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Before They Were Cardinals: Major League Baseball in Nineteenth-Century St. Louis (SPORTS & AMERICAN CULTURE) Hardcover – July 31, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: SPORTS & AMERICAN CULTURE (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Missouri; First Printing edition (July 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826214010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826214010
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Cash has produced a fine example of how sports history can be used to illuminate the history of a place. This is good history, and it is a good story."—Lawrence O. Christensen

About the Author

 

Jon David Cash is Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Arkansas–Monticello. He resides in Crossett, Arkansas.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on January 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What did it mean to have a major league baseball team in the latter nineteenth century? How did the host city relate to it and what about its place in the life of the city's inhabitants? These are some of the questions explored in this excellent history of major league baseball (MLB) in St. Louis. Beginning as a dissertation at the University of Oregon, Cash has fashioned what is sure to become the standard work on the rise of MLB in the city that was at the time of the formation of the National League in 1876 the farthest west and south of any of the cities participating it. Cash spends considerable time on the excellent but short-lived Brown Stockings, the city's first entry into the National League; their namesake in the American Association in the 1880s, and the team that became the modern St. Louis Cardinals. Cash rightly notes that city rivalry between St. Louis and Chicago, including both prestige and economic factors, sparked much of the early interest by metropolitan leaders in MLB. He also suggests that in large measure the National League, and St. Louis's place in it, was possible because of the ability to travel between cities by rail. Without it these intercity leagues would not have been feasible.

The author also includes excellent discussions of Chris Von der Ahe and the origins of what became the Cardinals. Von der Ahe, a well-known St. Louis businessman, formed the St. Louis Brown Stockings in the American Association in 1880. He owned a beer garden and boardinghouse near a baseball field on Grand Avenue, and seeing that his bar always picked up before and after baseball games played there, he understood that baseball fans would be good patrons for his business.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Greg A. Wilkinson on January 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Pesonally I really enjoy books about baseball before 1930. Back when baseball was more America's pastime.
The book itself was very well written and gave some real insight into the St. Louis-Chicago rivalary.
It was also interesting to read about the labor problems of baseball from 125 years ago. Odd to see really not much has changed just the dollar amounts the player's receive.
It was also neat to see how the beer makers of the 1800's were involved with the game and how without beer St. Louis probably doesn't have a team now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By STLCardinalFan on February 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book documents the history of professional baseball in St. Louis, starting with the short-lived St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1875 through the fascinating history of the St. Louis Browns before they became what we know of today as the St. Louis Cardinals. As baseball historian Bill James has stated, "A very good baseball movie could be made about baseball in St. Louis, 1883-86. It's got everything - - great teams, unbelievable characters . . . pennant races, World Series. Best material for a baseball movie ever."

This is a superbly researched book. Nearly every fact is documented and footnoted, primarily from first-hand accounts published by various newspapers and journalists at the time. Reading the Notes at the end of the book is just as interesting as reading the book itself. Drunkards, cheaters, womanizers . . . baseball in its infancy makes today's issues (steroids, over-paid players) pale in comparison.

The casual baseball fan will most likely be bored by this book, but to those who love baseball history and lore (especially involving the historic St. Louis Cardinals), this is a must-read book.
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