Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review of "Wrigley Field: 100 Stories for 100 Years"

Even though I had earlier reviewed a book on the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, when the authors offered me a copy of this book, I was intrigued as it contained many different stories about the historic ballpark from many different viewpoints. I was looking forward to reading a variety of stories and I was not disappointed. Here is my review of "Wrigley Field: 100 Stories for 100 Years." 

“Wrigley Field: 100 Stories for 100 Years” by Dan Campana and Rob Carroll

Baseball, Cubs, ballparks, history

Publish date:
November 4, 2013

224 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

Just about every baseball fan has some type of story when the name “Wrigley Field” is uttered in a conversation.  Whether that person is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, has made a trip or two or many to the Friendly Confines (the park’s nickname) or wishes that he or she could see a game there, many have a story to share about one of the most storied stadiums in sports history. Dan Campana and Rob Carroll interviewed many fans, players, journalists and others to obtain their memories of the ball park. These stories are put together in a book that is fun to read and may even take the reader down memory lane if he or she has visited the park.

Most of the stories come from Cubs fans of all walks of life.  One is from a couple who have had season tickets to Cubs games for many decades.  One is from a Cubs fan who lives in Sweden and has never been to the park but wants to take a trip to see it.  Two of them are from “ballhawks” who catch home runs hit out of the park and onto Waveland Avenue.  

The players’ stories are just as interesting as those of the fans. Kerry Wood, the longtime Cubs pitcher, shares his favorite Wrigley memory.  For those who know about Wood’s career, his story will come as a surprise, as it is not the one that one would assume.  Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins and outfielder Cliff Floyd are among the other players who share their stories with the authors.  Well known baseball journalists and broadcasters such as Tim Kirkjian and Bob Costas have something to say as well as the Cubs beat writers and broadcasters.  All of these people make for a great variety of memories shared that is a fun collection to read.

It should also be pointed out that other sports are included in this book.  The Chicago Bears played many games in Wrigley Field so some football stories are also included.  A college football story is shared about a game between the University of Illinois and Northwestern University.  Stories about concerts by such artists like Paul McCartney are included. Even hockey stories are in this book as the 2009 NHL Winter Classic game took place in Wrigley when the Chicago Blackhawks faced off against the Detroit Red Wings.  I felt that this was a nice touch as it encompasses the entire history of the ballpark, not just the baseball games.

If there is a negative to be said about the book, it is that some of the stories seem to come to an abrupt end.  This isn’t the fault of the writers, as they are at the mercy of whatever information the storyteller gives, but for those that are very short and cut off at the end, it felt like there was something missing that would make the person’s special time at the park complete.

This book is a must read for any Cubs fans who has lived through the team’s highs and lows in the Friendly Confines.  Readers who also enjoy collections of stories or reading about the game’s history will also like this book.

I wish to thank the authors for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I skim?

Pace of the book: 
Excellent as the stories are short and fairly easy to read.  Therefore, the book never drags and the reader will always be ready for the next story. 

Do I recommend? 
Cubs fans will especially enjoy this collection of stories from mostly fans just like themselves. Readers who are interested in baseball history or have enjoyed a trip to the historic ball park will also enjoy this book.

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