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The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns Paperback – April 10, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (April 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380798808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380798803
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having chronicled the Yankees (in Dynasty), Golenbock takes a look at another storied organization, the St. Louis Cardinals, and its near-forgotten crosstown rival, the St. Louis Browns. His understated narrative guides readers through an impressive collection of oral histories of past and living veterans of the game. Managers and owners play a significant role in the story as Golenbock does an excellent job of describing the impact of the two franchises on baseball history. The Cardinals' stalwart general manager, Branch Rickey, long before he signed Jackie Robinson to play for the Dodgers, revolutionized baseball by creating the farm system. He eventually built the Cards into a success (the team has won nine World Series, second only to the Yankees) though he paid players as little as possible. The Browns, however, struggled constantly, failing to garner new talent or retain rising stars, until owner and showman Bill Veeck (infamous for sending a midget to bat and for fielding a one-armed outfielder) was forced to sell the club. Significant baseball figures profiled include Rogers Hornsby, Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial, Curt Flood and Mark McGwire. Field-level anecdotes and insights from more than 150 baseball seasons abound. Both teams could boast great rosters at one time or another, but dynasties have eluded them. Their histories of struggle, with Golenbock's focus on the owner's hand, reveal how volatile the business of baseball has always been. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

St. Louis has had big league baseball since 1874 in the form of, first, the Browns and then (starting in 1892) the Cardinals. The Browns (who hung on until 1953) only won the American League pennant once, in 1944--although they did boast a few stars, like George Sisler and Ned Garver. The National League's Cardinals, on the other hand, had a series of sterling teams and won 14 flags and nine World Series in their time. Golenbock (Wrigleyville) spins a lively tale about these teams, filled with memories of Branch Rickey, Bell Veeck, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Mark McGwire, and others. This book is sure to be requested in libraries in and around St. Louis; other public libraries may want a copy as well.
-Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Medical Lib., Tucson, AZ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joseph R Dunne on August 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While Golenbock has a stellar reputation for sports writing and the chronicling of oral sports history, and that shines through in parts of this book, he has to be embarrassed by the failure of editors to remove numerous typographical, editing, and factual errors contained in this book.

For example, in speaking of the move of the Cardinals from Sportsman's Park (by then also called Busch Stadium) to the current Busch Stadium, he states, "the new stadium meant saying goodbye to a small intimate ballpark with few amenities but great sightlines and saying hello to a gleaming metal bowl carpeted with artificial turf. . ." While it's an interesting juxtaposition, fact of the matter is, when the Cardinals moved to Busch Stadium in 1966, there was no artificial turf; the new stadium originally had natural grass. As well, when speaking of John Tudor's turnaround during the 1985 season, he tells how Tudor started the season 1-9, then won 20 of his last 21 decisions, and led the league in shutouts with 14. In fact, Tudor did win 20 of his last 21 decisions; however, he started the season 1-7 and recorded 10 shutouts in 1985. Finally, it was Greg Mathews, not Gary Mathews, who started game 1 of the 1987 NLCS for the Cardinals.
If one can accept these and other glaring errors, the "read" itself is entertaining and enjoyable for any St. Louis baseball fan. In the end, I'm left with the lingering thought of what else, if anything, is factually wrong about the accounts of the Browns and Cardinals.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R.J. on September 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Peter Golenbock is known for his oral histories of such teams as the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers, and this latest book on St. Louis baseball is a worthy addition to the collection. The Cardinals have a storied history, from Rogers Hornsby to Dizzy Dean, from Stan Musial to Bob Gibson, and from Lou Brock to Willie McGee. From a ragtag organization to one of the storied franchises in baseball, this book also details the people who owned and managed the Cards, such as Branch Rickey, Sam Breadon, Gussie Busch and Bing Devine. What makes The Spirit of St. Louis even more of a must-read for baseball fans are the sections devoted to the St. Louis Browns. The Browns were at one time the more popular St. Louis ballclub, and George Sisler was as good a player as any who played in St. Louis. Unfortunately, the Browns suffered through mediocrity, until 1944 when they won the pennant. (and played the Cardinals in the World Series!). The decline of the Browns culminating in owner Bill Veeck putting tiny Eddie Gaedel up to the plate is also of interest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Actually I'll give the book four stars for the Cardinals sections and two stars for the Browns sections. How could Peter overlook the 1922 Browns and their race for the pennant? Read the book for the Cardinal sections but don't bother if you're interested in Brownie history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Runyon on June 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the latest in a series of oral history books Peter Golenbock has written about baseball teams. It looks like this time he bit off more than he could chew. Golenbock tries to tackle the histories of both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns in one book. It would have been better if he would have split these into two books. He misses out on or glosses over several key events in Cardinal history (Musial's retirement, Torre's MVP are examples) as he tries to cram the histories of two teams in one book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Larry Underwood on January 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Growing up in suburban St Louis in the '50s and '60s, I was fortunate to have witnessed a great deal of baseball history, with great players such as Musial, Gibson, Boyer, Brock and Cepeda providing some thrilling memories; Peter Golenbock's chronicle of St Louis baseball - both the Cardinals and the Browns - is an interesting historical perspective on a highly successful franchise (the Cards) and one that was on the opposite end of the spectrum (the Browns).

Strangely enough, the Browns were the original toast of the town, winning American Association championships for four consecutive seasons back in the 1880s, led by a pack of colorful and mostly dirty ballplayers who would do anything to win; and they were quite successful in their early endeavors, led by a young Charles Comiskey, who later went on to a certain amount of notoriety as the tight wad owner of the Chicago White Sox (aka Black Sox) a few decades later. Whether or not you liked his tactics, there's no doubt he had one of the sharpest baseball minds in the history of the game.

Golenback does a worthy job of cramming an enormous amount of baseball history into his work; there was a lot to rehash, although most of the stories are fairly mundane for anyone who's followed the Cardinals for as long as I have. With 651 pages of material, he certainly packs a great deal of information for the baseball fan to digest; although the editing was sloppy at times, almost to the point of absurdity (the caption under Bing Devine's picture read "Gussie Busch", while the caption under Gussie Busch's picture read "Bing Devine"); still, the essence of the book was enjoyable, and generally informative.
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