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A Nice Little Place on the North Side by George Will | Book Review

If you've been around here a while, you may have noticed that I have an affinity for gathering random facts.  I try to cite where I get these, but more often than not, I wind up committing them to memory, and pulling them out of the air weeks, months, and years later.  I attribute most of this superpower for my love of reading- just about anything and everything- and nosiness.  Really, when I get stuck on a topic, I want to know everything about it.

Three years ago, I got to visit Wrigley Field for a Cubs game for the first time.  At that point, I wanted to learn more about the park and the team, as it has the same atmosphere about it as Fenway Park in Boston.  However, I was only in Chicago overnight, before returning for training in nearby Bloomington, IL.  Work got busy, we moved, I started a new job, and we got a new puppy all within months of this.  It was shoved to the back of my mind.  Then, I see A Nice Little Place on the North Side available to read.  I had to have it.

George Will is a Fox News contributor, who grew up close to Chicago.   He has compiled a book, less than 200 pages, that gives a great overview of Cubs, Wrigley Field, and Chicago history.  He does a great job of working in his personal experiences with lore and statistics.

My favorite parts of this book are the little facts that don't necessarily have anything to do with the Cubs themselves.  Yes, it is chalk-full of  statistics throughout the years, but the numbers of people long before my time wasn't the big draw to the book.  Finding out little facts like 1908 was "the year 'Take Me Out to he Ballgame' was first sung" or "in 1916, the Cubs became the first team to adopt the policy of allowing fans to keep balls batted into the stands" were more interesting than finding out that they have lost 693 more games than they have won [from May 4, 1941 to the 2013 season.]

Will also includes pictures, advertisements, and newspaper excerpts throughout the book, to support the text.  My favorite was the reprint of a short poem that was written in a Chicago newspaper in reference to the "Ladies' Day" event that Wrigley held throughout the 1920s and early '30s:
I saw a wounded baseball fan tottering down the street,
Encased in bandages and tape, and bruised from head to feet;
And as I called the ambulance, I heard he poor guy say:
"I bought a seat in Wrigley Field, but it was ladies' day."
The end of the book provides a wonderful bibliography for text and pictures, author's notes, and an index.  If you'd like to become a true Cubs-aficionado, this would be a great book to start with, and then to use to find other more in-depth writings.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

inking up with Live Randomly Simple and All Kinds of Things


  1. Sheryl Nadler Sheppard9:52:00 AM

    You and my 13-year-old son would have some interesting conversations. He is a walking history museum. He loves history especially weird facts and unknown fun trivia.

  2. Hahah I often think like a 13 year old boy!! My favorite random facts are about Classic Country Music, obscure places, and old tv shows. I was also born in the wrong decade I think :)

  3. Sheryl Nadler Sheppard10:02:00 AM

    So was my son. He absolutely loves anything of historical value. His favorite show is Pawn Stars (mainly because he is very much like Rick) and anything on the History Channel, Discovery, etc. He is like a little (well, not so little anymore) sponge!

  4. Biana Perez11:18:00 AM

    I know so many people who would love this book! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  5. It was a really good, quick read! And it kept my interest, which is kind of hard to do when it's on such a specific subject. (and it's not about the Red Sox :) )

  6. I love that you researched information about the park to get the history and true feel for it. That is something I would totally do as well!

  7. I've been to baseball games at Fenway, Atlanta, Tampa, and Wrigley. The only one that comes CLOSE to the atmosphere at Fenway Park is Wrigley. I'm fairly certain that's because of the history of the teams and the parks. Atlanta was kind of cool because I was there during interleague play when the Braves were playing the Red Sox, and there were AS MANY Sox fans there as Braves. Tropicana/ Tampa... sucked :P :)

  8. In all the years I lived in Atlanta (which was a lot!!!) I never watched the Braves play. I have been the the stadium for a company dinner, and I watched a drifting competition in the parking lot...but never for a game. I regret not going.

  9. It's a lot of fun! I've always gone when the Red Sox play, so that's only once every 4 or 5 years!


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