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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.
All Cub fans know from heartbreak and curse-toting goats. Fewer know that, prior to moving to the north side in 1916, the team fielded powerhouse nines that regularly claimed the pennant. Before the Ivy offers a grandstand seat to a golden age: • BEHOLD the 1871 team as it plays for the title in nine different borrowed uniforms after losing everything in the Great Chicago Fire • ATTEND West Side Grounds at Polk and Wolcott with its barbershop quartet • MARVEL as superstar Cap Anson hits .399, makes extra cash running a ballpark ice rink, and strikes out as an elected official • WONDER at experiments with square bats and corked balls, the scandal of Sunday games and pre-game booze-ups, the brazen spitters and park dimensions changed to foil Ty Cobb • THRILL to the poetic double-play combo of Tinker, Evers, and Chance even as they throw tantrums at umpires and punches at each other Rich with Hall of Fame personalities and oddball stories, Before the Ivy opens a door to Chicago's own field of dreams and serves as every Cub fan's guide to a time when thoughts of "next year" filled rival teams with dread.
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.
The famous, the infamous, and the unjustly forgotten—all receive their due in this biographical dictionary of the people who have made Chicago one of the world’s great cities. Here are the life stories—provided in short, entertaining capsules—of Chicago’s cultural giants as well as the industrialists, architects, and politicians who literally gave shape to the city. Jane Addams, Al Capone, Willie Dixon, Harriet Monroe, Louis Sullivan, Bill Veeck, Harold Washington, and new additions Saul Bellow, Harry Caray, Del Close, Ann Landers, Walter Payton, Koko Taylor, and Studs Terkel—Chicago Portraits tells you why their names are inseparable from the city they called home.
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 penned by a well-known New York columnist. He has been caricatured as a scrawny, sour man who couldn't hit and who owed his fame to that poem. In truth Johnny Evers was the heartbeat of one of the greatest teams of the 20th century and the fiercest competitor this side of Ty Cobb. He 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 a stunning set of reversals and tragedies that resulted in his suffering 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 his position and set the standard for winning baseball.
Amazing Stories From the Cubs Dugout is crammed with stories, quotes, and anecdotes about the greatest Cubs players of past and present. The story of the Cubs is part legend, part pathos; heroic and, on occasion, hilarious. Enjoy the heartbreak and joy of unforgettable afternoons at Wrigley Field. Without a doubt Amazing Stories From the Cubs Dugout is a must for any Chicago Cubs fan.

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