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Before the Curse: The Chicago Cubs' Glory Years, 1870–1945 brings to life the early history of the much beloved and often heartbreaking Chicago Cubs. Originally called the Chicago White Stockings, the team immediately established itself as a powerhouse, winning the newly formed National Base Ball League's inaugural pennant in 1876, repeating the feat in 1880 and 1881, and commanding the league in the decades to come. The legendary days of the Cubs are recaptured here in more than two dozen vintage newspaper accounts and historical essays on the teams and the fans who loved them. The great games, pennant races, and series are all here, including the 1906 World Series between the Cubs and Chicago White Sox. Of course, Before the Curse remembers the hall-of-fame players--Grover Cleveland Alexander, Gabby Hartnett, Roger Hornsby, Dizzy Dean--who delighted Cubs fans with their play on the field and their antics elsewhere. Through stimulating introductions to each article, Randy Roberts and Carson Cunningham demonstrate how changes in ownership affected the success of the team, who the teams' major players were both on and off the field, and how regular fans, owners, players, journalists, and Chicagoans of the past talked and wrote about baseball.
A captivating blend of reportage and memoir exploring the history of the Chicago Cubs When Rich Cohen was eight years old, his father took him to see a Cubs game. On the way out of the park, his father asked him to make a promise. “Promise me you will never be a Cubs fan. The Cubs do not win,” he explained, “and because of that, a Cubs fan will have a diminished life determined by low expectations. That team will screw up your life.” As a result, Cohen became not just a Cubs fan but one of the biggest Cubs fans in the world. In this book, he captures the story of the team, its players and crazy days. Billy Sunday and Ernie Banks, Three Finger Brown and Ryne Sandberg, Bill Buckner, the Bartman Ball, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo—the early dominance followed by a 107 year trek across the wilderness. It’s all here—not just what happened, but what it felt like and what it meant. He searches for the cause of the famous curse. Was it the billy goat, kicked out of Wrigley Field in Game 5 of the 1945 World Series, or does it go back further, to the very origins of the franchise? Driven mad with futility, he went on the road with the team in search of answers, interviewed great players present and past, researched in libraries but also in the bleachers, double-fisted, a frosty malt in each hand, demanding answers. He came to see the curse as a burden but also as a blessing. Cubs fans are unique, emissaries from a higher realm, warning of hubris and vanity. The blue cap with the red C said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” He interviewed the architects of the 2016 Cubs, the team that broke the curse. Here’s what he asked: How the hell did you do it? He was at (almost) every game of the 2016 playoff run—a run that culminated in (maybe) the single greatest baseball game ever played. He was excited but also terrified. Losing is easy. What would it mean to win? Wearing a Yankees hat meant corporate excellence. Wearing a Mets hat meant miracles. But wearing a Cubs hat meant loving the game on its most humdrum afternoon—September 13, 1979, say, 14 games out of first place, Larry Bittner driving in Ivan DeJesus. Would we lose that? Would being a Cubs become ordinary? A mix of memoir, reporting, history and baseball theology, this book, forty years in the making, has never been written because it never could be—only with the 2016 World Series can the true arc of the story finally be understood.
Dating back to 1869 as an organized professional sport, the game of baseball is not only the oldest professional sport in North America, but also symbolizes much more. Walt Whitman described it as “our game, the American game,” and George Will compared calling baseball “just a game” to the Grand Canyon being “just a hole.” Countless others have called baseball “the most elegant game,” and to those who have played it, it’s life. The Historical Dictionary of Baseball is primarily devoted to the major leagues it also includes entries on the minor leagues, the Negro Leagues, women’s baseball, baseball in various other countries, and other non-major league related topics. It traces baseball, in general, and these topics individually, from their beginnings up to the present. This is done through a chronology, an introductory essay, appendixes, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 900 cross-referenced entries on the roles of the players on the field—batters, pitchers, fielders—as well as non-playing personnel—general managers, managers, coaches, and umpires. There are also entries for individual teams and leagues, stadiums and ballparks, the role of the draft and reserve clause, and baseball’s rules, and statistical categories. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about the sport of baseball.
The O’Shaughnessy brothers’ story takes place between 1860 and 1950 in Illinois, Missouri, New York, and Ireland. They were the children of an impoverished immigrant who fled the famine in Ireland and his Irish-American wife.An Irish-American Odysseyis the tale of this first-generation immigrant family’s struggle to assimilate into American society, highlighting their perseverance and determination to seize opportunities and surmount obstacles, all the while establishing a legacy for their own descendants in American art, advertising, journalism, and public service. TIME magazine called James O’Shaughnessy “the best in the business” of advertising, and he became the first chief executive of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Earlier, he was a “star” reporter at the Chicago Tribune, and James and Francis were centrally involved in founding and maintaining the Irish Fellowship Club. Francis was also the first graduate of the University of Notre Dame to be invited to deliver its annual commencement address, while Martin was the first captain of Notre Dame’s official basketball team. An attorney, John represented the alleged victim in a notorious “white slavery” case. Thomas (“Gus”) became the leading Gaelic Revival artist in America as well as a promoter of Italian-American heritage, campaigning successfully to have Columbus Day enacted a public holiday. The remarkable rise of the O’Shaughnessy brothers proves the American dream is attainable.
For more than a century Johnny Evers has been conjoined with Chicago Cubs teammates Frank Chance and Joe Tinker, thanks to eight lines of verse by a New York columnist. Caricatured as a scrawny, sour man who couldn’t hit and who owed his fame to that poem, in truth he was the heartbeat of one of the greatest teams of the 20th century and the fiercest competitor this side of Ty Cobb. Evers was at the center of one of baseball’s greatest controversies, a chance event that sealed his stardom and stole a pennant from John McGraw and the New York Giants in 1908. Six years later, following reversals and tragedies that resulted in a nervous breakdown, he made a comeback with the Boston Braves and led that team to the most improbable of championships. Spanning the time from his birth in Troy, New York, to his death less than a year after his election to the Hall of Fame, this is the biography of a man who literally wrote the book about playing second base.
“A gentleman when the game was hard-bitten, played by rough-and-ready lads out to win whatever the cost....” Australia had few sporting heroes in the years preceding its federation in 1901. But before its 20th-century Olympic trailblazers, and Depression-era icons such as Phar Lap and Don Bradman, came an Australian sporting pioneer who was celebrated on the most glamorous stage in the world—American major league baseball. Joe Quinn’s story has long been lost in the land of his birth. This tale gallops from the deprivation of famine-ravaged Ireland through colonial Australia to the raucous ballfields of 19th-century America, with their unruly players and owners, brawls and adulation and backroom betrayals. Through 17 seasons in the major leagues, “Undertaker” Joe Quinn earned his place among the colorful characters who pioneered the modern game of baseball, as much for his ability to stand apart from their bad behavior as for his steadfastness on the field. Meet Australia’s first professional baseball player and manager, whose willingness to “have a go” in the grand Australian tradition will live long in the minds of sports fans on both sides of the Pacific.

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