Old Comiskey Park book -- the one that caused the Wrigley Field mural trouble -- is now available

When I posted the blog that described the Wrigley Field mural mistake, I mentioned that I had been working on a book about Old Comiskey Park. My essay included a description of aviator Charles Lindbergh's visit to Comiskey Park in 1927, and that's why it was so easy for me to notice that the photo on the Waveland Avenue wall was not Wrigley Field. The Cubs have since changed the mural.

book coverThe book, Old Comiskey Park: Essays and Memories of the Historic Home of the Chicago White Sox, 1910-1991, has been released and is available through the publisher here. It costs $40, but all royalties go to Chicago White Sox Charities. And if you wait a bit, once it is available on Amazon you may see the price go down. I bought another book in the same McFarland Historic Ballparks series for $25.

And before you post a comment informing me that the Sox played at Comiskey Park only through 1990, not 1991, I must explain that 1991 refers to the year of the ballpark's demolition when it actually ceased to exist.

Why did a Cubs blogger edit a book about Comiskey Park?

This is the most frequently asked question I hear. It deserves a good answer.

In 2009 McFarland had just agreed to publish my first book, Waiting for the Cubs. I had submitted the manuscript on the recommendation of baseball historian Angelo J. Louisa whom I had met in a baseball chat room. Angelo became a good friend with whom I worked on an essay about the death in 1909 of NL President Harry Pulliam. The piece is included in the book Mysteries from Baseball's PastInvestigations of Nine Unsettled Questions, edited by Angelo and David Cicotello.

Very soon after McFarland agreed to publish Waiting for the Cubs, Angelo asked me to consider editing a book about Old Comiskey Park. He and David had edited a book called Forbes Field: Essays and Memories of the Pirates' Historic Ballpark, 1909-1971. Angelo then had the idea to develop an entire series of books about lost ballparks. He and David pitched the idea to the publisher who accepted their proposal. The second book in the series is about Ebbets Field.

Angelo mentioned that he knew I was a Cub fan, but perhaps I might find the project enjoyable and educational. Also, Sox fan historians that had been approached were unavailable at that time. I replied that not all Cub fans hate the Sox. On the contrary, I would maintain that millions of us, or maybe even most of us, like the Sox and sometimes even root for them, just not with the same intensity as we support the Cubs.

For example, Daughter of Admin turned 16 in 2005 on the same day as the Sox victory parade rolled through town celebrating their historic World Series championship. What did she want to do that day? Why, attend the parade, that's what! And she is one of the most intense, loyal Cub fans I know. We stood at Randolph and LaSalle, in the shadow of City Hall, as the double deck buses made their way through the Loop, Sox players and personnel on the top decks with a selection of city big shots including a very happy (one might say "beaming") Mayor Daley.

I also told Angelo that I loved Old Comiskey Park and went often when the Sox played there. I took my three older kids (Daughter of Admin mentioned above was a baby) to the second-to-last game ever played there. We walked around the entire park so the kids would have an indelible memory of one of the best ballparks ever.

I was crushed when they tore it down, convinced it could be renovated and saved.

The old ball yard ready for the last big ball to hit its walls.

The old ball yard ready for the last big ball to hit its walls.

I would be honored to edit a book about Comiskey Park.

Because I had just completed writing and publishing a book in a bit over a year and a half, I was sure I could edit a collection of essays written by others in less than half that time, and have it in print in time for the 2010 baseball season.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Five years later, it's finally in print.

But what the heck! I indeed learned a lot in the process of compiling the book, and met and interviewed many great baseball people including Roland Hemond, Nancy Faust, and Gene Honda. I talked to Jim Landis and Joe Horlen and a bunch of other ex-Sox on the phone. I had lunch with former Chicago (football) Cardinals owner Stormy Bidwill! Bill Veeck's son Mike wrote the foreword!

So I hope you buy it and enjoy it. It was all for a good cause.

Cubs play the Sox during the exhibition 1912 City Series. Chicago History Museum Chicago Daily News Collection SDN-009805.

Cubs play the Sox during the exhibition 1912 City Series. Chicago History Museum Chicago Daily News Collection SDN-009805.

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  • Great book!

  • Thanks!

  • It seems that Sox fans hate the Cubs while Cubs fans are at worst indifferent towards the Sox and in general support them. While my dad is a born Cubs fan (having attended the World Series in both '35 & '38 with his dad and listening to the '45 games on a short wave radio while stationed in the Pacific) he took us to more Sox games as kids simply because they were at night. I've always supported the Sox but being a Cubs fan is like being Catholic; it's something you're born into and just can not doubt. So a Cubs fan writing about Sox park makes sense to me. It's baseball, it's history, it's Chicaaago. Congratulations on the new book and a worthy cause. I hope all Chicagoans and fans across baseball appreciate it. I will.

  • Thanks, Roy. We're lucky to have two teams in this city. NY only had one for a few years! L.A. doesn't have a football team! A lot of cities have lost teams. Philadelphia and St. Louis used to have two.

    We should all appreciate our good fortune. There's almost always a game to go to in Chicago.

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