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Taking Flight : The St. Louis Cardinals and the Building of Baseball's Best Franchise (Hardcover) (Rob
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While there are 30 teams in Major League Baseball, all striving to reach the World Series every year, there are very few which realistically go into any season with the actual possibility of getting there. The St. Louis Cardinals, however, have enjoyed that success with different managers, different players and different people performing key roles in the organization. Written by veteran sportswriter and Cardinals insider Rob Rains – the author of 31 books, including 17 on the Cardinals – Taking Flight will answer two basic questions – what makes the Cardinals different from other organizations, and why are they so successful? Rains will examine the organization’s minor league and scouting departments to determine how those departments interact during the course of a season and illustrating how all decisions are made with a common goal in mind – the success of the major league team. Perhaps the most important man in the history of the organization was George Kissell. Hired by Branch Rickey in 1940, Kissell would spend the next 69 years in the organization, 60 of them as a coach, instructor, and caretaker of the team’s farm system. Among the future managers who came under Kissell’s tutelage were Sparky Anderson, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and the Cardinals’ current manager, Mike Matheny. Kissell’s imprint is still everywhere on the Cardinals’ organization, nearly five years after his death. So too is the work of longtime coach and catching instructor Dave Ricketts, the man who first trained Matheny and later, Yadier Molina. It is the men such as Kissell and Ricketts, who worked for years without fame or notoriety, who helped mold the Cardinals into the franchise it is today. They are not alone.