What makes “Wrigley Field–100 Stories for 100 Years” work is that the biggest story has yet to be written.
The Cubs have not won a World Championship at Wrigley Field in 100 years.
Even a blind squirrel can find a nut and a pitcher better than Edwin Jackson in 100 years.
It seems that Team Theo is setting out to make it another 100 years with their glacial “rebuilding” project. So Cub fans are left to write about hopes, dreams and strange visions.
Chicago area authors/Cub fans Dan Campana and Rob Carroll compiled “Wrigley Field–100 Stories for 100 Years” (History Press, $19.95) and will be discussing and signing the book at 5 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Barnes and Noble at Old Orchard in Skokie [(847) 676-2230].
Campana, a former reporter for the great Aurora Beacon-News and Carroll got a lot of great gets.
There’s stories from Bob Costas, baseball genius Steve Stone, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and former Cubs reserve outfielder Reed Johnson who is living proof how the most mediocre player (if he hustles) can get exalted to star status at Wrigley Field. (Disclaimer, I’m in this mix too, recalling Domingo Ramos’ role in an amazing 1989 Cubs comeback.)
The 217-page book has a friendly air to it, with down to earth stories from fans who got engaged at Wrigley and non-baseball remembrances of the Wrigley “ski jump” and the Blackhawks winter classic. There’s fine stories from vendors like David Levenson and the long tall “Ivy Man” who writes about a crowd of fans who helped to pick him up after he fell.
I like the inclusion of Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers, who recalls seeing Jackie Robinson play at Wrigley and calls baseball “medicine.”
I like the lack of overly poetic baseball prose that usually surfaces in a project like this.
Ron Santo-Domingo Ramos
After all, in 1914 people were reading James Joyce’s “Dubliners,” a collection of stories about cold reality. The metaphors between that collection and this collection are obvious: in “Eveline” a 19-year-old girl (fan) struggles to leave Ireland with a sailor (Wrigley Field.) She hears an organ grinder in the neighborhood and I have heard organ grinders around Wrigley Field.
In “Counterparts” Joyce’s an alcoholic copywriter takes out his frustration in neighborhood bars.
I don’t think Trace was open in 1914.
See you in 2114.
And please don’t sign Phil Hughes.