Letter From Chicago: Royko, the Cubs, et al.

He went to Wrigley Field on a hot day last June, along with several hundred others, to hear family and dignitaries eulogize columnist Mike Royko, who had spent more than 30 years banging out five columns each week while working for three different major Chicago newspapers. Otherwise empty because the team was on the road, the park was chosen for this tribute because Mike, like many people, was a long-suffering Cubs fan.

The formalities concluded, Mike's friends and coworkers were invited onto the field, where a caterer had set up two bars and several buffet tables containing hot dogs, grilled chicken, and numerous side dishes. Filling his plate and grabbing a can of pop, he walked to the batter's box, which now was shaded from the late afternoon sun. It was here in 1932 that Babe Ruth had allegedly pointed to the right center field seats just before hitting a towering home run to that very spot. Six years later, Cubs catcher "Gabby" Hartnett, who was behind the plate for Ruth's supposed "called shot," would stand there in the ninth inning and hit "The Homer in the Bloamin'" that beat the Pirates six to five.

He turned to look at the right field corner where, many summers ago, his father had brought him to see his first big league ballgame. He looked at the top of the wall just left of the foul pole where the old man had leaned over and talked it up with a player who was shagging...

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