Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Charles N. Billington  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1948 in Evanston, Illinois

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-- Charles N. Billington on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Billington was born in Evanston and currently lives in Glenco.

Biographical and Professional Information

Charles N. Billington is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 30 years of experience in mental health. After graduating from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota he received his Master's Degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He has worked as an administrator, psychotherapist, and consultant, most recently specializing in work with the elderly.A three-sport athlete in high school who played baseball at the collegiate level, he combined his background in sports and his interest in history with his work with senior citizens to write about Wrigley Field's last World Series, World War II–era baseball, and the 1945 Cubs. The fascinating recollections of two elderly baseball players who came to Mr. Billington for assistance and became the inspiration for Wrigley Field's Last World Series.Charles grew up in the Chicago area and lives in the northern suburbs with his wife of 25 years and two children. His hobbies include boating, playing the piano, and playing outfield in the Chicago North Men's Senior Baseball League.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Wrigley Field's Last World Series: The Wartime Chicago Cubs and the Pennant of 1945
ISBN: 1893121453

Lake Claremont Press. 2005

2014 season marks the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, baseball's second oldest ballpark

I don't care who wins, as long as it s the Cubs!
--legendary announcer, Bert Wilson, WIND

On the eve of World War II, baseball truly was America's national pastime. Little could anyone predict the changes and sacrifices that would be imposed on the sport during the early 1940s. As the war was coming to an end in 1945 and a jubilant mood was overtaking the country, baseball was back in full swing and the Chicago Cubs were on top of their game.

How did the Cubs clinch the pennant in 1945 and go to the World Series? Simply, they fielded, hit, and pitched better than any other team in the league. How did they then lose the championship to the Detroit Tigers, a team with one of the most mediocre records in pennant history? And why haven't they been back since?

One thing is clear: 1945, the last time the Cubs went to the World Series, was a turning point in the team's fortune. For in the first half of the twentieth century, few teams were as good as Chicago in the second half, few teams were as bad.

Between 1900 and 1945 the Chicago Cubs won the National League pennant ten times and had more first division finishes than any other team in the league and only one last-place finish. Between 1946 and 1990, the Chicago Cubs finished in the National League basement nine times, and went 20 consecutive seasons in the second division between 1947 and 1966.

Charles N. Billington's fast-paced narrative of this historic season includes an inning-by-inning account of critical games, highlights of winning streaks and road trips, and a discussion of how and why the team ultimately unravels. Incorporating statistical analysis, descriptions of key teams, and player biographies, Billington paints an evolving and exciting portrait of the 1945 Cubs and the wider national baseball scene of a war-torn era.


Charles was honored at the 2005 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

, contact Lake Claremont Press Karen Formanski at Lake Claremont Press 4650 N. Rockwell Street Chicago, Illinois 60625 773-583-7800 Billington is available for print, radio, and television interviews. Suggested topics include

  • The history of the Cubs prior to World War II
  • The effects of World War II on Major League Baseball
  • An overview of National League teams during the 1945 season
  • Inning-by-inning accounts of key games in the 1945 pennant race and World Series
  • Analysis of baseball today in contrast to baseball of 1945
  • Comparing current efforts of the Chicago Cubs with their 1945 counterparts
  • The inspiration for this true and heart-breaking account of the 1945 Chicago Cubs season Some specific program titles include
  • Wrigley Field’s Last World Series The Wartime Chicago Cubs and the Pennant of 1945 Author and sports historian Charles Billington discusses the Chicago Cubs as an athletic, business, and social institution ingrained into Chicago’s cultural fabric. Billington explores the Chicago Cubs’ domination during the team’s first 70 years of existence (1876-1945)

    and the profound effects World War II had on baseball. Billington’s program includes rare film footage of the 1945 World Series alongside 1940’s music dealing with the war and baseball. (Pre-teens to adults; 100 min; $175 negotiable)

    Wrigley Field’s Last World Championship The 1963 Chicago Bears and the Fall of the House of Halas Sports historian Charles Billington discusses one of sport’s most dominant and colorful teams – the 1963 Chicago Bears championship squad. Playing at the start of pro football’s "modern age" under legendary owner/coach George Halas, the 1963 Bears put an indelible stamp on their profession; yet, their success sparked Halas’ downfall. The Bears’ contribution to the social and economic fabric of Chicago is also discussed along with analysis of rare film footage of the 1963 season. (Pre-teens to Adults; 100 min; $175 negotiable)

    Comiskey Park’s Last World Series The Go-Go White Sox and the Pennant of 1959 The 1959 Chicago White Sox were the South Side’s first pennant winners in 40 years, but their success played in front of a tragic backdrop one of Chicago’s first families locked in a bitter legal battle for control of a prized heirloom, the team itself. Sports historian Charles Billington delves into this history, which includes a film analysis of the 1959 World Series as well as a legal and business history of the 1950s-era baseball industry. (Pre-teens to Adults; 100 min; $175 negotiable)