Cubs By The Numbers book review

Cubs By the NumbersThere is a new book available titled Cubs By The Numbers by Al Yellon (of the blog Bleed Cubbie Blue), Kasey Ignarski and Matthew Silverman (who also wrote Mets By The Numbers) and published by Skyhorse Publishing. The book is more than 300 pages, devoting a chapter for each uniform number worn by Cubs players and coaches over time. I have to admit the concept seemed intriguing to me but I didn’t think it could be carried off so well. 

Cubs By The Numbers is a great read. Chapter by chapter, each uniform number is discussed, beginning with the featured players for that number (Ryne Sandberg highlights 23, Ernie Banks 14, Sammy Sosa 21, etc) and then all other players who wore that number. There are guys who changed numbers, little facts and interesting stories about all kinds of Cub players. The knowledge level is pretty deep here, with anecdotes that are insightful and revealing but not the usual “Santo and the black cat” kind of fare. This book will make you a smarter Cubs fan when it comes to the history of the team.  

I have to say this book makes for a brisk read, perfect for when you don’t have time to immerse your self in something deep. Each chapter is just a few pages and like eating potato chips, it’s hard to stop at just one. One of the things I liked best is most of the player photos are actually images of their baseball cards. Being someone who was unfortunate enough to not keep his childhood baseball card collection, I found most of these images very familiar and fun to see again.

My favorite sections of each chapter are the “Guy You Never Thought Of As A Cub” and “Most Obscure Cub” notes. As closely as I follow the team – particularly over the past 35 years or so – there are guys I don’t recall wearing Cubs pinstripes. How about Rick Aguilera (#38), Hoyt Wilhelm (#39) and Johnny Vander Meer (#34), twelve years after his back-to-back no hitters with the Reds?  

Al Yellon is omnipresent in all things Cubs. His Bleed Cubbie Blue blog has turned into the leading Cubs fan site with each of its frequent posts attracting hundreds of reader comments. New this season is Yahoo’s integration of Bleed Cubbie Blue headlines into Yahoo Sports Cubs related pages. Yellon also edited the fine Cubs Annual 2009 publication which I reviewed a few weeks ago. The man is everywhere in Cubdom!

Amazon has this book for like 10 bucks – a great buy for a fine book. With Father’s Day coming up soon, get one for your dad too!

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    April 20, 2009  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: book, observations, review

    One Response

    1. Kasey Ignarski - April 21, 2009

      Thanks for the great review. It was a fun book to put together and I hope you (and everyone else) find it a fun read. Who would every have thought that my obsession with Cubs uniform numbers would actually work out! Now if someone could actually find out what number Charlie Gassaway wore…I would really appreciate that!

      Thanks again

      Kasey Ignarski

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