Over the last five years, Garkey has slowly constructed the largest replica ever built of Wrigley Field. With an obsessive attention to detail, this bespectacled insurance fraud investigator has worked nights and weekends, painting walls, mixing mortar and enlisting a small army of Cubs fans to help him in his quest. He has accounted for every last detail: the green scoreboard, the red marquee sign, the WGN press box – complete with the cartoon image of Harry Caray. Even a tiny copper penny has been positioned in the left-field wall, just like a penny rumored to have been pressed by bricklayers into the same spot at big Wrigley.
Known as “Little Cubs Field,” and located in a public park on the west side of Freeport, it has become a real-life field of dreams in Freeport, where many hope – with an “if you build it, they will come” logic – that the stadium will attract tourists and bolster the local economy in this town of 26,443 which over the last few decades has suffered through a drumbeat of factory closings and corporate consolidations.