The History and Evolution of the St. Louis Cardinals Logo
The St. Louis Cardinals weren’t the first baseball team to be established in St. Louis. However, it can be said that the St. Louis Cardinals possess a connection to its predecessor. In short, there were both the St. Louis Brown Stockings and the St. Louis Red Stockings before the St. Louise Cardinals, though it is important to note that the latter lasted no more than a short time because of poor performance. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Brown Stockings managed to last longer, but in the end, it was booted out of the National League following the 1877 season because of a game-fixing scandal. With that said, while the St. Louis Brown Stockings went bankrupt, it lingered on as a semi-professional baseball team that would play whoever was interested in playing them.
From the moment that the St. Louis Brown Stockings had been booted out of the National League, a sportswriter named Al Spink started lobbying for the return of professional baseball to the city. Eventually, he was able to convince the German businessman Chris von der Ahe to buy the St. Louis Brown Stockings, with the result that von der Ahe proceeded to make Spink the new business manager because he knew next to nothing about the sport. Combined with other businessmen, von der Ahe started up the American Association in 1882, which was very much a challenger to the National League.
With that said, it still took some time before the St. Louis Brown Stockings turned into the St. Louis Cardinals. For instance, the baseball team made a return to the National League in 1882 following the collapse of the American Association, where it has remained ever since. Furthermore, it is important to note that the St. Louis Brown Stockings became the St. Louis Browns in 1883 before undergoing a second name change to become the St. Louis Perfectos in 1899 and then a name change to become the St. Louis Cardinals in 1900. For those who are curious, the name started out as a reference to the color rather than either the bird or the position.
How Has the St. Louis Cardinals Logo Changed Over Time?
The first logo used by the St. Louis Cardinals consisted of a “S,” a “T,” and a “L” that were interlocked into a very recognizable though more than a bit cluttered symbol. Naturally, the logo came in a bright red, though it is interesting to note that there were a pair of white diamonds situated in the “S.” In total, this logo saw use for close to two decades from 1900 to 1919.
From 1920 to 1921, the St. Louis Cardinals started using a new logo that consisted of an arched “St. Louis” wordmark. It wasn’t much of a stand-out, which might explain why the baseball team soon changed to the first version of its famous logo consisting of two cardinals perched on a baseball ball over “Cardinals.” Various versions of this logo continued to see use from 1922 to 1964, with the result that each version became cleaner and crisper.
In 1965, the St. Louis Cardinals switched over to a new logo consisting of a cardinal perched on a baseball bat before a baseball, which is enclosed within a red circle with “St. Louis Cardinals” written upon it. Soon enough, the bird saw a notable change, with the result that it was no longer looking off into the distance but rather at the viewer while wearing a red-colored baseball hat. This second version continued until 1997, meaning that it was replaced in 1998 by a new logo that drew clear inspiration from its predecessors.
In short, this version consisted of a cardinal perched on a baseball bat situated through “Cardinals” in much the same manner as the earliest logos that incorporated the birds. This time around, the cardinal’s head is positioned as though it is set to look forward. However, the cardinal’s eyes are turned so that it is still looking at the viewer, which recalls the looks of its predecessor while still being very much its own thing. Following 1998, this version of the logo saw some minor tweaks such as a change of color for the cardinal’s beak, but otherwise, it has remained in use into the present time.