Personal Stories from “A Century at Wrigley Field”

a century at wrigley Cubs 100
Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley Field by Dan Campana & Rob Carroll. Published by The History Press.

This year the Chicago Cubs are celebrating 100 years at Wrigley Field. In honor of the centenary, I’ve reviewed a new book titled Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley. It’s a collection of personal stories and anecdotes from the millions who have watched the Cubbies play at the Friendly Confines. Three stories struck me as particularly resonant examples of why the Cubs’ century at Wrigley Field meant so much to so many.

“It Wasn’t Work for Jack”

Millions of Americans fell in love with baseball because of broadcast media. There was a magic in listening to the crack of the bat on the radio or watching the speck of a baseball fly out of the park on a grainy TV. For Cubs fans of a certain age, that magical feeling is synonymous with Jack Brickhouse. He was the play-by-play announcer for Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948 until his retirement in 1981. His call of “Hey! Hey!” for home runs became so iconic that it adorns the foul poles at Wrigley. You might also know the memorial bust near the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue. Tour guests often ask about it during our Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour.

His widow, Pat, writes in Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley that her late husband was a fan above all. Calling every play of every game for over 30 years seems like pretty trying labor to this football fan. But Brickhouse lived for it. Pat quotes him as saying “I love this job, and maybe I’ll have to go to work for a living one of these days.”

“Working at the Cathedral”

I found the perspective of the workers of Wrigley Field to be particularly interesting. Their experience is so much more routine than that of a fan. Despite the routine, the stadium and the games remained a remarkable experience for many of them. One account in Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley comes from Tom Daly, who worked as an usher. He writes, “The fun part about it was there were people coming from all over…they were coming to Wrigley like it was a cathedral.”

Whether they were Cubs fans or not, Daly recounts that people would treat the old ballpark at Clark and Addison like hallowed ground. That really stood out, since I know even die-hard Reds and Tigers fans who treat Wrigley with reverence.

a century at Wrigley Cubs 100 crowd 1945
The crowd outside Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. Image from “Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley” provided by The History Press.

A Century at Wrigley Means Millions of Fans

The book has a bevy of stories from fans from all over recounting big moments for the Cubs or themselves. Of course, the mainstay for both Wrigley Field and the Cubs are the devoted locals. The one that appealed to me the most was by Debra Ann Simon, who grew up within a few blocks of Wrigley Field. She writes that as a child “…we would go to the gate and the Andy Frain ushers would look the other way because we were kids who got out of school…[w]e’d just walk in and take an empty seat to watch the end of the game.” That sort of thing is probably impossible these days, but it’s hard to imagine a better way to create generations of devotees.

Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley, published by Arcadia Press, is full of dozens of personalized stories like these. It provides a compelling overview of why a team with no championships since 1908 can still mean so much to so many.

– Alex Bean, Office Manager and Tour Guide

All quotations reprinted with permission from Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley Field, by Dan Campan & Rob Carroll. 


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Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

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With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.


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Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.


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Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

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Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
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Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

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I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
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