The are those out there in Cardinal Nation that don’t care for the way the St. Louis Cardinals do business. But, the Cardinals have been doing business pretty much the same way since…..1917! That the year that a transplanted New York automobile dealer named Sam Breadon and, quite possibly, the greatest baseball mind that ever lived, “The Mahatma”, Branch Ricky came in and set to work making the Cardinals a more competitive franchise.
Let’s examine the fact…..shall we?
- Branch Rickey is widely regarded as the inventor of the modern farm system and it is this system that helped Mr. Rickey become a Hall of Famer himself. Hall of Famers Jim Bottomley, Dizzy Dean, Chick Hafey, Joe Medwick, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter were all products of the Rickey Farm System. Since it’s inception, The Branch Rickey system has been an effective means of producing quality talent within the Cardinal organization, Many players from the great wartime Cardinal teams of the 1940’s, including pitcher Mort Cooper, catcher Walker Cooper and Third Baseman Whitey Kurowski were products of the Rickey System.
- Over the years, Mr. Rickey’s secrets for success have been passed down throughout the Cardinal organization and, as a result, lack of depth in the farm system has rarely been a problem for the Cardinals
- In the late 1950’s and the 1960’s, while a lot of teams, most notably the Yankees and Red Sox have shown reluctance in this area, the Cardinals, especially during Bing Devine’s tenure as GM, were one of the more progressive teams when it came to signing Black and Latin ballplayers, creating another pool of available talent for the Cardinal farm system. Among the Black and Latin players signed by the Cardinals during this period were: pitcher Bob Gibson, First Baseman Bill White, Second Baseman Julian Javier and infielder Julio Gotay.
- The instructional methods of George Kissell, himself a product of Branch Rickey’s system and a longtime manager in the cardinal organization, have contributed greatly to continued success in the Cardinal farm system. His methods continue to be used by the Cardinals to this day.
- In the years since Breadon and Rickey came in, the Cardinals have NEVER lost 100 or more games in a season. The last time they lost that many was 1908. They have lost 90 or more only three times and NEVER since 1990! In the years prior to 1917, the Cardinals lost 90 or games in a season FIFTEEN times and in four of those seasons, they lost 100 or more.
Proof positive that the Cardinal Way has worked and continues to work.