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Sunday, December 11, 2016

How the St. Louis Cardinals got their name: The Unauthorized Tall Tale


So, I have a special connection with my daughter Olivia and have had one for long time.  It it based on offbeat and sometimes sarcastic humor.  One of the ways I relate to her is by stories that I tell.  She has literally 100s of stuffed animals.  Many of them has a story behind them or a story within in them.  Just imagine each stuffed animal having a set of adventures told about them in a kid's book type format and that's kind of how I've related to her over time.  She's going to be 10 next year, but I think she still likes hearing me weave tales.  But, I digress.

So, I was talking about the misadventures of two of her stuffed animals today--both birds and we were talking about local sports teams and I had an epiphany.  What is the haha 'real' story behind how the St. Louis Cardinals got their name.  Let's transition to that.  Here is how it went. 


Me:  Olivia, you know how the Cardinals got their team name and mascot.


Olivia:  I dunno


Me: A long ago, in the late 1800s, when the original owner created/took ownership of the St. Louis baseball them they were deciding on a name for the team, they decided they'd name the team after a bird.  So, they set up an audition for birds to impress them.


  • Bluejay - The Bluejay pranced around and tweeted and ownership thought he was pretty and thought about him, but decided against him.  So, he flew off.
  • Bluebird - Similar experience to the Bluejay.
  • Chicken - They decided that the chicken was annoying with its cluck.   Besides, ownership was too worried the team would be labelled as cowards if they were named "The St. Louis Chickens".
  • Goose - Honked very loud and got on ownerships nerves and decided against him (as they didn't want the mascot to sound like a horn).
  • Swan - They thought the swan was very pretty and graceful and they thought she would be better as part of a woman's team.   So, they saved this idea for a women's team they'd come up with.
  • Pigeon - This guys audition was cut short and he was escorted out unceremoniously when he pooped on the head of the original owner.
  • Oriole - They liked this bird but thought one day that bird will turn on St. Louis.  The St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Finch - They thought he was very small, very cute, and had a sweet little voice.  They save him to audition for the mascot of a children's team they might sponsor.
  • Duck - They thought his loud quack was annoying and decide against him.  However, the duck had his kid--a duckling--along and he made a cute small quack and they thought that potentially he could be mascot of the youth team St. Louis started.
  • Owl - They asked Mr. Owl to come up and he said, "who" and they said, "You Mr. Owl" and he said, "Who" again.  After repeating this about three or four times, they figured the owl was mocking them and tossed him out unceremoniously.  I told her it turned out okay because he was someone elses' mascot.  I didn't say "Hooters", but that's what I was thinking.
  • Chickenhawk - The chickenhawk was about ready to step in to be judged but saw the chicken and went nuts trying to chase after it.  Needless to say, he got thrown out".
  • Flamingo - They thought she was pretty, but the team didn't like its pink color (as they were very traditional men) and they decided to let the flamingo try out for a further woman's baseball team.
  • Penguin - Waddled around and made noise.  They didn't think he was dignified enough.
  • Turkey - Ownership couldn't take seriously a mascot whom we ate every Thanksgiving.
  • Peacock - They thought that he was too flashy and distracting for the team.
  • Vulture - He mistakenly thought if he just snatched up and ate the other birds, they'd have to pick him.  Ownership would have started with a new animal, but he didn't know that.  Anyway, unfortunately for him, the original owner was an avid hunter and when the Vulture tried to kill his competition, the owner shot him (and later had him stuffed).  Big mistake for the vulture.
  • Dove - The loved her voice and though she was very pretty and graceful.  They decided that she should try out for a future woman's baseball team.
  • Bald Eagle - They told him that since his people were already the national animal, it'd be silly to have him also be the St. Louis team mascot.
  • Hawk - Once again this bird decided to go after another.  He liked the taste of Finch.  So, when he made moves toward him, they reminded him what happened to the vulture.  Needless to say, the audition for the hawk ended abruptly.
  • Parrot - They got annoyed with him when he kept repeating everything the mascot search committee said.  Needless to say, they threw him out.
  • Woodpecker - They had to escort him away when he attacked the team's wood bats.

Me: Are we leaving out any birds.
Olivia: Emu
Me: Yeah, with their grunting and hissing they didn't think he'd be family friendly.  Any others we are missing.
Olivia: Ostrich
Me: Yeah, they got annoyed with him when he hid his head in the ground when he was called and wouldn't come out.  They yanked him out of the ground and threw him out.

Me: The search team was ready to just move to a different type of animal when out of nowhere flew in a Cardinal who didn't know about the audition, but was fascinated by the collection of birds.  He landed on the bat and started chirping.  The owner loved how natural he was acting, he loved how pretty he was, and thought the bird on the bat would make a perfect logo pictures and thus the team name and mascot were born for "The St. Louis Cardinals".  Needless to say, the other birds that knew about the audition and countless hours practicing were mad as the Cardinal for just showing up with little practice   She agreed and said that most of them got behind the team.

Anyway, Olivia went along with this agreed with the reasons why they pass on or threw out the other birds and liked why the Cardinal was selected.

Anyway, this is just one but a number of stories I tell/make up to my daughter.  I figure, either this will result in me writing a kid's book one day or her thinking I'm absolutely nuts.  Oh well, the things we do for love.  The tales we tell to amuse.

-- Rich