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The Gashouse Gang: How Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher, Branch Rickey, Pepper Martin, and Their Colorful, Come-from-Behind Ball Club Won the World Series--and America's Heart--During the Great Depression [NOOK Book]

Overview

With The Gashouse Gang, John Heidenry delivers the definitive account of one the greatest and most colorful baseball teams of all times, the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, filled with larger-than-life baseball personalities like Branch Rickey, Leo Durocher, Pepper Martin, Casey Stengel, Satchel Paige, Frankie Frisch, and—especially— the eccentric good ol' boy and great pitcher Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul.

The year 1934 marked the lowest point of the Great Depression, when the ...

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The Gashouse Gang: How Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher, Branch Rickey, Pepper Martin, and Their Colorful, Come-from-Behind Ball Club Won the World Series--and America's Heart--During the Great Depression

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Overview

With The Gashouse Gang, John Heidenry delivers the definitive account of one the greatest and most colorful baseball teams of all times, the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, filled with larger-than-life baseball personalities like Branch Rickey, Leo Durocher, Pepper Martin, Casey Stengel, Satchel Paige, Frankie Frisch, and—especially— the eccentric good ol' boy and great pitcher Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul.

The year 1934 marked the lowest point of the Great Depression, when the U.S. went off the gold standard, banks collapsed by the score, and millions of Americans were out of work. Epic baseball feats offered welcome relief from the hardships of daily life. The Gashouse Gang, the brilliant culmination of a dream by its general manager, Branch Rickey, the first to envision a farm system that would acquire and "educate" young players in the art of baseball, was adored by the nation, who saw itself—scruffy, proud, and unbeatable—in the Gang.

Based on original research and told in entertaining narrative style, The Gashouse Gang brings a bygone era and a cast full of vivid personalities to life and unearths a treasure trove of baseball lore that will delight any fan of the great American pastime.

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Editorial Reviews

Yogi Berra
If you love baseball in its glory, this book's for you.
The Wall Street Journal
The best account I've read of the St. Louis Cardinals' improbable championship season of 1934.
Boston Globe
This is a book of jubilant superlatives; a love song to old-fashioned baseball.
Washington Post Book World
Heidenry has told this familiar tale competently . . . His love for the Cardinals is obvious.
New York Daily News
Heidenry outlines . . . just how they all survived it, while making it clear why it proved so difficult to replicate.
Library Journal

"Doctors x-rayed Dizzy Dean's head and found nothing" may be one of the most apt sports one-liners known. Heidenry's stellar book x-rays the Cardinal's 1934 season, in which Dizzy Dean and a tough-hitting group won the World Series in seven games from the Tigers. The book places its baseball in the context of the Great Depression, yet any chapter will give readers an upsurge in energy as they relive the season with this gang. Recommended for all general baseball collections.


—Bob Cottrell, Margaret Heilbrun, Paul Kaplan, Gilles Renaud Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
The 1934 St. Louis Cardinals' fitful journey to baseball immortality. "Who could have thought up such a cast of characters?" asks journalist Heidenry (What Wild Ecstasy, 1997, etc.), himself a St. Louis native. "Motley crew" is far too weak a phrase for the players assembled that year by business manager Branch Rickey. As the author documents, drawing liberally on the many biographies they subsequently inspired in addition to his own research, these colorful individuals wore one uniform but were hardly of one mind or mission-at least at first. Nonpareil pitcher Dizzy Dean was the most irrepressible and, in his view, the most underpaid; his hillbilly antics masked a Machiavellian streak, and he actually went on strike in midseason. Razor-tongued bench jockey and slick fielder Leo Durocher was derided by teammates as "the All-American Out" for being a patsy at the plate. A mismatched team was the almost inevitable result of Rickey's novel approach: develop players in a captive farm system, pay 'em peanuts and trade 'em for new resources at the height of their powers. Generally credited with making modern major-league ball what it is, Rickey served as the Cardinals' principal strategist, while the appropriate tactics were figured out by field manager/second baseman Frank Frisch, the former New York Giant known as "the Fordham Flash." Picked to finish fourth, maybe third, in the National League, the Cards rallied at season's end to squeak by the favored Giants, and fans at the depth of the Depression went nuts. The World Series with the Detroit Tigers went to seven. Best piece of trivia: "Gashouse Gang," an enduring nickname of obscure origin, was applied to the bunch only in retrospect,never during the '34 season. Unstoppable underdogs, not a steroid in sight: What fan could resist?Agent: Andrew Blauner/Blauner Books Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586485986
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 3/26/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 629,485
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

John Heidenry is a native of St. Louis and was the founding editor, in 1977, of St. Louis magazine and the St. Louis Literary Supplement. He is currently the Executive Editor of The Week. The author of several previous books, he lives in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A fascinating story of the Gashouse Gang

    Yesterday I just finished reading "The Gashouse Gang" by John Heidenry all about the Deans, Medwick, Frisch and others. It's a book that you can't put down once you start. Funny and unbelievably detailed and at the same time I couldn't stop laughing thru it. So many things I didn't know about the cast of characters on that 1934 team. The relationships between the GM Branch Rickey, the Mgr Player Frankie Frisch, and the Dean brothers and other players was just so intriguing. I strongly recommend this book for all baseball fans.

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    Posted February 21, 2013

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