Skip to main content

A Nice Little Place on the North Side



A Nice Little Place on the North Side by George F. Will

Social and political commentator George F. Will has written a splendid and entertaining book on the history and people surrounding Wrigley Field.  With glimpses into the lives of Philip Wrigley, Hack Wilson, and Scott Joplin, George outlines the way Wrigley Field shaped the imagination and psyche of so many luminaries.  Centering his narrative around the rise and fall of the Cubs, including many disastrous years, Will writes with an eye towards the way Wrigley shaped its many players and attendees.

George gets into a time when owner Philip Wrigley wanted to advertise for the sole purpose of bringing more women to the ballpark.  From a doggerel in a Chicago Paper,

“I saw a wounded baseball fan tottering down the street.
Encased in bandages and tape, wounded from head to feet,
And as I called the ambulance, I heard the poor guy say:
“I bought a seat in Wrigley Field, but it was ladies’ day (36).”

The goal for Philip Wrigley was to get as many women into the stands to not only boost sales but bring the whole family to the ballpark.  Will writes, “In 1930, the twelve ladies’ days drew 240,000 women…(35).”  Although the free or less admission price for women went away, Wrigley was invested in advertising to reach the masses for a product on the field that wasn’t always the best.

Under the ownership of Bill Veeck Jr. the beauty of Wrigley blossomed in its appearance.  Borrowing an idea from Perry field in Indianapolis, Veeck decided to plant ivy on the outfield to enhance the greenery of the ballpark.  Veeck made many changes during his tenure as owner of the Cubs, eventually buying up the White Sox as well.

Will gets into movement to integrate baseball with the coming of Jackie Robinson into baseball in the 40’s.  Will writes, “Why had so many people flocked to Wrigley Field to see their Cubs lose their fifth in a row?  Well, this was the arrival of Jackie Robinson, 46,000 fans crammed into Wrigley to see Jackie play ball (72),

You get a sense of the desperation and the torrid losing that the Cubs have endured through the years.  Yet, the book is also filled with years when the Cubs were in contention.  Will has written not so much a book about Wrigley particularly, but of the people who have shaped and influenced Wrigley and the Cubs.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…