St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals began play in 1876 in the National League before the invention of the light bulb, telephone, automobile,radio, airplane and indoor plumbing. Players and fans reached the playing grounds on foot, horseback, or by horse-drawn carriages. What a wonderful time in history this was.
Our nation was celebrating its 100th anniversary and General Custer was fighting in the Battle of Little Bighorn. Custer, as you may recall, lost that ballgame.
The game of baseball had come a long way since 1848, when the first organized game was played in Hoboken, N.J. At that time the game was played on any empty lot, and the distance of the bases varied in length according to the size of the playing fields. Rocks, paper bags, articles of clothing, or any other item were used as bases and runs were called aces. The first team to score 21 aces was declared the winner. In order to record an out, the defensive team had to hit the runner with the ball. This was called “pelting.” So the beginnings of baseball were played like a game of kickball.
In 1876, every player was considered a “Rookie,” and there was no such thing as a record. The players who led the league at the ek. This type of record keeping was not record keeping at all. All that was kept was the existing record. In truth, it should have been called “record eliminating.” This method of “record keeping” continued until 1980, when this author wanted to know who had more records, Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb. He went to the world’s largest baseball library, located in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. to get his answer. To his surprise, he was told this information did not exist. Apparently no one had ever asked this question before and the librarian suggested that the writer should research a book on this subject. Five years later the research was done and it would take another four years to find a publisher. In 1989, Harper & Row published the book entitled, A Chronology of Major League Baseball Records….1876-Present.
Now the baseball world would know who had more records: Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb or any other player, because this book did not eliminate records when new ones were created. New records were simply added to the chronology lists. This is true record keeping and now no players or their records would ever be forgotten.
If a Cardinal fan were asked which Cardinal player had the most records, would any of them know? They too would be told this information does not exist. Except now it does, because that information can easily be found in this book. Yes, every record in batting, pitching and fielding since 1876 can be found here in perfect chronological order. These chronology lists have never been seen before and will be a delight to Cardinal fans.
Since records are never eliminated, they are easy to count; for the first time we can easily find out how many records each player has established during a season and their career. This information is found at the end of each chapter on what is called the “Record Holders List.” It not only reveals the top record producer but includes every player with at least one record.
Another never-before-seen innovation is the development of the “Record Profile.” The top record producers are honored by having their records placed in separate profiles which not only give the number of records established but also how long each mark lasted before being broken and who were the forthcoming “Record Breakers.”
Another new development is the player “Claims to Fame Profiles.” This is an extension of the Record Profiles and includes every achievement which makes a player famous such as getting 3000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 wins, no-hitters, winning league leaders titles and awards such as MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of The Year, Gold Glove, etc. Do you know which Cardinal has the most claims to fame? Now you will find out as this book will reveal this previously unknown information.
EXPLANATION OF THE CHRONOLOGY LISTS
Here is an example of how chronology record keeping works using the season home run record.
The above list represents the entire history of the Cardinal’s season home run record. Isn’t it amazing to see that the first home run champion in 1876 set the record by hitting only one home run?
Lip Pike, who was baseball’s first Jewish player, shares this honor with Denny Mack. In 1877 Joe Battin became the third home-run champion with just one home run.
Oscar Walker had a sensational year in 1882 and shattered the home-run record by a huge margin. His seven home runs showed that he had tremendous power to hit more home runs than any previous player. Walker’s record would last four years when Tip O’Neill excited the baseball world by doubling Walker’s record, reaching the then unheard of height of 14 round trippers.
Charlie Duffee did O’Neill one better in 1889 and became the new home-run king by circling the bases 15 times.
With a new and improved ball, Rogers Hornsby was able to connect 21 times in 1921 to set a new standard, and amazingly he would double his own record the following year with an unheard-of 42 home runs. In that year Babe Ruth hit only 35 home runs.
Hornsby’s record would last 18 years before hard-hitting Johnny Mize would reach the seats 43 times. This was such an amazing feat that 58 years would go by before Mark McGwire would astound the baseball world by blasting an unbelievable 70 home runs to become the present-day leader.
Perhaps now you may better understand the value of this book. There cannot possibly be a record book more complete than this. There can be nothing more to do once every record is placed in its proper chronological order of creation.
The main purpose of listing records in this manner is so that the preservation of baseball records is permanent and lasting. In this way no player or their achievements will ever be forgotten.
The evolution of baseball can also be seen through the chronology lists. For instance, why was there only one home run hit between the years of 1876 and 1877? Fans need to know that the ball was handmade and hand sewed. It didn’t travel very far and the phrase, “He knocked the cover off the ball,” was real. Many times one ball did not last a single game.
The ball was still considered “dead” when Oscar Walker hit seven home runs in 1882 and although things improved by 1886 and 1889 when the record was doubled, it still was a dead ball. The ball was not considered a “live” ball until the 1920s, and we can see the new technology improved the number of home runs dramatically.
As sportswriter Jerome Holtzman of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “This book traces the history of baseball through the
development and preservation of records.”