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Go Cardinals! History of the St. Louis Cardinals

Terry Mansfield

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to be among the most successful teams in baseball.
Insignia on cap of St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.By Unknown author - St. Louis Cardinals, Public Domain

The St. Louis Cardinals are an iconic Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise whose logo is recognizable among all baseball fans. Their rich organizational history includes 11 World Series championships and historic players such as Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, and Adam Wainwright, along with many past greats such as Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, and Stan Musial, who have helped them sustain a prolonged period of success.

From 1902 through 1952, Major League Baseball experienced a half-century of stability. During that timeframe, no franchises moved, no franchises were established or closed, and none moved. During this time, As the westernmost and southernmost major league franchise, the Cardinals were geographically closest to anyone who lived southwest from Savannah, Georgia, through Midstate Illinois into the Dakotas. That area covered a large portion of the U.S. (Although the Cardinals shared this distinction with the St. Louis Browns, the Browns were generally less popular and less successful.)

The Cardinals adopted the modern baseball format, one of the first teams to do so. The St. Louis Cardinals franchise's roots go back well before Opening Day in 1899 when they were known as the Perfectos. Future Hall of Famers Bobby Wallace, Jesse Burkett, and Cy Young made history that day as members of the modern-day club.

The Perfectos stayed in first place until late May that year, but they finished the season with 84 wins, in fifth place. The fans stayed, and the Cardinals finally turned their fortunes around in 1926 with their first National League pennant -- and a World Series championship.

The Cardinals are among the most popular teams in the major leagues, with a rabid, highly-knowledgeable fan base. The term "Cardinal Nation," in use since 1939, is commonly used to describe, in aggregate, the Cardinals fans. Those fans come from the area in and around St. Louis and a large portion of the Midwest. The team is traditionally popular throughout the region. The team's overall success and St. Louis radio significantly increased the Cardinals' popularity over a large area of the United States before the widespread use of television. Bally Sports Midwest broadcasts Cardinals games on TV, with KMOX doing the radio coverage. "Cardinal Nation" remains a major term used in team promotion.

As the winningest of all National League teams (18 National League pennants and 11 World Series championships), the Cardinals never have received enough recognition for the distinction.

Nonetheless, the devoted fans of the St. Louis Cardinals are happy to say, "Go Cardinals!" year after year to root for their beloved team.


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A Major League History Told Through Archive Newspaper Coverage (St. Louis Cardinals)


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