Felber: A woman and a diamond, Helene Britton and the St. Louis Cardinals

From SABR member Bill Felber at The National Pastime Museum on July 27, 2015:

There once was a song and dance film featuring Esther Williams, the premise of which involved an attractive young woman inheriting a Major League Baseball team and attempting to run it.

The major differences between the Hollywood narrative and the real-life version were that, unlike Williams’ character, Helene Britton was a mid-30s married mother of two, and her team never competed for the pennant. But in other elements, notably the gender-driven conflict that followed the inheritance, it was one more Hollywood case of art imitating life.

The first female owner of a big league team was the daughter of Frank deHaas Robison, co-owner of the St. Louis Cardinals with his brother, Stanley, in the twentieth century’s first decade. If not immersed in the game, Britton grew up with it. She had been an avid fan of the 1890s Cleveland Spiders, which her dad and uncle also owned, and then of the Cardinals when the Robisons consolidated their holdings in 1900. Frank died in 1908, and when Stanley died childless in March 1911, Helene, the surviving niece, inherited the club.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/woman-and-diamond

Originally published: July 28, 2015. Last Updated: July 28, 2015.