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St. Louis baseball was revived with the arrival of German immigrant saloon owner Chris Von der Ahe. Cash explains how Von der Ahe, originally only interested in concession rights, purchased a controlling interest in the Brown Stockings. This riveting account follows the team after Von der Ahe's purchase, from the formation of the American Association, to its merger in 1891 with the rival National League. He chronicles Von der Ahe's monetary downturn, and the club's decline as well, following the merger.
Before They Were Cardinals provides vivid portraits of the ball players and the participants involved in the baseball war between the National League and the American Association. Cash points out significant differences, such as Sunday games and beer sales, between the two Leagues. In addition, excerpts taken from Chicago and St. Louis newspapers make the on-field contests and off-field rivalries come alive. Cash concludes this lively historical narrative with an appendix that traces the issue of race in baseball during this period.
The excesses of modern-day baseball -- players jumping contracts or holding out for more money, gambling on games, and drinking to excess; owners stealing players and breaking agreements -- were all present in the nineteenth-century sport. Players were seen then, as they are now, as an embodiment of their community. This timely treatment of a fascinating period in St. Louis baseball history will appeal to both baseball aficionados and those who want to understand the history of baseball itself.
|Prologue: Fall Festival||xi|
|Introduction: Take Me Out to the Nineteenth-Century Ball Game||1|
|Part I||The Rise and Fall of Major League Baseball in St. Louis, 1875-1877|
|1.||St. Louis versus Chicago||9|
|2.||"Champions of the West"||26|
|3.||The Collapse of the Original Brown Stockings||38|
|Part II||The Resurrection of Major League Baseball in St. Louis, 1878-1886|
|4.||Beer and Baseball||55|
|5.||Von der Ahe versus Lucas||78|
|6.||"Champions of the World"||108|
|7.||"The $15,000 Slide"||123|
|Part III||The Survival of Major League Baseball in St. Louis, 1887-1891|
|8.||Farewell to Five "Old War Horses"||151|
|9.||Browns versus Bridegrooms||171|
|10.||War and Peace||184|
|Epilogue: Farewell to Chris Von der Ahe, 1892-1899||197|
|Appendix||"Only Doing What Is Right": The Race Issue in Professional Baseball's Frontier Era||201|