Mr. Wrigley's Ball Club
Chicago & the Cubs During the Jazz Age
By Roberts Ehrgott
(University of Nebraska Press, Hardcover, 9780803264786, 485pp.)
Publication Date: April 2013
List Price: $34.95*
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Chicago in the Roaring Twenties was a city of immigrants, mobsters, and flappers with one shared passion: the Chicago Cubs. It all began when the chewing-gum tycoon William Wrigley decided to build the world's greatest ball club in the nation's Second City. In this Jazz Age center, the maverick Wrigley exploited the revolutionary technology of broadcasting to attract eager throngs of women to his renovated ballpark.
"Mr. Wrigley's Ball Club" transports us to this heady era of baseball history and introduces the team at its crazy heart an amalgam of rakes, pranksters, schemers, and choirboys who take center stage in memorable successes, equally memorable disasters, and shadowy intrigue. Readers take front-row seats to meet Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Joe McCarthy, Lewis Hack Wilson, Gabby Hartnett. The cast of characters also includes their colorful if less-extolled teammates and the Cubs nemesis, Babe Ruth, who terminates the ambitions of Mr. Wrigley's ball club with one emphatic swing.
"The Second City couldn't get enough of this team of assorted alcoholics, teetotalers, brawlers, carousers, fitness buffs and gamblers that captured two pennants and featured numerous eventual Hall of Famers. . . . An absolute must for any baseball fan's library."—Kirkus starred review
"A fun read . . . full of anecdote and color. Recommended for fans of the Cubs or Chicago or baseball history."—Library Journal
“Roberts Ehrgott does first-rate work as a baseball historian and storyteller in his addictive, entertaining Mr. Wrigley’s Ball Club. He captures 1920s baseball and Jazz Age America in all its swinging, sweaty, booze-soaked charm. A real winner.”—Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Get Capone
“Apologies to Sinatra, Chicago was ‘baseball’s kind of town’ in the 1920s. Roberts Ehrgott’s new book, Mr. Wrigley’s Ball Club, beautifully etches how Chicago was the pastime’s capital. . . . In time, radio, then SuperStation television, helped the Cubs become perhaps the first America’s Team. It began in the Jazz Age Twenties, as this wonderful book shows.”—Curt Smith, author of Voices of the Game and Mercy! A Celebration of Fenway Park’s Centennial, Told through Red Sox Radio and TV
“This is ‘Big League Baseball, Chicago-Style.’ This fast-moving, impeccably researched book regales us with tales of the Cubs’ most hard-hitting, hard-living ball club during some of the most raucous years in our history. Mr. Ehrgott fits all together, from Wrigley to Hornsby to Hack Wilson, even including a cameo by Al Capone. One of the best and most compulsively readable ‘Team’ books in any sport.”—Donald Honig, author of The Fifth Season: Tales of My Life in Baseball
“I wasn’t sure the world needed another Cubs book, but the answer is it does. Roberts Ehrgott has written a wonderful portrait not just of a team but of a time and place. A book for anyone who seeks to understand the Cubs or the city of Chicago.”—Glenn Stout, Seymour Award-winning author of Fenway 1912 and series editor of The Best American Sports Writing