With Father’s Day just a few weeks away, I have the perfect gift idea for the St. Louis Cardinals fan Dad in your life.
Pick up a copy of Rob Rains’ new book about the importance of scouting, drafting and developing players to the Major League club’s long-term success, ”Taking Flight: The St. Louis Cardinals and the Building of Baseball’s Best Franchise”.
The foreword, written by Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog, sets the stage by illustrating for the reader the importance of home grown players to the ongoing accomplishments of this storied big-league franchise.
Rains’ prologue provides important background on the origin of the farm system as developed by Branch Rickey and Sam Breadon starting in 1925 and bridges to the greatest teacher in Cardinals history, George Kissell, originally signed by Rickey from a rural New York tryout camp in 1940.
In a series of 29 vignettes that follow, a wide variety of figures share their perspectives on what makes the Cardinals different. They begin with general manager John Mozeliak and continue with an interesting and representative cross section of executives, scouts, coaches, managers and players – both names you have heard of and others who are not well-known.
As you might expect, there is not one single thing that occurs across the organization that ensures success. It is an overall approach that strives consistency from top to bottom and stresses playing baseball “the right way”.
“Taking Flight” offers insight into the inner workings of the Cardinals front office, how and what scouting looks for in a player beyond sheer athletic talent, and the methodology for player development – including the manual known to many by its often misunderstood name, “The Cardinal Way”.
Most importantly, those who benefit directly from all of this – players themselves – offer a number of different perspectives on why they believe being a Cardinal is different and how they value the opportunity to experience it every day.
They range from a current star in Aledmys Diaz to future star Alex Reyes to a pair of 40th round draft picks in Davis Ward and Arturo Reyes to a former Naval officer in Mitch Harris and another pitcher currently in Air Force flight school, Ben Yokley.
We learn about their varied backgrounds, as well as their common successes and challenges, injuries and rehabs, with all the investments being made with a singular goal – to reach the Major Leagues and help the Cardinals continue to build their impressive accomplishments.
Get your copy of “Taking Flight” at your local bookstore or purchase it from online retailers such as Amazon. In fact, pick up two – one for you and one for Dad!
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