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

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,037 ratings  ·  222 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 (first published January 1st 2014)
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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,037 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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/
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.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball, history
Baseball is as encrusted with clichés as old ships are with barnacles.
-George Will (page 105)

Watching a baseball game at Wrigley’s Field is a delight. In 2011, I took the train from Michigan to Chicago, then took the Red Line out to Wrigley Field to watch the Houston Astros beat the Chicago Cubs. I was rooting for the Cubs and would have liked to have seen them win, but those who go to watch baseball at Wrigley’s attend mostly for the experience. “People go to museums of fine art to see the pa
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicago-cubs, sports
I've read some negative reviews about this book, and I can't help but think that those who didn't like it may not be among the intended readers. This is not a book about the Chicago Cubs. Nor, really, is it (as its name suggests) a book about Wrigley Field. It is a book about the lifetime relationship between Wrigley Field, its neighborhood, the City of Chicago, and the long-time, long-suffering fan. This book won't appeal as much to Cubs fans from other parts of the country. It may not appeal t ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. With Spring Training under way, I wanted a breezy little Cubs-related audiobook to enjoy. This isn't my favorite Cubs or baseball book by any means, but it did the job. I enjoyed the historical anecdotes and perspective of a longtime Cubs fan (who wrote the book two years before the Cubs won the 2016 World Series).

Perhaps my favorite part centered on why, after more than a hundred years of lovable loser-dom, do Cubs fans continue to pack Wrigley Field season after season — even paying
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
George Will grew up in Champaign, Illinois in a place where most people become fans of the powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals. Will, however, chose to become a die hard Cubs fan and thus follow the long road of defeat after defeat year after year. In gthis book he puts forth the theory that one of the reasons the team didn't produce is because Wrigley Field is such a pleasant place to spend an afternoon that the fans really didn't care if the team won or lost. They just enjoyed the experience of the ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
This book isn't so much a book about Wrigley Field as a loose collection of Cubs baseball stories written and published for the ballparks 100th anniversary, with lots of interesting stories about players, owners, fans, and the field and it's environs. As a Red Sox fan I appreciate the Cubs faithful fans and the beautiful Friendly Confines and the history of the team and its ballpark and this book was full of great facts and stories (for example more people have seen a baseball game at Wrigley th ...more
Tim Hoiland
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Recently, while perusing the new releases section in the Tempe Public Library, I stumbled upon George Will’s latest ode to baseball, A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred. Yes, the iconic ivy-laden home of the Cubs opened its doors in 1914—although, for what it’s worth, at the time it was called Weeghman Park and was home to the short-lived Chicago Whales.

If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool baseball fan like me, you’d probably enjoy the book. If you’re not, you probably sh
Seth Woodley
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is insightful and entertaining. Will provides some of the history of the Cubs and their iconic Wrigley Field, but there is also a lot of information connected to the club though not directly related. There are some sections in the middle that are way off topic, but the beginning and the end of the book are so strong, that can be forgiven. Most of all, it is a fun book about a fun sport. But there is much to learn about organizational culture and management, sports, community, and other ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A winding history of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. While not my favorite book about the Cubs, it was a book about the Cubs, so I enjoyed it. On the week when pitchers and catchers report for the 2019 season, and while it is still freezing and very much winter here, it was nice to think about the upcoming baseball season when listening. All the better that all of Will's ruminations about if the Cubs will ever be World Series Champions how now been resolved, with a resounding, "Yes!".
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've arrived late in the game, which is not unusual, of appreciating the writings of George Will. Naturally I knew of him; I took for granted his columns would always be there should I decide to indulge. More fool me. Diving into his baseball works is fun and enlightening, of which this celebration of Wrigley Field, and the fan heartbreak for the team that attempts to play there, is a welcome addition.
May 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am a life long Cubs fan so I had heard, seen, or read many of the stories before. The book is very disjointed and feels as if it is a series of newspaper articles. I do not enjoy his opinionated statements about non baseball people that he writes about in the book. I would not recommend this book find another baseball book to enjoy
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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
“It is hard to remain iconoclastic when standing waist-deep in the shards of smashed icons.” 3 likes
“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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