On this date 111 years ago the Cardinals acquired future Hall of Fame manager John J. McGraw.
He was the player-manager of the Baltimore Orioles in 1899 when the club was thrown out of the National League. McGraw was assigned to Brooklyn when the Orioles' players were disbursed and the Superbas then traded him to the Redbirds -- a development McGraw was none too happy about.
While the Orioles were a competitive club during McGraw's days there, the 1900 Cardinals were 65-75 to finish in fifth place in the National League.
Little Napoleon, as the 5-foot-7 infielder was known to his teammates, hit .344 in 99 games with St. Louis but he couldn't wait to get out of town when the season was over. He hopped the first train he could get and supposedly threw his Cardinals uniform out of the train window and into the Mississippi River as he headed back east.
McGraw returned to Baltimore in 1901 as the Orioles found a home in the brand new American League. But it lasted only one year. In 1902, McGraw returned to the National League with New York where he skippered the powerhouse Giants until 1932.
While Cardinals fans today think about Whitey Herzog and Tony La Russa as legendary Cardinals managers, the St. Louis managerial pedigree runs much deeper. Even beyond the days that Red Schoendienst and Billy Southworth led the Birds to championships.
Some of the top managers with St. Louis roots:
John McGraw: 2,763 wins (2nd all-time), .591 winning percentage, 10 pennants, three World Series championships with Giants and Orioles. Played for the Cardinals one season in 1900.
Tony La Russa: 2,638 wins (3rd all-time), .535 winning percentage, five pennants, two World Series championships with White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals. Managed St. Louis 1996-present.
Joe Torre: 2,326 wins (4th all-time), .538 winnings percentage, six pennants, four World Series championships with the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers. Played for the Cardinals 1969-74, winning the NL MVP in 1971 and earning four consecutive All-Star Game berths. Managed St. Louis 1990-1995.
Sparky Anderson: 2,194 wins (5th all-time), .545 winning percentage, five pennants, three World Series championships with Reds and Tigers. Anderson was a minor league manager for the Cardinals from 1965-67 teaching Class A players how to play the St. Louis brand of baseball.
Walter Alston: 2,040 wins (9th all-time), .558 winning percentage, seven pennants, four World Championships won with Dodgers 1954-76. He struck out in his only major league at bat which came with the 1936 Cardinals. He played in the St. Louis minor league system from 1935-43.
Leo Durocher: 2,008 wins (10th all-time), .540 winning percentage, three pennants, one World Series win with the Giants, Dodgers, Cubs and Astros. (Well, obviously, none of the pennants or World Series were with the Cubs...) Leo the Lip was the shortstop for the Gashouse Gang Cardinals from 1933-37. There was supposedly a deal worked out to bring him on board as the Cardinals manager in 1965 when the Redbirds launched an amazing comeback and won the 1964 pennant and World Series under Johnny Keene. The Cardinals were compelled to offer Keene a new contract instead and cut off talks with Drocher. Then Keene turned down the St. Louis offer take a job to manage the Yankees instead and Red Schoendienst became skipper of the Cardinals.
Miller Huggins: 2,570 wins (22nd all-time), .555 winning percentage, six pennants and three World Series Championships with the Yankees and Cardinals. Managed St. Louis 1913-17.