140: NFL Footballs Chicago Cardinals With Joe Ziemba

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Hegang this week's episode is brought to you by hellofresh. America's number one meal Kit get easy seasonal recipes and premeasured ingredients delivered right to your door for all you gotTa do is Cook and enjoy and my listeners can get nine free meals. Can you believe it nine. Free meals when you go to hellofresh dot com slash josh good seats nine and use the Promo code good seats nine. Yup Nine free meals with hellofresh for a limited time go to hellofresh dot com slash good seats. It's nine and use the Promo code good seats nine. Here's our show on intrusive slapstick Chicago. Chicago cardinals of the nineteen fifties walked fat laden with an enemy. The footballs were thrown like pies. And there were cases where the keystone cops like slapstick movie characters. The cardinals thrived on ridiculous. The situations that enabled them to display on common resourcefulness from chaos. The cardinals created high comedy and it was high comedy created in a low budget environment. We'd have very good equipment. The cardinals at that time. The word class never never came close to us. We rode the train to games. TRAINED TO CLEVELAND TRAINED TO GREEN Bay. Wherever we went it was just a It was not the big league during the nineteen fifties. The Chicago cardinals do produce many victories but they're offbeat and exciting style of play produced plenty of drills and made them one of the most entertaining teams in NFL history. Welcome to good seats still available. A curious little podcast devoted to exploring what used to be in professional sports. Here's your host. Tim Hanley Well God and not forgotten however. And that's what we're here for of course and Way Welcome to the proceedings. My name is Tim Hamlin and this is of course. Good seats still available. It's are are curious little podcast that is devoted to what used to be in professional sports. What a what a quintessential franchise we have for you this week? And and it's also one. That's an incarnation. We don't just focus on defunct things here on this little show. We we like to focus on things that used to be previously incarnated. And that's this week's focus as we get into the original story of what is today the Arizona Cardinals. They got their start way back. When during the founding of this crazy thing called the national football league and they were those the Chicago cardinals from one thousand nine hundred twenty the earliest just days of the the beginnings of the NFL Until their demise or actually their their shift after the nineteen fifty nine season from the great city of Chicago to the equally great city of Saint Louis where they were these Saint Louis football cardinals in their second iteration for bunch years. That's for another show. Oh before they moved to a Phoenix and became the Phoenix and then Arizona cardinals. But if you consider yourself a cardinals football fan you know I I question your sanity was as you look at the history of this franchise one of the oldest and actually I think the oldest consecutively run franchises in all of the National Football League. It's cargo cardinals have scoggins well. A cardinals generally the entire history of the franchise has been. Shall we say Bereft of much playoff or championship. Success matter of fact they've only won a couple of championships and that was years and years ago before arguably the modern NFL NFL sort of came into into being yet. Nineteen forty seven and nineteen forty eight. Were really the Halcyon years of the team. And that's when they were actually located in Chicago and that's kind of our focus this week with our guest Joe Ziemba who has arguably written the quintessential thome about the the Chicago version of these cardinals. Call when football was football the Chicago cardinals and the birth of the NFL and again it is one of the oldest if not the oldest consecutively consecutively run franchises in the League in its history and as you heard in that little setup there pat summerall and a few other players from the Chicago cardinals. Days woeful is a is a good word comical slapstick These are all words curious. Inventive so you know. These are all sort of adjectives. Used to describe this team that For many years actually their entire Most of their run not the entire room but just about all all of it was pretty much played in the shadows of the the bigger stronger and obviously the longer term more successful. Although although this season we could argue the case Chicago bears and the cardinal certainly had their days against the bears They often won a few view. Battles Cross town battles Usually late in the season but of course more often than not lost the the long-term wars when it came to the better record curtain the better attendances and all that kind of stuff to their neighbors From the north and the cardinals though of Chicago were a very interesting and and fun and sometimes quizzical lot. We're GONNA get into some trouble hijinks and the interest interest the interesting intricacies. Frankly If you really go back even to the the AH prior years before the NFL's founding the Chicago cardinals were Oh really Even more important I think than the bears or a lot of other teams even the ones that start in the NFL because they were part of the Chicago football scene gene the pro football scene in in the windy city That preceded the NFL. I remember that You know the the pro football game really wasn't the the thing until not even after the. NFL got started took years to kind of GEL. We talked about many previous episodes. But there were you know much like Baseball in the eighteen eighteen. Seventy eight hundred eighty s the rumblings of how a sport professionalized itself from the ranks amateurs and in particular college football which is all all the rage back in the teens and twenties and thirties took a long time for the NFL to ascend to It's a dominant professional firmament in the sports landscape ended up the cardinals the Chicago cardinals were instrumental in. Very seminal in all of that we're going to get into all of that as well as their shall how we say very curious years in the great city of Chicago with our guest Josie Emba and the Chicago cardinals. The football cardinals of the Abuts nineteen twenty to nineteen sixty or so and we get to that in just a moment's time but before we do so we want to say hello and welcome to one of our long time sponsors and one of our best of course and that's our friends at streaker sports streaker sports dot com is the place to go to enjoy just about all of the fun and interesting garb. That streaker sports has they fancy themselves as the purveyor of sports culture and once you go to the site at streaker sports dot com. You will understand why they say that and And with authority because you'll find shirts caps and all kinds of other shorts. They've got a great shorts short collection but all rooted in Fun Sports Culture stuff and of course the stuff that we love especially the defunct leagues remembrances and if you're a fan of the World Hockey Association or the American Basketball Association The good old North American soccer league any of the indoor or hockey leagues like Like roller hockey international about indoor Lacrosse old major indoor Lacrosse league the predecessor to today's National Lacrosse League and even the USFL USFL on the WFL from the realm football. These are all leagues. That are featured tremendously well and in great garb at streaker sports dot com. And you're gonNA find a just an amazing array of shirts and other wear that have all these great logos and all these great teams mm-hmm and what tremendous holiday gifts. These would be for the sports fan in your life especially a sports fan that perhaps Grew up maybe watching shing and rooting for one of these teams that no longer exist but perhaps in the back waters of their memories and what better way to bring him to the foreground out of their memories by by giving them a shirt crafted with love from our friends at streaker sports streaker sports dot com. Make sure you use the Promo Code though when you're doing so for all your holiday shopping that Promo Code is good seats good seats Yup. That's the Promo Code at streaker. Sports DOT COM so check out any great defunct league stuff but they've got cool sports culture stuff too. They've got stuff celebrating the mighty ducks movie. Or how about slapshot your fan of caddyshack. Or how about onions. The Great Billy Billy raftery and his occasional scream and screech during a college basketball games. Obviously plenty of those to come a why not celebrate the Great Bill Rafter in in his signature phrase with their onions t shirt collection. It's awesome all of this stuff is awesome and again at that streaker sports dot com and use that Promo code a good seats for ten percent of all of your purchases for the holidays or otherwise. Courtesy of our friends at streaker sports We thank streaker sports of course and we thank you to of course for listening further as we get into the Interesting historical time between nineteen twenty and nineteen fifty nine or so this is is when the cardinals and football played in Chicago. And we're going to talk about it with Joe Ziemba their conversation. We had just a couple of weeks back. Sit Back and enjoy and we'd love going back to some of the central stories especially teams that exists today but what were previously incarnated and and maybe I can kind of just sort of start with this I mean the Arizona. Cardinals are the latest expression of if a team that essentially has been the longest consecutive running franchise in NFL history. Let's start with sort of from the from the today going backward. How much would you say and I think I know the answer to this? How much would you say the current fans of the Arizona Cardinals and the current organization give sorta proper routes do given the origination of this franchise way back when in Chicago my opinion that a lot of people perhaps know about the Saint Louis version of the team but very few know about the Chicago origination which go back eighteen ninety nine and that's not surprising everything? A lot of people are actually surprised if I use the term again to know the team goes net far back. So it's for the organization itself They're aware of the cardinals. I often see web mentions of the Chicago cardinals but not a whole lot of emphasis. I thought perhaps there might be a a little more this year with the hundred season of the NFL. That I've seen we do have a a facebook site as I've mentioned were people still seem intrigued by the history of the cardinals and so we try and provide them with some bizarre facts and figures going all the way back to the beginning So there is interest in the team the history viewpoint but it's one Perhaps legitimately or not is not really addressed too often anymore. Yeah and I think that's interesting and and it's it's been one the themes that we've sort of unearthed in our conversations to date is is you know the teams that currently exist that that do have roots. Go back and it's interesting to see how oh well embraced or many cases oftentimes whitewashed or forgotten or simply ignored because modern day. Doesn't you have the time or the wherewithal or the the extra work. Perhaps or maybe even some of the skeletons in in in club histories and all that kind of stuff. Because it's all about the future and in and the big business now of it and you know frankly I think it's a shame and I sort of didn't want to sort of put a Downer on it to start but I think it's important for anybody who's a fan of the Arizona cardinals our noses their previous incarnation as the Phoenix cardinals. Or even the previous incarnation of that of the Saint Louis Cardinals that this very deep and rich history and storied did franchise for almost forty years before they even moved to Saint Louis. For God's sakes and that's saying something so maybe you can give our audience. Those these young whippersnappers snappers out there. A little bit of understanding of maybe maybe the primordial ooze from which even disfranchised Kinda got going even before nineteen twenty and the NFL Kinda started kicking around. Yeah we do see where the cardinals will say there since. Nineteen twenty and of course. That's one the first version of the national channel. Football League started the American Professional Football Conference but the team itself goes back to eighteen ninety nine with the first game being played actually on on October Fifteenth Eighteen Ninety nine when the team called the Morgan Athletic Association which we can trace back from today's Arizona cardinals articles of play the game on the south side of Chicago and defeated the Sherman's and the Morgan Just a bunch of Sandlot kids they call. They played pro very football. So it wasn't that a firm organization and just a bunch of kids. They got together to to play some football which is still a new game then I know in Chicago a cargo. The Chicago Public League which was probably the earliest version of high school football. That didn't start until the eighteen ninety s so the game had been more prosperous. Were prevalent in the East and then moved to the Midwest but still didn't get a lot of great deal of acceptance at that time but so we can trace in the main reason for tracing racing. The team is the two brothers called Chris and Pat O'Brien personal brine. I think as the forgotten man of the National Football League he was one of the founders in nineteen eighteen twenty but he was also seventeen or eighteen year old and on that first team for the Mortgage Athletic Association. Eighteen ninety nine MS brother. Pat Was this The quarterback or fullback at the time the formations were a little different. So we can trace the o'briens all the way through to win Chris. O'Brien was one of the founders. What we knows does the NFL and till he sold the team in nineteen twenty nine and of course the cardinals have been with the bidwill families? sincerly thirty so really only three the founders of the team and all those years could say three owners. And that was Chris. O'Brien and this corporation and a guy named Dr David Jones who had the team for about op. Three years before he sold to Charles bidwill whose family still owns the cardinals today. Well maybe you can give are. Is this a bit of a sense of sort of this pre. NFL Pre professional fashionable or or or semi or not even professional kind of mccalla Rag tag. But people need to remember right and we've gone way back into the earliest days as a baseball right which arguably starts eighteen seventies eighteen eighties or so and the rumblings and and the relatively crude way that professionalism came into that game but this we were still decades away or at least a few decades away from true professional football during the early nineteen hundreds where and what was this team kind of playing in and against and whom against in Chicago and environs. The different teams were neighborhood teams and they took their names from the street name in Chicago. So we would I would say see teams called the Westerns the Artesian 's the hall studs and this would be the neighborhood that took their name of their team from that street. I got on there. Were bigger neighborhood. Teams called the Kensington the Grand Crossing Eagles Logan squares from the north side. And once in a while wilder would go over the state line to play you Chicago gophers or a team from Michigan City Indiana. So for a while there was no real formal formal structure of a League till about nineteen sixteen or so when there was something called the Chicagoland Football League which was a loosely knit organization organization of some of these prairie teams. But in the early days it was just neighborhood kids playing each other and what prairie field might be available. There were no stands. The equipment was horrible. Generally the teams would have they would play eleven guys would go both ways but maybe only have two substitutes roots and if they derived any income at all from these Games there was two bets on the side. Where teammate get together? Ten dollars a month All the players and but the other eighteen they could beat them. Of course. We're not supposed to talk about betting football. But that's how they got a little bit of their Their revenue way back when is the team's he's got a little bigger They became part of athletic clubs and athletic clubs again. In the early part of the century were organizations nations that were to provide their members with entertainment. Whether it be boxing matches track meets baseball teams. Football teams answers were very popular. And that's when the Morgan Athletic Association from Eighteen. Ninety nine kind of evolved into the Morgan Athletic Club in nineteen hundred so instead of just having a a bunch of kids playing football for fun they now represented a club. They probably pay dues to this club. The club For example the Morgan Outlet Club Had A headquarters quarters and had to pay rents but drew a lot of revenue from membership fees but from charging admission to their track meets or their football or baseball games so it became a little more formalized than nearly part of the century as the athletic clubs in Chicago at least started playing each other. Yeah that's interesting. So even before a a professional circuit per se right there was at least a bit of structure around how to play. Perhaps maybe even Solidifying some of the early and arguably competitive or challenging rules differences maybe In giving molly kids chance to play but also maybe some of the early rubrics of what professionalism professionalism might look like in the decades to follow. That was true. In fact one of the Kiraly Games occurred me. Get my memory here about the end of November. Maybe thanksgiving of nineteen o four. When the Morgan Athletic Club played a team called the normal athletic club and they rented out what was called Kaminski's Park Not Comiskey Park where the white sox played at thirty ninth and Wentworth and there was one hundred and fifty dollars side? Bet Per team. Mind that so that was big money but they charged admission so they look like they were trying to attract not only fans but also have one hundred. Fifty dollars is a lot of money money back then. So they're taking quite serious at that time but Around nineteen o four or nineteen when that game occurred and we saw more of that where they were getting Hansa bigger venues instead of just playing any empty lot. They're looking for a place. They have bleachers. The cardinals as we know him eventually were playing in a place called normal normal park in Chicago which is at sixty third and racine. There was a baseball field. They put the football field so it went east West Barely made it within the fence and but it was a more formal structure for them to begin playing in. And it's important to understand some of this These early origins because The actual name of the team and their color scheme kind of came from from these early pre nfl days. Maybe you can sort of get into the story of of of how the team wound up getting its name and its its color scheme which is still today. What is the cardinals? Had we think the same colors colors This might sound like some heresy but the name cardinals did not come from a name of Jersey. Which is what our researches found out over the last few years? As when the team with the O'Brien brothers more from the mortgage Athletic Association into the Morgan Athletic Club and that was eighteen ninety nine and nineteen hundred. Nineteen O one. You'll Bryan brothers. Were part of a new club. Call the Cardinal Athletic and social club and it really had nothing to do with the color of their jerseys the the prevalence story is that Chris. O'Brien when was the owner of the team. And he bought used jerseys from Amos Alonzo stagg the head coach at the University of Chicago and we haven't been able to verify five that at all in fact. That doesn't make a lot of sense. 'CAUSE stag hated just hated the idea of someone playing football after he graduated and had nothing to do with these post-collegiate teams and I've even done. Some research into his records at the University of Chicago Library could find no trace of of stags bags selling his US jerseys to a team that was then called the cardinal social and Athletic Club Crystal. Brian was not the owner. He was still just a teenager. Major basically a right out of his team so again. This was a social club or people belonged and They sponsored the team over. There was a high school team which ah done some more research on called Morgan Park Military Academy which was a farm club for the University of Chicago. STAGG would kinda hide some of was promising players there and then bring them over. He hoped coats that team. And if you look at their jerseys they look an awful lot of like Like the University of Chicago Algo jerseys that may have been from a year or two before. A lot of this is available because we see stuff online or we can research it during in some of these archives where we can actually see the photos from teams and compared with their uniforms. Look like so unfortunately The name which we've been came from Chris. O'Brien buying Rangers needs from the University of Chicago. Insane they look like a cardinal rid not true. Sorry that's interesting. That's very say well this. This is why this is why we we kind of want to delve into these things. Because you know I think as people sort of recognize that there are histories here it's also interesting to note that Sometimes and this is why people like you I and others who either armchair or or professionally. You know delve into the history books and then try to get into the stories. You know to know that that you know the Maroon color at the University of Chicago by my proud graduate. School isn't necessarily but it's also I think it also is pretty telling you mentioned stag. I mean it's also I get the sense from what you just said that. That stagg was a little leery perhaps of anything approaching quote unquote professionalism in the sport because it was largely amateur. Sure when he was in his prime right exactly in fact. There's some good stories. Floating around found. A couple of them were some of his players after they graduated were so fearful stag and his influence that they would try and play under. Oh I guess different names or even trying to skies themselves selves. There's one fun story. Were a red haired athlete. Put Shoe Polish into hair and a lot of the guys played without helmets back then so thinking no one would recognize him and report him to stay. Even though he was no longer part of the university everything went along fine until there was a heavy rainstorm during the game and all that shoe Polish washed down this case and uncovered his red hair. And of course I guess it was reported this tag so other players to play under assumed names Even their stories about let's say eighteen ninety nine stay won the National Championship and about twenty five years later they they had a reunion of that team and the players were successful life lawyers and jurists and Instructors etc business owners. They were afraid to have a cocktail and stakes presence because he was against drinking so The influence there was is pretty amazing when you think about it in in how he influenced them Through those years but yeah stay with a totally against any type of professionalism and football well but there was a thriving circuit in Chicago. You hinted at some of it and and maybe you can kind of give us a sense of how important that pre NFL NFL Chicago circuit was in helping even form what became the NFL and the cardinals role in that. Yeah that's true because this Chicago. Football Football League took it quite seriously it for the first time had a more formal schedule before the season would be published in the newspapers. This is about nineteen sixteen one thousand nine hundred seventeen when it was really fully formed. But that's three or four years before the NFL and they would have a playoff system at the end of the season and the thing was nineteen. Eighteen season ended in I shouldn't say ended. But there were four teams that qualified and including the cardinals but then they were called. The racine cardinals are knows. Not After Racine Wisconsin but after Racine Avenue were Christa. O'Brian lived and they had so many tie games. At the end of the season. They play the games indoor but what might be called Dexter pavilion where we might call it. The international amphitheatre later years on the south side near the stockyards and so that playoff They played the cardinals. Played a couple of games and it was interesting because those were probably the first of the professional indoor football all games that were played because of this new league and the rules that had the playoff structure that was implemented yet. Now that's fascinating. I've seen some old pictures of that at and it does let's get dredged up When he talked about Some of those bitter cold games or or building domes and that kind of stuff and even historians I think even get some of that incorrect because it predates even the NFL. or it's a previous incarnation. The American Professional Football Association that that pro. If you will games were being played indoors which is is fascinating to me because I think a lot of people a modern kind of development that frankly was even. NFL that's how that's how integral you know. The the Beginnings Beginnings of of the sport was playing endorse pretty interesting. It is and I'm thinking really innovative. That these teams got together laid out a football field inside the amphitheater. The billionaire and rebel to to have a game I some accounts say the field was only eighty yards long Other say that there was there's rules against The out of bounds because it was so close to the walls but that really has always amazed me that way back then the season would continue and actually ended in January nineteen nineteen that they would have that foresight to go indoors now lead to continue playing and determine a champion but it also attracts them paying customers. That is very well in attracting customers to see those beams doors to spin it. In a more modern round we had the original arena league football founder. Jim Foster on for a couple of episodes a couple years back and it's fascinating because in many respects they were kind of trying to create rules us as they went along. But again you go back. And and obviously it's a more miniaturized and certainly modernized rail but but frankly a lot of the essential components of the game came right are just simply shrunk into a an indoor kind of smaller kind of venue it which again you know another fascinating tidbit. That I don't think today's as modern fan sort of recognized and they think everything that is new is Completely new and in many respects everything old is new again so give me nineteen twenty. Because that's obviously a crucial year and I'm just fascinated. Frankly this is. This is relatively new to me. I mean certainly. I'm very aware of the Chicago cardinals franchise and its its role in in the foundation among the others with creating this. What became the National Football League but I am fascinated? But you've just described to me is how how much Chicago writ large as a city as a metropolitan area and has if you will a cradle of a bunch of professional teams scrounging around around playing even in a pre league kind of environment was to the foundation of this leak In fact it would be first year that league there were four Chicago Chicago teams basically in the League. The Decatur Staley's who were already playing some games up at cubs park before it became Wrigley Field. We had the cardinals. Another team called the Chicago Tigers. And then the Hammond pros which had been around for several years and Hammond which is just across the border so it's it's Very close to downtown Chicago and the Hammond team was one that really help push pro football in the mid West because the owner put together a great team that included George Halas Petty Driscoll and some of the others who became part of what we now know as Chicago Koko Bear's and he paid quite a bit of money. He paid one hundred dollars a game which was pretty much unheard of in nineteen nineteen. In fact I think there are called the twenty thousand dollars football team. That's how much they were GonNa pay that urine salaries so is acquaint startling to the fans that for the first time. Perhaps they're going to see all these college stars on one team and the Ham and of course cross the lines and then played teams in Illinois Ryan and elsewhere. But yeah you're right. There was a great great influence of Chicago in the early part of what we knows the National Football League which is which she's also now interesting as sort of go back to my first question right so obviously people know and revere in this city the bears of course and the stale as being the original name and you know the became the bears very shortly thereafter there was two years after the beginning of the inception of league right. And but it's it's interesting though. How may we consider get into this as as as the years roll on on the bears and the cardinals wind up being the only two if you will? NFL NFL Franchises in Chicago. How I don't know I wanNA say forgotten but almost second class citizenry according to the cardinals cardinals relative to that of the bears in this city? And then frankly In the League as time we're on and you know obviously a couple of relocations didn't help matters but it's really interesting. How how essential? The cardinals were at the beginning of of the League as well as you know they're AH unmatched history in this league. And they're both just as vital to this Very Vibrant Chicago football scene in the early days as here. I'm just interested to sort of see how the cardinals kind of unless they lost their way but got a little less love. I guess or less recognition. Maybe than the bears. Maybe it's because the bears just stuck around forever here. Yeah the bears being around but one of the early things that set the bears apart was when George Halas was able to. I guess build a team that was already there in Decatur. He worked into the contract that the players would be employed of the of the daily manufacturing. So they got paid per game but they're also paid to work every day and he was also able to get them paid while they the practice after work so it was kind of Nice to have a team at that time. There was so organized. And so well funded that they could not only attract people. 'CAUSE football didn't pay for you do it. Just once during the season than have a decent living the rest of the year they all had to have part time. The jobs of course continued probably the forties and fifties for the NFL. But here hell was able to attract players. Make sure that a fulltime job got a little bit extra for we're playing football and Got Paid and to let them take off work to practice. Which I think was the undoing of The sponsorship I should decatur sponsorship fifty years ago but that seemed to allow hell to from the start. Have a winning team in the second year. The League the Staley's wanted and they were able to put together those great teams in the Twenties and thirties and forties A.. Forties with Sid Lutman where they were getting the fan appreciation and they're a game Games were played of course at Wrigley Field. which is more centrally located for folks in the city of Chicago where the cardinals run the south side? You you could ex- excess Normal Park by train and bus of course even when they're in Comiskey Park But it was. It seemed like easier for the fans and for some reason the media as it was at the time there were several papers in Chicago. Hello was a great promoter. Of course He would often literally days right. The game mm story and hand-delivered ski that it was printed the next day so he was very savvy in terms of getting promotion for the team and then in terms of getting people to attend and back then. We didn't have cable television or multimedia advertising you had attendance and program sales and that was about it for bringing income in for the team. So I think probably house jumping in Getting that prime real estate of Wrigley field a very favourable grable rents structure with Mr Wrigley. That enabled him to have a team. That was a good. He was able to track. Good players pay them and then put up winning records and so that was attractive to local fans the nearing that's just seemed to be the basis of why the bears were a little a bit more recognized and have been throughout the years than the cardinals which weren't quite as successful win loss nor an attendant throughout the years while so how did the cardinals establish their fan base. Then so you're obviously mentioning one component of it sort of the north side versus South side kind of thing but and and that sort of the full time employment thing which is striking because it sounds a lot like some of the earliest days of pro basketball. We've we've gone into in the early days of the NBA and the Things of the pre NBA where they were company teams to start with breath and it was. It was company first team play at night and then obviously that Begat a pro circuit over time. But how did the cardinals distinguish themselves as a a viable professional franchise. In addition to the bears I guess for one year even in addition to the Chicago Tigers in the city the attention they they promoted locally Chris. O'Brien was pretty innovative as well. He was one of the first to recognize the value of future generations of fans fans so he would have special Either free days or half price days for schoolboys to attend He recognized veterans from world. War One one established perky lots near normal park so fans could take these newfangled automobiles drive to the game and he also tried to get as best he could Coverage in the media and O'Brien also would be kind of like a salesman he would say. The cardinals played down. In Moline and overnight rock island. He would go there the week before and try and drum business from the local fans and of course the writing that time was extraordinary. We'd hear about the giants Ryan Chicago cardinals coming to lean with several all Americans on the team and we're a little moline doesn't have a chance. But they would build up these versions Asians and stories of the all Americans when it came to Chicago. The cardinals just seemed draw. What normal park on the south? They didn't have a large seating capacity even when they moved to Comiskey Park. They didn't have much luck in filling that place Again when he helps a lot. The cardinals won the championship in nineteen twenty five but then unfortunately was the same time. Red Grange game in the League and so the bears were off filling stadiums around the country and the poor cardinals are trying to get a couple of thousand housing to watch them play Comiskey Park so that was kind of interesting about how the cardinals did try and survive in the thirties. This was after. O'Brien sold sold the team. They actually played their games from nineteen thirty one to nineteen thirty nine at Wrigley Field which left the cardinals at kind of the bottom of the ladder in terms of you've of preferred game days the cubs of course if they had a good season might be playing late into October The bears would have their first choice. Waste because that was their home field and so then the cardinals are Wrigley. Field would have. Maybe they're opening home game in November. I think Vince Bananas A great I because all the guards for the cardinals one said the team tried to move to Wrigley Field where they had all the rich people and we had the when he called the have nuts on the sell all side probably not fair for us to describe it that way but it seemed to be true because the fans of the cardinals would not go north to watch the cardinals plane Wrigley Field. Of course the bears wanted fans wanted nothing to do a sing another team playing and Wrigley Field so that did not last and the cardinals moved back for nineteen forty into Comiskey Park. So lots to unpack there so on that one. That was the Bidwell family when they bought the team in thirty three that they decided that they were gonna try to kind of go upmarket if you will and find out where the where where the money was but that's odd because the city of such a large geography. Hindsight is twenty twenty now right but you know to be the third tenant pennant in you know in arguably a baseball park right. The number two football team let alone not have with another stadium just on the south side I just basically sitting waiting for a winter. Tenant sure yeah and they Just never worked for him but I I guess it was an idea actually. They started a year before. Did well got involved and He kept up with it but the owner. Dr David Jones. He was the city physician for the city of Komo. A Chicago promise that he would bring a winning team to the sell side and made a lot of changes. One of the biggest was bringing. Ernie Nevers I the hall of Famer in to play for the cardinals later coach for the cardinals. He had the first out of town training. Camp and cold water Michigan really pumped up the the team but When attendance was still not very strong He was the one who had the first season up in Wrigley Field. I'm not sure if they signed signed a contract for several years but bidwill certainly had the opportunity to move the team back but but kept them up north and maybe it was because he had a fondness for the beers. There's kind of working for health at one time being a partner with hell listen they pro basketball team to Chicago Bruins Of course this was going on before and during his time as owner of the cardinals but who knows The attendance wise is certainly didn't work all right so before we move onto the ownership changes and and you mentioned that it's important that we go over sort of how it got to the big welfare because it didn't go directly to them as you just mentioned in one thousand nine hundred. Eighty five is an asterisk for sure in NFL. Football history. History right and and I believe I've mistaken the cardinals. I guess almost retroactively claim nineteen twenty. Five is there I ever. Nfl Championship hip. But it wasn't that simple nor maybe even at the time acknowledged as such as a championship team was it yes twenty five was preps the the if not today. It's still is one of the most controversial seasons that was ever played in the NFL and nineteen twenty four. There was a a similar. I'm were thing where a couple of teams claim the title and the owners and their minutes which are available to pro football hall of fame. Put Down certain rules and the rules claim claim that you could schedule any number of games you want it to until a certain day. Let's just say December first December seven. And if you wanted I want to you can keep playing games The cardinals in nineteen twenty five were neck and neck with the Pottsville maroons from Pennsylvania and ahead. What a lot of the newspapers called the championship? Game between the two teams at the end the season Pottsville won that game so they edged ahead of the cardinals and the standings and this is the same time. Now that we're hearing rumblings about Red Green joining the bears and coming to the the NFL So some trains are saying perhaps the cardinals or the maroons. We're trying to finagle a game with red grange and host them and and get the full crowd Some correspondence that indicates that but basically crystal Brian the owner of the cardinals. He really wanted to win the championship. So which which was legal. He scheduled to more games in nineteen twenty five before the deadline was against the a ham and team and one was against the Milwaukee he badgers he won both games. So that's the first part of the story that adds the cardinals ahead of Pottsville by Gamer. So the same time Pottsville. I still wanted to play Much all stars from Notre Dame up in the Philadelphia area. And here's a lot. It gets a little more controversial. Is that the league supposedly told possible. They could not play in Philadelphia because of territorial rights. They wanted to play the game. Anyway and We're then summarily. This is because they were trying to make some the the early part of the NFL. This was also part of sort of revenue generation. Right there was an exhibition. Asa Asa in and around the right accorded regular season right so they would have been okay to play this game anywhere else but they decided to play where they were told not I too. So that's the controversy that that Followers the pottsville claim that they should have won the championship. They shouldn't have been kicked out of the League and that the cardinals all scheduled these two games illegally but it was legal ethical. I'm not so sure But the cardinals then because apostles kicked out were Lee said was awarded the championship to the cardinals. They never claimed it. There was no trophy at the time. And then the story got even a little crazier because when they put the cardinals played the team from Milwaukee Milwaukee came to town. They didn't have enough players so one of the cardinals players. Here's phone some additional professionals who turned out to before high school kids from Englewood High School. So the cardinals then were Brought to the carpet Chris. O'Brien Brian was fined and again what was said at that time. with the cardinals have to give up the championship. They never they never were the excuse that the championship never was taken away from the cardinals so there's still recognize the twenty five champions even though maybe outwardly. They never accepted that until later on when the the bidwill family became involved. So if you're from Pottsville you probably have a good claim that something must have been a mess if your car to stand you. Probably the and rightly so say we. We just schedule another couple of games. Either way it's very controversy on. It's funny even to this day. Still you bring that up among people who do research and there's a a good argument going on as to who is actually nineteen twenty five champion the personal. Brian was certainly looking forward to winning the championship and perhaps scheduling a game or two with the Chicago bears against well. Okay so I guess it's important right because you mentioned in hinted at that. The team was the O'Brien sold the team to to Dr David Jones in Nineteen Twenty nine very interesting year on a writ large basis in this country and frankly the globe then by thirty two was then purchased by a gentleman by the name of Charles. Charles Bidwell will probably want to get into because the bidwell family from from this point on obviously becomes synonymous with the cardinals franchise for the rest of its of its life instill but I. It's interesting that AH AH based on what I've read and you can correct me if I'm wrong. It was only after bidwell became owner of the team that this sort of nineteen twenty five asterisks championship became an issue and were a pursuit of his. To somehow at least lay claim to as their history he went off. Yes and and I think that's accurate The history of it is a little fuzzy as to when and if and why. The cardinals claimed the championship. unshipped that the league basically gave to them and early nineteen twenty six. I shouldn't say gave but recognize the cardinals because they had the better record under the rules at the time and of course today we can't go back and change that type of history or this. We can question the decisions but we can't go back and change it but it does seem around that time that you would see the cardinals claiming that they were champions in nineteen twenty five and some of the programs and other material that went out came and do all right. What's this hellofresh? Hello fresh yes. America's number one meal kit of course for Scherzer easy seasonal recipes and pre measured ingredients delivered. Right to your door with hellofresh. All you have to do is cook and enjoy exactly what I've been doing. The last a couple of days as we've been enjoying Hanlon household some delicious hellofresh meals not only delicious but simple and straightforward and easy to make hellofresh mix cooking delicious meals at at home of course a reality regardless of your comfort. The kitchen from step-by-step recipe and premeasured ingredients. You'll have everything you need to get a wow worthy dinner on the table in just just about thirty minutes say goodbye. Endless grocery store trips and take out food hellofresh. has you covered breakout. Your dinner with hellofresh is over. Twenty seasonal chef curated recipes each week. There's something for everyone from family recipes to calories smart and vegetarian and fun menu series like Hall of fame and Craft Burgers. Hellofresh has more five-star recipes than any other meal Kip. So you know you'll always get something delicious and it's also flexible and fits your lifestyle at extra meals to your weekly order Perhaps even adding on yummy additions like garlic bread or even cookie dough. You can easily change your delivery days or your food preferences. Heck you can even skip skipped a week. Whenever you need hellofresh Gotcha covered? We love it. Give it a try. I guarantee you're going to you're going to enjoy it. And here's a great incentive to do so how about nine free free meals yes. I said nine free meals when you use the Promo code good seats nine at hellofresh dot com slash good seats nine nine. That's hellofresh dot com slash. Good seats nine. The number nine and make sure you use the Promo code good seats nine. And you'RE GONNA get nine free meals Dell's courtesy of us and hellofresh. It's a great deal and May I suggest when you're choosing those first nine meals that two of them be the sesame beef tacos with quick pickled veggies and chilly sour cream which we just had last night in the Hamlin household we loved it tremendously and then two nights? Before that we also had a tremendous meal the chicken sausage and Spinach ricotta Ravioli with tomato. And Lemon that was thumbs up to from the hand plan. So that's just two of the nine. We could have chosen but go go for nine free meals. When you go to hellofresh dot com slash good seats nine again hellofresh dot com slash good seats and the number number nine and use that Promo code to when you're on the site good seats nine and get nine free meals again from our friends at hellofresh? We love the food food and we love our friends and Ella. Fresh new will to and why you Search up that deal and get your your web browser and your order in there. How about tab return to our conversation and I also get the sense that the cardinals also before Even bidwell became owner. Were a little ahead of the curve when it came. I'm too Integrating African American players into their into their mix. Is that right. Oh it certainly is and It was a shameful part of the NFL when there. It wasn't integration there for most of the thirties but the cardinals had a a fantastic player. Name Frederick Slater Duke Slater. All American at the University of Iowa originally grew up on the south side of Chicago. His father was a minister earnings. Just a dominating player he played basically Lia's entire crew without a helmet. He didn't see much use for so but slater Is this year of the National Football League Hall of fame since the National Football. I believe the pro. Football Hall of fame is going to try and recognize some of those folks who played nearly years Hopefully include them in the hall of fame. I Duke Luke Slater's one that absolutely should be considered but Here's an African. American employer played several years for the cardinals started out with I believe rock island before rejoined the cardinals and was dominating tackle in fact one of the oldest. NFL records was established in Thanksgiving Day. Nineteen twenty nine when Ernie Nevers the harden scored all forty points so the cards in a forty two six win over the bears and to this day. That's the most points ever scored by an individual in an NFL NFL. Game and Duke Slater was The primary reason for that that most running plays brand right behind him at tackle and slater was always known for one who would a clear the whole for the runners but yes. The cardinals had duke slater. Another great halfback called Joe. Louis leads the early thirties. was a phenomenal phenomenal runner to receivers well passing wasn't as prevalent as today but Another great player and then those players just disappeared until the forties so in some respects and you may know the history more deeply certainly than I do but people like Duke Slater right seemed to be eh. Almost forgotten in terms of their how pioneering they were I mean he he was arguably one of the if not the standout African American players in the early days of pro football even just slightly before the NFL. I wonder why more hasn't been made of sort of these pioneering efforts especially in light of maybe where the NFL still hasn't sort of you know kind of crossed the chasm on on on integration and and and and and rights. And all that kind of stuff if you believe some of the current players out there they you know there's a lot of disrespect still I think in the community. Yeah nothing would duke slater such a phenomenal. I and two way player for so many years every time you read an article talks about him and what he did in the line and it just He's he's one that should be recognized but I agree yes. Somebody's players and is it. Is it because the writers who covered them are no longer with us and none of us ever saw them play play and so we really have to rely on research to bring these folks back. I guess part of the thing that I enjoy about the cardinals and their players is finding something something that no one perhaps before and to You know publish it however however possible whether in being book form or on our our different sites sites but it just doesn't seem to be the recognition even when you see the seniors who are nominated each year. They're generally the seniors. Perhaps from the fifties he's our sixties for the hall of fame and not those from the twenties and thirties. Well okay so let me let me ask this indelicate question. Then so you're hinting at. Maybe one of the reasons. Why perhaps and Yeah I? This is also part of why we kind of in our own very amateurish way kind of go into this conversation these conversations because there are things that are either lost oeste history or have not been fully vetted or you know that that are living and breathing issues. That could be resurrected and maybe brought to light such as this Not Sort of making a crusade out of this but you know it seems like it's a it's a fairly decent injustice could it be also right besides the fact that early twenties unease and some of it was prior to the NFL's formation and the rules you're talking about we're relatively free form. Shall we say be charitable. Do you think it would have been any different had had slater been. Let's say on the Chicago bears right because the cardinals as we'll get into in a few minutes you know kind of were wayward in terms their on field performance for decades right during and after a bit wells a acquisition of the team. And so I guess I'm just wondering if the cardinals relatively family on remarkable performance in the years that followed in the thirties and the forties might have had something to do with the fact. That Snyder wasn't given any Additional credit because he was on relatively more team. Yeah I never thought of it that way. But if he had been on the bears with winning championships in the thirties and forties he's been playing the forties. But yeah maybe it would have been a little different because after twenty five. The cardinals were not really competitive in a lot of those years so there was no recognition for the team nor for the individual players. You know we have Ernie Nevers. Obviously he's in the hall of fame and the forties. Charlie trippy but in between there. Yeah there's a little bit of a gap and that's the interesting that Perhaps the one loss record of the might have a lot to do with it in terms of recognition. Ignition for some of these players are will tell me about Charles Bidwell. Because I don't want us to start to Pinson blame on the team's performance but he did inherit the team. He did purchase nineteen thirty two. Maybe a little background Charles Bidwell was and and arguably sort of his approach to running the the other team in Chicago in the NFL During the thirties and forties bidwell was a businessman who was involved in printing program. uh-huh some say involved in printing fits for other types of social entertainment but again he was an innovator. He was involved with dog racing racing. He was involved in women's softball. Pioneer there had a team in Chicago. Had his own stadium called bidwill stadium on the South side where the softball team played. And as I mentioned earlier he was partner with George House and pro basketball team at the time he purchased the cardinals. He had to relinquish his share of the bears. And one of the interesting stories of that. Era's when George was bought out Dutch tournament his partner and the bears and they were together from Nineteen nineteen twenty twenty one all the way through nineteen thirty two. He had to meet a certain deadline. And in order to get the cash she had a borough he borrowed from say George Trafton and another hall of Fame Player borrow from George Tripton mother and at the last minute Charles Bidwell gave them my belief five thousand dollars so Halis could make that final payment mint but in order to become owner of the cardinals. BIDWILL relinquish whatever shares and the bears he had or any position He was a secretary secretary and someplace describe or other officer positions and was interesting one of the stories that we hear about it. Well says loyalty to health and the bears because of their business partnerships but when he first became owner of the cardinals the cardinals and the bears play the game and it will forgetting that he was the owner was watching. The cardinals led the bears up until late in the game when the bears scored to win and Bidwell overheard say who that was close. Many clothes for the bears win. Forget he was the owner of the cardinals but that changed. He became very very determined to build a winner. It took a while that when he signed Charlie trippy in the forties. That was the first bonus baby of the NFL trip. You've got this huge contract. Stolen guys were getting. Maybe one hundred ten one dollars a game and Tricky signed for about one hundred thousand dollars for two years. He could've played pro baseball. He could have gone to a new professional league. That was starting with the team in New York. Mr Bidwell had Talk Charlie trippy into playing for the cardinals and it paid off because the cardinals then won the championship up and nineteen forty seven. Tricky being one of the leaders. Unfortunately Mr Bidwill passed away earlier. Nineteen forty seven and nine never saw that championship occur occur but He had been active for many years and different sports activities and the city of Chicago and surrounding areas and so As a businessman businessman. I don't know if he was tight as they. George Halas was rumored to be But perhaps they needed more of a football person person perhaps to attract better players for the cardinals in the thirties. And of course in the forties than the war broke out all the teams lost. Their players to the service is that they were over six hundred thirty. I believe. NFL players We're in the military during World War Two so It was tough to to I guess. Climb that mound develop a championship team championship team in the NFL but Buddha bidwell eventually did that. Nineteen forty seven. Okay I want to get to the nineteen in forty four season in a minute. Because it's a huge asterisk in the history of of you but I want to go back though before we do that. into the remarkably liane remarkable nineteen thirties and early nineteen forties of this franchise. Right what was it about. This team underbid wells management. That just made it so I mean the only I take it. The only had two winning seasons during that period of time and losing seasons for ten consecutive ten consecutive from thirty six to forty five. What was it about this franchise? During that period of time was that the ownership was it mismanagement was it. Bum locked was it. What was it? Do you think that they were so unremarkable. Probably hard to pinpoint one thing might've been a an amazing array of coaches. They seem to change coaches almost every year throughout the thirties. might be one reason. Ernie never ever started the decade he lasted a year then Another Gandhi Maria Anders. Got Involved with Jack. Benny Paul Schindler just the amount of violent CREIGHTON was another one. All these folks were coaching in the thirties. And maybe that had something to do with it The other part my I guess then the talent itself that was on on the field. They didn't have a real superstar back then. I'm reminded a guy named Guston's Lee who came in the league. In the late thirties. He was an end and had had this spectacular performance great statistics and just kind of walked away from football. After a couple of years and again he had other interests or perhaps could make more your money than Playing pro football doing something else but they tried a lot of different things again than to for example. The cardinals were ONE ON ROAD TRIPS TRIPS on postseason tours nineteen thirty four after the season They went out to California and played several games out there and played teams along the way in Kansas City and Tulsa and actually play twenty two games that year which is a crazy so they had a sixteen and six record overall but five and six in the NFL. So you can see the level was extraordinary out the league but inside the league they were just average and except for thirty a five when they were eating forum and Overall six and four in the league they as you mentioned had a tough time being competitive in the national football league and thirty so generally you look at that you look at the coaches The great turnover but also the player. They just didn't seem to have any real big standouts or ones that they could attract act and keep the even for example in the draft started The first draft pick Jay Berwanger from University of Chicago was drafted by the cardinals but eventually musty became property of the bears and he could not agree with Halcion a on a contract and so he never did play pro football so there were some there that either just decided not to play pro football and maybe didn't pan out at the great collegiate career. Not Quite sure but I think the carousel of coaches had something to do with it in the nineteen thirties. 'cause the four we had Jimmy Councilman started out the forties and then finished the forties and gave the cardinals or last great successes team. Before we talk on that I want to talk about nineteen forty four. We had We've had a bunch of conversations around sort of how will world war two nearly sank this. It's national football league but but arguably galvanized it and we had a really good conversation back when we first got the show up and running With our POW MATT algae. Oh who a kind of walked us through the nineteen forty three season of the steagall. These sort of Combo team there but maybe you can give us a sense of how the the cardinals held on in their own. Mash up way with Pittsburgh in one thousand nine hundred forty four. Maybe you can set that because look you could you could look. You could be guilty as I am of looking backward right not there at the time and a armchair amateur historian here. You could look back and go well if there's any team in the history of the NFL that that might be predicted not to make it through a crisis like World War Two you could have imagined the cardinals being perhaps that franchise. But that's not what happened. What happened in forty four forty four when it became? Obviously you see that. So many players were in the military. The bears the colonel. I proposed the league this after the struggles. They propose that they make one Chicago team. It seemed like would be beneficial to both teams the north and the South side would be united in Chicago would have one pretty good team. And that's so I guess how the other NFL owners fell to. They decided that that would be too strong. A team and voted it down so the bears kept going on their Own whereas the cardinals as you mentioned Merged with the steelers I know as Mr Rooney the owner of the steelers then called it the worst team ever in the history that you the national football league. They lost all their games. Yeah big their own ten and They were nicknamed named carpets pits cardinals. And the Pittsburgh steelers which the Chicago Tribune eventually evolved the tar pits into the carpets. And why not because every team walked all over him just like a carpet and so that was the result that team but it did keep both of those those teams teams alive. They're still with us today. And I think it was instrumental in preserving the league as well as preserving the Chicago cardinals franchise that you know there were some good Games James The cardinals thing drew our pitch drew over forty thousand in New York for game with the giants. They had thirty five thousand in Washington for game with the Redskins back. Home wasn't very good Game with Cleveland Home Game only do thirty five hundred so there were definitely drawing better in the area and east coast than they were when they had the home games which pretty much all took place At the end of the season they had three or four games in a row that were played in Chicago Hogle In fact one game. That was a home game with the bears was in Pittsburgh so They lost that one as well. So the the card fits. It's played the bears in Pittsburgh and law STA forty nine to seven. Only nine thousand people showed up for that one. I'm actually not. Many people would actually admit that they actually went to of that game. I guess so. One gets the opinion that you know I. It almost feels to me. And you mentioned bidwell relationship obviously with the bears years prior before getting this franchise which is it almost feels in some respects that the NFL almost kind of collectively needed this team. To at least survive is certainly if it wasn't gonNA Compete for championships or or be hugely competitive or whatever but it almost felt like it to the franchise was almost you know Crucial to sort of of at least be in the loop so that the League can sort of continue on with with as many franchises as it had I mean is that a fair assessment because if it does feel like this his team you know from the League perspective was and we'll get into the fifties in a minute but I don't want to bypass nineteen forty seven which we'll get to but it does feel like it. It was almost expected that this team was just going to be hanging around. It wasn't a bad thing for them to be hanging around but maybe not much more. Yeah and I think even earlier ear BIDWILL was perhaps looking now. Here we go on I. Am I going to say that. They WANNA did well in the League or they wanted to cardinals. 'cause I know Even back in the late thirty especially nineteen forty. They'd played a Texan Bishen game or a game in buffalo where the team was supposedly looking for a different location location. If they're ever GONNA move again we don't have TV contracts so They wanted to move. They could certainly move. But it just seems like The cardinals finals always seem to find a way to survive another season and that started occurring After the war of course when they had the little better teams than attendance. It's really did start picking up for them even at home in Comiskey Park but I'm wondering if how serious bidwell was when he started looking looking around and playing some home games. Different areas. Buffalo was one If he was really content to stay in Chicago to me yeah I think he was. I think he would just looking for a way of maybe having a Gamer so elsewhere to pick up the GEICO because he had all his business interest in his family was in Chicago of course so The League itself seemed to be comfortable with having few teams in Chicago when there were no other cities with with two teams in it and also also does seem to help the with the bears and the cardinals and they played cutting down on travel costs which were still a concern during the war so I I think I agree with There was some feeling that there was hope that the cardinals would survive in continuing Chicago. Are Well explained to me. Nineteen forty seven because it seems to be the ultimate of outliers in the seasons played by the Chicago twelve before and after this one thousand nine hundred ninety seven season now. It didn't still still result in the championship. But it's arguably perhaps one of the more notable among not many years of the freight this franchises long-life life. Yeah and after the war of course all the NFL teams had their draft choices. They had to returning servicemen. They had the graduating college seniors. Ears and so there was a lot of town floating around the National Football League and the cardinals During the war with the carpets they were winless of course and and then the nineteen forty five one game so Jimmy Councilman. Who was the coach in the early forties? He came back after the war for the nineteen forty six season and promptly. Turn them into a winning team that that much more. They're six and five in the League but still a winning team and more importantly they were drawing crowds Think again fifty thousand or so in New York they were drawn over thirty thousand for a lot of their home games with Green Bay. A and of course the bears Do about almost forty thousand and so the the start of a winning team and with all this talent on on board It was hosted. The cardinals would again probably Jones the bears. It seemed like they were still interested in beating the bears more so than winning and yet NFL championship. But Mr Bidwell of course looking to win the NFL in forty seven was marked by a lot of talent really coming together. They had the dream dream backfield which was the first time there were four all Americans from college in the back field of a protein with Paul Christmas Missouri Pat Harder Wisconsin John Marshall Goldberg from From Pittsburgh I'm Charlie trippy from Georgia. Then Goldberg switched to defense and Elmer things men from Notre Dame came amen and played offensive halfback but they had great linemen. some who had played with the cardinals before the war. And we're really a strong team but it's still that season as an came down to a final game. The nineteen forty seven against the bears. One of the cardinals pulled out a trick play to win their division championship Defeat the bears before if almost fifty thousand Chicago so that was Kinda the first time in modern history at that time where the cardinals were the superior team to the bears and Forty Eight Forty seven the cardinals did win the championship when they beat the Eagles at Comiskey Park Cardinals. A bit of a advantaged by putting putting a gym shoes or tennis shoes on to play in the icy conditions and the Eagles did change but later at halftime but sleep but the cardinals won that game and then and then forty eight was in my opinion. The best cardinals team ever there are loving and wandering. The League went to Philadelphia to play for the championship teams and was a horrible snowstorm. There's been lots of stuff written about that By how deep the snow was there was some concern and that perhaps the game should have not even been played but the Eagles won seven nothing when there was a fumble by the cardinals deep in their own territory late in the game and after that the cardinals China went downhill but that forty seven forty eight season. We're remarkable in terms of dysphoric significance for the team. Well forty eight was also the I An NFL championship game ever televised. I got maybe that was had a little bit of a right early early media pressure to play that game but okay so despite that sort of a Lip I guess in history. So something else. Very dramatic and important happened around that time too. And that was the passing of Mr Bidwell Al and so what happens to the team and its ownership then and setting the stage. I guess for the fifties which didn't improve things very much did it. Yeah when Mr Bidwill passed away early. Nineteen forty seven and his wife. Violet was then basically the owner of the team She brought the guy named Walter Wolf Ner who was supposed to be making the football decisions but he wasn't a football man and some of the surviving players. I talked to over the years. Were kind of angry that he was making decisions that they did not agree with at the time. And I think that kind of led to the team's downfall after the nineteen forty eight season and so there was a a bit of internal conflict. Bidwell sons were not quite old enough although they were involved with the team back then in and forty seven so Mrs Bidwell was basically the owner at the time but wolf ner Kinda call the shots and representing the team at the League meetings and Wolf Ner. Obviously well that's obviously was a businessman. Pretty much centered in Saint Louis which is important in a few moments right because I so describe to me though the rivalry if any with the Chicago bears right. I mean you're you're mentioning maybe not not to unimportantly the idea that the bears we're more of a fixation for this team than maybe trying to go for an NFL championship but this is also the time. When the all America football all conference had a team in Chicago against all the odds as well the rockets I mean you would think that the cardinals in their relative Secondary Status I guess relative to the bears would be a warning sign for any challenger League to put yet another pro team in town too so I guess you throw those three teams during the course of the the late forties into the mixing bowl. How good the cardinals even compete? Let alone with the bears in the NFL. How how can they also compete with this challenge of the Chicago rockets? It doesn't seem like it's a it's a recipe for success. No there's just so many dollars that could be available. Oh for football teams to secure from their fans and now we have all of these three teams and don't forget got Notre Dame not too far away in northwestern Western Illinois All these teams attracting looking for the attention of the fans so it was not a recipe for success for at least one of them The bear seem to survive. Okay The cardinals and the rockets had A little bit more difficult time but I think the fact that the bears and the cardinals history went back so far to nineteen twenty and the oldest rivalry in the NFL that that probably vans trusted that that that product was going to be different. From what the rockets were putting on the field although from what I've heard Of course some of the teams that survived that League football and We just know that the cardinals probably were fighting for some of the same same fans that they were. Well I I just wondered because it may have been hastened perhaps their demise. Because let's let's let's be made round third base here and slide into home nineteen fifties right just completely lately. I mean I don't think there's any other way to put. It was frankly woeful for the Chicago cardinals franchise but it's also interesting too because not only were they sort of underperforming forming on the field. They're still a team in this now. Strengthening National Football League and it did attract attention from outsiders. There's who perhaps saw this as one of the weaker links in a strengthening league that perhaps could be purchased and or Rehab or removed. Or whatever maybe give already it's a sense of sort of how the bid wells were looking outward. Perhaps that perhaps they knew they had something in this franchise but maybe maybe it wasn't to stay in Chicago. And and and be you know a under their their ownership. Yeah what did you in the fifties. We heard a lot of rumors. There's about places like San Francisco and Dallas and Buffalo With individuals trying to buy the cardinal that was out there in the press that the cardinals were just frankly inevitably deigned move at some point. 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 pads he got hurt and training training camp and decided he can make more money. Coaching High School football that he could make a play professional football and always done that. So Ironic I wanNA find out more. Why did he accidentally but probably would have been a got hurt and training camp today would have been a simple arthroscopic surgery but He passed away fairly young so I was never able to ask the question so I wanted to go back and research and my thought was just at first to find out what happened to him which turned out to be kind of positive. 'cause a couple of the players from that era. Remember him when I tracking down but I found out then there really was no written history of the cardinals and then decide to write a little bit about the history. Any was GONNA do a book that ended in Nineteen Forty seven and a wonderful publisher triumph books in Chicago. Who suggested well continue the book up until the cardinals leaving? Nineteen nineteen sixty which I did and so We we completed that book but It always seems now as I go through stuff and as we talked about earlier did that. So much of the cardinal system is wrong and that's no one's fault it's an picked up year after year after year if you go to the cardinals website or even the hall of Fame News website. They'll have information. How the cardinal started? That was wrong and a lot of information came after Chris. O'Brien original owner passed away. The cardinals themselves started. I'M GONNA use this word trading their own history not too far off Chris. O'Brien was involved but he certainly was not the owner of the team back when he was seventeen or eighteen. Eighteen years old and so part of this has been My own edification to find out what the history was and To can you to continue to research on this team is history has become so important. The National Football League and and I think a lot of it goes to pro football hall of fame now has its library. which is fantastic and the people are treating? The history of the League is a serious subject. So I'm just trying to make my small contribution would start out trying to find out about my dad and then it it kind of Expanded to find out the true history of the cardinals and so we'll plan on continuing to do that. The future but that's my simple but true crew store cardinals fans in Arizona and and otherwise if you grew up watching him in Saint Louis and if you're old enough to remember them in their original incarnation coronation as the Chicago cards by all means you over to yourself to get a copy of Joe's book it is called when football was football the Chicago. Oh cardinals and the birth of the NFL is published by triumph and is available of course for you to purchase many copies of at our website at good seats still available dot com. Of course wherever good books are sold. But but if you'd buy it on our site we appreciate that for sure you'll you'll get whisked away to a link that will give us a couple of shackles of of goodness for doing so and helps keep our show going and we appreciate that. Just search up this episode number one hundred forty. Gosh Almighty one hundred forty episodes of the silly little program. Can you imagine but you just search up that episode on our website it could still still available dot com click on the Lincoln and buy a copy or two or ten they of course make great stocking stuffers and I'm sure Joel appreciate the holiday love as well by hi doing so. And of course while you're there at our website at good seats still available dot com. You can check out. All of our other episodes got nothing better to do than you know after the the Turkey has been served this week in You want to abscond into a little privacy a couple of football games maybe just WANNA Kinda just doze off and maybe listen to some the old sports history and culture by all means give us Give us a lesson. We've got one hundred and thirty nine other so freely the listen to and enjoy Or introduce your relatives or friends to by I by all means go ahead. They're all there for you and of course you can get the show wherever you get podcasts. And you can also follow us on social media of course and that's various places like twitter twitter. You can follow us. Follow us there at good seats. Still you'll find us on instagram. You can follow US along there at good seats still available and you could also follow us on facebook just search up good seats still available. You find a little page devoted to us there as well. What else you want to send us some email you can do that Either from the website. There's a link there you can send it to us directly if you'd like and that's hello hello at good seats still available dot com and of course at the website too you can click around and find the link to our email newsletter which you'll get over the course of each weekend and get a little bit of a head start as to what our episodes episode going to be for the upcoming week a little bit in advance of The average JOE or Francine or or Hanker franker whatever. The names are out there and we'll be glad to send that to as well by clicking on the Lincoln doing that and What else oh we want to say? Thank you and a great thanksgiving tip of the the Turkey hat. If there is such thing yes there is. I've seen them. You can get the middle Turkey legs and stuff if you're wearing one of those once you take one of those often and bow out gracefully early. In the general direction of our friends pod fly productions and a particular good doctor jerry pain. I'm sure is working on his thanksgiving. Feast as we as we speak. He's the chief editor and producer of all this great stuff and we appreciate his efforts as well as pod fly in their efforts arts at a few are interested in getting into the podcast game. You have no idea where to begin. You're interested in getting involved by all means. Check them out at pod. Fly Dot net all right. We are done for this week. We wish you the best of all Thanksgiving's enjoy the football. Don't eat too much. Turkey or stuffing or cranberries. or any of that pecan Pie. Too much of it is not a good thing. Just dose it out in in Nice measurable forms so that we can entertain you yet again next week in the weeks thereafter with more great shows. Rose from us to you. We wish you the best of Thanksgiving holiday and will see you soon. And let's leave you now shall we. You heard earlier. You're on the Chicago cardinals. Were not necessarily the most free-spending team they couldn't even afford the rights to to creative eight even a theme song but when they moved to Saint Louis in nineteen sixty they stepped right up and indeed gotTa Fight Song was written by Irving Bibo. and Larry Kent and it's still the song that you'll hear today. Played in various versions in Arizona inherit is the cardinals are charging right into thanksgiving. Take care of putty next uh-huh The talk Uh.

Coming up next