Cardinals-Dodgers incredible series shines light on history

Cardinals-Dodgers incredible series shines light on history

Credit: Bryce Moore, BaseballStL

Busch Stadium

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by Mike Bailey / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 11:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 7 at 7:38 AM

(BaseballStL) -- With Tuesday’s win, the Cardinals have moved within a game of evening the series with the Dodgers. Not the season series. Or the decade series, or even the series this millennium.

THE series. Since the beginning. Since forever and ever. With the win, the Redbirds now trail the Dodgers all-time 1,110-1,109. As nearly impossible as it is to believe, these two teams have split 2,200+ games right down the middle.

Since 1900, the Cardinals overall record is 9,169-8,471 (counting Tuesday’s win) for winning percentage of about 52 percent. They have, of course won 11 World Series, 18 pennants and made 25 playoff appearances.

But they weren’t always known as the Cardinals.

In 1882, they debuted as the St. Louis Brown Stockings, a sort of fashion counterbalance to the White Stockings and the Red Stockings. The Brown Stockings were just 37-43 that year, a poor debut that apparently cost skipper Ned Cuthbert his job because he did not return for a second season.

The next year, their name was shortened to the Browns, (not to be confused with the St. Louis Browns who played in the American League from 1902-1953, posting a dismal record of 3414-4465 before moving to Baltimore to become the present day Orioles.)

From 1883-98, the current Redbirds were known as the St. Louis Browns and fared much better than they did in their debut season, going 1059-1029 and winning four pennants, back before lights, automobiles, buses and planes. And PEDs.

In fact, the Browns were absolutely smoking hot under manager Charles Comiskey (for whom the eponymous stadium on the south side of Chicago is named).

Comiskey rang up four of the best years in major league baseball history from 1885-88, winning pennants with records of 79-33, 93-46, 95-40, and 92-43. And, incredibly, he went 90-45 in 1889 and finished second. Tough league. Of course early in baseball’s history, the rules were slightly different. Players left their gloves on the field in between innings and balls that bounced over the fence were home runs. But winning two-thirds of your games is tough duty no matter what the rules.

Comiskey left and the Browns suffered through some bad years, frequently finishing at or near the bottom of the league. Browns’ managers of that era included Jake Glasscock, Al Buckenberger and Al Diddlebock. Really.

Finally, the Cardinals nee Browns hit the absolute nadir under skipper Tim Hurst, finishing last with a 39-111 record in 1898. It was time for a name change.

In 1899, before they thankfully changed their name to the Cardinals the following year, they were known as the St. Louis Perfectos, which sounds more like a cigar than a baseball team. Nothing funny about their record though; they went 84-67 in 1899. The name change must have worked.

They settled on the St. Louis Cardinals the next year but success did not come quickly. For the first 20 years as the Cardinals, they had only 4 winning seasons and finished last 5 times. It wasn’t until 1926 that the Redbirds won a World Series and began their incredible run.

Cumulatively, then, the Brown Stockings, Browns, Perfectos and Cardinals from 1882-2013 are 10,349-9,610 with 11 World Series titles, 22 pennants and 25 playoff appearances.

 

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