| Detailed Book Review
|Chris Von der Ahe and the St. Louis Browns
|By J. Thomas Hetrick
|Bearing uncanny similarity to the iron-willed personas of contemporary baseball owners such as Marge
Schott and George Steinbrenner, Von der Ahe was embroiled in legal battles and baseball disputes
throughout the 1880s that culminated in his own kidnapping and his stadium being burned to the ground.
Such a financial disaster is only one of the many bizarre events discussed in this insightful and
evocative biography of one of America’s early baseball owners.
Chris Von der Ahe emigrated from
Germany to the United States in 1867 and settled in St. Louis, Missouri. Starting out as a clerk in a
grocery store, he soon succeeded in buying the grocery store and establishing a saloon in the back.
Although Von der Ahe had no special interest in sports, he did notice that fans liked to drop by after a
ball game and have a beer. Seeing a natural link between baseball and his saloon, Von der Ahe sponsored
an American Association baseball team called the St. Louis Browns, the head of a lineage that includes
the present day St. Louis Cardinals. Although the American Association lasted for only ten years, Von der
Ahe’s Browns captured the pennant four years in a row. This roller-coaster ride through early American
baseball makes for a story of luck, pluck, and bravado.
Chris Von der Ahe and the St. Louis Browns is also available as an e-book for Amazon Kindle.
|Book Review Details:
|Reviewed Appeared In: Elysian Fields Quarterly
|Reviewed By: Elysian Fields Quarterly
|Text Of Review: ...Hetrick tells a great story...
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