Cover image for Ten innings at Wrigley : the wildest ballgame ever, with baseball on the brink
Ten innings at Wrigley : the wildest ballgame ever, with baseball on the brink
First edition.
Physical Description:
253 pages illustrations ; 25 cm
"The dramatic story of a legendary 1979 slugfest between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies, full of runs, hits, and subplots, at the tipping point of a new era in baseball history"--


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Book 796.3576 COO 0 1

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The dramatic story of a legendary 1979 slugfest between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies, full of runs, hits, and subplots, at the tipping point of a new era in baseball history

It was a Thursday at Chicago's Wrigley Field, mostly sunny with the wind blowing out. Nobody expected an afternoon game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs on May 17, 1979, to be much more than a lazy early-season contest matching two teams heading in opposite directions--the first-place Phillies and the Cubs, those lovable losers--until they combined for thirteen runs in the first inning. "The craziest game ever," one player called it. "And then the second inning started."

Ten Innings at Wrigley is Kevin Cook's vivid account of a game that could only have happened at this ballpark, in this era, with this colorful cast of heroes and heels: Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Bruce Sutter, surly slugger Dave Kingman, hustler Pete Rose, unlucky Bill Buckner, scarred Vietnam vet Garry Maddox, troubled relief pitcher Donnie Moore, clubhouse jester Tug McGraw, and two managers pulling out what was left of their hair.

It was the highest-scoring ballgame in a century, and much more than that. Bringing to life the run-up and aftermath of a contest The New York Times called "the wildest in modern history," Cook reveals the human stories behind the game--and how money, muscles and modern statistics were about to change baseball forever.

Author Notes

Kevin Cook is the author of Electric October and five other books on sports and the people who play them, including Tommy's Honor and The Dad Report . He is a former senior editor at Sports Illustrated who has written for The New York Times , Men's Journal , GQ , Playboy , Smithsonian , and many other publications. He has appeared on CNN, ESPN, and Fox TV. An Indiana native, he now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sportswriter Cook (Electric October) takes an exciting look at the 1979 baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies, in which the two middling teams scored a combined total of 45 runs over 10 innings. In fast-paced, inning-by-inning descriptions, Cook delivers both a play-by-play (13 runs were scored in the first inning) and an insider's take on key players including Dave Kingman, a powerful home-run hitter who played outfield "with the grace of a falling tree," and pitcher Donnie Moore, who had revived his career by mastering the split-finger fastball, which became "the Pitch of the Eighties." Cook bookends his telling of the game with insightful takes on the idiosyncrasies of the players and teams ("Kingman kind of exemplified the Cubs.... He was bad in interesting ways") and closes with an extended look at the ways baseball has evolved since then-especially the changes in pitching styles, which would make the split-fingered fastball and the screwball all but disappear. This is an excellent look at a momentous individual game, and the long view of the ways baseball has changed during the last 30 years is equally rewarding. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

It was Thursday afternoon, May 17, 1979. There were about 15,000 fans in attendance at a basically meaningless game between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies. A ticket to sit in the Wrigley Field bleachers cost $1.50. After the first inning, the Phillies led 7-6, prompting Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa to say, That was a great game. Now let's play the second inning! The Phillies finally won in 10 innings, 23-22. Cook, a former senior editor at Sports Illustrated and author of six other books on sports, places the game in the context of baseball's past and its future. Cook follows a condensed history of each team with an inning-by-inning account of the game, fleshed out with player backgrounds and anecdotes. Of the many familiar names meriting coverage Pete Rose and Mike Schmidt, among them two stories stand out: that of Bill Buckner, the Cubs' first baseman that day, whose career came to be defined by a crucial error he made when playing for the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, and that of Donnie Moore, a young Cubs relief pitcher in 1979, who ended his troubled life in 1989 by killing himself after shooting his wife, who survived. Every year there is a new crop of baseball books of varying quality, with one or two of them rising above the pack. Ten Innings at Wrigley will be among the 2019 releases that will be read for years.--Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2019 Booklist

Kirkus Review

A former senior editor for Sports Illustrated returns with a highly detailed account of a bizarre 1979 game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs: The final score, in 10 innings, was 23-22.In this comprehensive narrative, nothing gets by Cook (Electric October: Seven World Series Games, Six Lives, Five Minutes of Fame that Lasted Forever, 2017, etc.). After a bit of background and historythe two teams, baseball in general, Wrigley Fieldthe author takes us through 20 swift chapters, each devoted to a half-inning of this weird game at Wrigley on May 17, 1979. In each chapter, he focuses on a player or twoor a managerand provides a brief biography and a discussion of how he ended up at Wrigley that day. Many of the names will be familiar even to casual baseball fans: Bill Buckner, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Tim McCarver, Dave Kingman; others, not so much, except to fans of the teams or to devoted fans of the gamee.g., Jerry Martin, Bill Caudill, Ray Burris. Cook weaves their stories in and out of the narrative, thereby enriching his well-researched tale as he proceeds. Following the last out in the 10th, the author concludes with explorations of what happened to the teams and to some of the principals afterward. We learn more about Buckner's famous error in the 1986 World Series, Pete Rose's fall from grace (gambling), and catcher Bob Boone's remarkable family (his sons played in the major league as well). But the most disturbing story involves Cubs' reliever Donnie Moore: He was a talented pitcher but was a serial abuser of his wife; his abuse grew grotesquely grim when, in a rage in 1989, he shot her several times (she survived) before killing himself.Fine, tasty fare for dedicated baseball fans. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Cook (Electric October) has written another gem of a book for serious baseball fans. Centering on an outrageous 1979 game between the Cubs and Phillies that featured 45 runs, 50 hits, and 11 home runs, this work takes readers inning by inning, detailing everything from the wind conditions to the fans in the bleachers to the exploits of the players on the field. What makes this account extraordinary is Cook's ability to pack every page with tidbits, statistics, and baseball insights rich enough to give even the most seasoned fan something new to savor. Starting with the losing legacies of each of these franchises at that moment in time, he proceeds to tell of the many colorful characters who shared the field that day, including future Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Bruce Sutter, along with the eventually tragic pitcher Donnie Moore, and the oversized personalities of Pete Rose, Dave Kingman, and others. This thoroughly enjoyable and impressively researched book covers hundreds of fascinating topics such as Wrigley Field's ivy-covered walls, the split-finger fastball, and the evolution of metrics. VERDICT A delightful treat for baseball lovers.-Brian Sullivan, Alfred Univ. Lib., NY © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Starting Lineups and Rostersp. xi
Prologue: May 1979p. 1
Part 1 National League Leastp. 7
The Cubs: Foiled Againp. 9
The Phillies: Unloved Losersp. 27
Part 2 Ten Inningsp. 43
Part 3 Legaciesp. 155
Miracle on Broad Streetp. 157
Kong vs. the Mediap. 171
Disgrace Under Pressurep. 183
Moore and the Splitp. 193
Ball in the Familyp. 207
Epilogue: Money, Metrics, and Musicp. 219
Box Scorep. 228
A Note on Sourcesp. 229
Acknowledgmentsp. 239
Indexp. 241