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

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9780380976607: The Spirit of St. Louis: A History Of The St. Louis Cardinals And Browns

The Spirit of St. Louis is a glorious celebration of the Great American me, and of the city that loves it so. It is a love air that began in 1874, when a band of local boosters raised $20,000 to start a professional ballclub, and it has never waned--from the glory days of Rogers Hornsby and Grover Cleveland Alexander through the magnificent eve of Musial to Mark McGwire's record-smashing fin de millennium. But a chronicle of the accomplished National League Cardinals, who trail only the Yankees in World Series titles, wouldn't give the complete St. Louis baseball picture. For that, you need the Browns--once dubbed "First in shoes, first in booze, last in the American League"--whose own colorful exploits and personnel are stuff of sports legend.

Peter Golenbock, the bestselling author and master of the baseball oral history, has written another remarkable saga enriched by extensive and incomparable remembrances from the scores of layers, managers and executives who lived it.

You'll hear 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. Frankie Frisch, Marty Marion, Enos Slaughter: so many other voices, including The Man" himself, Stan Musial. Bing Devine. Max Lanier and Johnny Mize. Eldon Auker, Ellis Clary, Denny Galehouse and Don Gutteridge on the 1940s Browns, who finally saw some success. Bill Veeck, Jr., whose greatest promotion of all was sending 3'7" Eddie Gaedel to the plate. Brooks Lawrence, the second man across the Cardinals' color line. Jim Brosnan, the first man to break the players' "code of silence." Bill White. Nelson Briles and Tim McCarver on Bob Gibson. Marvin Miller on Curt Flood. Tommy Herr, Darrell Porter and Joe McGrane on Whitey Herzog's Cardinals. Cardinal owner Bill DeWitt, Jr., on the team today.

In the end, you'll find reading SPIRIT is akin to sifting around with a group of ballplayers reminiscing about the game, its greats and, naturally, The Life in one of America's most storied baseball towns.

THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS is a glorious celebration of the Great American Game, and of the city that loves it so.It is a love affair that began in 1874, when a band of local boosters raised $20,000 to start a professional ballclub, and it has never waned--from the glory days of Rogers Hornsby and Grover Cleveland Alexander through the magnificent eve of Musial to Mark McGwire's record-smashing fin de millennium. But a chronicle of the accomplished National League Cardinals, who trail only the Yankees in World Series titles, wouldn't give the complete St. Louis baseball picture. For that, you need the Browns--once dubbed "First in shoes, first in booze, last in the American League,"--whose own colorful exploits and personnel are stuff of sports legend.

Peter Golenbock, the best-selling author and master of the 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.

You'll hear 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. Frankie Frisch, Marty Marion, Enos Slaughter: so many other voices, including "The Man" himself, Stan Musial. Bing Devine. Max Lanier and Johnny Mize. Eldon Auker, Ellis Clary, Denny Galehouse and Don Gutteridge on the 1940s Browns, who finally saw some success. Bill Veeck, Jr., whose greatest promotion of all was sending 3'7" Eddie Gaedel to the plate. Brooks Lawrence, the second man across the Cardinals' color line. Jim Brosnan, the first man to break the players' "code of silence." Bill White. Nelson Briles and Tim McCarver on Bob Gibson. Marvin Miller on Curt Flood. Tommy Herr, Darrell Porter and Joe McGrane on Whitey Herzog's Cardinals. Cardinal owner Bill DeWitt, Jr., on the team today.

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About the Author:

Peter Golenbock is the author/co-author of seventeen books, including Wrigleyville; Wild, High and Tight. The Life and Death of Billy Martin; Bums; and the New York Times bestsellers Dynasty, The Bronx Zoo (with Sparky Lyle), Number 1 (with Billy Martin), and Balls (with Graig Nettles). Mr. Golenbock lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1The 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 New World, 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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