1900 – Present
St. Louis had the Red Stockings and Brown Stockings in the NL when it opened in 1876, but did not have a permanent franchise there until Chris von der Ahe brought his Browns in after the American Association disbanded in 1891. The Browns had dominated the AA for much of its existence; some say that he deliberately broke up the team after 1888 for the good of the league. The club did not do well in the NL at first. Renamed Cardinals in 1899 for the color of the trim on their uniforms, it was not until Branch Rickey became president of the team in 1916 that it began moving toward the great success that has characterized the franchise. He invented the farm system as we knowit today, which, combined with his great nose for talent, produced a steady flow of good ballplayers. It finally paid off in 1926, under manager Rogers Hornsby, as St. Louis won its first NL pennant and World Championship.
They won again in 1928, and the Gas House Gang grabbed three more pennants in the early 1930s. The Cardinals, featuring a young slugger named Stan Musial, dominated the 1940s, winning four pennants and three World Championships.The Redbirds found new vigor in the 1960s as Bob Gibson‘s heroics on the mound and Lou Brock‘s daring on the bases led them to three pennants and two World Championships. Red Schoendienst was at the helm more than a dozen seasons, a record for Cardinal managers. Whitey Herzog restructured the team around speed and pitching, guiding them to three pennants and a World Championship in the 1980s. Through the end of the 1980s the Cardinals had won 14 pennants and more World Championships, nine, than any NL team.