Book Review – "Cardinals Where Have You Gone?"

A review of Rob Rains' newest book.

I've asked best-selling author Rob Rains several times over the recent months why he hasn't been able to contribute more frequently to The Birdhouse. His answer was consistent – "I'm in the middle of writing two books". Seems reasonable. After all, Rains had penned 23 already.

The good news is that they've both come out now and are available from your local independent bookstore, the major chains such as Borders and Barnes and Noble and from the publisher www.SportsPublishingLLC.com.

The most recent, "Cardinals Where Have You Gone?" is an entertaining read for Cardinals fans who appreciate the rich history of the franchise and remember their heroes of years gone by. After all, who is more responsible for the 16 National League crowns than the players who have so proudly worn the Birds on the Bat?

Rains took the time to hunt down 38 former Redbirds, reporting on how they're living out their post-playing days in a series of highly entertaining vignettes. While most of the subjects come from the golden years of the 1960's and the Whiteyball championship 1980's, there are also a few surprises.

Every single player has an interesting story to tell, enhanced by Rains' free-flowing writing style.

The subjects range in age from a recent retiree, former 16-game winner Kent Bottenfield, who is now an aspiring Christian recording artist, to a former player close to our hearts here at The Birdhouse, 100-year-old Ray "Lee" Cunningham. The latter is the oldest former major league player alive and I'm proud to report that Birdhouse contributor Bill McCurdy and I are mentioned in that section for our roles in locating Cunningham.

In between, we learn why incredibly, Vince Coleman is in the employment of the Chicago Cubs and that you can join Todd Worrell in pheasant hunts that he organizes at his lodge in South Dakota. We find out why Garry Templeton spent two years in Gary and that recent surgery temporarily put The Zamboni off the ice.

I have to admit that I was mildly amused by the jacket, which names Ernie Broglio among "Cardinals Favorites". To most who began to follow the team after 1964, Broglio represents the flipside of what is arguably the most lopsided trade in Cardinals' history, the deal with the Chicago Cubs for Lou Brock. However, Brogio had won 18 games in 1963, and had led the National League with 21 victories in 1960, a year in which he finished third in the Cy Young voting. Broglio was, in fact, a Cardinals favorite and clearly understands and appreciates his place in Cardinals' lore.

There are many other stories to read and enjoy, but rather than summarizing them here, go out and get a copy of Rob Rains' "Cardinals Where Have You Gone?" In fact, you may want to get two copies – one for you and one for a young Cardinals fan who'd like to learn about those former warriors who laid the groundwork for Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and the rest of today's heroes.

If you'd like to meet Rains and one of his "Cardinals Where Have You Gone?" subjects, former pitcher and current WB11 Cardinals broadcaster Rick Horton, head out to the Borders on Brentwood at 7 pm on Thursday night. Rains will also be signing at the Borders in Ballwin at 1 pm Saturday with another subject from the book, former Cardinal hurler Ken Dayley.

Get your copies of "Cardinals Where Have You Gone?" signed and don't forget to tell Rob The Birdhouse sent you. You won't be sorry.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.


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