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The Win Flag (left) or Loss Flag (right) indicates home game outcomes.

The Cubs Win Flag is a victory flag that is flown at Wrigley Field after every Chicago Cubs home win.[1] The flag is variously referred to by approximately a dozen names, combining; either Cubs or Chicago Cubs; Win, W, White, White W, or W Win; and flag, banner or banner flag. Other common names for the symbol include Chicago Cubs W Win Flag and Chicago Cubs Win Banner Flag.[2][3] It has become an important symbol for fans that one retailer describes as a fan banner instead of flag, or banner flag.[4] In addition, days when the win flag is flown are known as "White Flag Days". The tradition of flying a win or loss flag over the stadium began soon after the construction of the scoreboard in 1937.[5]

The flag has used two different color schemes with the letter "W" on a solid background, and there is a loss indicator flag with a letter "L". Additionally, the flags have been complemented by different color schemes of indicator lights.[5] The flag has become a very symbolic emblem for devout Cubs fans. Some retailers sell slightly different versions that also have the Cubs logo at the bottom.[6]

Contents

Detail

Navy Seal parachutes onto Wrigley Field with a Win Flag (2008-08-08)

Flying a flag over Wrigley field to denote wins and losses is a longstanding tradition.[7][8] Currently, the Win Flag is composed of a large blue letter "W" on a white background while the Loss Flag is comprised of a large white letter "L" on a blue background.[9] The phrase "White flag time at Wrigley!" is therefore used to explain that the Cubs have just won that day's home game.[10] The flag is raised by a scoreboard crew member immediately after the completion of a game,[11] and in the case of a doubleheader split, both flags are flown.[10]

The Cubs Win Flag is raised before other flags are lowered.

It is customary to fly flags from sunrise until sunset, unless they are directly illuminated.[12] At the beginning of each day, the cross-shaped "masthead" atop the centerfield scoreboard displays the American flag at the top, and three strands of flags bearing the team colors and city names of each of the National League clubs, one strand per Division in order of that day's standings.[13] Immediately after the game, one of the strands of flags is lowered, and either the W or the L-lettered flag is raised in its place. The W-lettered flag is raised on the left field side of the board, above the blue light that also indicates a win.[13] The L-lettered flag is raised on the right field side of the board, above the white light that indicates a loss. Once the Win or Loss Flag has been raised, the other flags are lowered and also stowed away inside the scoreboard.

Chicago Cubs Fans celebrate with the Cubs Win flag
2008 Cubs Fans while the magic number is 1. (2008-09-20)
Fans at Wrigley Field victory with oversized flag (2008-07-08)
Fans at Chicago Cubs' first win at Nationals Park (2008-04-26)
Home display along with Flag of the United States (2008-08-24)
2007 Cubs and fans celebrate N.L. Central Championship (2007-09-28)

The symbolism of the flag now serves a wide variety of purposes. It is commonly reproduced in 3 by 5 feet (0.91 by 1.5 m) dimensions,[1][14] and car flag versions are also sold.[15] The flag is also available in 2 by 3 feet (0.61 by 0.91 m) dimension versions.[16] The flag has become a celebratory symbol for Chicago Cubs fans who purchase reproductions and take them to games at home and on the road to show support.[10] The fans wave them after victories at Wrigley Field,[17] and they hang them in the stands during playoff series. Some fans fly a win flag in place of or in addition to the Flag of the United States on days when the Cubs win.[18] Since 1998, the flags have become ever more popular, with demand reaching a level where they are sold at Wrigley field.[10] In seasons when the Cubs are performing poorly the tradition has led to parody and satire, such as stories of the Cubs retiring the win flag due to signs of neglect. While not having the popularity of the Win Flag, the Loss Flag has become increasingly popular with clubs who traditionally have rivalries with the Cubs, such as the St. Louis Cardinals or Chicago White Sox. Fans of those teams wave the blue flag after their team defeats the Cubs at Busch Stadium or U.S. Cellular Field. Organizations such as the "Cubs Suck Club" provide links to download Loss Flags for printing and instructions on how to make printed flags more durable.[19]

The flag is known by many names, with none being more prevalent than the rest, and may often be referred to by more than one name by the same manufacturer. "Chicago Cubs W Win Flag" is the name used on Amazon.com,[2] however the company also refers to the flag as Chicago Cubs 'W' Banner Flag in their marketplace section.[3] CubWorld.com also refers to the flag by the name Chicago Cubs 'W' Banner Flag.[20] Other retailers use the names Cubs Win W Flag,[21] Chicago Cubs Win 3' x 5' Flag,[14][22][23][24] Cubs W Flag,[25] or (Chicago Cubs) W Flag in the case of Sports Fan Warehouse.[26] One retailer even sells an item called the Chicago Cubs W Fan Banner.[4] Another retailer sells two versions of the flag listed as Chicago Cubs Win W Flag and Chicago Cubs Win Flag, yet its advertisements mentions celebrating a Cub win with the Chiacgo Cubs White "W" Flag.[27] An alternate version that has the Chicago Cubs logo beneath the W can be found under the name Chicago Cubs Win W Banner.[6]

History

The Cubs' then-owner Philip K. Wrigley ordered the reconstruction of the bleachers and the building of the manually operated scoreboard in 1937.[28] The scoreboard's "masthead" was in place by 1938, displaying the American flag at the top and flags representing the eight clubs of the National League on the left and right strands of the masthead, four apiece.[29] In the 1940s, the practice of raising raising the Win/Loss flags was begun.[5]

Retired numbers for Ernie Banks and Ron Santo on the left field foulpole and for Billy Williams and Ryne Sandberg on the right field foulpole at Wrigley Field.
View outside Wrigley Field
View inside Wrigley Field
A special flag flying session occurred from April 24–29, 2008 when the Cubs franchise won their 10,000th game on April 23, 2008.

The flags were originally a white "W" on a blue flag and a blue "L" on a white flag.[5] Ernie Banks was the first Cub to have his number retired on August 22, 1982,[30] and his number 14 has been flown in blue on a white flag (echoing the pattern of a Cubs home uniform shirt) on the left field foul pole ever since.[10] On August 13, 1987, Billy Williams had his number retired and it flew with the same color scheme, on the right field foul pole.[10][30] The scheme of the Cubs Win flag was reversed in the early 1980s. The change in the flag color scheme matched the Win flag color with the honored colors of the retired number flags.[10] Subsequent retired Cubs numbers for Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg and Ferguson Jenkins/Greg Maddux also match this color scheme.

In addition to the flags, Wrigley authorized Bill Veeck, the leader of the bleacher reconstruction project, to add colored lights on the crossbar of the masthead so that the Chicago 'L' passengers would be able to see the outcome of Cubs home games after sunset. In his autobiography, Veeck remembered the colors as green for a win and red for a loss.[5] Hartell's book acknowledges Veeck's comments, but reports that contemporary newspapers stated that the colors of the lights were blue and white, as they are now. Eventually the original lights on the masthead were replaced by lights directly on the top of scoreboard, still visible from outside Wrigley field.[5] The lights complement the flags by helping night time passersby learn the result of that day's Cubs game at a glance.[10] The current blue and white Win/Loss lights were added atop the scoreboard in 1978.[10]

On April 23, 2008 the Cubs won for the 10,000th time in the history of the franchise on the road against the Colorado Rockies.[31] Like the 9,000th win, the 10,000th win came in a 7–6 victory at Coors Field.[31] The Cubs were the second franchise to achieve 10,000 regular season wins; the San Francisco Giants/New York Giants were the first. The franchise flew a special 10,000th win flag along with a Cubs Win flag to commemorate the landmark achievement for the franchise. This was unusual not just for the 10,000th win, but also for flying the flag in reference to a road game. The special flag flew from the afternoon of April 24, 2008 until immediately prior to the next home game on April 29, 2008 at 19:05 against the Milwaukee Brewers. After the flag was taken down, it was autographed by all members of the 2008 Chicago Cubs and auctioned off for charity.[32]

Sources

References

  1. ^ a b "Chicago Cubs 'W' Banner Flag - Cubs Win! Cubs Win!". CubWorld.com. http://www.cubworld.com/product/521/Chicago_Cubs_W_Banner_Flag__Cubs_Win_Cubs_Win.html. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  2. ^ a b "Chicago Cubs W Win Flag (Baseball 3x5')". Amazon.com, Inc.. http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Cubs-Win-Flag-Baseball/dp/B001CMGHR0. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  3. ^ a b "Chicago Cubs 'W' Banner Flag - Cubs Win! Cubs Win!". Amazon.com, Inc.. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000RRX3BY?smid=ABH1045956MJ8&. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  4. ^ a b "Chicago Cubs W Fan Banner". BiggSports. http://www.biggsports.com/servlet/the-96218/Detail?zmam=22551006&zmas=1&zmac=7&zmap=FBCUBW. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  5. ^ a b c d e f Shea, Stuart (2006). Wrigley Field: The Unauthorized Biography. Potomac Books Inc.. ISBN 1574889419. http://books.google.com/books?id=zKsiH8vEC2MC&pg=PA168&lpg=PA168&dq=Wrigley+Field+scoreboard+lights+blue+white&source=web&ots=cQaEhla3FY&sig=grIl_XpKk0IdvyeJEv6ulVlBfKk&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result.  
  6. ^ a b "Banner Flag - MLB - Chicago Cubs Win W Banner-27x37". Heartland Flagpoles & Custom Flags. http://www.heartlandflagpoles.com/Sports-Flags/Chicago-Cubs/Banner-Flag-MLB-Chicago-Cubs-Win-W-Banner-27x37;jsessionid=0a01034d1f430af7d02995c9456fab92a9481e259fe0.e3eSbNmTb3mTe34Pa38Ta38Nchb0. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  7. ^ "Wrigley Field History". Official Site of the Chicago Cubs. MLB Advanced Media, L.P.. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/ballpark/index.jsp. Retrieved 2008-09-24.  
  8. ^ "Wrigley Field: Chicago, Cook County, Illinois". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/nhl/DOE_dedesignations/wrigley.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-30.  
  9. ^ 1997 Chicago Cubs Information Guide. Chicago National League Ball Club, Inc.. 1997. p. 6.  
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Chicago Cubs". ShortPorch.com. http://www.shortporch.com/Chicago_Cubs_Tickets.asp. Retrieved 2008-09-24.  
  11. ^ Green, David (2006). 101 Reason to Love the Cubs. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. p. 63. ISBN 1-58479-499-2.  
  12. ^ "Flag Rules and Regulations". USHistory.org. Independence Hall Association. http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagetiq.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  13. ^ a b Ahuja, Jay (2001). Fields Of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks. Citadel Press. ISBN 0806521937. http://books.google.com/books?id=qQjs_j59H4sC&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106&dq=Wrigley+Field+flagpole+national+league&source=web&ots=UJVbZsQBhW&sig=ftTTkCmAcP-YbTJpZf2rXP7py-g&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result.  
  14. ^ a b "Wincraft Chicago Cubs Win 3' x 5' Flag". The Official Online Shop of the Chicago Cubs. shop.mlb.com. http://shop.mlb.com/sm-wincraft-chicago-cubs-win-x-flag--pi-3262218.html. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  15. ^ "Chicago Cubs Car Flag - Win". Baseball Flags and Pennants Company and State Street Products, LLC. http://www.baseballflagsandpennants.com/chicago_cubs_car_flag_-_win_350_prd1.html. Retrieved 2008-09-24.  
  16. ^ "Chicago Cubs 2' x 3' 'W' Banner Flag - Cubs Win! Cubs Win!". CubWorld.com. http://www.cubworld.com/product/WFLAG5?META=bizrate-WFLAG5&utm_source=BIZRATE&utm_medium=CPC&utm_content=&utm_campaign=. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  17. ^ Telander, Rick (2008-09-21). "Foam rules at Wrigley - Cubs , euphoric fans are bubbling over as they soak in 2nd straight division title". Chicago Sun-Times. Newsbank. http://docs.newsbank.com/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:NewsBank:CSTB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=123586BFDBBD49B0&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=AA98CDC331574F0ABEAFF732B33DC0B2. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  18. ^ "Cubs Win Flag makes my day". The Baseball Zealot. 2008-05-10. http://www.thebaseballzealot.com/cubs/cubs-win-flag-makes-my-day. Retrieved 2009-09-23.  
  19. ^ "Need a “L” flag?". Cubs Suck Club. http://www.cubssuckclub.com/cubs-suck-news/flag/. Retrieved 2008-10-03.   (flag available at http://www.cubssuckclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/loss-flag.pdf)
  20. ^ "Chicago Cubs 'W' Banner Flag". CubWorld.com. http://www.cubworld.com/product/521/Chicago_Cubs_W_Banner_Flag__Cubs_Win_Cubs_Win.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  21. ^ "Cubs - Win W Flag". Flags Unlimited, Inc.. http://www.usflags.com/productDetail.asp?ItemID=4484. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  22. ^ "Wincraft Chicago Cubs Win 3' x 5' Flag". Modell's. http://www.modells.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3262218. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  23. ^ "Wincraft Chicago Cubs Win 3' x 5' Flag". CBSSports.com. http://www.cbssportsstore.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3262218. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  24. ^ "Wincraft Chicago Cubs Win 3' x 5' Flag". Teamstore.com. http://www.teamstore.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3262218. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  25. ^ "Cubs W Flag". Baseball Flags and Pennants Company and State Street Products, LLC. http://www.baseballflagsandpennants.com/cubs_w_flag_257_prd1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  26. ^ "Chicago Cubs 3x5 Flag - W Flag". sportsfanwarehouse.com. Sports Fan Warehouse, LLC. http://www.sportsfanwarehouse.com/3208560342.html. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  27. ^ "Grommets - MLB - Chicago Cubs Win W Flag-3x5". Heartland Flagpoles & Custom Flags. http://www.heartlandflagpoles.com/Sports-Flags/Chicago-Cubs/Grommets-MLB-Chicago-Cubs-Win-W-Flag-3x5;jsessionid=0a01034d1f430af7d02995c9456fab92a9481e259fe0.e3eSbNmTb3mTe34Pa38Ta38Nchb0. Retrieved 2008-10-01.  
  28. ^ Brown, Richard H. (2005). "Wrigley Field". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1389.html. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  29. ^ Hartell, William (1994). A Day at the Park: In Celebration of Wrigley Field. Sagamore Publishing. p. 15–17. ISBN 978-1885758033.  
  30. ^ a b Snyder, Cubs Journal  
  31. ^ a b "Theriot lifts Cubs in 10 for franchise's 10,000th win". ESPN Internet Ventures. 2008-04-23. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=280423127. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
  32. ^ "Cubs to raise flag in honor of 10,000th franchise win: Flag commemorating historic win to be signed and auctioned to benefit Cubs Care". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media, L.P.. 2008-04-24. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20080424&content_id=2579322&vkey=pr_chc&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc. Retrieved 2008-09-23.  
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