Crossett man to present book on history of baseball in St. Louis


Jon David Cash of Crossett will review a book that he has written, “Before They Were Cardinals: Major League Baseball in Nineteenth-Century St. Louis,” at 10 a.m. Saturday in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church, 6501 S. Hazel St.

Cash is the son of the late David Cash and the late Hazel Hancock Cash of Crossett, where he spent all of his early life, attending the public school system and playing Little League baseball in the summertime. His love of the St. Louis Cardinals dates back to the summers of 1967 and 1968 when he regularly appeared in the starting lineup of the Cardinals Little League team in Crossett’s Maple Street League while concurrently the major-league Cardinals were winning consecutive National League pennants and winning the 1967 World Series.

After graduating with high honors from Crossett High School, Cash attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, earning bachelor’s degrees in history and political science and a master’s degree in history. He soon entered the doctorate program in U.S. history at the University of Oregon, where his research interests in baseball history were encouraged by professor Richard Maxwell Brown, then the Beekman Chair of Northwest and Pacific History. While attending the University of Oregon, Cash played on intramural softball teams that won playoff championships in both the men’s and co-ed classifications and completed his doctorate with a doctoral dissertation on major league baseball in 19th century St. Louis.

Then, working with the University of Missouri Press to fulfill his dream of publication, Cash conducted additional research and significantly revised his dissertation. The book was published in 2002 and nearly a year later, the Society for American Baseball Research recognized his work as a 2003 finalist for the Seymour Medal, awarded to the best book of baseball history or biography.

“Before They Were Cardinals” explores the origins of major league baseball in St. Louis in the last quarter of the 19th century and delves into important on-field contents and off-field rivalries. He spends considerable time on the excellent but short-lived Brown Stockings, the city’s first entry into the National League.

Cash has taught at six different colleges, including the University of Arkansas at Monticello and South Arkansas Community College at Crossett.

Following the review, hand-made door prizes will be furnished by Anna Bess Westerfield and refreshments will be furnished by the friends of the library.