Publishers Weekly, 2007-01-01 Heidenry (The Boys Who Were Left Behind) offers a thorough if occasionally dry account of the "immortal, implausible, impossible gang of ballplayers known officially as the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals." The author draws on a wealth of books and publications to tell how a visionary named Branch Rickey invented the idea of using a farm system of minor league baseball clubs to develop talent, and then forged an unlikely, low-budget contender in a city far from the sport's Eastern power base. Rickey's team became known as the Gashouse Gang, owing to its role as a ragamuffin bunch with an indomitable spirit to whom Americans in the Depression could relate. The straightforward, detailed storytelling can make for some dull reading, particularly in the beginning, when Heidenry meticulously lays out the background of Rickey and the club. But anecdotes about the Cardinals' memorable characters, who included Leo "the Lip" Durocher, Casey Stengel, Pepper Martin and brothers Dizzy and Paul Dean, liven things up considerably. Dizzy takes center stage in the book, whether scheming new ways to get more money from management or mouthing off to the press. Baseball fans will appreciate this comprehensive look at the oddball pitcher and the team he led to glory. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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