Radom: Cardinals’ birds-on-bat logo opened to mixed reviews in 1922

From SABR member Todd Radom at ToddRadom.com on April 7, 2015:

The St. Louis Cardinals’ time-honored “birds-on-bat” uniform design is widely considered to be among the classiest in Major League Baseball. More than nine decades of visual tradition have served as the backdrop for eleven World Series championship teams.

As I have previously noted, the Cardinals’ look was famously created by Branch Rickey. Rickey, then Cardinals Vice President and General Manager, was invited to speak at the Men’s Fellowship Club of the Ferguson (Missouri) Presbyterian Church on February 16, 1921. Congregant Allie May Schmidt was tasked with creating table decorations for the event. Her decorations that night—cardboard cutouts of red cardinal birds, perched atop twigs made out of string—inspired Rickey.

Rickey then commissioned Allie May’s father, Edward H. Schmidt—head of the art department at the Woodward and Tiernan Printing Co—to create artwork for the Cardinals’ uniforms. The rest is history. Starting in 1922, the two “birds on bat” have graced the St. Louis uniforms, with the exceptions of 1927 (when a single bird on bat celebrated the team’s World Series championship of 1926) and 1956, when the birds disappeared for a single season.

The Cardinals’ new look was a bold one for the baseball world of 1922. A representative sampling of some MLB uniforms from that season provides some insight into why the Cards’ aesthetics were so noteworthy.

Read the full article here: http://toddradom.com/the-cardinals-birds-on-bat-logo-opened-to-mixed-reviews-in-1922/

Originally published: April 7, 2015. Last Updated: April 7, 2015.