CHICAGO -- The famous Wrigley Field marquee was missing on Tuesday. The sign, first installed in 1934, was removed on Monday as part of the renovation and restoration work at the Cubs' ballpark.
This offseason is the second phase in the team's $575 million ballpark renovation plan. Because the plan includes structural work in the concourse area near the main gate at Clark St. and Addison St., where the marquee was located, the sign was removed. The work includes improving the ticket office near the Clark and Addison entrance.
Cubs officials said the marquee will return in time for Opening Day, which is April 11 against the Reds.
The marquee was commissioned by the Federated Sign Company of Chicago and was installed in 1934. It's initial purpose was advertising, and it was used to promote that day's game. The marquee wasn't painted red until the mid 1960s, and the electronic message board was added in the early 1980s.
The marquee is protected under the City of Chicago's landmark ordinance, which also includes the outfield wall bricks, the ivy on the outfield walls and the center-field scoreboard.
This offseason, the majority of the renovation work at Wrigley will be on the Cubs' new 30,000-square-foot clubhouse, plus the open-air plaza and office and retail building on the property adjacent to the ballpark. Last offseason, the focus was the bleachers and the installation of two video scoreboards.
The Cubs also are replacing the sod at Wrigley, and the club was giving away chunks of grass to fans on Monday and Tuesday.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.