Interview: Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

Continuing a very Second City-themed day of TedQuarters content, I present the type of hard-hitting exclusive interview readers should probably not come to expect of this site.

I was recently included on an e-mail chain that also included someone with the curious name “Elizabeth Wrigley-Field.” I contacted Ms. Wrigley-Field and found she was not only willing to discuss her surname, but quite happy to, and so we did. And this is that:

TedQuarters: Did your parents realize how awesome it was that they were named Wrigley and Field when they met, and consider that their offspring might be named Wrigley-Field? I mean, am I right in assuming that’s how you came to be named Elizabeth Wrigley-Field?

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field: As it happens, my parents — who were also a bit slow on the uptake and didn’t notice the combination of their names until well into their courtship when a friend pointed it out — gave my prenatal self absolutely no credit for a future sense of humor.

They thought I’d be teased too much, and named me Elizabeth Field. I started going by Wrigley-Field when I was seven — partly for the joke, and partly because even at that age, it seemed strange to me that you get your dad’s name but not your mom’s.

We didn’t get around to legally changing it until I was in college, but I’ve been Elizabeth Wrigley-Field in how I introduce myself for the vast majority of my life by now.

TQ: Are you a Cubs fan? And if so, would you be one if your last name weren’t Wrigley-Field?

EWF: Well, I’m certainly a bigger fan of the Cubs than I am of any other team. Which is to say, I don’t follow them, but I root for them. How could I not?

Almost everyone finds their team through an accident of birth. Usually it’s just where they live; mine is just a little more obvious.

Really, though, I think of myself more as a fan of the stadium.

TQ: Have you been to the stadium?

EWF: No… which is so sad. Especially because my boyfriend lives in Chicago (and I’m in Madison, which is pretty close), so I’m there ALL THE TIME. I have no excuse.

When I was young I wrote to them. I guess I was kind of hoping for free tickets or something — at least my name on the scoreboard! But they were just going to interview me for their fan magazine (which a very nice guy at the Baseball Hall of Fame had arranged), and I never really got it together to get out there.

Then I started reading all about this kid, Wrigley Alexander Fields, who got to throw out the first pitch and everything. And at first I was like, “Who is this pipsqueak? His name isn’t even authentic! The stadium is not WRIGLEY FIELDS!” But then I reflected on how he has to go through life with the first name Wrigley, and I decided he deserves all the joy he can find.

TQ: Wait, I’m sorry. So you’ve really never been to Wrigley Field, even though your last name is Wrigley-Field and you’re only a couple hours away? What’re you waiting for? I mean, I’m not trying to make you feel bad about yourself, but for chrissakes, your last name is Wrigley-Field! I mean, frankly I think the place is a wee bit overrated, just because the crowd has been mostly shirtless and brotastic the times I’ve been there, but still.

EWF: I know… I know. I think it’s one of those things where it’s so built up in my mind that the experience can’t possibly live up to the hype. Plus, I’m lazy.

I did go to my first ever Cubs game at Shea Stadium some years back. (Perpetual Post editor Howard Megdal took me, and was kind enough to be happy for me that, miraculously, the Cubs pulled it together.) I ran around the stadium finding everyone I could wearing Cubs paraphernalia and introduced myself. I showed them my school ID so they knew I wasn’t making it up. I had a great time.

TQ: I don’t think it would ever happen, but if the Cubs took on a corporate sponsor, would you consider changing your name legally again? Like would you become Elizabeth Pepsi presents Wrigley-Field?

EWF: No, and I will be VERY MAD should that day come.

TQ: Moving on. I understand I’m not the first baseball writer to interview you about your name. How did you come into contact with Murray Chass?

EWF: I think it was after I wrote a letter to the New York Times. This was back before the 2000 election and the Times had run a profile piece on George W. Bush that mentioned that when he started dating Laura, he brought over not only his own, but all his friends’ laundry for her to do. I wrote them a letter about how lame this was, mostly so I could use the title “George W. Bush’s Dirty Laundry.” But they ditched the title and ran the letter.

Murray Chass saw that in his paper and got in touch with me. Then because of his story, Seth Swirsky heard of me and got in touch with me for one of his Baseball Letters books (I believe, in fact, that my letter is in the same book as W.’s… which is just weird). This was all while I was still in high school, and I had so much fun with it.

18 thoughts on “Interview: Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

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