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Growing up in Northern NJ, most kids had some LeRoy Nieman or another up on the wall: Joe Namath, Mickey Mantle or whoever. Nowadays, you're probably more likely to find a FatHead photo hanging up, but, at least if you're a kid in Chicago, maybe John Hanley can return art to pride of place. The 125 oil-painted portraits in this book are just stunning and if the overall presentation weren't so nicely done you'd be tempted to cut them out and pin them up (actually, if I'd gotten the book when I was twelve I would have done so anyway.)

The text, by Chris De Luca, is serviceable enough, but most of the history here will be well known to baseball fans in general and certainly to Cubs fans. There are sections with brief essays and accompanying images on Cubs' : Hall of Famers; Ballparks; Outstanding Players; Managers. Great Moments, Owners, and Announcers. Each has its charms, a stogie-smoking Steve Stone every bit as entertaining as the brawny Hack Wilson. A couple are even poignant, like Moises Alou and Steve Bartman reaching for the same foul ball.

This is one to keep in mind for the Holiday season--even if you don't know a kid you want to hook on art, it's a perfect coffee table book.


Grade: (A+)


John Hanley Links:

    -BOOK SITE: Classic Cubs (Cumberland House)
    -INTERVIEW: with John Hanley (CubbiesBaseball)

Book-related and General Links: