St. Louis (NA)

St. Louis (NA)

In the standard short format for identifying professional baseball clubs in the U.S., "St. Louis (NA)" means the "St. Louis" club in the "NA" league. That format is common only in a context where it is unambiguous, either because the combination is unique in baseball history or because context implies a time, even a specific season, when the combination was unique.

For the 1875 season, two baseball club based in St. Louis, Missouri joined the "NA" league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. The two clubs are commonly called "Brown Stockings" and "Red Stockings" but neither of those is so well-established to make "St. Louis (NA)" unambiguous. The latter should only be used to designate one club in prose by a writer who explicitly introduces another term for the other club.

St. Louis Red Stockings
*A local amateur team that decided to turn professional
*Survived only a partial season in 1875 (18 games) as the club played its final game on July 4
*Played home games at Compton Park St. Louis Brown Stockings
*A true professional team with players recruited nationally
*Played the full 1875 season (68 games)
*Joined the newly formed National League in 1876
*Played home games at Grand Avenue Grounds, later called Sportsman's Park
*Dropped out of National League following 1877 season, due to a gambling scandal
*Played as an amateur team during 1878-1881
*Folded when a new St. Louis Brown Stockings professional club was organized in 1882

St. Louis baseball colors and nicknames

Neither one of the two 1875 clubs is directly related with the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League or the former St. Louis Browns of the American League other than the choice of team colors.

As with many teams of that era, the teams' nicknames and colors were inspired by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first openly professional baseball team, which garnered much public interest due to an undefeated streak during a barnstorming tour in 1869-1870.

Contemporary newspapers

On Independence Day 1875, the "Chicago Tribune" called the two teams "St. Louis" and "Red Stockings" in the standings; the former being "St. Louis" or "Browns" or "Brown Stockings" in prose and the latter being "Reds" in a game score (St Louis Reds 8, Washingtons 0). [According to a Special Dispatch to the Chicago Tribune from St. Louis, 500 people gathered at the "Republican" (newspaper) office in that city to follow the half-inning scores on a chalkboard.] In a box score and game story, the Chicago White Stockings and St. Louis Brown Stockings are mainly Whites and Browns (noun) or White and Brown (adjective).

Baseball databases

Because the St. Louis Brown Stockings continued as a charter member of the National League and completed two seasons there (1876-1877), theirs is the more important place in baseball history. Probably for that reason, the Brown Stockings usually get "STL", nearly standard as a three-letter abbreviation for "St. Louis" in baseball encyclopedias, where space is severely at a premium. For example, Pete Palmer uses "STL" for the Brown Stockings and "RS" for the Red Stockings in print (see Total Baseball or the new Baseball Encyclopedia); Baseball-Reference uses "STL" and "SLR" online.



*"The Baseball Encyclopedia", MacMillan, various editions beginning in 1969
*"Green Cathedrals", by Philip J. Lowry
*"Ballparks of North America", by Michael Benson
*"St. Louis' Big League Ballparks", by Joan M. Thomas


*"Sporting". "Chicago Tribune" Jul 4, 1875
*Gillette & Palmer
*Thorn & Palmer

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