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Reviewing the new book Wild Cards: The St. Louis Cardinals Stunning 2011 Championship Season

The first thing that struck me when opening Wild Cards, the new softcover book about the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2011 World Series title, was the photos. At least half of the book of over 120 pages is made up of some very striking images of the team and its most compelling figures. These aren’t tiny photos, but crystal-clear, 8 ½ by 11 inch, full-page shots, drawn from the Associated Press library.

What better way to remember the most surprising of seasons than by its images? The cover photo shows Jason Motte’s exhilaration after securing the final out with the final one a unique shot from above of the pileup near the mound as the Cardinals defeated the Brewers in the NLCS. The rear cover image captures the jubilation of the entire squad as the World Championship was secured.

To be fair, Wild Cards is much more than a photo piece. Veteran author and sportswriter Rob Rains tells the story of the Cardinals amazing 2011 season in four most-logical chapters – the Regular Season, NLDS, NLCS and World Series. As one would expect, the articles are expertly written and enhanced by generous inclusion of quotes from the news-makers themselves.

One doesn’t have to wait until the final chapter to re-live the ending. In a bit of a surprise, the World Series chapter is presented first. Like the other post-season sections, each contest is covered individually, along with stories on key events such as Albert Pujols’ three-home run game as well as features on Motte and World Series MVP David Freese.

The Regular Season section begins with the Adam Wainwright surgery, captures the excitement of Opening Day, notes the physical problems of Tony La Russa, Pujols and Matt Holliday, the bullpen struggles, Lance Berkman’s re-emergence, the July trades, and of course, the home stretch, during which the Cardinals came back from a huge deficit, coining the term “Happy Flights” along the way.

Already in its second printing, Wild Cards should make a perfect holiday gift for any Cardinals fan on your list. But, consider this advice. Make sure you also grab a keepsake copy for yourself.

As The Cardinal Nation Blog reader “friendmouse” posted here recently, “…I ordered and just received today, Rob Rains’ book Wild Cards, and it is EXCELLENT! It’s well worth the money.”

Wild Cards: The St. Louis Cardinals Stunning 2011 Championship Season, is available through the Triumph Books website and, digitally on the iBookstore, the Kindle Store and, and in bookstores for just $14.95.

Note: While you are here at The Cardinal Nation Blog, make sure you register for our free, World Series Highlights DVD sets giveaway.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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3 Responses to “Reviewing the new book Wild Cards: The St. Louis Cardinals Stunning 2011 Championship Season”

  1. friendmouse says:

    Good point about the “keepsake copy for yourself,” as the one I ordered was intended to be a Christmas gift for my son…and now I’m having second thoughts about giving it away! Since I have three sons…all of whom love the Cardinals (as does my daughter!), I suppose the prudent / generous thing to do would be to order one each for all. Then, there’ll be less fighting and more Christmas Cheer! (I wonder if there’s a discount for orders of 5 or more?).

  2. Kansasbirdman says:

    You’ve sold me Brian! I think I will be able to get my shopping done for several this year (my mom’s family is all from St. Louis). This may be the first year that I actually get my shopping done before the 20th of December (as opposed to just starting then, I am, a guy after all).

    Also, you said there were large color photos and a section on Waino’s surgery. That could be interesting… 🙂

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