Cardinals, League, Chicago discussed on Good Seats Still Available
Yeah there were rumors of the cardinals moving nearly fifties. I've seen in some of the old newspapers where where they of course would deny it and wolf never had a famous pledge that the cardinals are part of Chicago they will never leave Chicago So that was quite interesting. The team was struggling. They made the I don't know dubious decision to hire curly Lambeau. Coaching nineteen fifty hoping that curly after all his success in Green Bay could duplicate that success on the south side. But it didn't happen and so. We're the bears drawing thirty thousand fans per game. The cardinals all still had a few games. Where they're at eleven thousand nine thousand for their home games so without revenue from any place else? That was difficult. Television was starting earning become available but not yet a big revenue maker for the League. So I think the cardinals in the fifty S. If I'm not mistaken was probably the worst reforming team in the history of the own of the NFL over a decade and so the rumors were out there that perhaps the bidwill family and Wolf ner might be interested in moving or selling. The other thing is television became more popular we had the blackout rule whereas if one team was playing on the road and the other team was at at home you could watch your favorite team That certainly heard in fact when William Bidwell passed away recently when I was doing research for my book he was pretty secure and confident saying the cardinals moved because of television that with the blackout. Rules essentially the leak head enforce that there wasn't GonNa be any any revenue and in town for the cardinals at the time so there were a lot of rumors. San Francisco was one that I saw numerous times that they were thought thought to be purchased and moved and a couple of times the Wolf ner was an agreement to sell the team but wanted to still maintain at at least part of the ownership or even a majority part were to the incoming owners didn't want to invest forty nine percent of the team and not have really a a vote in the matter so the team was struggling on the field off in terms of finances. Mt Stand's empty seats in stadiums and fifty eighty nine. Of course they moved to soldier field which is a bad shape at the time. Nineteen fifty-nine the team actually played two games in Minneapolis. So we're home games and drew pretty well. Drew drew over twenty thousand fans But again looking at the writing on the wall didn't seem like there would be a future for the cardinals as much as a lot of us would wish they had held Donna and stayed in town until that revenue would kick in from TV. Yeah at Minneapolis is interesting because that was also part of I think The original battle the plan for the fledgling American Football League. So maybe you could sort of get it. I mean we've talked a lot about Lamar Hunt on this show by extension people like Max Winter and bob how how some an Bud Adams and and the beginnings and the ongoing nineteen sixties of the AFL but in some respects maybe many respects without the bid wells and And Wolf ner kind of during demurring on being acquired wired in terms other than their own. You could make the argument that the cardinals were one of the reasons if not the reasons for the foundation of the AFL. I firmly believe that the other cardinals are so close to be sold around that time but again since the terms could not be agreed upon Huntington his partners went elsewhere looking and and started the other league which to be successful. So what are the NFL. Do though. So this is interesting because it seems like the move then to Saint Louis was relatively hasty and frankly again looking back in time you may know more that without the AFL's arrival and the threat of them looking at markets like Minneapolis and Saint. Louis That you know it just seems like the NFL. All of a sudden took the threat seriously and almost rallied the The League around how do we save the cardinals and and make it Beneficial for not only the bid wells but also for us as a league in a in the face of this threat from this new challenger and I think you you hit it right ahead where they did get noticed. In fact one of the things was that The other league was dying buying St Louis as a possible location for team and so Maybe that was the reason they move rather quickly did take everyone by surprise and Chicago Look back in the newspapers. We didn't see much about them. Moving the Saint Louis at that particular time of year that quickly and the fact that the league with apparently or rumor has the george shells paid some of this gave the cardinals a half million dollars a lot of money back in March of nineteen sixty to move. But yeah those are. The League was looking at St Louis. the television prominent Chicago so it seemed like the League could save the cardinals as well. So the League itself continue against this new formed opposition By securing Saint Louis and then continuing with the League and The cardinals continued operating except in a different location. Okay so we're not going to get into the St Louis Part of the story because that's for another time another situation another incarnation but one last question Russian on that in that sort of moved to Saint Louis how in the world do they wind up holding onto the cardinals name given that the baseball cardinals had had been there for many more years prior. I can't imagine what kind of confusion there was and or or am I just or was it just a natural sort of thing and it seems it seems crazy to me that you would move team that also has the same name as the baseball team in the city You're moving to yeah. It does seem odd a couple of things on my point out when hatless move the STALEY's to Chicago. I believe he writes in his autobiography. He also wanted to call his team. The cubs out of respect for Mr Wrigley but knowing that football players are bigger than baseball players. I see decided to name them the bears. So that's one story maybe They thought the cardinals name would be the same in honor of the Saint Louis Baseball cardinals and the other thing might be that the cardinals themselves with Wolf ner and The biddable family would say we WANNA keep our name People confuse them but it was kind of odd. And it's still out to people when you mentioned that they played their with the Saint. Louis Cardinals Baseball team. No no no. It was a football team so I haven't build a figure that one out yet very interesting all right well. So let's let's put this in context and I kind of started out with this question. I'm going to ask the same question again. But maybe sort of in a different manner right so you know again this is. This is the longest consecutive lasting franchise even it arguably before more than the founding of the National Football League and it's also perhaps maybe I guess in Longitudinal terms perhaps the most unlucky perhaps or or under performing franchises in the League's history Yet it's it's essentially important and crucial to the fabric of this league right. It's been around since its beginning while it hasn't won a ton of championships or you know other sort of you know a haloes of of success. It is part of a league that is just Gargantuan in terms of success these days and I guess you I wonder how and when you know more recognition of that history albeit not tremendous is at least recognize is because without you know without these early formative years there would be no cardinals in this beautiful facility in Arizona and you know and and in the the the desert southwest having their pro franchise and it is it is kind of amazing when you look back at it now and no team wants to lose. Everybody wants to win especially especially now under so much pressure on every coach and every team to perform any kind of look back and say well since the Chicago cubs won the world series three three years ago the cardinals since they wanted. Forty seven are the oldest major sports team not to win a world championship so to speak in terms blink year so the the colonel's unfortunately have that distinction now and it just seems like yeah that that the team hasn't been quite as successful in the number of championships say compared to the bears but then maybe bears fans are upset because they only won one championship in over fifty years. So it's Knocking knocked off all that far out but the history of the teams the bears and the cardinals. The cardinal specifically is something that really should be embraced it from you go back to when these players were playing often for no money or for twenty dollars a game and one come out of the game Even if they had a broken finger broken hand A lot of players get seriously injured. Not so much from injuries from getting hit but maybe 'cause they're planning horrible fields and they you got cut by a dirty piece of glass and so it's the realistic the realism. I guess what they went. Through those years I really wish would be recognized a little better by by the modern teams and cardinals certainly deserve any kind of recognition they could get for surviving living for now What is it one hundred twenty years since that first game and The traced back to Chris and Pat O'Brien back in eighteen ninety nine and certainly their story. Ah deserves being mentioned. I'm also hoping that mentioned Duke Slater and hopefully for recognition. The whole thing. But I didn't Chris. O'Brien deserves some kind of recognition as well He not only was one of the founders of the League but he also Allow the bears to come into Chicago because of territorial rights way back when so it was Interesting about all history. That's there and some of US trying to keep it alive and hopefully that'll be recognized. I think it is a little by little but We hope that that will continue to do so next year. We celebrate a one hundred anniversary of the NFL. Not just one hundred season all right. Here's my last question. So so this team winning outright a championship in nineteen forty seven their last one and a disputed one in nineteen twenty five. And that's it right. Yeah so what makes this franchise I in its Chicago Interational. So interesting to you. Why why? Why the focus on it? What what what got you interested in becoming an expert and you're an authority on the Chicago version of the of this arguably Ghibli almost forgotten team may interest in the team began kind of an oddly? I knew my father was a good football player and after he passed away many years after he passed away. I had a box of his stuff in there. I found that he had a contract from the Chicago cardinals. Back in the forties and that contract paid him one hundred ten dollars a game provided he had to bring his own shoes and shoulder.