St Louis Cardinals

Fri, 07 Nov 2008 20:25

The history of the St. Louis Cardinals

Information about the MLB team St Louis Cardinals.

Also referred to as "the Cards" or "the Redbirds," the St Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are a member of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball.

Major league affiliations are the National League from 1892 to the present and the Central Division from 1994 to the present. The St. Louis Cardinals are owned by William deWitt Jr and Fred Hanser; and managed by Tony La Russa with general manager John Mozeliak.

The Cardinals were founded in the American Association in 1882 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings, the name taken from an earlier National League team. The team joined the National League in 1892 and has been known as the Cardinals since 1900. The Cardinals have a strong rivalry with the Chicago Cubs that began in 1885. They are the oldest current professional sports franchise west of the Mississippi. The Sts Louis Cardinals then became St Louis Perfectos in 1899.  It was the year after in 1900 that the team was called St. Louis Cardinals.

The team with their uniform of red, navy blue, and white, now plays at Busch stadium since 2006.   They are the first team to win the World series in their first season in a new ball park since 1923. Before moving to Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals was playing at Busch Stadium 11 also known as the Busch Memorial for 16 years from 1966 to 1982.

The team played at Robin Field from 1893 to 1920 before moving to Sportsman’s Park (111) for 46 years from 1920 to 1966. The St. Louis Cardinals initially played at Sportsman’s Park from 1882 to 1982. The Cardinals won a National League record 10 World Series championships starting 1926 to 2006. They are second to the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball who have 26. The team also won 17 NL Pennants in different years from 1926 to 2006. At least 4 AA Pennants were won in four successive years from 1885 to 1888. The 1885 series ended in dispute, but St. Louis won the 1886 series, beginning a St. Louis-Chicago rivalry that continues today.

The team clinched seven Central Division Titles, three East Division Titles in 1982, 1985 and 1987; and a wild card berth in 2001. Rogers Hornsby won two Triple Crowns with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals' fortunes began to improve in 1920 when Sam Breadon bought the club and named Branch Rickey his general manager. Rickey sold the Cardinal’s ballpark then moved to Sportsman's Park to become tenants of their American League rivals, the St. Louis Browns. Rickey used the money from the sale to pioneer the minor league farm system, which produced many great players for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals won the triple crown in 1922 and 1925, led by Rogers Hornsby. They began to improve drastically during the 1920s and won their first National League pennant in 1926. The team also defeated the heavily favored New York Yankees in seven games to win the World Series. A year after, the Cardinals fell short before claiming another pennant in 1928.

The Cardinals kept winning in the new decade, claiming back-to-back pennants in 1930 and 1931. The team matched up with the Philadelphia Athletics in both World Series, losing in 1930 but returning to win the 1931 series. Then nicknamed the Gashouse Gang for their shabby look and rough tactics, the team won the pennant and the World Series over the Detroit Tigers in 1934. Dizzy Dean won 30 games that season, the last National League pitcher to reach that mark. Joe Medwick won the triple crown in 1937.

Outfielder Stan "The Man" Musial joined the Cardinals in 1941. Musial spent 22 years in a Cardinals uniform and won three NL MVP Awards. During World War II, the Cardinals dominated the National League, winning three straight pennants from 1942–1944. In both 1943 and 1944, the team posted the second best records in team history with 105 wins.

The Cardinals lost to the Yankees in the 1943 World Series in a rematch of the previous year. The 1944 World Series was exceptionally memorable as the Cardinals met their crosstown rivals, the St. Louis Browns in the "Streetcar Series," with the Cardinals prevailing for their fifth title.
The Cardinals finished the season in 1946 tied with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but claimed the pennant in a three-game playoff series. The Cardinals then won the World Series in seven games against the Boston Red Sox. After their 1946 win, the Cardinals slid back to the middle of the National League for the next two decades.

In 1953, the Anheuser-Busch brewery bought the Cardinals and August "Gussie" Busch became team president. Busch purchased Sportsman's Park from St. Louis Browns and renamed the ballpark Busch Stadium. The Cardinals were left as the only major league team in town when, after the 1953 season, the Browns left St. Louis to become the Baltimore Orioles.

The Cardinals achieved another period of success in the 1960s with the trade of a dominating pitcher. The Cardinals traded pitcher Ernie Broglio and two other players to the rival Cubs for outfielder Lou Brock and two other players. Brock replaced Musial, who retired in 1963, in left field. Behind Brock and pitcher Bob Gibson, the Cardinals won 20 games for the first time, with the Cardinals winning the 1964 World Series over the Yankees.

In 1966 the Cardinals moved to the new Busch Memorial Stadium and hosted the MLB All-Star Game that summer. The next year, the team won the 1967 World Series over the Red Sox. Gibson pitched three complete game wins, allowing only three earned runs, and was named World Series MVP for the second time. Gibson was also MVP in 1964.

In 1968, Bob Gibson was nicknamed the "Year of the Pitcher" for the domination of  hitting throughout the majors. Gibson's earned run average of 1.12 is a live-ball era record, and he won both the NL Cy Young Award and NL MVP Award.

The Cardinals reached the 1968 World Series against the Detroit Tigers. Gibson would pitch another three complete games and set a World Series record with 35 strikeouts.

The Cardinals returned to their winning ways in 1981. Despite having the best overall record in the NL East, the Cardinals finished in second in both halves of the strike-split season. Before the 1982 season began, the Cardinals acquired via a trade, shortstop Ozzie Smith from the San Diego Padres. With Smith, and playing a form of baseball nicknamed Whiteyball after manager Whitey Herzog, the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series.

After two falls from The Royals and the Minnesota Twins, the Cardinals hit another period of success in the early 1990s. That changed in 1996 when the Cardinals hired Tony La Russa from the Oakland Athletics. The team won the NL Central that season and defeated the Padres in the NLDS.

Baseball was re-popularized in 1998. The Cardinals were the focus of the baseball world as slugging first baseman Mark McGwire broke the single season home run record by hitting 70 home runs. McGwire's pursuit of Roger Maris' record along with the Cubs' Sammy Sosa helped re-popularize baseball after the 1994 strike. McGwire’s phenomenal record brought in new young fans and re-captured lost fans.

Through the years, six Cardinals won the Rookie of the Year award: Wally Moon in 1954, Bill Virdon in 1955, Bake McBride in 1974, Vince Coleman in 1985, Todd Worrell in 1986, and Albert Pujols in 2001.

The start of the new millennium in 2000 coincided with a new era of success for the Cardinals as the team won the NL Central in six of seven years. The Cardinals fell short in the post-season in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. Though, the year 2004 spelled success for the Cardinals. The team won 105 games for the best record in baseball, defeating the Dodgers in the NLDS and the Houston Astros in a seven game NLCS to reach the 2004 World Series.

The Cardinals suffered from the Boston Red Sox, who won their first World Series in 86 years. The team made it up in winning 100 games and another Central Division title in 2005.

The Cardinals moved to the Busch Stadium in 2006, finished their inaugural season in the new Busch Stadium by winning the 2006 World Series. The team became the first team since the 1923 New York Yankees, to win the World Series in their first season in a new ballpark.

Winning only 83 games, the Cardinals defeated the San Diego Padres in the NLDS, and then the New York Mets in a seven game NLCS. In the 2006 World Series, the Cardinals faced the heavily favored Detroit Tigers, but won in five games for the franchise's tenth World Series title.