was a blue flag with a white W. In 1983, the W flag became a symbol for the Chicago Cubs' wins or losses. With a game win, a white flag with a blue W was hoisted up the flagpole to signal Wrigley field passerby's of a win and a blue flag with a white L signaled a loss for the Chicago team. #FlytheW