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Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confinesby Stuart Shea
Synopses & Reviews
In spring 1914, a new ballpark opened in Chicago. Hastily constructed after epic political maneuvering around Chicagoand#8217;s and organized baseballand#8217;s hierarchies, the new Weeghman Park (named after its builder, fast-food magnate Charley Weeghman) was home to the Federal Leagueand#8217;s Chicago Whales. The park would soon be known as Wrigley Field, one of the most emblematic and controversial baseball stadiums in America.
Inand#160;Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines,and#160;Stuart Shea provides a detailed and fascinating chronicle of this living historic landmark. The colorful history revealed inand#160;Wrigley Fieldand#160;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 Fieldand#160;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 6and#150;5), to the name of Billy Sianisand#8217;s curse-inducing goat (Sonovia), Shea uncovers the heart of the stadiumand#8217;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.
The mystique of Wrigley Fieldandmdash;perhaps Americaandrsquo;s most celebrated ballpark and among the most controversialandmdash;comes under the microscope in Stuart Sheaandrsquo;s meticulous examination of its history, culture, and meaning. Both loving and cold-eyed, Sheaandrsquo;s history digs into the fiscal maneuverings that led to the rise and fall of various ownership regimes (and the decade upon decade of on-field failure), and it details the physical changes to the park over time. Shea elaborates on the cultural and social transformations evident in the evolution of Wrigley, tying them to changes in national food and alcohol cultures, labor relations, and conceptions of urban identity. Next year marks Wrigleyandrsquo;s 100th anniversary.
About the Author
Stuart Shea is coeditor of The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, The Emerald Guide to Baseball, and Who’s Who in Baseball and coauthor of Big League Ballparks. He lives in Chicago, twenty-four blocks north of Wrigley Field.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Myths in Concrete
Chapter 1and#160;A New Place, a New Park
Chapter 2and#160;Opening Day at Weeghman Park: April 23, 1914
Chapter 3and#160;Heady Days: Weeghman Park, 1914and#8211;1917
Chapter 4and#160;1918: Weeghman and the War
Chapter 5and#160;No Depression: Cubs Park/Wrigley Field, 1919and#8211;1932
Chapter 6and#160;Last Hurrahs: Wrigley Field, 1932and#8211;1945
Chapter 7and#160;Postwar Blues
Chapter 8and#160;New Wine in Old Bottles: Wrigley Field, 1966and#8211;1981
Chapter 9and#160;The Empire of the Tribune: Wrigley Field, 1982and#8211;2009
Chapter 10and#160;The Cubs Way, 2009 and Beyond
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