A lot of great championship teams have come out of Chicago – the Bears of Ditka and Peyton, the 2013 Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks, the glory years of Michael Jordan and the Bulls – but baseball (despite the White Sox finally winning the World Series in 2003, just 89 years after their previous victory) has been mostly littered with tears and crushed hopes. Yet we remain loyal fans, clinging to the glory days (even though most of us aren’t old enough to have seen them!) and holding onto the belief that, maybe this will be the year they win it all.
Well, while you’re licking your wounds yet again (although the Sox are hanging close!), here are some great new titles about Chicago’s boys of summer.
Before Wrigley Became Wrigley by Sean Deveney
This book explores the early years of Wrigley Field, when it bore a different name and housed a different team. Sean Deveney has mined documents and resources from baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, as well as the Chicago History Museum, to supplement the reports in newspapers and magazines of the day, giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at the origins and birth pangs of the park.
Johnny Evers by Dennis Snelling.
Johnny Evers was the heartbeat of one of the greatest teams of the 20th century and the fiercest competitor this side of Ty Cobb. This is the biography of a man who literally wrote the book about playing his position and set the standard for winning baseball.
Turning the Black Sox White by Tim Hornbaker
Charles Comiskey was a larger-than-life figure – a man who had precision in his speech and who could work a room with handshakes and smiles. While he has been vilified in film as a rotund cheapskate and the driving force, albeit unknowingly, behind the actions of the 1919 White Sox who threw the World Series (nicknamed the “Black Sox” scandal), that statement is far from the truth.
In spring 1914, a new ballpark opened in Chicago. Hastily constructed after epic political maneuvering around Chicago’s and organized baseball’s hierarchies, the new Weeghman Park (named after its builder, fast-food magnate Charley Weeghman) was home to the Federal League’s Chicago Whales. The park would soon be known as Wrigley Field, one of the most emblematic and controversial baseball stadiums in America.