By: Carolyn Wissmiller, Youth Programming Associate
Summer of ’69. Great Bryan Adams’ song. And the best summer ever to spend at Wrigley Field! Because of a set of unique circumstances in 1969, I found myself occupying the Left Field Bleachers in the Friendly Confines for many a day that summer. Aah!
I’d arrive when the gates opened, and spend the pre-game time watching batting practice, chatting up other enthusiastic fans, or knitting a poncho. My ears warmed to the sound of Ronnie “Woo! Woo” Wickers leading the cheering crowd. My nose enjoyed the pleasures of coconut-scented suntan oil, mustard-infused hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, and Cub fan sweat wafting through the atmosphere. Nothing more intoxicating!
Once the game started, I faced the three-ring circus dilemma of where to look. The crazed fans cheering in the stands or the ones perched precariously on pre-fenced-in rooftops? Vendors hawking their wares? Birds and planes flying overhead? But most of all, I focused on the players on the field. And I have the 15-cent score cards to prove it.
When the games ended with a Cubs’ victory (and most of them did), we didn’t yet have Steve Goodman’s Go! Cubs! Go! to sing, but we did have glorious Ron Santo doing his sky-high heel click.
The summer of 1969 is long gone, but in 2015, the Cubs are a winning machine! (Tip of the hat to Ernie.) Cubs in the playoffs! Who could ask for more? Well, Cubs fans, of course. How about a World Series? I’ll take it.
Until the World Series starts on October 27, here are some great books that family members can enjoy together:
The Cubs of ’69 Recollections of the Team That Should Have Been. Rick Talley’s title says it all.
Cubs Pride: for the Love of Ernie, Fergie, and Wrigley by Alan Ross spans 129 years of Chicago Cubs baseball. It focuses on legendary Cubs players, team lore, rivalries, and records.
Out of the Blue: The Remarkable Story of the 2003 Chicago Cubs is a chronicle of the Cubs memorable 2003 season, from opening day through to the playoffs.
Stats obsessed fans and lovers of baseball lore will enjoy Cubs Journal: Year by Year & Day by Day with the Chicago Cubs Since 1876 by John Snyder. This definitive 128-year history of the Chicago Cubs includes anecdotes, pitching and hitting highlights, and interesting and unusual facts with every year — much more than just a box score.
In Chicago Cubs: Season at the Summit, authors Warren Wilbert and William Hageman Readers review the Top 50 Cubs players who’ve had the best individual seasons in Cubs history.
Written by noted baseball historian Eric Enders, 100 Years of the World Series is the most detailed popular reference ever published on the greatest sports championship in the world.
Cubs Nation by Gene Wojciechowski relates 162 games, 162 stories and one addiction to illustrate the history of a team that often had everything going for it, but endured so many losses that the Cubs came to define the term “Lovable Losers.”