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St. Louis Brown Stockings

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Ballpark: Grand Avenue Park (May 6, 1875-October 6, 1877)

Organized in 1875, the St. Louis Brown Stockings were one of two teams to represent St. Louis, MO in the National Association for the 1875 season. The team would go on to become one of the founding teams in the National League in 1876. The team was expelled from the league following the 1877 season due to a game fixing scandal involving players the team had acquired from the Louisville Grays. The Brown Stockings filed for bankruptcy as a result of the scandal. However this was not the end of the team. The team was reorganized by five of its players: second baseman/manager Mike McGeary, outfielder Ned Cuthbert, shortstop Dickey Pearce, third baseman Joe Battin and pitcher Joe Blong. Unfortunately the popularity of baseball was at an all-time low at that time. However, Al Spink of the St. Louis Republican would seek new ways to bring back the popularity of the sport.

The Brown Stockings spent the next four seasons traveling as a barnstorming team. The 1878 season saw the team play only 4 games. The next year saw the team win their first 24 of 25 games. Though the team was dominating over other teams during this time, attendance was lower than their first season in the National Association. To counter this, the team took to playing more games against teams from outside of the city. As a result attendance went up late in the season.

In 1880, August Solari who leased Grand Avenue Park, where Brown Stockings played, decided that since he was in the last year on his lease, he could forgo the lease. The gate receipts meant little, and he threatened to dismantle the park. In the meantime, Cuthbert managed to convince his boss, Chris Von der Ahe, of the importance of baseball. Realizing the game's significance as well as its profitability, Von der Ahe purchased the Grand Avenue Ballpark, as well as the Brown Stockings. When the 1881 season started, the Brown Stockings were playing in a new park, Sportsman's Park II. The team rejoined the major leagues on November 2, 1881 when they became one of the founding members of the American Association.


Note: Major League Baseball considers this to be the Brown Stockings' official all-time Major League record. MLB does not count the years played in the National Association, post-season games, exhibition or semi-professional (amateur) games towards the official record.

[edit] Sources

  • Jon Cash: Before They Were Cardinals: Major-League Baseball in Nineteenth-Century St. Louis, University of Missouri Press, 2002
  • Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, March 1993.
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