Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

Category: Sports

The Cubs: Historical Reading about 1908 and the Merkle Game

Yes, I know it has been MORE THAN A CENTURY since the Cubs won the World Series.

As a realistic yet always hopeful lifelong Cubs fan, I recently picked up a book that has been sitting in my bookcase for some time: Crazy ’08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History.

This book documents the 1908 season.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book unless you are a serious history buff with a great attention span and appreciation for detail, to the point you would enjoy following the play by play for an entire season 100+ years ago…

Detailed history buff does not describe me – BUT I did find LOTS in the book I appreciated and will share that information below.

The most interesting (and perhaps depressing part) is that the 1908 World Series win was largely due to a huge controversy referred to as the “Merkle Game.” You may have been to Merkle’s in Wrigleyville. If you don’t know the history of this season or this name, read on…

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Friday Night Lights after 25 Years

I finished Friday Night Lights, a book I have been meaning to read for more than two decades, as part of my goal to read 40 books from my own bookcase. Thanks to the recent 25 year anniversary, my experience was not as outdated as I initially feared.

I expected to read about high school football as the center of the community and how this was/is a great thing. However, what I read was both exciting and horrifying.

In Odessa, Texas, at 16-18 years old, these boys were treated as heroes, flying to games on chartered jets, and playing in venues like the Sun Bowl. What most of them were not doing was regular schoolwork or concerning themselves with life after football or high school. This was not their fault because this town condoned the “football above all” mentality  from early childhood.

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