Is it possible to write a book in 15 days? I am here to tell you it is because that is exactly what I did in September 2007. I was stunned after returning from the Philippines and being laid off from my job at the law firm in northwest Austin. Furthermore, I knew this was my final go-round with the Trivia Teasers. I had more pressing issues, but contractual obligations spoke loudly so I researched and wrote like a bat out of h-e-double toothpicks. Fifteen days from start to finish, and I honestly do not think the book suffered. If anything, it was better than those I had done earlier—the Yanks and BoSox, for example. I had so completely mastered the formula that it was not hard to write well and quickly. Mike Nucklebone, managing editor at Big Earth, was never the wiser.
No doubt, the St. Louis Cardinals have a long and proud history. Off the top of my head, I can name quite a few of their fine players: Bob Gibson (featured on the cover), Jim “Ripper” Collins, Dal Maxvill, Bob Forsch, Ray Washburn, Dizzy Dean, Chris Carpenter, Wally Moon, Bill Virdon, Joe Torre, Tom Alston (the Cards’ first black player), Todd Worrell, Joe “Ducky” Medwick, Lon Warneke, Vince Coleman, Jim Bottomley, Mark Whiten, Lou Brock, Stan “the Man” Musial, Bruce Sutter, Enos “Country” Slaughter, Ozzie Smith, Billy Southworth, Frankie Frisch, Johnny Mize, Steve Carlton, Roger Bresnahan, Orlando Cepeda, Roger Connor, Leo Durocher (famed more for his managing than playing, as are Red Schoendienst and Walter Alston), Dennis Eckersley, Burleigh Grimes, Charles “Dazzy” Vance, Ken Boyer, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Julian Javier, Nelson Briles, Tim McCarver, Alvin Dark, Don Blasingame, Grover Cleveland Alexander (bless his drunken heart), Harvey Haddix, Harry “the Cat” Brecheen, Joe Garagiola, Marty Marion, Rogers Hornsby (the great “Rajah”), Max Lanier, Pepper Martin and Cliff Heathcote. A current player, first baseman Albert Pujols, may turn out to be St. Louis’ best ever if he maintains for a few more years and is not proven to be all roided-up like the aforementioned McGwire.
The Cardinals have won 17 National League pennants and 10 World Series titles–most recently in 2006–,and fans in the Gateway City love them. I once knew a man, Jack Faszholz, who labored in the minor leagues for season after season and had a “cup of coffee” with the Cardinals circa 1953. They have had some interesting owners, such as Chris von der Ohe, Sam Breadon, Fred Saigh (sent to the graybar hotel for income tax evasion) and Augie Busch. The Redbirds have played at facilities such as Sportsman’s Park, Robison Field and Busch Stadium, of which there have been two. All this and more was covered in the book.
It was kind of nice having three books (White Sox, Browns and Cards) published simultaneously. I celebrated on a sunny afternoon in May 2008 at a restaurant around the corner from my apartment in Daegu. If I remember correctly, I had the waitress take a photograph of me smiling and holding all three. I was through with the Wisconsin idiots, but I had already begun work on some other pro sports history books based on essentially the same format.