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Ivy idea uprooted from Indianapolis celebrates 80th anniversary at Wrigley Field

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Wrigley Field and Indianapolis aren’t exactly a match on paper.

For one, Wrigley is old. Built in 1914, simplicity and purity return once again this spring to the Friendly Confines for another season of baseball. Back in the day, it turns out the Indianapolis Indians were searching for a similar solution.

In the early 1930’s, Indians owner Norm Perry planted an idea at his new ballpark, originally named Perry Stadium.

“As the story goes, Norm Perry had a gardener at his house,” current Indians owner Bruce Schumacher said. “Norm told his gardener, I like these brick walls at the ballpark but they seem kind of bare. The gardener got thinking and recommended Perry have ivy grow on the outfield walls.”

Perry inserted the ivy and in 1937, a former colleague working for the Cubs at the time, Bill Veeck, wanted a piece for Wrigley.

“Veeck remembered the ivy from Indianapolis and said let’s try that. Now, it would be impossible to imagine Wrigley Field without it.”

It turns out the gardener from Indianapolis with the grand idea was named John Price. Coincidently, his granddaughter Carol Marshall still resides in the Indianapolis area.

“Grandpa was kind of a quiet little guy,” Marshall said. He knew his plants alright.”

Even Marshall can’t comprehend what her grandfather would think of Wrigley Field’s iconic ivy, now celebrating its 80th anniversary on Chicago’s north side.

“He would be speechless. I don’t know what he would say,” Marshall said.

After following along with the Cubs championship run last fall, maybe it is time to let Marshall gaze at her grandfather’s masterpiece.

“I would love to go to Wrigley Field I’ve never been there. My grandfather would probably really laugh at all of this.”

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