The Boys Who Were Left Behind: The 1944 World Series Between the Hapless St. Louis Browns and the Legendary St. Louis Cardinals
John Heidenry, Brett Topel. University of Nebraska Press, $29.95 (173pp) ISBN 978-0-8032-2428-5
Heidenry (Theirs Was the Kingdom) and sportswriter Topel tell one of baseball's nearly forgotten underdog stories: the 1944 ""Streetcar Series"" that pitted the famed St. Louis Cardinals against the notorious St. Louis Browns in ""an aberration both of history and of sports."" A motley assortment of ""misfits, 4-Fs, brawlers, and drunks, and indisputably the worst team in the history of baseball,"" the Browns captured the American League pennant in a year when most of the league's talent had volunteered for military service or had been drafted. Heidenry and Topel do a remarkable job of mining original sources to write a suspenseful account of the six-day series. Readers interested in baseball and American history will appreciate how the authors place the contest in the larger context of WWII.
Reviewed on: 02/27/2006