The St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball as a member club of the National League Central division. Since the 2006 season, the Cardinals have played their home games at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis. One of the nation’s oldest and most successful professional baseball clubs, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, the most of any NL team and second in Major League Baseball only to the New York Yankees. The team has won 19 National League pennants, third-most of any team. St. Louis has also won 15 division titles in the East and Central divisions.
In 1881, entrepreneur Chris von der Ahe purchased the Brown Stockings barnstorming club, renamed it the St. Louis Browns, and made it a charter member of the American Association baseball league. The team won four league championships, qualifying them to play in the era’s professional baseball championship series, a forerunner of the modern World Series. In two of these championships, the Browns met the Chicago White Stockings, now the Chicago Cubs, launching the enduring Cardinals–Cubs rivalry.
In 1892, the Browns – also called the Perfectos – joined the National League. In 1900, the team was renamed the Cardinals.
Notable Cardinals achievements include manager/owner Branch Rickey’s invention of the farm system, Rogers Hornsby’s two batting Triple Crowns, Dizzy Dean’s 30-win season in 1934, Stan Musial’s 17 Major League Baseball and 29 NL records, Bob Gibson’s 1.12 earned run average in 1968, Whitey Herzog’s Whiteyball, Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record in 1998, the 2011 championship team’s unprecedented comebacks, and Albert Pujols’ 700th home run. The Cardinals have won 105 or more games in four seasons and won 100 or more nine times. Cardinals players have won 20 league MVPs, four batting Triple Crowns, and three Cy Young Awards. Baseball Hall of Fame inductees include Lou Brock, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Whitey Herzog, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Medwick, Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Branch Rickey, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Ted Simmons, and Bruce Sutter.
In 2018, Forbes valued the Cardinals at $1.9 billion, the 7th-highest among Major League Baseball clubs and far more than the $147 million paid in 1995 by owner William DeWitt, Jr.’s investment group. In 2017, the team took in revenue of $319 million on an operating income of $40.0 million. John Mozeliak is the President of Baseball Operations, Mike Girsch is the general manager and Oliver Marmol is the manager. The Cardinals are renowned for their strong fan support: despite being in one of the sport’s mid-level markets, they routinely see attendances among the league’s highest, and are consistently among the top three in Major League Baseball in local television ratings.
Through 2022, the Cardinals’ all-time win-loss record is 11,131–10,232.
Before the Cardinals
Professional baseball began in St. Louis with the inception of the Brown Stockings in the National Association in 1875. The NA folded following that season, and the next season, St. Louis joined the National League as a charter member, finishing in third place at 45–19. George Bradley hurled the first no-hitter in Major League history. The NL expelled St. Louis from the league after 1877 due to a game-fixing scandal and the team went bankrupt. Without a league, they continued play as a semi-professional barnstorming team through 1881.
The magnitudes of the reorganizations, following the 1877 and 1881 seasons, are such that the 1875–1877 and 1878–1881 Brown Stockings teams are not generally considered to share continuity as a franchise with the current St. Louis Cardinals.
American Association and early National League eras
For the 1882 season, Chris von der Ahe purchased the team, reorganized it, and made it a founding member of the American Association, a league to rival the NL. 1882 is generally considered to be the first year of existence for the franchise which would later become known as the St. Louis Cardinals.
The next season, St. Louis shortened their name to the Browns. Soon thereafter they became the dominant team in the AA, as manager Charlie Comiskey guided St. Louis to four pennants in a row from 1885 to 1888. Pitcher and outfielder Bob Caruthers led the league in ERA and wins in 1885 and finished in the top six in both in each of the following two seasons. He also led the AA in OBP and OPS in 1886 and finished fourth in batting average in 1886 and fifth in 1887. Outfielder Tip O’Neill won the first batting triple crown in franchise history in 1887 and the only one in AA history. By winning the pennant, the Browns played the NL pennant winner in a predecessor of the World Series. The Browns twice met the Chicago White Stockings — the predecessor to the Chicago Cubs — tying one in a heated dispute and winning the other, thus spurring the vigorous St. Louis-Chicago rivalry that ensues to this day. During the franchise’s ten seasons in the AA, they compiled an all-time league-high of 780 wins and.639 winning percentage. They lost just 432 contests while tying 21 others. As the “Perfectos”, the team wore their jersey with a cardinal red trim and sock striping.
In 1902, an American League team moved from Milwaukee into St. Louis, renamed themselves the St. Louis Browns and built a new park on the site of the Cardinals’ old stadium, striking a rivalry that lasted five decades. Breadon bought a minority interest in the Cardinals in 1917 and in 1919 Browns manager Branch Rickey joined the Cardinals. The Cardinals’ first 28 seasons in the NL were a complete reversal of their stay in the AA – with a.406 winning percentage, they compiled 1,632 wins, 2,425 losses and 74 ties. With Rogers Hornsby at second base, he claimed Triple Crowns in 1922 and 1925, and the Cardinals won the 1926 World Series, their first. St. Louis then won the league in 1928, 1930, and 1931 and the 1931 World Series. Dizzy Dean led the Gang, winning the 1934 MVP, and leading the NL multiple times in wins, strikeouts, innings, complete games and shutouts. Johnny Mize and Joe Medwick emerged as two power threats, with Medwick claiming the last Triple Crown for a Cardinal in 1937.
In the 1940s, a golden era emerged as Rickey’s farm system became laden with such talent as Marty Marion, Enos Slaughter, Mort Cooper, Walker Cooper, Stan Musial, Max Lanier, Whitey Kurowski, Red Schoendienst and Johnny Beazley. It was one of the most successful decades in franchise history with 960 wins and 580 losses for a winning percentage higher than any other Major League team at.623. With Billy Southworth managing, they won the World Series in 1942 and 1944, and won 105 or more games each in 1942, 1943, and 1944. Musial was considered the most consistent hitter of his era and most accomplished in team history, winning three MVPs and seven batting titles. St. Louis then won the 1946 World Series on Slaughter’s Mad Dash in Game 7. Breadon was forced to sell the team in 1947 but won six World Series and nine NL pennants as Cardinals owner. spurring the Browns’ departure in 1953 to Baltimore to become the Orioles, and making the Cardinals the only major league club in town. More success followed in the 1960s, starting with what is considered one of the most lopsided trades in Major League history, as St. Louis received outfielder Lou Brock from the Cubs for pitcher Ernie Broglio. MVP third baseman Ken Boyer and pitcher Bob Gibson led the club to a World Series win the same year and Curt Flood, Bill White, Curt Simmons, and Steve Carlton also made key contributions in this decade. In 1967, new arrival Orlando Cepeda won the MVP, helping to propel St. Louis to the World Series. The Cardinals won the league the following year behind their Major League-leading 2.49 staff ERA in what was an all-round record-breaking season of pitching dominance. Posting a modern-day record low ERA of 1.12 and striking out a one-game World Series-record of 17, Gibson won both the MVP and Cy Young awards that year. However, the Cardinals failed to repeat as World Series champions, blowing a 3–1 lead to the underdog Detroit Tigers.
In the 1970s, catcher/third baseman Joe Torre and first baseman Keith Hernández each won MVPs, but the team’s best finishes were second place and 90 wins. The team found their way back to the World Series three times in the 1980s, starting with manager Whitey Herzog and his Whiteyball style of play and another trade that altered course of the franchise: in 1982, shortstop Garry Templeton was shipped to the Padres for fellow shortstop Ozzie Smith. Widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in history, Smith ranks first all-time among shortstops in Gold Glove Awards, All-Star games, assists, and double plays. St. Louis won the 1982 World Series from the Milwaukee Brewers that fall. The Cardinals again won the league in 1985 and 1987. In the 1985 Series, they faced-off with cross-state rivals Kansas City Royals for the first time in a non-exhibition game, but they lost the series after a controversial call in Game 6; the 1987 series saw them face off against the Minnesota Twins, but could only win all three of their games played at home in the seven-game series.
Bill DeWitt era
After Gussie Busch died in 1989, the brewery took control and hired Joe Torre to manage late in 1990, then sold the team to an investment group led by William DeWitt, Jr. in 1996. Tony La Russa replaced Torre in the spring of 1996. In 1998, Mark McGwire competed with the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa for a barrage of home runs in their pursuit of the single-season home run record. From 2000 to 2013, the Cardinals reestablished their way to the top with ten playoff appearances, four NL pennants, two World Series titles and 1,274 regular season wins against 993 losses for a.560 winning percentage, leading the National League and second in Major League Baseball only to the New York Yankees. With the addition of Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols, and Scott Rolen, the Cardinals featured three prominent…
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