Saturday, August 27, 2016

St. Louis Football Cardinals First in a Series

Several months ago I picked up some inexpensive vintage STL Cardinals football cards at the annual TriStar show (Here). This triggered an interest in Cardinal Football cards-call it old man reminiscing, which it is, but it is also the ascetic of the cards themselves. Thus begins the first in a series of 28, or so, posts featuring the history, and cards, of the St. Louis Football Cardinals AKA “The Big Red” which called the STL its home from 1960 to 1988.

I know I have mentioned that I am not really a fan of modern professional football-this dislike began with the owner’s shenanigans that led to the Cardinals move to Phoenix. It was then at the age of 20 that I realized how F’ed up the NFL is.

More recently the abuse scandals, the extreme showboating, taunting, and excessive violence, and the loss of yet another team-this time the Rams-with even more owner shenanigans was the final straw. The only football I care about is the to U of Ms, University of Missouri and University of Michigan.
Obviously some Arizona fans have strong feelings about Bill Bidwill

Alas, as indicated above owner bribes, triangulation, and other manipulations led to the moving of the Cardinals to Phoenix following the 1987 season. However, this wasn’t the first time for this franchise. Nope, they pulled some of the same crap when the owners moved the team from Chicago, yes Chicago, to STL before the start of the 1960 season.


I am not going to give a long history of the Chicago Cardinals but I am going to give a brief look at how they got to the STL. Way back in the late 1890s a team started called the Morgan Athletic Club. The name was changed to the Racine Normals because of the team’s field located on Racine Ave. In 1901, the owner purchased some surplus uniforms from the University of Chicago. Apparently these were maroon in color-though the owner exclaimed the color to be Cardinal red and not maroon, which resulted in his changing the team’s name to the Racine Cardinals. This team went bye bye and another team started up and took the Cardinals name and claimed its history. In 1920 the team became a founding member of the American Professional Football Association, which in 1922 became the NFL.

Let us skip ahead to the 1950s. The owners of the Cardinals, the Bidwills, became anxious to get out of Chicago as they became second fiddle to the Bears and only won 33 games in 1950s though they did win the NFL Championship in 1947.
So the move to STL begins -the Bidwills didn’t want to pay the high relocation fee required by the NFL to leave Chicago, and they couldn’t reach a deal with many interested buyers-who would go on to form the American Football League (AFL).  When the AFL was formed the NFL became worried that STL would become an AFL City and it became easier for the Cardinals to relocate.  So the Bidwills took the Cardinals to the STL, which in the long run sucked for my hometown as it blocked the AFL from expanding to the Gateway City-which in hindsight probably would have been better off with an AFL expansion team.

The Chicago Cardinals transformation to the St. Louis Cardinals was complete.
As far as football cards go-from 1960-1987 the Trading Card Database (TCDB) tells us there were about 636 cards issued during the Cardinals time in STL. I have not counted odd balls such as stamps, or Topps Stickers. The posts to follow will not be this long. Here are some Chicago Cardinal Cards.  A 1935 National Chicle Mike Mikulak,

Charles Trippi 1953 Bowman, love that look on his face,
The final Chicago Team Card 1959 Topps 

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