Review: “The Summer of Beer and Whiskey” by Edward Achorn

Summer of Beer and WhiskeyIf you enjoy reading about baseball history, you often know all the names and stories of past baseball greats. Even if an author claims to have a new story of an early team, the book is often filled with commonly-known players who have been written about numerous times.

The Summer of Beer and Whiskey claims to be a new story and author Edward Achorn follows it up with a fresh, interesting story about St. Louis baseball in the 1880s.

Do you ever wonder why drinking beer is such an entrenched part of watching a baseball game? If beer didn’t exist, life would be boring, and the game of baseball may not have caught on.

If you’re a baseball fan, even if you don’t usually read books about pre-Babe Ruth baseball, you’ll find this story interesting.

Chris Von der Ahe is not a household name…at least not outside St. Louis. He was a German (Prussian born) immigrant who moved to St. Louis. He bought out a store owner and expanded the business by putting a saloon in the back.┬áVon der Ahe noticed the business picked up after baseball games.

He decided to buy the St. Louis Browns baseball team for $1,800. The team was marred in scandal before he bought the team. After the purchase, the Browns joined the American Association baseball league.

The Summer of Beer and Whiskey tells the story around Von der Ahe and the 1883 season.

You will find it interesting that baseball was seen as a vehicle to sell more beer. It was almost strictly seen as only that by many team/saloon owners.

The St. Louis Browns eventually turned into the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball history.

I’m a hardcore fan of the Chicago Cubs. I normally wouldn’t let any literature even remotely associated with the Cardinals to enter my home. I made the exception with The Summer of Beer and Whiskey.

It’s a fun story of baseball’s infancy. We should all thank Mr. Von der Ahe for keeping the sport alive…even if it was for a different purpose.

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