#StLCards fans have the great fortune of a long and storied legacy from their home town ball team. Cardinals fans can revisit teams spanning the entire century for a glimpse at defining moments and legendary players in the history of the game of baseball.
On this episode of Cover the Bases we speak with Alan Ross, the author of Cardinals Glory: For the Love of Dizzy, Ozzie, and the Man, published by Turner Publishing. His book spans the history of the St. Louis Cardinals up to the 2004 season, using quotes and anecdotes collected from the players, media, fans and management to bring to life this glorious history.
Our conversation immediately starts by trying to define where Albert Pujols fits into the grand scheme of Cardinal greats, and we are both convinced that St. Louis is witnessing a pantheon type player in real time.
Alan brings up the challenges that historians will have defining the players who were playing during the steroids era, and the focus that Mark McGwire brings to the Cardinals franchise because of the controversy.
The Cardinals benefited for decades from the flagship radio station KMOX, a clear 50,000 watt station that could be heard all over the country. Many fans spent days and nights following the team through these broadcasts without ever getting a chance to see the team in person. This contributed to the mystique of the ballplayers and help propel the legacy to a much wider audience.
Alan is obviously a lover of the history of the game of baseball and we even reminisce about the old wooden ballparks, built right into the neighborhoods of the cities. They brought the teams closer to the fans, as the facilities became great shrines to the teams that they housed.
The Gashouse Gang of the 1930′s is Alan’s favorite of Cardinals history, and he wished he could get into a time capsule to see the play of Dizzy Dean, Pepper Martin, Ducky Medwich, managed by Frankie Frisch. This scrappy, “dirty” bunch played a style of baseball that won them the World Series title in 1934 over the Detroit Tigers.
We turn towards the most influential Cardinal of all, Stan “The Man” Musial. Sometimes, we lose a bit of perspective regarding the players of years past, but the beauty of baseball is that we can look at some key information that will remind us of how great a player had been. In preparation for this podcast I collected the following incredible facts - 22 seasons, 3 MVP’s, 7 Batting Championships, 3,630 hits .. and three World Series Championships!
The challenge that we have with a podcast of this nature is trying to keep it to a reasonable length, so we have to gloss over some great Cardinals eras such as the 1960′s teams that included Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver and Lou Brock. We touch quickly on the 80′s teams which included John Tudor, Keith Hernandez and we focus briefly on Ozzie Smith and his “joie de vive” as Alan puts it.
Reflecting on the great history of a team like the Cardinals, Alan makes the statement that by understanding the history of a team, it makes one a better fan. This hits the nail on the head for part of our mission here at Baseballisms.com. We hope to be able to capture small fragments of fan’s history, to help make a fuller picture of baseball. We hope to make us all better fans.
This book is part of a series that Alan has put together for many teams including the Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Cubs, and many many more. Click Here to view the entire list of 20 book in the series.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to Alan Ross for coming on the Cover the Bases podcast. For more information about what Alan is up to these days, his web site is RossMusic.net.
If you like hearing about the baseball books we profile on Cover the Bases, it might be time for you to pick up a Kindle from Amazon, so that you can take all the best Baseball Books with you no matter which stadiums you visit.
Let us know in the comments what you think about the Cover the Bases podcast. We would love to hear from you. Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message. We look forward to growing a community of fans interested in the poetry of the game of baseball!