The action of the League in expelling the Sportsman’s Park and Club from the association and recognizing the new organization formed by Robison and Becker has aroused the greatest enthusiasm (in St. Louis) and the fans already see the pennant flying from the flagstaff at the ball grounds. The deal means the transfer to this city of the Cleveland Club in its entirety.
The new Browns will have Tebeau on first base, Childs at second, Cross at third and Wallace at short. The outfielders will be Burkett, Griffin, and Stenzel. O’Connor, Criger, Schrecongost and Clements will be the catchers and the pitching staff will consist of Young, Cuppy, Powell, Wilson, Bates, Jones and Hughey. Ed McKean will remain with the Cleveland team. So will Zimmer and Blake. The other St. Louis players, including Hill, Carsey, Sudhoff, Stivetts, Sugden, Tucker, Quinn, Harley, and Dowd will be transferred to the Forest City to fill the other places. Stanley Robison will be the president of the Cleveland Club.
It was leaked out that the new St. Louis Club was organized about a week ago when the following officers were elected: President Frank de Haas Robison, of Cleveland; vice president Edward C. Becker; Stanley Robison; secretary William Schofield. Mr. Becker will have no interest in the Cleveland Club. He is satisfied with his holdings in the local club, which are exactly equal with Robison. The statement already made that Mr. Robison holds a slight excess of stock, just enough to give him control, is not correct. Mr. Becker and Mr. Robison hold share and share alike in the new corporation…
Chris Von der Ahe does not propose to give up the fight for the possession of the Browns franchise. The publication on Sunday of the Rogers-Muckenfuss letter has convinced the boss that he is the victim of a conspiracy and he proposes to have the sale of the Sportsman’s Park and Club set aside, if possible. To-day he filed his notice of an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court from the decision of Judge Spencer ordering the property sold to satisfy the creditors. Under this decree the property was sold, then later transferred to E.C. Becker, who in turn took into partnership Frank Robison, thus, it is said, confirming all that was admitted in the Rogers letter…
-Sporting Life, April 1, 1899
When the League met late in the day…St. Louis had no delegate and no proxy, and here is where another piece of political strategy came into play. Mr. Muckenfuss was absent but Mr. Becker was in attendance. The latter, however, did not enter the meeting, as he claimed he had no right to do so, not being an officer of the club, although it subsequently developed that he might have entered had he been disposed to do so by virtue of authority delegated by Muckenfuss. In the position assumed by Mr. Becker, St. Louis was left without anyone to offer resignation, as had been the supposed programme and this apparently made expulsion necessary, if the St. Louis muddle were to be settled then and there.
This was really the end of the line. Von der Ahe's fall was complete, as the League expelled the Browns and admitted the new St. Louis club.
One thing I've been thinking about and want to point out is that the St. Louis Cardinals date their existence to 1892, when the Browns joined the National League. Now, I've always said how stupid that was because they were dismissing a decade of the club's history, including four championships. Their reasoning, I believe, comes down to marketing and the difficulty of quickly explaining the American Association to your average baseball fan. It's easier to just print "1892" on a t-shirt than to explain the complexities of baseball in the 1880s.
However, if we want to be really honest about this, we should date the founding of the Cardinals to 1899, when the Browns were expelled from the League and a new St. Louis franchise was created. Von der Ahe's Browns ceased to exist after the 1898 season and were replaced by the Robisons/Becker Perfectos, who changed their name to the Cardinals after one season. But try fitting that on a t-shirt. Given that I've just spent a couple of months explaining the whole thing to myself, I could only imagine Mike Shannon trying to explain it to Cardinal Nation. Good luck with that.
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