St. Louis Cardinals – The Second Best Franchise Ever
It is obvious that the Yankees are the greatest franchise in baseball history. Whether you love them or hate them, approve of their methods, players, and ownership or not, 27 World Championships decides the question. No team has dominated a professional sport in the USA in quite the way the Yankees have for the last 90 years. Less obvious, but still as certain, is that the Cardinals are #2.
The Cardinals are third on the all-time wins list, trailing only the Braves and the Cubs. Both teams began in 1876, while the Cardinals date to 1882. The Cardinals, though, got off to a slow start upon moving to the National League in 1892. (They had previosly dominated the American Association.) They finished in the top half of the league twice before 1920, finishing 4th in 1901 and 3rd in 1917. They lost more than 100 games 4 times, dropping 102 and 111 in 1897 and 1898, then losing 101 and 105 in 1907 and 1908 respectively. They lost 99 in 1913 and have never been that bad again. The Cardinals have lost more than 90 games twice since 1916 (1978 and 1990). Consider that run of consistency for a minute. In comparison, even the Yankees have lost 90 games three times since the end of their greatest run of dominance in 1964 (to the Cardinals). No one can match the Cardinals for consistent competitiveness.
The Cardinals are third in all-time World Series appearances, their 17 trailing the Dodgers 18 by 1. Yet the Cardinals have won 10, second all-time, while the Dodgers have only won 6. Since the Cardinals began winning in 1926, they have been held out of the World Series in only 3 decades, the 1950’s, 1970’s, and 1990’s. In the 1990’s, they advanced as far as Game 7 of the NLCS in 1996 before falling to the Braves.
Because of their remarkable consistency and their success in the postseason, including going 3-2 in 5 Series against the Yankees (1926, 1928, 1942, 1943, and 1964), the Cardinals are distinctly baseball’s second greatest franchise.