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St. Louis Cardinals 1973 Team Photo – 1973 Topps #219

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The St. Louis Cardinals were founded in 1882 as a member of the American Association called the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The club quickly achieved success, winning four AA pennants in a row in 1885–1888. St. Louis played in an early version of the World Series, the first two times against the National League’s Chicago White Stockings, now named the Chicago Cubs. The 1885 series ended in dispute, but St. Louis won the 1886 series outright, beginning a St. Louis-Chicago rivalry that continues today. The American Association went bankrupt in 1892, and the Browns moved to the National League, leaving much of their success behind for the next three decades. The club changed its name to the “Perfectos” in 1899, before adopting the “Cardinals” name in 1900. From 1902–1954, an American League team, the St. Louis Browns, also played in St. Louis. The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and became the Baltimore Orioles. The Cardinals’ fortunes in the National League began to improve in 1920, when Sam Breadon bought the club and named Branch Rickey his general manager. Rickey immediately moved the Cardinals to Sportsman’s Park to become tenants of their American League rivals, the St. Louis Browns, and sold the Cardinals’ ballpark. Rickey used the money from the sale to invest in and pioneer the minor league farm system, which produced many great players and led to new success for the Cardinals. Led by Rogers Hornsby, who won the Triple Crown in both 1922 and 1925, the Cardinals improved dramatically during the 1920s. They won their first National League pennant in 1926 and then defeated the favored New York Yankees in seven games to win the World Series. In 1927, now led by Frankie Frisch, the Cardinals fell just short, before claiming another pennant in 1928. The Cardinals kept winning in the next decade, claiming back-to-back pennants in 1930 and 1931. The Cardinals matched up with the Philadelphia Athletics in both World Series, losing in 1930 but returning to win the 1931 series. In 1934 the team, nicknamed the “Gashouse Gang” for their shabby appearance and rough tactics, again won the pennant and then the World Series over the Detroit Tigers. Dizzy Dean won 30 games that season, the last National League pitcher to reach that mark. Joe Medwick won the Triple Crown in 1937, the last National League hitter to achieve the feat, but the Cardinals failed to win a pennant in the second half of the decade.

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