Miracle Collapse: The 1969 Chicago Cubs

Miracle Collapse: The 1969 Chicago Cubs

Miracle Collapse: The 1969 Chicago Cubs

Miracle Collapse: The 1969 Chicago Cubs


Civil unrest at home, war abroad, and political uncertainty gripped the nation as the 1970s approached. In the summer of 1969, as a tumultuous decade of American history neared its end, Major League Baseball presented sports fans with a thrilling distraction: a pennant race that pitted the Chicago Cubs, those much-loved perennial also-rans, against the defending National League champs, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the upstart New York Mets.

Miracle Collapse is the story of how one of the most talented Cubs teams ever to take the field--with Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and ace pitcher Ferguson Jenkins among their ranks and led by the irascible manager Leo Durocher--raced to an early division lead and a seemingly certain pennant, only to unravel spectacularly at the season's end.

A time capsule in which baseball lore jockeys with history, Doug Feldmann's book draws readers into the lives of these legendary Cubs players and their fierce bond with the city of Chicago. During this magical summer of baseball peaks and valleys, life goes on: Durocher "disappears" for a few days before his wedding; players leave the team midseason for National Guard duty; play is interrupted to announce man's landing on the moon. It is against this backdrop that Miracle Collapse captures a baseball season for all time.


In July 1993 I was coaching baseball at my alma mater the University of Mississippi. While on a recruiting trip to the Chicago area, I was sitting alone down the first base line watching some prospective student-athletes play baseball. a very nice lady came up to me and asked, “Are you Don Kessinger?” When I answered in the affirmative, she said, “Happy Birthday.” I was amazed that she would know it was indeed my birthday, and I asked her how she knew. Her simple reply was, “I am a Cub fan.” It had been eighteen years since my last game with the Cubs, in 1975, but such is the nature of baseball’s greatest fans.

Doug Feldmann has written a book on perhaps Chicago’s most beloved team, the 1969 Cubs. Even though we did not win the pennant that year, losing to the dreaded New York Mets, it was an unbelievable summer in Chicago. Chapter after chapter and page after page of this book brought back memories, some that had long since retreated in my mind. It is a joy for me to recall those days spent with such great teammates and friends.

If you asked ten players on that team what happened to us late in the 1969 season, you very well might get ten different answers. However, I think each would tell you about the special relation-

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