The Missouri Bootheel, a six-county region tucked away in the southeastern corner of the "Show-Me State," boasts a unique and intriguing history involving railroad strikes, mob lynchings, and earthquake scares, but what Mike Mitchell, who called the Bootheel home for eighteen years, remembers most is the basketball. Show-Me Kings is Mitchell's tribute to the local legends who made life in rural Missouri and the game of basketball a thrilling and memorable experience.
Mr. Rickey's Redbirds
In the history of the St. Louis Cardinals, one figure towers above all, despite never pitching an inning or taking an at-bat for the team. For decades, the club was defined by his presence – or his absence. From 1876 to 1925, three different National League teams in St. Louis never finished higher than second place. Then everything changed. The St. Louis Cardinals became the league’s most dominant team. Over a twenty-one-season period, 1926 to 1946, the Cardinals won nine pennants and six World Series titles. Branch Rickey is the biggest reason why. Rickey’s life, career, and impact are an often-told story, but the emphasis is largely on his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the story of Jackie Robinson. But even without Robinson, Rickey would still deserve a place in the Hall of Fame. That honor would be deserved because of his pioneering work with the Cardinals. No one casts a longer shadow on St. Louis baseball than Rickey. Mr. Rickey’s Redbirds, though, is not just his story. It’s the story of all the incredible players he scouted, signed, or traded and the talented executives he hired, fired, or deeply influenced over the years. It’s the story of baseball told through a city and a franchise that proudly claims more World Series titles than any other National League team.