In 1883 the Brown Stockings denounced their old identity. The St. Louis Club, as it would now be known, wore uniforms with red trim, including red lettering that spelled St. Louis, red caps, and red socks. No, this was not the beginning of the Cardinals era. This year is a weird one time thing in which they switched to red. Newspaper accounts strongly criticized the team for wearing red, citing that it would cause confusion with other professional teams who already were red teams. In this era, teams often were identified by the color they wore. St. Louis was popularly known as being Browns.
Photographic evidence and newspaper accounts differ in this season. One newspaper account, see below, says the caps were white with a pattern. Our sole photograph from 1883 shows darker caps being worn, which are assumed red in color. The same photo shows players wearing a mix of short sleeves and long sleeves. Players in this era often tore or cut their sleeves shorter, or had their uniforms made with shorter sleeves. We believe that sleeve length is purely player preference.
Cincinnati Enquirer: February 2, 1883
The old name of Brown Stockings has been abandoned, and the new organization will henceforth be known as the St. Louis Club. Not only that, but the old brown stockings are to be discarded, and a hoisery of bright red substituted. The shirts and trousers of the regular uniform will be of white flannel, trimmed with red cord, the name St. Louis being worked on the breast of their shirts. The caps will also be made of white flannel, and are a very pretty pattern, and trimmed with red braid. Besides the regular, there will be a practice uniform made of dark gray material.
St. Louis Globe Democrat: March 24, 1883
The base ball campaign of 1883 open open this afternoon, when the St. Louis Club will meet the Grand Avenues, a team composed of the cream of the local players. Fair weather is to be hoped for, as great preparations have been made for the games to-day and to-morrow. The park presents a handsome appearance, with its immense amphitheater, pavilion, rows of open seats and Broad field. The old fence has given place to a new one. The diamond never was in better trim, and the outfield is as level as the in. The players of the St. Louis Club are in fine form, and with anything like fair weather they will give a splendid exhibition. The Grand Avenues have also had considerable practice, and are certain to make the pace interesting for their opponents. The Grand Avenues will appear in new white uniforms. They will wear brown stockings. The St. Louis Club players will show in their practice suits to-day, but to-morrow they will come out in their new uniforms and red stockings. To-morrow there will be a change in the team. To-day McGinnis and Mullane play with the professionals. Mullane will pitch four innings and McGinnis five. To-morrow McGinnis will pitch for the Grand Avenues and Mullane for the St. Louis club. The batting order for to-day’s contest is appended:
Cincinnati Commercial Tribune: April 1, 1883
The St. Louis uniform will be almost identical with Cincinnati, and this lack of distinction in dress will cause trouble. The old brown was… very popular, and should have been retained. It was very ill advised to model after Cincinnati, who, after all, is better entitled to the red hose than any other in the country, Boston not excepted.
Rocky Mountain News: April 2, 1883
The St. Louis club this year will wear bright red flannel jackets with all collars.
Cincinnati Enquirer: April 5, 1883
The change in the St. Louis uniform is also appreciated. For, in comparing the brown stockings with the red stockings yesterday, the latter looked bright and handsome, while the others are remembered as dull and homely.
Cincinnati Enquirer: April 5, 1883
Speaking of the St. Louis uniforms, The Republican says: “The uniform is perhaps the handsomest ever put on a ball field, but it is an imitation of the Cincinnatis. When St. Louis plays Cincinnati there will be some sad mixing up. Better have stuck to brown.”
Philadelphia Record: July 28, 1883, research from Ed Morton and Craig Brown
The St. Louis Club has been fitted up with new white and scarlet caps and new uniforms.
The Philadelphia Times: September 6, 1883
While the immense audience was filling out of the Athletic grounds yesterday, in thorough good humor, after having witnessed the Athletics defeat the St. Louis by a score of 5 to 4, there one man who did not enter into their joy. President Manager and Boss Manager Von der Ahe, who owns, runs and controls the cardinal-hosed St. Louis nine, was broken-hearted. He sadly made his way to the gate, where he met Manager Mason, smiling and happy.
The Evansville Journal: September 29, 1883
The St. Louis “Browns,” as they are affectionately dubbed at home, retain this name through a long existence, both as a league, alliance and an American Association club. A change of uniform this year from the conventional brown, to red head gear, jackets and stockings, necessitated a change of name, so the title “St. Louis Club: was adopted. Enthusiasts, admirers, still rightly call them the St. Louis Browns.
St. Louis Red – PMS 200
“Dark Gray” – CMYK: 0/0/0/40