Books | Sports

June 26, 2007

'A Poor Team With a Truly Brilliant Visionary'

Author John Heidenry on how Branch Rickey turned his cast of exploited, colorful ballplayers into a juggernaut.

Michael Myser

John Heidenry grew up in St. Louis in the shadow of Sportsman's Park and the great Cardinals and Browns baseball teams of the 1930s and 1940s. Though he wasn't born in time to see the Gashouse Gang play, he was drawn to the colorful characters and the reportedly amazing talent of the 1934 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. His assiduously-researched book focuses on the stories and clashes of the team's star pitcher Dizzy Dean, and star front-office genius Branch Rickey, but never leaves the minor players uncovered.

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- Sports
- posted on Jun 28, 07
Leo Jackson

St. Louis may have had the least drawing power of all the teams but the poor people of southern Missouri, Arkansas, northern Mississippi and west Tennessee worshiped the Cardinals, thanks to the KMOX radio station. Next to attending church on Sundays was a family gathered around radio to listen to a "Red Birds" vrs a "Cubs" game. I had a friend in Arkansas who told me his family had one of the first battery operated radios in the 1930's and his dad only let them turn it on to listen to "Red Bird" games. Neighbors would come from miles around in rural Arkansas to listen to the games at his dad's farm house. Great Q & A.

- Sports
- posted on Apr 30, 08
Jeff Klein

I am trying to find any information on my grandfather who played in the St. Louis Caridnals farm system in the mid to late 30's. His name is Frank "Honey" Jackson. He is Pompton Lakes, NJ

Article by Michael Myser

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