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Wrigley’s World Series history is unique, and not in a good way

Friday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes a preview of Game 3, Joe Buck’s excitement about the World Series at Wrigley, and Jonny Gomes’ latest baseball tattoo.

World Series Workouts Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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The World Series resumes tonight at Wrigley Field. Soak in that sentence, because it hasn’t been uttered in that or any form for 71 years. You likely knew that already if you’ve paid attention to any of the coverage of this World Series, but even with the obviousness of it all, there’s something special about the World Series returning here. We’re not talking about a city not having seen the World Series in over 70 years: we’re talking about a baseball stadium that has outlived many fans and players of the team it houses once again experiencing a series that was last played within its walls decades ago.

For Fox announcer Joe Buck, this is the highlight of his career. The man says so himself, and there’s good reason. Fenway Park saw multiple World Series between 1918 and Boston ending their championship drought, with attempts in 1946, ‘67, and ‘86, as well as four close calls in the ALCS in between. Fenway itself was host to multiple World Series champions, too, as the park opened in 1912 and the "curse" didn’t kick off until after 1918, when Boston defeated the Cubs.

The Indians, Chicago’s opponent in this World Series, haven’t won it all since 1948, but this is the fourth time they’ve been to the World Series since, and the third time it’s been played at Progressive Field. The White Sox — who, as you might remember from earlier this week, do exist — are probably the closest comparison to their crosstown team, as they won the World Series in 1917, made it again in 1919, not again until 1959, then didn’t win or make it until 2005. That victory came in a different park than their ‘59 trip, though: the Cubs have a unique thing going on here, where their park is nearly as ancient as Fenway, but with far less successful history in it.

Wrigley didn’t host the 1918 World Series — Comiskey Park did, as it had a higher seating capacity. However, Wrigley saw the Cubs lose the ‘29, ‘32, ‘35, ‘38, and ‘45 World Series by a combined record of 20-6. There are few happy World Series moments in this park, and the long-awaited return has already been soured ever so slightly by the news that Kyle Schwarber isn’t medically cleared to play the outfield under Wrigley’s NL rules. Even with said souring, the Cubs are the favorites. They have home-field advantage in what is now a best-of-five series, and they were the top home team in baseball in 2016. This isn’t just the chance for the Cubs to reverse their historically poor fortune: it’s also the chance for Wrigley Field, after 102 years, to finally finish up a season with a celebration.