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<DIV>Chris Von der Ahe knew next to nothing about baseball when he risked his life’s savings to found the St. Louis Browns, the franchise that would become the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet the German-born beer garden proprietor would become one of the most importantand funniestfigures in the game’s history.<BR><BR>Von der Ahe picked up the team for one reasonto sell more beer. Then he helped gather a group of ragtag clubs into a maverick new league that would fight the haughty National League. Sneered at as The Beer and Whiskey Circuit,” their American Association ended up revitalizing the sport, bringing Americans of all classes back to the ballpark. Their recipe: Sunday games, booze, 25-cent-tickets, with teams comprised of exciting, renegade, and often drunk, players.<BR><BR>Edward Achorn re-creates this wondrous and hilarious world and illuminates a long-forgotten turning point in American baseball history.<BR></DIV>