The heart of professional baseball, if not its roots, may be found in the American Midwest, especially in Missouri. In Seasons in the Sun, Roger D. Launius offers an excellent overview of the teams, pennant races, trials, and triumphs of the different major-league teams that have resided in the state over the years.
Since 1876, when St. Louis became a charter member of the newly formed National League, there have also been other major-league franchises from less well known leagues in St. Louis. The St. Louis major-league baseball experience is not limited to the extraordinary success and fame of the Cardinals, who have won more World Series championships than any other National League team. St. Louis also claims the excellent but short-lived Brown Stockings, the city’s first entry into the National League; the American League’s Browns, who spent most of their existence in the first half of the twentieth century at the bottom of the standings; the virtually forgotten Terriers of the Federal League in 1914-1915; and the Maroons of the pre-twentieth-century National League.
On the other side of the state, Kansas City was home to one of the premier franchises of the Negro Leagues, the Kansas City Monarchs. The Monarchs were members of the Negro National League between 1920 and 1931, and won the Negro World Series in 1924 plus a host of league championships thereafter. Independent barnstormers between 1932 and 1936, they were part of the Negro American League from 1937 to1959. In addition, Kansas City hosted the American League’s Athletics for thirteen seasons between the team’s glory years in Philadelphia and Oakland. The A’s departed in 1967, but in 1969 the Royals replaced them as Kansas City’s American League entry. The Royals contended for the pennant within three years of their creation, then won a string of division championships in the late 1970s, the American League pennant in 1980, and the World Series against the cross-state Cardinals in 1985.
Major-league baseball has a long and significant history in the state of Missouri, and Launius has done a superb job of telling its story through words and pictures. As the first work to encapsulate this rich history of statewide major-league activities, Seasons in the Sun will be welcomed by baseball fans everywhere.