top of page
Crosstown Classic 1987.jpg

Press Release

"Last Comiskey" Book now available for Preorder

Celebrates the Magic and Final Season of the "Baseball Palace of the World" 

About the Book

Last Comiskey” is a new book that celebrates the final surprising season of the “Baseball Palace of the World” – Comiskey Park in 1990. Comiskey Park was the Chicago White Sox home from 1910 until 1990, meeting the wrecking ball in 1991. The book, by first-time author Ken Smoller, is from Eckhartz Press. The book’s Foreword (the book’s so- called “First Pitch) is by Ozzie Guillén, one of
the most important figures in the history of the team and who was on the field for the last season of the celebrated ballpark.

 

When the history of the game is written, Comiskey Park is really important,” said Guillén. “We may have taken that history for granted while we were playing there. At the end of the day, you think back about how many great memories took place at Comiskey Park.”  
 

During the historic final season of Comiskey Park, my goal was to capture the ballpark from every angle to preserve my childhood memories,” stated Smoller. “This book provides a great opportunity to share these photographs with White Sox and baseball fans, many of whom never got the chance to see the “Baseball Palace of the World” before it was gone. With talk of a new ballpark in the South Loop, it is important to remember what was lost when Speedway Wrecking demolished the historic structure in 1991.”  
 

This book is a companion piece to the 2023 documentary, “Last Comiskey” by Matt Flesch. Tom Shaer, longtime Chicago sportscaster and Emmy Award winner, served as Senior Editorial Consultant on the “Last Comiskey” book. The project initially started as a diversion for first-time filmmaker Flesch during the Covid- 19 pandemic. As the producer, writer and director of the film, Matt created a documentary that captures all the key moments from Comiskey’s final season, including the surprising pennant chase by the young underdog White Sox who had future stars like rookies Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura, emerging ace Jack McDowell and a very young and raw Sammy Sosa in his third MLB season. The young team was anchored by veteran leaders Carlton Fisk and Guillén and a record breaking season by closer Bobby Thigpen, who set the all-time single season save record with 57. The film features interviews with many of the 1990 players as well as media, vendors, security guards, executives, legendary organist Nancy Faust and lifelong fans.
 
The backbone of the film are home movies, stories, and photographs from fans. One of those contributors was Ken Smoller, a photographer and writer who is the founder of the sports travel website site Stadium Vagabond. Ken took thousands of images during Comiskey’s final season and its last decade. Most of these photographs have never been seen by the public and, instead, were in boxes of 35mm film negatives for decades.
 
My goal was to try and capture the spirit of Comiskey Park – the way it sounded and the way it felt to be there,” said Flesch. “Most of the music in the documentary is played by Nancy Faust – who also contributed home video,” added Flesch. “It was such a unique experience to go to a game there, and we wanted to relive it by capturing the sights, the sounds and all of the great stories from players, fans and many others.”

The goal of this book is to serve as a permanent companion that will provide a physical and tangible reminder of the last days of Comiskey Park. The book blends both Smoller’s photographs along with the content from the “Last Comiskey” documentary film, supplemented by new material to provide greater context. 
 
This book is being released at a potentially auspicious time given current White Sox attempts to replace new Comiskey Park. For many years, White Sox faithful have longed for a ballpark that evoked the same kind of pride as Comiskey Park. With the news of a potential move to the South Loop, Sox fans are dreaming of a new ballpark that is more like Comiskey 1.0 than 2.0. This book will help remind everyone of the magic of the “Baseball Palace of the World."

 

Initial feedback about the book has been glowingly positive, including the following:

 

"Last Comiskey; is a love letter to an underrated ballpark for an underappreciated legacy baseball franchise. Even better, thanks to Ken Smoller's fantastic photography - taken when he was a mere teenager! - the book is a soothing voyage to a less complicated, more colorful era of the national pastime.You don't need to be a White Sox fan to deeply enjoy and appreciate this." Ken Davidoff, New York Post


"My favorite type of a book is a biography. Not of humans, mind you, but of ballparks. Last Comiskey is a stellar example of a biography of Comiskey Park, lovingly told with great quotes, heartwarming anecdotes and hundreds of beautiful photos. From organist Nancy Faust and Disco Demolition Night to its final game in 1990 and its ultimate razing, the story of this landmark is all here.Joe Mock, webmaster of BaseballParks.com and sports-facilities beat writer for USA TODAY Sports


"I grew up 20 minutes from Comiskey and went to many Sox games, concerts and even Disco Demolition there while growing up. To be on the team and on the field for the last game there ever was the most memorable day in the major leagues for me. This book brings back so many great memories of that magical last season and wonderful history of the great ballpark.Donn Pall, White Sox Pitcher (1988-1993); Lifelong White Sox fan and Evergreen Park, IL native


"Last Comiskey is a profound work, professionally and personally stirring memories of a ballpark that was unique in its visuals, scents, quirks, noise, intimacy, and history. We gathered there to have fun and enjoy baseball. I’m grateful to Matt Flesch and Ken Smoller for rekindling such beautiful times." Dan Evans, White Sox Executive (1981- 2000); Assistant General Manager, Director Player Operations

ABOUT THE AUTHOR KEN SMOLLER
Ken Smoller (aka “Stadium Vagabond”) is a photographer and writer based in Brookline Massachusetts, with childhood roots in Chicagoland. In over three decades of extensive traveling, he has photographed more than 2,350 stadiums in 48 states and 24 countries. His mantra is that one of the best ways to understand the culture and fabric of a place is through its sporting arenas and stadiums. This quixotic, never-ending photographic scavenger hunt began while Ken was a Photo Editor at the Michigan Daily in the early nineties, the newspaper for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In those days, he had the good fortune of covering the iconic “Fab Five” team’s shocking Final Four run and former Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard’s Heisman Trophy season. Ken’s
favorite sports photograph, however, was when he captured his beloved White Sox celebrating on the field in Houston following their 2005 World Series victory. Today, Ken runs the “Stadium Vagabond” blog (www.stadiumvagabond.com and on social media @stadiumvagabond) to share his photographs and stories from years of sporting adventures around the globe.  When he is not at the ballpark, Ken works as a commercial real estate attorney and lives with his wife, Jaime, and two sons, Simon and Charlie. He received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Smoller also spent his college summers back in Chicago as a vendor at new Comiskey Park during its first three seasons, and on Sox off-days at Wrigley Field and Soldier Field.  Despite living in the Boston area, his sporting loves remain the White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks.

 
ABOUT MATT FLESCH
Matt Flesch is a lifelong White Sox fan whose first documentary, “Last Comiskey,” tells the story of the final season played at Comiskey Park. Matt and his brother, Mike, came up with the idea for Last Comiskey after watching “The Last Dance” about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty. In early 2020, with the world locked down and extra time on their hands, they were able to get video interviews via Zoom with players, media personalities, vendors, security guards, fans and many others who worked, played and attended games at Comiskey Park. They also crowd-sourced many hours of home video taken by fans who lugged their old camcorders to the ballpark. 
 
The documentary was met with universal acclaim by Chicago media. Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Reminds fans of a time when the ballpark was part of their lives, not just a place where the Sox played games.” Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “You’ll hear the murmur of the crowd, vendors hawking beer and, of course, Nancy Faust at the organ.” Corey McPherin of Fox 32-TV Chicago said, “Brings the grittiness of Old Comiskey Park back like you won’t believe.” Justin Kaufman of Axios wrote, “It makes you feel Comiskey Park” and Kenny McReynolds of WCIU-TV called Last Comiskey “the best sports documentary I’ve ever seen.”

 

Last Comiskey is available free of charge on YouTube. 
 
For more information, visit the “Last Comiskey” page on Ken Smoller’s Stadium Vagabond sports blog website at www.lastcomiskeybook.com.
 
MEDIA CONTACT:
Sharon Pannozzo
spannozzo@mac.com
sharon@mermaidmedia-group.com
773-551-5985

Get in Touch

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page