Bleachers: A Summer in Wrigley Field

Lonnie Wheeler, Author McGraw-Hill/Contemporary $16.55 (238p) ISBN 978-0-8092-4641-0
With the imminent installation of lighting at Wrigley Field, Wheeler chronicles the last season of night-free baseball, as witnessed from the bleachers, at one of America's best-loved ballparks. The author, a freelance sportswriter, introduces us to such zany characters as Bleacher Preacher and Jeweler Joe and the equally odd traditions of the famed Bleacher Bums (such as throwing the home-run balls of opposing players back onto the field). Wheeler nicely blends the history of the grand old Chicago ballpark (built in 1914) with the fortunes (or, rather, misfortunes) of the franchise that hasn't won a World Series since 1908. Unfortunately, there is something missing here. Besides covering another dismal season of Cub baseball (highlighted only by the MVP performance of Andre Dawson), Wheeler, as an outsider, fails to convey the fun of it all. Amid depictions of drunks, the cursing at opposing players and the endless bumbling of the Cubs, the book somehow manages to show only a crude side of the national pastime. Although of little interest to most fans, Bleachers will undoubtedly engage Cub diehards. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-8092-4364-8
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