The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game

The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game

by Edward Achorn

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Overview

Chris von der Ahe knew next to nothing about base¬ball when he risked his life's savings to found the franchise that would become the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet the German-born beer garden proprietor would become one of the most important—and funniest—figures in the game's history.

Von der Ahe picked up the team for one reason—to sell more beer. Then he helped gather a group of ragtag professional clubs together to create a maverick new league that would fight the haughty National League, reinventing big-league baseball to attract Americans of all classes. Sneered at as “The Beer and Whiskey Circuit” because it was backed by brewers, distillers, and saloon owners, their American Association brought Americans back to enjoying baseball by offering Sunday games, beer at the ballpark, and a dirt-cheap ticket price of 25 cents.

The womanizing, egocentric, wildly generous Von der Ahe and his fellow owners filled their teams' rosters with drunks and renegades, and drew huge crowds of rowdy spectators who screamed at umpires and cheered like mad as the Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns fought to the bitter end for the 1883 pennant.

In The Summer of Beer and Whiskey, Edward Achorn re-creates this wondrous and hilarious world of cunning, competition, and boozing, set amidst a rapidly transforming America. It is a classic American story of people with big dreams, no shortage of chutzpah, and love for a brilliant game that they refused to let die.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610392600
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 04/30/2013
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Edward Achorn, a journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist for Distinguished Commentary, is is the deputy editorial pages editor of the Providence Journal and author of Fifty-Nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had. He has won numerous writing awards and his work appears in The Best Newspaper Writing, 2007–2008. His reviews of books on American history appear frequently in the Weekly Standard. He lives in Barrington, Rhode Island.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Love Affair xi

Chapter 1 In the Big Inning 1

Chapter 2 The Beer and Whiskey Circuit 19

Chapter 3 The Minstrel Star 39

Chapter 4 The Moses of St. Louis 53

Chapter 5 The Shrimp 69

Chapter 6 Who's in Charge? 83

Chapter 7 The $300 Special 99

Chapter 8 Base Ball Mad 115

Chapter 9 First-Class Drunkards 137

Chapter 10 Cap Anson's Nightmare 151

Chapter 11 Flinging the Watch 169

Chapter 12 Jumping Jack 183

Chapter 13 Hurricane in St. Louis 197

Chapter 14 Limping Home 219

Chapter 15 A Great Boom for Base Ball 229

Epilogue: When They Slide Home 243

Acknowledgments 261

Appendix: American Association, 1883 265

Notes 269

Sources 293

Index 299

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Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked 59 in 84......you'll love this book. It puts you back in time to 1883 and a whole new look on the birth of the American league. Great reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book!