You think the 2010 Cardinals
Season was a disappointment? Think again. The disappointment that we felt last year probably pails in comparison to what Cardinal fans felt regarding the 1900 Cardinals.
Before the 1900 Season, the National League was reduced from 12 teams to 8- the format under which they would play for the next 62 Seasons - until the New York Mets
and the Houston Colt 45's (now the astros) came along. Gone were the Louisville Colonels, who would be merged with the Pittsburgh Pirates
. Gone were the National League Baltimore Orioles
- one of the NL's most dominant teams in the 1890's. They would be merged with the Brooklyn Superbas (now the Los Angeles Dodgers
). Gone too were the National League Washington Senators. National League baseball would not return to our nation's capital for another 105 years. Finally, also gone, mercifully to say the least, were the Cleveland Spiders who would finish DEAD LAST in the NL in 1899 with a record of 20-134 and a winning percentage of .130 - 84 Games out of First Place. The Spiders were so pathetic that they were mathematically eliminated from the pennant race in JUNE and lost their 100th game of the season in AUGUST.
The Cardinals (who were known as the Perfectos in 1899) finished Fifth in the NL in 1899 with a record of 84-67 - 18.5 games out of First. They were supposed to be one of the stronger teams in the league in 1900. They already had one of the best pitchers of all-time in Cy Young, but they ran into a few problems along the way in 1900. They went out and got Third Baseman John J. "Mugsy" McGraw and Catcher Wilbert Robinson from Baltimore. However, they were not able to sign them until after the season had already started. Once they got there, the problems continued. McGraw was out for a time in June due to a nasty spiking incident and then for another stretch in August due to boils. Despite this, McGraw still led the NL in On Base Percentage with a .505 mark. Robinson managed to get into only 60 ball games. Cy Young, who had won 26 games in 1899, finished with a record of 19-19.
The 1900 Cardinals' Season proved to be something of a disappointment as the team sported a record of 65-75 and finished Fifth in the newly-shrunken NL - 19 games off the pace. One thing that should not be overlooked, however, is the fact that the 1900 Cardinals featured FIVE future Hall-of-Famers. Besides McGraw, Robinson, and Young, there was Outfielder, Jesse "The Crab" Burkett and Shortstop, Bobby Wallace.
After the 1900 Season, McGraw and Robinson would leave St. Louis for the brand new American League Baltimore Orioles (later to become the New York Yankees
) and they would mark the occasion by throwing their Cardinal uniforms out the window of their moving train. Young would also leave after that season, going to the Boston Pilgrims (later to be renamed the Red Sox
) where he would win more than 30 games in a season twice. Burkett and Wallace would stay around until after the 1901 Season and would depart for the crosstown American League Browns (later to become the Baltimore Orioles) in 1902.
Lou Criger, another catcher on that 1900 St. Louis team, would follow Cy Young to Boston after the 1900 Season. There, he would become a footnote to history as he scored the winning run on a Wild Pitch by "Happy" Jack Chesbro on the last day of the 1904 Season. That run denied the New York Highlanders (renamed the Yankees in 1913) their first-ever American League pennant. The pennant went, instead, to the Pilgrims. John McGraw (who had become the manager of the New York Giants
in 1902) refused to play the Pilgrims in that year's World Series, which caused the Series to be cancelled - the only cancellation of a World Series until the Strike-shortened season of 1994!
"A thousand years from now when people study this civilization, we will be remembered for three things: The Constitution, Jazz Music, and Baseball." - Gerald Early (from "Ken Burns' Baseball", 1994)