The St. Louis Baseball Reader

The St. Louis Baseball Reader

The St. Louis Baseball Reader

The St. Louis Baseball Reader

Synopsis

The St. Louis Baseball Reader is a tale of two teams: one the city's lovable losers, the other a formidable dynasty. The St. Louis Cardinals are the most successful franchise in National League history, while the St. Louis Browns were one of the least successful, yet most colorful, American League teams. Now Richard Peterson has collected the writings of some of baseball's greatest storytellers to pay tribute to both these teams. His book, the first anthology devoted exclusively to the Cardinals and Browns, covers the rich history of St. Louis baseball from its late-nineteenth-century origins to the modern era. The St. Louis Baseball Reader is a celebration of the many legendary stars and colorful characters who wore St. Louis uniforms and the writers who told their stories, including Alfred Spink, Roger Angell, George Will, and Baseball Hall of Fame writers Bob Broeg, J. Roy Stockton, Red Smith, and Fred Lieb. Here, too, are John Grisham, who grew up a Redbirds fan in Mississippi, and Jack Buck, the most identifiable voice in Cardinal history. Great players--Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Marty Marion, and Satchel Paige--tell their own stories, while Bill Veeck offers an account of his wild ride as the last Browns owner and Whitey Herzog shares regrets about the play that cost the Cardinals the 1985 World Series. From the days of the Gas House Gang to the 1944 "Streetcar Series," from Bill Veeck's legendary stunts to Mark McGwire's pursuit of Roger Maris's home-run record, the Reader will bring back memories for every fan. It takes in all of the magic of the ballpark--whether recounting the unhittable pitching of Bob Gibson, the slugging prowess of Stan "The Man" Musial, or the sterling glove-work of Ozzie Smith--along with reflective commentaries that tell how Jackie Robinson confronted racism and Curt Flood challenged the reserve clause. St. Louis is a city blessed with a memorable baseball history, and The St. Louis Baseball Reader perfectly captures the joy and heartbreak of its winning and losing teams. It's a book that will delight current fans of the Cardinals and old-timers who fondly recall the Browns.

Excerpt

It was a St. Louis baseball team that first broke my heart, but another St. Louis team gave me comfort during the dark early years of my life as a baseball fan.

I saw my first major-league game on May 9, 1948. My hometown Pittsburgh Pirates came through in grand style that day by beating the Cincinnati Reds and All-Star pitcher Ewell Blackwell, 6–4. It was a perfect day for a nineyear-old beginning a lifelong love affair with baseball. While my father stuffed me with hot dogs and peanuts, but no Cracker Jack (I loved the prizes, but hated eating that sticky stuff), slugger Ralph Kiner, my boyhood hero, hit two home runs off the side-winding Blackwell.

After watching Kiner’s home runs sail through Pittsburgh’s polluted air and into Greenberg Gardens, I decided that there was nothing better in life than going out to Forbes Field and watching the Pirates. As long as I was at the game, the Pirates were bound to win, and Kiner would surely hit at least two home runs.

My youthful dream of an endless stream of Pirate victories and Kiner home runs came to a shocking and sorrowful end a week later when the St. Louis Cardinals came to town. My father wanted me to see the Cardinals because their best player, Stan Musial, grew up in nearby Donora and should have been in a Pirate uniform. That afternoon the Cardinals, with local hero Musial and his teammates Country Slaughter and Red Schoendienst leading the way, shellacked my beloved Pirates and taught me my first lesson about the pain of being a baseball fan.

I didn’t know it at the time, but there was plenty of pain in store for me as a Pirate fan. in the 1950s the Pirates became one of the worst teams in baseball, thanks in large part to former Cardinal mastermind Branch Rickey. When . . .

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