Bates: Chris von der Ahe and the terrible, awful, no good, very bad year

From SABR member Mike Bates at The Hardball Times on February 16, 2018:

One of the first books I ever read to my kids was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the story of how an ungrateful and easily annoyed child receives divine justice for his refusal to stop whining. It taught them that bad things happen to everyone, so they should stop complaining about every little thing I do wrong as a father. Frankly, I think it deserves a Pulitzer.

I don’t read this book to them anymore. For one thing, my son is 11 and reading it to him would be weird. He reads his own books now about maze running or something. But, more importantly, when I want them to know that life is unfair and that bad things happen to everybody, even the rich and powerful, I tell them the story of Chris von der Ahe, der Boss President of the St. Louis Browns.

Von der Ahe, who immigrated to the United States from Prussia when he was 19, purchased the Brown Stockings (who would later become the Cardinals) in 1880 as a way to sell more beer and whiskey than he could at his saloon, cultivated St. Louis as a baseball town by turning the team into a champion, and helped to save baseball from a boring and boozeless future by co-founding the American Association.

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Originally published: February 16, 2018. Last Updated: February 16, 2018.