This will be the first of hopefully a series of White Sox books that I read and review. A few months ago I had a substantial Amazon gift card and was looking to see what Sox books were out there. I was initially frustrated by the lack of Sox books on the market, but a deeper search on Amazon revealed some gems. One of those gems was this one, “Sox and the City” by Richard Roeper.
Roeper, a native south sider, is one of the most high profile White Sox fans in recent years. He’s had a column in the Sun-Times and was a cohost of Ebert & Roeper for many years as a movie critic.
In “Sox and the City,” Roeper elegantly chronicles his life journey as a White Sox fan. From watching games in a half empty Comiskey Park, to the 2005 World Series, and everything in between, Roeper nails Sox culture and the general White Sox experience.
Roeper’s vivid storytelling of trips to the old Comiskey Park paints an incredible picture for those of us who never had a chance to experience that place. His words literally take you right into the Comiskey experience. I felt like I was there while reading, with all the sights, sounds and smells of that old, beat up stadium.
Roeper has attended hundreds of White Sox games (maybe thousands), and his rock solid memory brings you right into Sox fandom through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. When someone goes to that many games growing up, it’s nearly impossible for them to not have a haul of amazing stories. Roeper has those stories and a bag of chips. From sparse playoff runs, to the disco demolition, to the World Series, Roeper was there, and has a plethora of great stories that will make you laugh and possibly cry, depending on your Sox sensitivities.
My two favorite chapters were “Sox Culture” and “A Sox Fan In Cubbie Nation.” They were my favorite because they keyed on the two biggest buttons that Sox fans have: a frustration with the blatant ignorance of Sox history and culture from the rest of the league, and the constant comparison and inferiority complex with the more popular Cubs. I think being a White Sox fan sorta boils down to those two shticks. We are an edgy, passionate and colorful bunch. We did all of our grand amount of losing quietly, unlike the Red Sox and Cubs. Fans endured years of heartbreak (more than Boston fans, by the way) and did so in silence. I think those two chapters encapsulate the hard-nosed things we love about being Sox fans.
Roeper writes this book with the flair of a true Sox fan. There is nothing fake about his fandom, or this book. He wears his opinions and emotions on his sleeve, especially when it comes to the Cubs and their… qualities. We’ll leave it at that.
This is more of a story than it is a textbook, which is what makes it easy for fans to relate. Sox fans from every era will love this book, especially the stories from old Comiskey Park. Those chapters specifically will bring many fans right back to their childhood, sitting in the stand with their dads or friends.
If you’re a White Sox fan, this book is an absolute must-read. It isn’t too long, and it definitely does not drag on. Each story is better than the last. I loved every minute of it.
Book on-deck: “Turning the Black Sox White” by Tim Hornbaker