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Ebook Information

Before the Ivy

The Cubs' Golden Age in Pre-Wrigley Chicago

The indomitable Cubs of baseball's early years

All Cub fans know from heartbreak and curse-toting goats. Fewer know that, prior to moving to the north side in 1916, the team fielded powerhouse nines that regularly claimed the pennant. Before the Ivy offers a grandstand seat to a golden age:

BEHOLD the 1871 team as it plays for the title in nine different borrowed uniforms after losing everything in the Great Chicago Fire

ATTEND West Side Grounds at Polk and Wolcott with its barbershop quartet

MARVEL as superstar Cap Anson hits .399, makes extra cash running a ballpark ice rink, and strikes out as an elected official

WONDER at experiments with square bats and corked balls, the scandal of Sunday games and pre-game booze-ups, the brazen spitters and park dimensions changed to foil Ty Cobb

RAZZ Charles Comiskey as he adopts a Cubs hand-me-down moniker for his team's name

THRILL to the poetic double-play combo of Tinker, Evers, and Chance even as they throw tantrums at umpires and punches at each other

CHEER as Merkle's Boner and the Cubs' ensuing theatrics send the team to the 1908 World Series

Rich with Hall of Fame personalities and oddball stories, Before the Ivy opens a door to Chicago's own field of dreams and serves as every Cub fan's guide to a time when thoughts of "next year" filled rival teams with dread.


"An excellent reference of the glory days for those poor fans caught up in the endless cycles of 'Wait Until Next Year' on the Northside of Chicago."--SABR's The Inside Game

"Quite readable. . . . Pernot does not ultimately suggest there is a cure for Cub fever, but he certainly gives us the basis for a better understanding of the phenomenon."--Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature

"With so many things we love, there must a history lesson in order to understand what it is that got us here in the first place. Before the Ivy does just that, taking the reader to a time just after the Civil War and at the dawn of the second Industrial Revolution when labor laws didn't exist and the thought of having a beer at a ballgame was unheard of. . . . Pernot's book isn't just a trip a handful of decades ago, when our fathers or grandfathers were adjusting the bunny ears on the television or finding the right spot on the back porch for the radio to come in clearly in order to catch their favorites starts of the game. It's back to a time so delicate where the balance of interest in the game relied so heavily on those who promoted it by way of barnstorming across the country as well as weeks-long rips across the ocean to foreign lands."--Gapers Block

"A well-written and entertaining read, filled with copious illustrations and photos that might sustain the rabid Cub's fan base as they 'wait until next year.'"--Journal of Sport History

"Packed with entertaining stories, the general public with find Before the Ivy informative and rewarding."--Journal of Illinois History

"A journey worth taking for both the serious baseball historian and the casual baseball fan alike." --Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

"If you like the Chicago Cubs and thoroughly researched and well-written books, then you're going to dig Before the Ivy. Pernot weaves all kinds of information and insight into this lively early history of this once-great and championship-riddled organization, the now World Series-deficient Chicago Cubs."--Carson Cunningham, co-editor of Before the Curse: The Chicago Cubs' Glory Years, 1870-1945

"Long-suffering Cubs fans will take great pleasure from this delicious account of the late 19th and early 20th century Chicago National Leaguers before Wrigley Field, when the Cubs were perennial contenders, and mounted some of the most powerful teams in all of baseball history. Laurent Pernot gives us thoughtful portraits of baseball greats Al Spalding, Mike "King" Kelly, Adrian "Cap" Anson--and takes us deep inside the careers and rivalries of the famous combination of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance. This book will warm the hearts of Cub fans in the long winter of their losing near-century at beautiful, unlucky Wrigley Field."--Warren Goldstein, author of Playing for Keeps: A History of Early Baseball and (with Elliott Gorn) A Brief History of American Sports

"Nicely written and quite lively. A good, engaging narrative, with some fine storytelling about a subject that many are passionate about."--Elliott Gorn, author of The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prizefighting in America


Born and raised in France, Laurent Pernot came to the U.S. as a Chicago-area foreign-exchange student in 1988 and caught 89 Cubs playoff fever. He is the executive vice chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, and lives in the city with his wife Jennifer and sons Gabriel, Luca and Leo.

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