In 1956 the Cardinals signed Frank Lane to be their new General Manager. Seemingly obsessed with trading players and making changes, Lane egregiously traded Red Schoendienst to the Braves, and attempted to trade Stan Musial to the Phillies, but was stopped by August Busch when news of the trade was leaked to local radio.
Lane also changed the Cardinals uniforms in 1956 by removing the birds the uniform. The Cardinals have worn the Birds on the Bat every year on the uniform since 1922, with the exception of 1956.
The home and road uniform both featured a Cardinals cursive script, but Lane’s original intention was to have the road uniforms feature an interlocking STL emblem on the chest. Lane is quoted in the newspaper, see full excerpt below, “I don’t think anybody will be disappointed.” Spoiler alert, everyone was disappointed, and the Birds on the Bat returned in 1957.
Among the newspaper account and photographs of Musial modeling the jersey, there is also a physical sample of an alternate 1956 prototype jersey. The photography of Musial wearing the jersey shows a button down uniform with Sluggerbird, but the physical sample is a zippered jersey with mildly awkward red piping and no Sluggerbird on the sleeve.
St. Louis Post Dispatch: March 4, 1956
General Manager Frank Lane conferred today with Oscar Roettger, representing the company manufacturing the Cardinals’ new uniforms, and announced that he had decided to have the name “Cardinals” lettered across the new traveling uniform shirts as well as on the white home uniforms. The letters will be in scarlet, edged with navy blue. Lane had planned only an interlocking “St. L” on the road shirts.
“We’re not taking the color out of the Cardinals or their uniforms,” Lane remarked. He had heard that some old timers resented the dropping of the pair of Redbirds astride a bat, hallmark of the Cardinals through their great years. “Wait till you see the uniforms and the men we have in them. I don’t think anybody will be disappointed.” he said.