Wrigleyville: A Magical History Tour of the Chicago Cubs

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Wrigleyville... a real place and a state of mind. For baseball fans, Wrigleyville means green grass and ivied walls, long summer afternoons in the bleacher seats, the voice of Harry Caray conjuring ghosts of pennant races past, the magical romance and companionable heartbreak of rooting for the Chicago Cubs. From the "friendly confines" of Wrigley Field, the Cubs each year begin again their legendary quest for a World Series Championship, a goal that has eluded them since 1908. Beginning with the 1871 founding of...
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Overview

Wrigleyville... a real place and a state of mind. For baseball fans, Wrigleyville means green grass and ivied walls, long summer afternoons in the bleacher seats, the voice of Harry Caray conjuring ghosts of pennant races past, the magical romance and companionable heartbreak of rooting for the Chicago Cubs. From the "friendly confines" of Wrigley Field, the Cubs each year begin again their legendary quest for a World Series Championship, a goal that has eluded them since 1908. Beginning with the 1871 founding of the Chicago franchise, Wrigleyville beautifully captures a history of triumph, futility, dreams, and cruel fate - in the voices of Chicago players, coaches, batboys, clubhouse personnel, fans, and sportswriters who were there, from the nineteenth century to the present. In these pages, the Cubs and Chicago itself come to vivid life. Cap Anson, the Hall of Fame first baseman and team leader of the 1880s champion teams. Mike "King" Kelly, the flamboyant base stealer and bon vivant, one of baseball's first media superstars. Tinker to Evers to Chance. Fred Merkle's infamous blunder that launched the Cubs toward their last World Series championship. Babe Ruth's "called shot" off Cubs pitcher Charlie Root - and the eyewitnesses who dispute the event. Hack Wilson, the slugging 1920s outfielder whose single-season RBI record remains unsurpassed. Ernie Banks and "Let's play two." The great Cubs team of 1969 and the dramatic pennant race against the upstart New York Mets. The quiet dignity and skill of Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins, Andre Dawson, and Ryne Sandberg.

One of America's best-known writers about sports turns his attentions to the team that has won and broken the hearts of generations of fans--the Chicago Cubs. Utilizing dozens of personal interviews with players, coaches, fans, sportswriters, and clubhouse personnel, as well as newspaper archives and rare out-of-print memoirs, Golenbock has created a perfect gift for every baseball fan. 50 photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Wes Lukowsky
The Chicago Cubs have had a 50-year reign as baseball's lovable losers, but this chronicle of their tear-stained history is a winner all the way. Popular sports historian Golenbock covers the origins of the team, including its early, often successful years, and gradually segues into the postWorld War II malaise, which threatens to extend into the next millennium. The follies of chewing-gum magnate Phil Wrigley and his family are detailed, as is the corporate buffoonery of the team's current owner, the "Chicago Tribune". As the history moves closer to the present, Golenbock interviews players, managers, coaches, and fans. It's what he does best. The accounts by the players of the infamous 1969 collapse, the Durocher years, and the team's recent ups and downs are clearly the highlights. Baseball players are very good at remembering details, and few can draw them out like Golenbock. Cable has created Cub fans all over the world, and each of them will find something to enjoy in this celebratory history of their team.
Kirkus Reviews
An okay history of the hapless but beloved Chicago Cubs, a baseball team that hasn't won a World Series since 1908 or played in one since 1945.

Though this takes the form of an oral history, Golenbock (Wild, High and Tight: The Life and Death of Billy Martin, 1994, etc.) has to borrow heavily from long-published sources to tell the story of the early years, starting with Albert Spalding's 1876 desertion of the Boston club to pitch for Chicago's White Stockings. He would eventually own the ball team and lead it to a dynasty in the 1880s. They became the Cubs in 1902, and in 1906, under player/manager Frank Chance, they won 116 games. The Cubs lost to the crosstown White Sox in the World Series, but won back- to-back world championships in 1907 and 1908 against Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers. It would be their last World Series victory, though they won pennants in 1910, 1918, and again in 1945. Veterans of that WW II team—Phil Cavaretta, Len Merullo, Dewey Williams—recall the series for Golenbock, still second-guessing manager Charlie Grimm's selection of a pitcher for the seventh and deciding game. Some great and memorable ballplayers have been Cubs, and Golenbock introduces them throughout his narrative: Gabby Hartnett, Hack Wilson, Ferguson Jenkins, Dizzy Dean, manager Leo "The Lip" Durocher, Bruce Sutter, Lou Brock and, of course, "Mr. Cub," Ernie Banks, a two-time MVP, with 512 career home runs. (Curiously, the affable Banks, an executive with the Cubs, is not among Golenbock's interviewees, a serious omission.) The Cubs' woes in recent years culminated when future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg walked away from a $28 million contract in 1994 out of sheer frustration. (Sandberg has recently rejoined the team.)

Anecdotally interesting, but Golenbock could have done more legwork in some crucial areas, most notably Banks's outstanding career.

From the Publisher

"Appealing and insightful, cut...from the cloth of memory and rewoved with a sense of living voice...Golenbock is a master of old mystiques." --Chicago Tribune

"Fascinating..In addition to the rich anecdotal material that fills this [book], there are some great deja vu lessons in both baseball and social history...The famous baseball author has done it again." --The Christian Science Monitor

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312140793
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 541
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 1.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Golenbock

Peter Golenbock is the author or coauthor of twenty previous books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Bronx Zoo and Number 1, and more recently, Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes. He lives in Florida.

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