Book Review: A Nice Little Place on the North Side by George Will

I remember my first game at Wrigley Field. 1974 and the last series Hank Aaron would play at Wrigley. He got a bunt single. Don Kessinger turned amazing play after amazing play at shortstop. Even more I was amazed at this ball park in the middle of a neighborhood.

Reading George Will’s, A Nice Little Place on the North Side, was a trip down memory lane. His fascination with the Cubs began in 1948. He’s still waiting for the Cubs to win the Series, so are the rest of us.

Throughout the pages, there were reminders of why the Cubs have faltered along the way. The focus was more on entertainment at the ballpark than winning or losing. Turns out the key to attendance at Cubs is more based on beer prices more than ticket prices.

Will weaves page after page, story after story, anecdote after anecdote to lay out the trials and travails of Cubs fan. Tinkers to Evers to Chance to the ball going through Leon Durham’s legs in 1984 and evading Moises Alou glove in 2003.

Through it all Cub fans have remained faithful, and reading A Nice Little Place on the North Side was a good reminder of what makes Wrigley Field’s history a unique part of baseball lore.

I appreciated that Will wrote with a love for Cubs and baseball but not with a “homer” bias but one appreciative and critical of the Cubs. Tracing the team’s roots back to its days of domination in the 1880’s and early 1900’s reminded me there was a time when the Cubs did win. His analysis of Cub owners, managers and players provided bits of insight along the way along with a good laugh.

I give A Nice Little Place on the North Side 5 out of 5 stars. It was a great afternoon reading of baseball, a reminder of my own Wrigley experiences through the years. The only negative for me was the bit of salty language quoted from Babe Ruth and Lee Elia. I recommend this book for those looking to journey down memory lane or wanting a refreshing baseball tale on a relaxing summer day.

My thanks to Blogging for Books for a free copy of the book to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review just an honest one. You can check out the opening pages here.



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