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The Gashouse Gang: How Dizzy Dean, Leo…
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The Gashouse Gang: How Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher, Branch Rickey, Pepper…

by John Heidenry

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An entertaining read for any baseball fan. It transcends the game, into personalities, business and social conditions, historical context, etc. The players are real human beings, warts and all, not just names on a score card. As Joe Garagiola would say, these guys didn’t run on batteries. Dizzy Dean may have been a 30-game winner but he was really just a big kid at heart. “A great big boy,” said his wife. He did have legitimate grievances, however, as no baseball team today would exploit a pitcher’s arm as the Cardinals did his. He had a right to complain of arm soreness.

This was “the most colorful team in the history of baseball,” says author Heidenry, and he has a point. With Ripper playing first base and Pepper playing third, with “The Lip” at shortstop and “The Flash” at second. With Spud behind the plate and Ducky-Wucky in the outfield, this team had some serious color! The pitching rotation mostly consisted of Dizzy and Daffy, with Tex and Wild Bill thrown in for good measure.

The first chapter is about Branch Rickey, the second is about the Dean Brothers. The rest of the book recaps the 1934 pennant race and World Series, punctuated by amusing anecdotes about the antics of a wild bunch of jokers and alpha males! A fun read for any baseball fan, especially those partial to St. Louis. Includes a photo section, index, and bibliography. ( )
  pjsullivan | Feb 28, 2016 |
Very readable baseball history. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
This is an account of the 1934 Cardinals who won the National League pennant and the World Series. The account of the season is kind of choppy and not as chronolgical as it should be, but the account ot the Series is well-done and exciting. I have only the vaguest memory of the 1934 Series--confined to a remark which I think my sister made to my dad--but many of the players in 1934 were still around in 1938 when I became a rabid baseball fan--but not a Cardinal fan. This is an enjoyable book to read. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Nov 28, 2009 |
This is a well-researched and written history of the Gashouse Gang, the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, and their championship season. Most of the book revolves around the general manager Branch Rickey, inventor of the minor league farm system, and Dizzy Dean, the eccentric, clownish and brilliant 30-game winner that year. But there are a host of colorful personalities described in this book. Heidenry is a competent historian, but he lacks the baseball jargon of Buzz Bissinger ("3 Nights in August"). I think the most amazing thing in this book was the resilience of Dizzy Dean, and to a lesser extent, his brother Paul. The two of them won nearly half the Cardinal victories that year. He was frequently used on alternate days, with occasional relief duty in between. In addition, he pitched for several exhibition games during the season, and pitched several complete games. Even for the era, this was an unheard of feat, and probably explains the brevity of his career. Dean and his brother also held the first unilateral baseball strike by players, holding out their services for a period during a pennant race. A supremely confident, clownish and talented player, was Dizzy Dean. The 1934 Cardinals team was nicknamed "The Gashouse Gang" in 1935, and the name ended with that team. I felt a particular pleasure in this book, as my Rotisserie baseball team for the last 21 years has been the Gashouse Gang. ( )
1 vote burnit99 | May 24, 2007 |
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