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A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,256 ratings  ·  256 reviews
“George Will on baseball. Perfect.”—Los Angeles Times
In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it turns one hundred years old. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Crown Archetype
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Deacon Tom F
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Home Run of a Book

I really enjoyed the book. George Will who is famous for his political works, has written a tremendous book about Wrigley Field called “A nice little place on the north side”.

George Will has done a great deal of research and he has fantastic way of weaving poetry, science, and statistics into this book. It is more than just a typical praise sport book about someone’s favorite team. Will captures the history of Wrigley Field, as well as, the history of the Chicago Cubs.

I am s
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I have a friend who attempts to identify and read one great baseball book each spring. Although he is a Cubs fan, I am going to have to tell him that this is not a great baseball book. It is not even a good baseball book. It is clever assembly of Cubs and Wrigley Field anecdotes which are mildly interesting. The "answer" to the book, to the question of why people love Wrigley when the team continues to do poorly is never really answered. For me, a numbers person, the closest George Will gets to ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting information about the Cubs but a bit rambling with lack of focus. Sometimes it seemed like the author's ego got in the way of the story -- but that's George Will for you! ...more
Brad Lyerla
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
A NICE LITTLE PLACE reads like a rambling, warm and relaxed conversation with political journalist and Cubs fan, George Will, who omits nothing from this casual history of Wrigley Field. He discusses the greatest game played in Wrigley Field: Hippo Vaughn's "shared no-hitter" with Fred Toney. Babe Ruth's "called home run" in the 1932 World Series. Gabby Hartnett's "homer in the gloaming". Ernie Banks' remarkable career and unfailingly sunny disposition. The college of coaches. Buck O'Neil's role ...more
John of Canada
A nice little book about baseball, I thought this would be a quick read. Boy was I wrong. He doesnt just give us baseball, he discusses Architecture, climatology, philosophy, economics, politics, racism, music, and history galore. His writing about Wrigley Field and coincident history is dazzling e.g. ¨In 1919, two years after the Russian Revolution announced the agenda of abolishing private property. William Wrigley bought a fifty eight thousand acre island.¨ Some of the notable figures he talk ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
One day I returned home to find a plastic bag containing this book on my front porch. It was months before I learned who'd left it for me! I thank you, Clare, for this. I gave it as a gift and figured I'd get around to reading it eventually, but you facilitated that. Bless your kind heart!

George Will professes to be a Cub fan. This book is all over the map, but he missed writing about a couple of the key features of the phenomenon of an afternoon at Wrigley Field because he is so dismissive of t
Steven Z.
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
George F. Will’s latest book will touch the soul of everyone who loves baseball. Though the book titled A NICE LITTLE PLACE ON THE NORTH SIDE is a short history of Wrigley Field and the futility of being a Chicago Cubs fan Will takes the reader on a hundred year journey encompassing numerous historical, sociological, philosophical, and political components that relate to the ivy covered ballpark on West Addison Street. Will, a conservative political columnist and a regular on the Sunday talk sho ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
This book has less to do with Wrigley Field than the title suggests. In fact, it has virtually nothing to do with Wrigley Field. Will writes as if I know everything I want to know about Wrigley already, and want to read a collection of idiosyncratic stories and off-hand musings about the Cubs, Chicago, and baseball in general.

Because I love baseball and I particularly loved Men at Work, the gentle rambling tone of this book caught me by surprise. I'm no architectural dilettante who expects discu
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
I've read a few George Will books now which, his baseball ones, not his political ones. Those I'll likely never read unless I undergo a major sea change in that regard. This slight book is supposedly about Wrigley Field in Chicago but it is just as much a book on the Chicago Cubs history...in fact, it's kind of a title fake-out as the book is really a Cubs history. That's kind of a letdown of the book actually.

Expect a lot of tales of losing as the Cubs are notorious losers who have not won a t
Thomas Radigan
May 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
And literally, this book is a mess. It looks like George Will sent in a bunch of rough notes to the publisher and they were published verbatim. There are no chapters or other divisions, first one topic is covered then abruptly a new topic is covered, and the book does not even have an overall organized structure.

For instance, Will talks about how cheap beer was what drew attendees to Wrigley Field, then he starts covering the history of beer over thousands of years and how it was discovered, the
Literary Chic
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I hail from Louisville, KY. You'd think that the city responsible for the famous bat would raise her children to be avid fans of baseball. Alas, when the Universities of Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana decided to promote their basketball teams, Kentucky dismissed America's pastime for a free throw line. (Go UK Wildcats!!!)

So, when I picked up George Will's history of Wrigley Field it was purely in support of the possible history that may be made in the World Series this year. This book was an
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
The author deftly ties the history of the Chicago Cubs with the history of Chicago and that was a great plus for me. But, he sometimes wandered so far afield that I found myself skipping pages. For example, did he really need to give us a very short history of how beer was accidentally fermented by prehistoric man to tied that beverage to baseball? And, despite the title, the book did not focus on Wrigley Field persay, thus, for anyone who has not had the great experience was watching a game in ...more
Jody Sperling
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
What makes A NICE LITTLE PLACE ON THE NORTH SIDE a compelling read is how George F. Will sets up a conversation between modern art and professional sports through the moderator of Wrigley Field. I know people who believe professional sports and modern art aren't in conversation with each other, and I know people who believe that professional sports foster toxic masculinity, but readers of Will's book will find that not only is Major League Baseball a living, evolving work of art, but the venues ...more
Davenport Public Library
Previous to 2016, Cubs fans for years had to stand up for their team, the lovable losers. Most of my life, I had to justify my love for the Chicago Cubs even though, they constantly let me down. I would often joke that the Cubs were my religion and although times weren't always great, they would continue to show up for every game. In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, I was taken back to the reason that I fell in love with my Cubs all those years ago. Although it was written pre-2016 WORLD S ...more
Andy Littleton
May 30, 2022 rated it really liked it
An engaging little overview of the Cubs and the interesting events that happened at Wrigley Field.
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved and hated this book - much the same way I feel about the Cubs this year.

First, let me say that I'm not a huge fan of George Will. He's quite conservative and quite political in just about everything he does, and while he sometimes hides his politics behind his love of baseball and the Cubs, it still comes out. These parts of the book turned out to be some of the most painful for me to read. Not so much because of his conservatism - which I admittedly don't always agree with - but because
Jun 02, 2014 rated it did not like it

Probably the book deserves a higher rating but for 180 pages there was not much information to glean. Of course Will is only writing an observational book tied to the anniversary of the Cubs. If one wants a more in depth look they are certainly available. Still learning more about Phillip K Wrigley was interesting.

Some items of note in the book include

Wrigley had bought the steel to install lights at the field in 1941 but donated it to the war effort.

One of the major stumbling blocks later
Mike Felten
Jul 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Worst thing I've read in a long time. Not worth one star.

Seems that the highlight of 100 years of Wrigley is having Ronald Reagan throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

"Well" is used as a sentence. "There you have it." is a confirmation of whatever lame point he is trying to make.

Fast and loose with the facts. Mrs. O'Leary's cow didn't cause the Chicago fire. It doesn't require much research to figure that out.

He makes a case for the quaint charm of the rooftops and then endorses putting a scoreboa
Tom Gase
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this small book in a day basically because Ernie Banks had died the day before and I felt it fitting to read a book about him or the Cubs or both. Not enough about Banks, but a lot about the Cubs. Not sure if it even had enough on Wrigley Field, as I didn't really learn anything much about the ivy and some of the other quirks of the stadium. Will does talk about the buildings overlooking Wrigley and Wrigleyville itself, especially after the field started having night games in 1988. I thou ...more
Don Best
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Cubs are off to a great start this year and opening day (night) was a thriller with finally a W waving in the wind. The previous five years did not end that way. What also made this year special was reading this great gem ( almost a short story category ) of a book about Weeghmam Park at Clark and Addison eventually called Wrigley Field, the Cubs and the numerous characters in and out of baseball attached to the National League franchise on the north side of Chicago that have shaped the look ...more
Richard Buro
The short version first.

There are several things which have had a significant impact on my life. My families, our pets, moving, closing and paying off mortgages, travelling, and playing or watching baseball. Not just any baseball mind you, but certain teams like this year’s Texas A&M Lady Aggies softball team, Temple High School baseball or softball, the Dallas Fort-Worth Spurs before they were replaced by the Texas Rangers, the Round Rock Express, the Texas Rangers, the Houston Astros, and most
Mar 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: advance-copies
This is a fan book. It's a good fan book, and a good book about baseball in general, if you like baseball. I don't love baseball, so with the pages that were heavy with game and player stats, i just couldn't get into it. What I found interesting was the number of people who are famous for not-baseball who were associated very early in their careers (famous and infamous) with Wrigley Park.

The stadium itself is a separate entity from the team that it houses. Making it a Home for baseball no matter
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
A collection of baseball statistics, Cub trivia, Chicago history...for the purpose of understanding the sacred status of Wrigley Field. Very well done, but misses the true essence of what it was like at the ole ballpark before corporate America took over, suburbanites made Wrigley a socially appropriate destination, and the average fan could attend for less than a $100 entry fee. And good to be corrected as to the actual lyrics of Take Me Out to the Ball Game...tho I do think Harry's words will ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Well written as I expected it would be. Lots of interesting tidbits, stories and trivia about Cubs players, management and early history. the first two chapters and last chapter concentrate on the actually building and property of Wrigley Field. The chapters in between are about all the other stuff. I was expecting more on Wrigley itself. If there has been more I would have given the book 4 stars.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baseball, and specifically Cubbie baseball, is about the only thing I agree with George Will on. And he writes with such abridged eloquence that it almost makes me forget everything else I disagree with him on. This is far from a comprehensive history of either the Cubs or Wrigley Field but all the main topics are covered, from the century-old series run, Harry Caray, Ernie Banks, Tinker-Evers-Chance, the origins of the ivy, the Tribune, and night games.
Thomas W Perkinton
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You need to be someone who is attached not to just a ream but the Ball Park to fully understand a fans loyalty to the Chicago Cubs. Remember Sportman's Park in St Louis ? Crosley Field, in Cincy. Since Sportsman" s was torn down there have been 2 Busch parks. Neither of which had a Baseball feel. I reconmend reading this book or just taking a trip to Addison and Clark, That is Baseball/ ...more
Jay Walsh
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
A few good sections, otherwise very disappointing. Will just can't stick to the topic and wanders off into boring narratives. His political columns are well done, so it's hard to understand why his books on baseball are so bad. I won't read anpther of his. ...more
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Every baseball season one should read a book about baseball. For the 2014 season Will’s book would be a good choice. Not only will you learn more than you need to know about Wrigley Field but the baseball nuggets that Will shares will sustain to well into October.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: chicago-cubs
Scattershot and unfocused. Obvious where he stands regarding Sosa. Don't care about AT&T park in a book about Wrigley. ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book breaks no new ground and is all over the lot. Bartman, the Babe's called shot, Let's play two, homer in the gloaming. Ho-hum. ...more
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George Frederick Will is an American newspaper columnist, journalist, and author. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winner best known for his conservative commentary on politics. By the mid 1980s the Wall Street Journal reported he was "perhaps the most powerful journalist in America," in a league with Walter Lippmann (1899–1975).

Will served as an editor for National Review from 1972 to 1978. He joined the W

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“Before the game, he [Vin Scully] waxed poetic about Wrigley Field:
She stands alone at the corner of Clark and Addison, this dowager queen, dressed in basic black and pearls, seventy-five years old, proud head held high and not a hair out of place, awaiting yet another date with destiny, another time for Mr. Right. She dreams as old ladies will of men gone long ago. Joe Tinker. Johnny Evers. Frank Chance. And of those of recent vintage like her man Ernie. And the Lion [Leo Durocher]. And Sweet Billy Williams. And she thinks wistfully of what might have been, and the pain is still fresh and new, and her eyes fill, her lips tremble, and she shakes her head ever so slightly. And then she sighs, pulls her shawl tightly around her frail shoulders, and thinks, This time, this time it will be better.”
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