The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns


No metropolis in America has more pure baseball spirit than St. Louis, Missouri. It's a love affair that began in 1874, when a band of local boosters raised $20,000 to start a professional ball club, and the honeymoon still isn't over. Now Peter Golenbock, the bestselling author and master of baseball oral history, has written another remarkable saga enriched by extensive and incomparable remembrances from the scores of players, managers, and executives who lived it.

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The Spirit of St. Louis: A History Of The St. Louis Cardinals And

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No metropolis in America has more pure baseball spirit than St. Louis, Missouri. It's a love affair that began in 1874, when a band of local boosters raised $20,000 to start a professional ball club, and the honeymoon still isn't over. Now Peter Golenbock, the bestselling author and master of baseball oral history, has written another remarkable saga enriched by extensive and incomparable remembrances from the scores of players, managers, and executives who lived it.

These pages capture the voices of Branch Rickey on George Sisler. Rogers Hornsby and his creation of the farm system. Hornsby on Grover Cleveland Alexander -- and Alexander on Hornsby. Dizzy Dean on -- who else? -- Dizzy Dean. And so many others including "The Man" himself, Stan Musial; Eldon Auker, Ellis Clary, Denny Galehouse, and Don Gutteridge on the 1940s Browns; Brooks Lawrence, the second man to cross the Cardinals' color line; Jim Bronsnan, the first man to break the players' "code of silence"; Tommy Herr, Darrell Porter, and Joe McGrane on Whitey Herzog's Cardinals; and Cardinal owner Bill DeWitt, Jr., on the team today.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Though the Rams and Blues have recently stole the headlines, St. Louis is first and foremost a baseball city. The Spirit of St. Louis is a rich history of baseball in St. Louis, from the Brownstockings arrival over one hundred years ago to Marc McGwire's recent home run rampage. Rogers Hornsby, Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial, Eddie Gaedel, Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, and Whitey Herzog are among the legends featured in the 71 chapters and 600+ pages.
Bob Costas
Peter Golenbock has been aprolific chronicler of baseball andits most colorful teams.In this book, St. Louis' richbaseball history is vividly renderedwith insight, humor and affection.
Bob Costas
Peter Golenbock has been a prolific chronicler of baseball and its most colorful teams. In this book, St. Louis' rich baseball history is vividly rendered with insight, humor and affection.
NBC Sports
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380798803
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 229,041
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Golenbock

Peter Golenbock is one of the nation's best-known sports authors and has written some of the bestselling sports books of the last thirty years. He recently completed cowriting an autobiography of Tony Curtis and is currently working on a biography of George Steinbrenner. Five of his books have been New York Times bestsellers. Golenbock's first job was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Founding

Long before the coming of the white man, a hunting party of Fox Indians from the Algonquin tribe spied a caravan of rival Sioux paddling large canoes on a wide river. That night, sitting around the campfire and discussing what they had seen, the Fox warriors discussed their sighting of the "Missouri" — "the Big Canoe People" -who were camped where the river converged with another powerful body of water.

To the smaller of the two rivers they gave the same name, "Missouri," and to the other the name "Mesisi-piya," which in Fox meant "the Big River."

The Indians had this fertile expanse of land to themselves until whites began settling in the area in 1763. Two Frenchmen, Pierre LaClede and Auguste Chouteau, opened a fur-trading post in a log cabin on the west bank of the Mesisi-piya, ten miles downstream from where the mighty Missouri and Mississippi meet.

Back East, wearing a tall hat made of beaver was a sign of elegance. The Indians had an abundance of beaver, for whose pelts the European traders swapped cloth, tobacco, beads, knives, and whiskey. Gradually a village would grow around LaClede and Chouteau's post. It would be named St. Louis in honor of the Crusader King of France, Louis IX.

After explorations by Frenchmen Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, the French claimed territory along the Mississippi stretching from New Orleans at the mouth of the river north over an endless tract of wilderness spreading as far west as the Rocky Mountains and north as Montana. Napoleon 1, who ruled France, had intended this land, called the Louisiana Territory, to be France's stronghold in the NewWorld, but he was in a war with England and knew his army's power in the New World was shaky. To consolidate his position, he planned to subdue the rebellious slaves of Haiti, make the Dominican Republic his base of operation from which he would send troops to New Orleans, and then take control of the Louisiana Territory.

President Thomas Jefferson warned Napoleon I that if French troops stepped foot onto Louisiana Territory soil, it would be tantamount to a declaration of war. He asked Napoleon I to cede New Orleans to the United States to prevent any conflict. Napoleon I demurred, but when he lost 40,000 of his best troops in Haiti in a futile attempt to quell a slave rebellion, Napoleon I saw his dreams of empire in the New World crushed. He decided it would be wisest to sell France's land holdings in North America even at a bargainbasement price rather than stand by and watch the Americans take them from him.

In July of 1803, Jefferson negotiated a deal to buy the 828,000 acres of the Louisiana Purchase for $15 million, doubling the size of the United States overnight. France received some much-needed cash, and Napoleon I could take some solace in knowing he had strengthened the United States against their mutual enemy: the hated English. In 1819, when the first steamboat, the Zebulon Pike, docked along the wharf, St. Louis had 1,400 inhabitants. These were traders and trappers, many of whom toiled for the St. Louis Fur Company.

By 1850, St. Louis's population had grown to 160,000, including 40,000 Germans fleeing poverty and religious persecution. When gold was discovered in California in 1848, St. Louis became the jumping-off point for thousands of westward-bound adventurers. River traffic grew. Six major rail terminals were built. In 1874 the Eads Bridge was built across the Mississippi River, spurring new railroad construction westward. It wasn't long before nineteen major railroads chugged in and out of St. Louis. By 1870, 310,000 inhabitants had transformed the little trading post into the nation's fourth-largest city.

Among the men who first traveled to St. Louis was a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Baptiste Charles Lucas. He had graduated with distinction from the University of Caen in France, and after going to law school in Paris had become friendly with a man by the name of Roy de Chaumont. Through him Lucas made the acquaintance of the American ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin. Chaumont was coming to America to live, and at Franklin's urging, Lucas decided to accompany him. Lucas arrived in the States bearing a flattering recommendation from Franklin.

In 1801 one of Franklin's closest friends, President Thomas Jefferson, recruited Lucas to go on a mission. Napoleon I was waging war in Haiti. If he won, his next target would be the United States. He asked Lucas to personally investigate the conditions west of the Mississippi to ascertain the temper of the French and Spanish residents of Louisiana. Would they side with the French or with the Americans if war came? Jefferson appointed him one of the judges of the territory and made him land commissioner.

Lucas traveled by horseback to the fledgling outpost in 1805. Once there, Lucas foresaw St. Louis's future greatness, and he invested heavily in real estate. The war that came was against the British, not the French, and after the British were repulsed, the land boom that followed the War of 1812 enabled him to sell less than a quarter of his substantial holdings for twenty times his investment. At the time of his death in 1843, J.-B.C. Lucas had become a very rich man.

Judge Lucas was survived by his only remaining son, James, and a daughter. James Lucas expanded the family's real estate holdings during the 1850s by developing Lucas Place, the most exclusive residential district in St. Louis. He would go on to own the greater part of the city's entire business district. Upon his death in November of 1873, he left more than $1 million to each of his seven children.

Two of his sons, J.-B.C. Lucas II and Henry V. Lucas, would spend part of their inheritance to start professional baseball teams in separate leagues. And for almost eighty years hence, two St. Louis teams would pull and tug for the loyalty of the citizenry.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xv
The Browns
Chapter 1 The Founding 3
Chapter 2 Chris Von der Ahe: The Beer Baron 9
Chapter 3 Charlie Comiskey's Hoodlums 19
Chapter 4 A Disputed Championship 26
Chapter 5 Henry Lucas's Ill-Fated Maroons 30
Chapter 6 The $15,000 Wager 35
Chapter 7 Four-in-a-Row Champions 46
Chapter 8 The Demise of Von der Ahe 51
Chapter 9 The Arrival of Mr. Rickey 56
Chapter 10 Phil Ball's Fatal Mistake 69
The Cardinals
Chapter 11 Rickey Resurrects the Cardinals 81
Chapter 12 Rajah Delivers a Pennant 95
Chapter 13 Alexander's Magic Moment 108
Chapter 14 The Rajah Is Sent Packing 118
Chapter 15 Casualties 122
Chapter 16 Rickey vs. Landis 129
Chapter 17 Early Dean 132
Chapter 18 Pepper's Year 138
Chapter 19 Gabby Cuts His Own Throat 151
Chapter 20 Travels with Branch 165
Chapter 21 Dizzy Goes on Strike 167
Chapter 22 A Total Surprise 181
Chapter 23 The Tiger Fans Throw Garbage 188
Chapter 24 The Gashouse Gang 195
Chapter 25 The Gang Breaks Up 203
Chapter 26 Landis Gets His Revenge 211
Chapter 27 Southworth Returns 218
Chapter 28 Max 229
Chapter 29 Number 6 233
Chapter 30 The Drought Ends 239
Chapter 31 Rickey Departs 247
Chapter 32 Three in a Row 250
The Browns
Chapter 33 Ball's Players 267
Chapter 34 Barnes Builds His Team 274
Chapter 35 Luke 283
Chapter 36 1944 293
Chapter 37 In the Series 305
Chapter 38 The Pete Gray Era 309
Chapter 39 Down and Down 320
Chapter 40 Bill Veeck and the Midget 326
Chapter 41 Grandstand Manager's Night 333
Chapter 42 Rogers's Short Stay 339
Chapter 43 Characters 343
Chapter 44 Memories of Satch 347
Chapter 45 Sayonara, Browns 352
The Cardinals
Chapter 46 Escape to Mexico 361
Chapter 47 Slaughter's Mad Dash 372
Chapter 48 Fallout from the First 379
Chapter 49 The Saigh Era 388
Chapter 50 Gussie 398
Chapter 51 Early Integration 407
Chapter 52 Der Bingle 415
Chapter 53 The Professor 422
Chapter 54 Civil Unrest 431
Chapter 55 The Return of Mr. Rickey 443
Chapter 56 1964 452
Chapter 57 Gashouse Gang Redux 464
Chapter 58 The Passing of a Legend 470
Chapter 59 Roger and "Cha-Cha" 476
Chapter 60 World Champions 488
Chapter 61 The Intimidator 493
Chapter 62 Gussie vs. the Players 502
Chapter 63 Gussie's Pique 512
Chapter 64 Enter Whitey 526
Chapter 65 Darrell's Redemption 539
Chapter 66 A Pennant Surprise 550
Chapter 67 Magrane's Year 564
Chapter 68 One Game Away 572
Chapter 69 Whitey's Last Stand 578
Chapter 70 A New Regime 582
Chapter 71 God 591
Notes 601
Bibliography 629
Index 633
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2002

    Another Very Good Baseball Book

    The Sprit of St.Louis is about the history of The St.Louis Cardinals and St.Louis Browns. The St.Louis Browns are now the Baltimore Orioles. Baseball started in 1876 with the Brown and is still going with the Cardinals. The book talks about the history from 1876 to 1998. There have been many, many Hall of Famers from Ozzie Smith to Lou Brock to Dizzy Dean to Stan Musial to Bob Gibson and many more. They had the best World Series teams during the Forties with 4 World Series Titles in 1942,1943,1944,1946. There Have been many records that been broken by Cardinal and Browns like most homeruns in a season, and the Shortest player in the Majors. Well if you Like baseball infomation read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2001

    relive history

    I've been a Cardinals fan my whole life. I'm still pretty young and my early childhood memories include crying after they lost the 87 series and watching Ozzie do backflips. I've known the names of the past but not the stories. This book allowed me to experiance the rich history of the Cards. It was a joy for me to sit down with my grandpa and discuss Dizzy Dean and Stan the Man.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

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