BASEBALL IN ST. LOUIS, 1900-1925 "Top Ten" Facts
While no pennants flew over St. Louis in the early 20 th century, there were 22 future Hall-of-Famers in a St. Louis uniform between 1900 and 1925. This list does not include people like Grover Alexander, Frankie Frisch, Heinie Manush, Bill McKechnie, and Burleigh Grimes, who came just after these dates.
- Twenty-one members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown played for a St. Louis team at some time during this period, including:
- The St. Louis Browns—not the Cardinals—were the stronger and more popular St. Louis ball club most of these years.
- In one of baseball’s great pennant races, the 1922 Browns fell just one game short of the New York Yankees and the American League pennant.
- The farm system—whereby a major league club owns minor league teams for developing and controlling player talent—originated with the St. Louis Cardinals and Branch Rickey around 1920, out of necessity. It enabled a club with limited resources compete effectively with wealthier teams.
- Had the St. Louis Browns not permitted the Cardinals to start renting the Browns’ ballpark (Sportsman’s Park) starting in 1920, the financially strapped Cardinals very possibly would have been forced to move to another city. St. Louis would then likely still be colored brown today, not Cardinal red.
- St. Louis was a main battleground of two of baseball’s great wars, the rise of the American League (1901-1902) and the rise and fall of the Federal League (1914-1915).
- For more than six years, from 1911 until early 1917, the St. Louis Cardinals were owned by a woman, Helene Robison Britton. Lady Bee, as she was known in the press, was the first female owner of a major US sports team.
- St. Louis was home to a vibrant scene of Negro League and semi-pro ball during these years. Two of the greatest black players ever—“Cool Papa” Bell and Oscar Charleston—played here in the early 1920s.
- Some of the game’s most colorful characters—Rube Waddell, Bugs Raymond, Urban Shocker, Slim Sallee, and many more—played for St. Louis in this time period.
- St. Louis was home to some of the greatest individual and team hitting performances in baseball history in the early 1920s. Five times a St. Louis ballplayer hit .400 or better (batting average), and five times a St. Louis team hit .300 or better.