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Book review: ‘Wrigley Field, The Friendly Confines at Clark and Addison’

This book can help you fill the long winter days with baseball!

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The title of this book is a bit of a misnomer. “Wrigley Field: The Friendly Confines at Clark and Addison” isn’t really a book about the ballpark, though it’s prominently featured throughout.

It’s a collection of essays about games in each of the 100+ years of the ballpark, as well as some general essays about the history of Wrigley Field.

Every World Series game ever played at the corner of Clark & Addison is profiled, but there are also essays on games perhaps long-forgotten, but worth remembering.

Among those:

  • A three-homer game by Hank Sauer, June 11, 1952, his second such game as a Cub. The essay reminds us that the Cubs got off to a great start that year and were in contention through mid-June. Sauer was named National League MVP.
  • The Cubs crushing the Cardinals in the season’s second home game April 17, 1954, 23-13. At the time it was the longest nine-inning game in N.L. history. Game time? Three hours, 43 minutes. (The 2019 Cubs played fourteen nine-inning games longer than that.)
  • The Cubs and Braves combining for nine home runs May 29, 1962, three by Ernie Banks. The ‘62 Cubs, being bad, lost 11-9.
  • Randy Hundley, who hit just 13 triples in a 3,801 plate appearance career, hitting for the cycle August 11, 1966.
  • And for something more recent, a comeback against the Indians after being down 7-0 after four innings, June 19, 2009. (Go ahead, look at who drove in the winning run.)

There are other games you’ll well remember beyond the World Series games, including the famous Sandberg game, no-hitters by Ken Holtzman and Milt Pappas, and more.

The reason for this book’s existence is something we all know about Wrigley Field, put forth in the foreword by Gregory H. Wolf (who was also the book’s editor):

Wrigley Field evokes a feeling of eternal summer, youth, and dreams. The name of the jewel at the intersection of Clark and Addison in the Windy City conjures up myriad images, from the ivy on the outfield walls and the hand-operated scoreboard to Cubbie blue and the vibrant neighborhood in which the ballpark is located. Wrigley Field transcends time and transports its guests to a different epoch, to a green oasis in the middle of a bustling city.

Indeed, I think that sums up what Wrigley Field means to all of us. It certainly does all of those things for me.

This book is a great way to pass the time in between baseball seasons and remind you of some of the greatness — as well as the quirks — of the Cubs and their wonderful home on the North Side of Chicago.