There has never been a book that chronicled the entire history of a baseball park by the year. That is, not until now. Author Sam Pathy spent the last 25 years of his life researching for Wrigley Field Year by Year, spending between 10,000 and 12,000 hours on it. His passion for the project matches the passion that so many devoted Cubs fans have for the magical ballpark.
Along with a rich written history of the park, the book also uses pictures from every era, which add historical context to already famous events. In fact, most of the stories told in the book have never been told to the general public before.
"There's the most complete historical list of advertisers on the billboard on the roof across Sheffield Avenue. There is a list of the 60 longest home runs in park history. I've done enough research to logically repudiate the 'goat curse' folktale," Pathy says.
Clearly, the fact that Wrigley Field has even survived as long as it has is a long shot, which makes its 100th birthday something worth celebrating and appreciating. Only Fenway Park has been around longer than Wrigley Field, and the next oldest stadium is Dodger Stadium, which is 48 years younger than Wrigley.
Included in the book are several features in every year and every chapter including "Home Opener," "Games of the Year" and "Quote of the Year." These go more in-depth and provide an even richer history of the park than has ever been seen before.
For someone who has spent over half his life researching for this book, Pathy realizes as well as anyone that Wrigley Field provides a certain constant in people's lives that the team on the field can't always provide.
"You never know what the Cubs will do—they may be good occasionally, but it’s never constant. But Wrigley Field is a constant. I know that I will always see the marquee at Clark and Addison, that the ivy always sprouts in early May, and that numbers are always twirling on the scoreboard."
The fact that Wrigley Field has been able to be a comfort to so many for so long is pretty amazing. This book, which will be available on April 1, commemorates the countless amazing moments the park has seen over its improbable century-long history.
Like so many others, Pathy is obsessed with the ballpark and the team that plays in it. Pretty much every Cubs fan can remember their first game at the famous park no matter how long ago that was and Pathy's tale is no different.
"I can still visit the place where I saw my first ballgame in 1969. Only five ballparks from that year still exist. So I have this thing that few other baseball fans can claim—and I savor it."
Every other Cubs fan should savor it too: 25 years worth of research, 100 years worth of history, a lifetime worth of memories. Wrigley Field Year by Year will help fans to relive those moments and perhaps learn about some new ones along the way.