Holidays approach — and if your allowance account includes a St. Louis sports fan, the city’s own Reedy Press has fabricated things simple.
Bookstores now are stocking “When the Blues Go Marching In” (subtitled “An Illustrated Timeline of St. Louis Blues Hockey”) and “St. Louis Browns” (subtitled “The Story of a Beloved Team”).
But apperception you, neither book will fit in a Christmas stocking. Both are abundantly illustrated coffee-table tomes, beefy to authority but ablaze to read.
Given that the Blues abide a allotment of St. Louis, area they started in 1967, “When the Blues Go Marching In” deserves top billing.
Author Dan O’Neill is accustomed to readers of the Post-Dispatch, area the sports pages accept continued agitated his writing. For the book’s exordium and introduction, O’Neill has broke two added accustomed names.
The byline on the exordium goes to John Kelly, son of longtime Blues sportscaster Dan Kelly. The addition is by longtime arch drillmaster Scotty Bowman.
O’Neill strings his chronologically organized book amid hundreds of photos, best of them in color. O’Neill revisits lots of aerial credibility in Blues history. A sampling:
The aboriginal Blues ambition (Oct. 11, 1967), by the contrarily accustomed Larry Keenan … Organist Norm Kramer, who “didn’t aloof comedy the organ, he brought it to life, triggering foot-stomping adrenaline that became allotment of the Arena experience” … Bernie Federko’s casual the 100-point-season mark in 1981, the aboriginal Blues amateur to do so … The aboriginal bold at the Kiel Center, a 5-1 whipping of the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 26, 1995 … Brett Hull’s 500th career goal, on Dec. 22, 1996 … The Blues’ alfresco flogging of the hated Blackhawks at Busch Stadium aftermost Jan. 2.
Likewise, O’Neill recounts some abhorrent $.25 of history. Amid them:
“The Fight Night in Philly.” Back things ran amok at a bold with the Flyers on Jan. 6, 1972, somebody asked a cop what was activity on. He said, “Right now, it’s the Philadelphia badge adjoin the St. Louis Blues, and we’re winning.” … The bang abolition of the Arena on Feb. 27, 1999 … The arrest of Blues centermost Mike Danton in a murder-for-hire arrangement in April 2004.
Some readers may blow at the abridgement of captions on the photographs, although the surrounding argument makes best things clear.
Oh, one added antecedent of sighs: A affiche for that aperture division in the abatement of 1967 lists admission prices starting at $2.50 and peaking at $6.
Some adolescent Cardinals admirers may be blind that the burghal already had two baseball teams. From 1902 until the end of the 1953 season, the aggregation now accepted as the Baltimore Orioles played actuality as the St. Louis Browns.
Mostly, they played badly. Alike so, they abide a allotment of the city’s history — and, in fact, gave acceleration in 1984 to the St. Louis Browns Historical Society, with added than 400 associates today.
Among them are Bill Borst, Bill Rogers and Ed Wheatley. Together, they accept produced “St. Louis Browns,” abnormally subtitled “The Story of a Beloved Team.” (How “beloved” was a aggregation that drew alone 88,113 assemblage for the absolute home division of 1933?)
But the artwork in this Brownies bible puts some accuracy into the contrarily arid team. And alike if the best-known photo is in atramentous and white, that attempt of 3-foot, 7-inch Eddie Gaedel pinch-hitting adjoin the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 15, 1951, charcoal a bright moment in baseball history.
Gaedel had been active by Bill Veeck, who wowed the admirers aloof a few nights after with “Grandstand Manager Night,” absolution sign-holding assemblage accomplish the authoritative decisions. Curiously, they piloted the Browns to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Athletics.
The end came on Sept. 27, 1953, back the Browns absent 2-1 to the Chicago White Sox in an 11-inning game. Attendance: 3,174.
Ah, well. This abundantly illustrated assignment has its aerated moments — for example, the 1951 division of bullpen Ned Garver, who won 20 amateur (and led the aggregation with a batting boilerplate of .305).
Another aerated moment comes from a affiche assuming sportscaster Bud Blattner hoisting a beer canteen beneath a banderole that says, “Bill Blattner Says: ‘Follow the Browns with Premium Quality Falstaff!’”
Harry Levins of Manchester retired in 2007 as chief biographer of the Post-Dispatch.
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