- Hardcover: 672 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow (February 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380976609
- ISBN-13: 978-0380976607
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,740,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Spirit of St. Louis: A History Of The St. Louis Cardinals And Browns Hardcover – February 8, 2000
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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.
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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
The book's chronology takes us through the 20th century, when Mark McGwires was still considered the King of St Louis, and the exploits of the great Albert Pujols were yet to commence; not to mention the recent postseason success the team has enjoyed during the current millennium, including the team's 2006 World Series championship; as a Cards fan, I certainly savor the team's remarkable success over the past decade.
If you're a St Louis baseball fan, this book would be a nice addition to your personal "baseball library". Although Golenbock doesn't quite hit a home run with this effort, it's still a solid base hit in my league.