Cheap Seats

On This Date in Cardinals History: Jan. 27, 1949

On this day 63 years ago Cardinals owner Fred Saigh bought out co-owner Robert Hannegan to take possession of 90 percent of stock in the team.

Saigh and Hannegan bought the Cardinals two years earlier from longtime owner Sam Breadon for $4 million. Hannegan, the former U.S. Postmaster General, cashed out and made more than an $850,000 profit on his short term investment.

The men bought the club from Breadon, who had been an owner of the team since 1917 and the majority owner of the club since 1920, at a discounted price because Breadon wanted to see the team remain in St. Louis. At the time, groups from Milwaukee and Houston were trying to buy the Cardinals and move them out of town. Breadon knew the Birds needed a new ballpark to replace aging Sportsmans Park. But his health was becoming frail and he didn't have the patience, time or energy to get the job done.

Saigh, a lifelong Cardinals fan from Springfield, IL, kept his promise to keep the Cardinals in St. Louis even though he was forced by Major League Baseball to sell the club in 1953 after he was convicted of income tax evasion. He sold the club at a discount to August Busch, Jr. who not only pledged to keep the Redbirds in St. Louis -- Busch also realized Breadon's dream of a downtown ballpark moving the team in 1966 to Busch Memorial Stadium.

  Comments