On this date 72 years ago the Cardinals elevated coach Ray Blades to manager, replacing future Hall of Famer Frank Frisch who led the Redbirds to the World Series championship in 1934.
Blades was a longtime coach and manager in the St. Louis organization and he led the Cardinals to a 92-61 record in 1939, good enough for a second place finish, four games behind the pennant winning Reds. But he stumbled to a 14-24 start in 1940 and was promptly fired and ultimately replaced by Billy Southworth.
Blades continued his coaching and minor league managerial career after his dismissal as skipper in St. Louis. In 1941 he became manager of the New Orleans Pelicans, a top Cardinals farm club and guided the team -- which sported uniforms just like the Cardinals' duds of the 1940s except with pelicans in the place of redbirds on the bat across the front -- to a third place finish.
In 1942 Blades was let go and coached with the Reds. But he was back in New Orleans for several years starting in 1943, although that club was now associated with Brooklyn.
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Southworth, who managed the Cardinals for part of a season in 1929 without distinction, led St. Louis during the most successful era in franchise history. The Cardinals won the National League pennant in 1942, 43, 44 and 46 and won the World Series in each of those years except 1943 with an excellent pitching staff and the rise of a young outfielder named Stan Musial.