Book review: 'Wrigley Field: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Chicago Cubs'

In honor of Wrigley Field’s 100th year, Ira Berkow has produced an unusual mix of narrative and oral history that honors the ballpark. And within the oral history, the book truly captures what’s special about Wrigley and the Cubs.
by Hayley Riggs McGhee Published: April 13, 2014
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Two of the most interesting interview subjects are two very disparate Cubs fans: Disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and Cubs superfan Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers.

Blagojevich, who talked to interviewer Josh Noel after being impeached but before he was convicted on corruption charges, talks of using his power as governor to gain audience with then-Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry.

Wickers shares the story of how he grew up on the South Side going to Cubs games and rose to local fame because of his loud and memorable cheering, which earned him the second nickname “Leather Lungs” from legendary Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray.

It’s hard to decide what’s more ridiculous — a fan using celebrity to gain influence with the Cubs, or a Cubs fan becoming a celebrity simply for being a fan. But those two interviews alone capture the heart of Wrigley better than the whole narrative history.

What makes Wrigley Field special is not just that it’s a 100-year-old ballpark with ivy on the walls. Wrigley Field is special because of the hold the park and its team seem to take on the hearts of fans and players. And those are the stories that make Berkow’s book worth reading.

— Hayley Riggs

McGhee


by Hayley Riggs McGhee
Assistant Sports Editor
Assistant Sports Editor Hayley Riggs McGhee has worked for The Oklahoman since 2005. She previously worked as a page designer/copy editor for the (Fort Smith, Ark.) Times Record and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas. She is a Roland...
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