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

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

The Paraclete Poetry Anthology, Edited by Mark S. Burrows

Bringing words to life on a page is hard work, and no work is harder than poetry.  Poets take the visceral, the mundane, and the disjointed and frayed things of life and put them on their head.  This new anthology of poetry put out by Paraclete Press and edited by Mark S. Burrows, takes the best poetry of today and brings together old and new poems from these gifted creators.  You find poems from Scott Cairs, SAID, Phyllis Tickle, and others.  The collection stems the span of 2005-2016 and includes both religious poems and themes, as well as themes covering a broad swath of topics.

One of the beauties of this collection is the array of poems that the anthology includes in its pages.  One poem in particular stuck with me as read through the collection.  Anna Kamienska is a wonderful Polish poet who interacts with the wider lens of faith while looking carefully at the world we live in.  She says in her poem named Gratitude, (44)

A tempest threw a rainbow in my face
so that I wanted to…