Bill Nunes was browsing the supply of St. Louis Cardinals books at the Fairview Heights Barnes and Noble while doing a signing for his 20th book, when he noticed that there weren’t any Cardinals’ history books.
“If you have been a Cardinals fan for a long time, wouldn’t you like to relive some memories?” Nunes asked himself.
With that, Nunes was off and running on his 21st book. The Glen Carbon resident has sold more than 75,000 copies of his books over the years.
“The St. Louis Cardinals 1926-2013: An Illustrated History” is not a comprehensive history, but more of a fun book, that tells the story of the St. Louis Cardinals on a year-by-year basis, with anecdotes, statistics and the main players each year, Nunes said. The book begins in 1926 because that was the first year the Cardinals won the World Series. It is also very difficult to gather records from earlier years, Nunes said.
The Cardinals started as the Brown Stockings in 1882, before changing their name to the Browns in 1883. Their name was changed to the Perfectos for the 1899 season before finally becoming the Cardinals in 1900. The Milwaukee Brewers, of the American Association, moved to St. Louis in 1902 and re-dubbed themselves the Browns, giving St. Louis two teams. The Browns moved to Baltimore before the 1954 season and became the Orioles.
Nunes is a one-time Collinsville High School Social Studies teacher. He began teaching at CHS in 1964 and was at the school while Harry Parker, who would later pitch for the Cardinals, Mets and Indians, was a student.
One of Nunes’ favorite memories from writing the book was an aborted interview with Cardinals Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog. Nunes recounts in the book that he had written Herzog a letter requesting an interview. The letter asked for one hour of Herzog’s time and explained that the book was nearing completion.
When Herzog answered Nune’s phone call, he immediately asked how long the interview would last. Informed that it would be about one hour, Herzog was not impressed. “I guess you want me to write the book for you,” Herzog said.
The interview went on to shakier ground when Nunes questioned why Herzog traded Andy VanSlyke. It ended abruptly when Nunes asked, “What was it about Ted Simmons that just drove you nuts?”
Despite the gruff reception and the aborted interview, Nunes holds no hard feelings toward Herzog. “Maybe he was just having a bad day,” Nunes said.
Nunes will be at the Barnes and Noble in Fairview Heights from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday for a book signing.
“The St. Louis Cardinals 1926-2013: An Illustrated History” is available at Barnes and Noble in Fairview Heights, on Amazon.com and at Don Rodgers Ltd. Clothing store in Belleville. Books can also be bought directly from Nunes. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.