Wrigley Field

The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines

Stuart Shea

Wrigley Field
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Stuart Shea

448 pages | 30 halftones, 1 map | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2014
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226134277 Published March 2014
E-book $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226134307 Published March 2014
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.

In Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines, Stuart Shea provides a detailed and fascinating chronicle of this living historic landmark. The colorful history revealed in Wrigley Field shows how the stadium has evolved through the years to meet the shifting priorities of its owners and changing demands of its fans. While Wrigley Field today seems irreplaceable, we learn that from game one it has been the subject of endless debates over its future, its design, and its place in the neighborhood it calls home. To some, it is a hallowed piece of baseball history; to others, an icon of mismanagement and ineptitude. Shea deftly navigates the highs and lows, breaking through myths and rumors. And with another transformation imminent, he brings readers up to date on negotiations, giving much-needed historical context to the maneuvering.

Wrigley Field is packed with facts, stories, and surprises that will captivate even the most fair-weather fan. From dollar signs (the Ricketts family paid $900 million for the team and stadium in 2009), to exploding hot dog carts (the Cubs lost that game 6–5), to the name of Billy Sianis’s curse-inducing goat (Sonovia), Shea uncovers the heart of the stadium’s history. As the park celebrates its centennial, Wrigley Field continues to prove that its colorful and dramatic history is more interesting than any of its mythology.
John Thorn, official historian, Major League Baseball and author of Baseball in the Garden of Eden
"Amid Wrigley Field's birthday revels much will be reported about its vines, its scoreboard, its goat, its very origin—much of it not quite so. More than any other American institution, baseball most wholeheartedly welcomes half-baked history and curdled lore. It's fun, after all; what grinch wishes to poke at the tale of Babe Ruth's called shot? But more often than not the real stories are even more delicious, and no one has gathered more of them than author Stuart Shea. His book is an unceasing delight."
Chicago Tribune
"Stuart Shea's Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines deserves the location of honor on the nightstand of each and every Cubs fan, to be read a chapter or two at a time among Opening Day and the World Series."
Rolling Stone
One of the best books ever written about the Cubs, their home and the fans who flock there to watch them, win or lose.
Dan Epstein, author of Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ’70s
“Home of the Cubs, world’s greatest ballpark, Chicago's largest beer garden, bucket list-worthy tourist attraction, field of (broken) dreams, enduring monument to enduring failure—Wrigley Field is all of these things, and of course so much more. Stuart Shea's witty, informative, and deeply entertaining book gives the Friendly Confines the tribute it deserves.”
Christina Kahrl, cofounder of Baseball Prospectus
“Unlike any other venue, Wrigley Field has been a second home for generations of fans, a paragon of modern convenience turned baseball’s ultimate wayback machine, a status symbol for social climbers and corporate muscle alike. Shea’s book is the perfect history of the place that reflects Chicago’s past and future, its failures and its aspirations.”
Gary Gillette, editor of The Baseball Encyclopedia
"Most ballpark books are like junk food—hundreds of empty calories of glossy photos and told-a-million-times anecdotes. They sate your appetite briefly without feeding your brain. But Stuart Shea’s Wrigley Field is a Thanksgiving feast for baseball fans. The book is saturated with culture and passion, flavor and spice, all lovingly created by a master chef. This is history to be savored: a winning combination of intimate knowledge, amazing detail, relevant context, and expert storytelling."
Wrigleyville Nation
“The 448-page book is packed with colorful anecdotes that are sure to keep any Chicago history buff or baseball fan—yes, even those who root for the South Side White Sox (or 'Pale Hose,' as Shea notes they are nicknamed)—glued to their bleacher seat.”
Bleed Cubbie Blue
“You should read this book because of the history of wonderful stories and anecdotes about the team's and the ballpark's history, some of which is 'contentious,' as Shea's title states, some of which is just colorful and fun, just as is the history of the neighborhood and city in which it resides.”
The Writer's Journey
"Wrigley Field: The Long Life & Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines is a great reminder of what makes the ballpark so special, and why the Cubs remain so popular."
Introduction: Myths in Concrete
Chapter 1 A New Place, a New Park
Chapter 2 Opening Day at Weeghman Park: April 23, 1914
Chapter 3 Heady Days: Weeghman Park, 1914–1917
Chapter 4 1918: Weeghman and the War
Chapter 5 No Depression: Cubs Park/Wrigley Field, 1919–1932
Chapter 6 Last Hurrahs: Wrigley Field, 1932–1945
Chapter 7 Postwar Blues
Chapter 8 New Wine in Old Bottles: Wrigley Field, 1966–1981
Chapter 9 The Empire of the Tribune: Wrigley Field, 1982–2009
Chapter 10 The Cubs Way, 2009 and Beyond
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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