Brian Flaspohler, a baseball historian, says that the first professional game of St. Louis was played on May 4, 1875. St. Louis lost — but won. The St. Louis Brown Stockings beat the St. Louis Red Stockings by 15 to 9. The Brown Stockings were formed by out-of-town ringers who were recruited to form the city’s first professional team. The Red Stockings were an amateur group of scrappy players who weren’t happy that the city’s professional team didn’t have a St. Louis player.
Flaspohler states that most people believe the Cardinals are still around forever. They were not the first major league team to be in St. Louis.”
Brian Flaspohler’s new book Baseball History in St. Louis: A Guide The book traces the rich history of Lou’s favorite pastime. The book is organized according to geography. Each chapter corresponds to a particular location in the town.
The first professional game was held in the stadium at South Compton Avenue, now known as Midtown. Lafayette Park was a popular spot for amateur baseball during Civil War. Harris-Stowe State University’s baseball diamond is located exactly where the first specifically built baseball park for the St. Louis Stars (a Negro League team) was built a century ago. According to legend, Babe Ruth was attracted to Forest Park Avenue’s brothel.
The mid-twentieth century saw St. Louis have two major league teams, the Cardinals and Browns. Managers for each team shared an apartment in the Lindell Towers (now Coronado Place and Towers at Grand Center). The arrangement worked because one team was always here when the other was absent.
It worked until the World Series when the two teams met.
Flaspohler states that the Cardinals’ manager sent an e-mail to the Browns’ manager in which he said, “You can have the apartment for World Series.” “I think that he got his karma right, as the Cardinals won the World Series even though he had to give up his apartment.”
Baseball History in St. Louis This article covers the nine major baseball teams that have made St. Louis their home ever since 1875. Three of these teams were part of the Negro Leagues.
Many people are familiar with the Kansas City Monarchs, Negro League. But Flaspohler claims that the history of the league is “a fascinating, yet untold story.” The original six league teams were formed in 1920 by the St. Louis Giants, later renamed the Stars. A decade later, they went on a tear when they won pennants in 1928, 1930, and 1931.
He says, “The Stars are an amazing story that many people don’t know much about.” It’s amazing that baseball can still be played in the same place their stadium used to be.
Flaspohler states, “Every generation of St. Louis has had a champion team to root for,” referring to the fact that the Cardinals are one of the few teams that have never gone more than 25 seasons without winning the World Series.
He does however have a beef with historians.
In 1882, the Cardinals became the team we know today. It says “est. 1892.” They joined the National League in 1892, although they had been around for over a decade.
Flaspohler believes there is a reason for that. Flaspohler believes that someone within the Cardinals organization realized they had missed the 100-year anniversary celebration and decided to retroactively proclaim 1892 as the year they were “established.”
Flaspohler praises the efforts of the Cardinals’ family, the DeWitts, to preserve the game’s history. He mentions the Hall of Fame Museum at Busch Stadium, as an example of their efforts.
He says, “Their family has a long history of baseball and they’ve done an amazing job keeping that history alive.” “Aside from the fact that they won’t change their T-shirts to 1882. That said, I’d be happy if they did it.