On this date in 1932, the Cardinals announce that the club's players will wear uniform numbers on their backs for the first time in the upcoming season.
Like previous clubs who adopted the practice, the numbers are distributed starting with the batting order: the leadoff man got number one, the second man number two and so on. Perhaps in anticipation of the Tony La Russa era's constant lineup flip flopping, the Redbirds quickly abandoned that numbering policy.
On opening day 1932 the Cardinals wore:
1 - Sparky Adams
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
2 - Pepper Martin
3 - Frank Frisch
4 - Jim Bottomley
5 - Ernie Orsati
6 - George Watkins
7 - Ray Blades
8 - Ripper Collins
The numbering system was apparently loosely enforced. Several players on the roster, including opening day starter Flint Rhem, didn't wear a number in 1932.
If you've ever noticed the retired numbers wall in left field at Busch Stadium, Hall of Fame Rogers Hornsby has the old Cardinals interlocking S and L logo where the other player's numbers are listed. Hornsby did, however wear a number as a Redbird. He was number 4 in a short-lived second stint with the Cardinals in 1933. But the team went with the numberless tribute because he didn't have a numeral on his back during his greatest years in St. Louis from 1915-26.