Photos: New Exhibition Captures Sweet Old Days Of '90s Cubs

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 30, 2016 8:28PM

All photos courtesy of Andie Giafaglione

The Cubs have three meaningless regular season games remaining before getting down to long-awaited playoff business next Friday. Needless to say, Cubs fans are looking to the future right now. But a new exhibition of photographs that documents the looser, more carefree days of the club’s recent past will get you feeling nostalgic even in these most promising of North Side baseball days.

Andie Giafaglione's "Searching for the Pink Poodle: Life With the Cubs ‘96-99," currently on view at old Wrigleyville mainstay GMan Tavern (3740 N Clark St.), makes for a fascinating, fly-on-the-wall insider tour of Wrigley before expectations skyrocketed, and it wonderfully encapsulates that magical bond between fan, field and team.

Even Cubs know-nothings can grasp the palpable slice of history. “It really is a love letter to the mid ‘90s and that relationship between fans and a ballpark that’s almost tangible itself,” Giafaglione told Chicagoist. “There’s this symbiotic relationship between the neighborhood, the ballpark and fans, and definitely the ballplayers.”

Some of that “loose, free feeling” dissipated under new ownership, after the Tribune sold the team, she said. But it’s clearly on display in the exhibition, which spans a time rife with important Cubs history. “You had the home run race, Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game, an 0-14 start to the season, Wild Card team, the deaths of Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse. It surprised me how significant that time period was.”

Giafaglione’s then-position alongside official team photographer Steve Green afforded her access, but the perspective is refreshingly unofficial. It didn’t come without some proving grounds, though. “I was 22, fresh out of art school and knew nothing about the professional sports photography world, and the old boys club, she said. “It took me some time to chisel my way in, but I learned fast that if you ask questions, pay attention, and love the game, you earn their respect."

"Soon I was out reading the paper with Doug Glanville and getting my shoelace set on fire by Brian McRae."

Searching for the Pink Poodle is on display at GMan now through the Cubs' playoff run.