In 1884, following media criticism, the St. Louis Club went back to Brown. While newspaper accounts and photographs depict these uniforms, they do not tell us the reason for the sudden changes year to year. We have no photographs of the polka-dot uniform, but we have based the model on the 1884 newspaper account that says small polka dots along with a pattern similar to that of the 1882 New York Metropolitans. See Craig Brown’s research for details on polka-dot shirt patterns.

Our models also depict neckties being worn. We know that ties were often worn in studio photography, but we have no evidence that these were worn in game. Two players in the 1884 studio team photo are seen wearing white sport jackets with brown trim.

1884 St. Louis Browns team photo
1884 St. Louis Browns team photo
From Goldin Auctions: The front face of this gold medal features “VON DER AHE MEDAL” in black enameled lettering, accompanied by elaborate hand filigree work and engraving of a baseball scene at Sportsman’s Park of the 1880’s. Of particular note is the fact that the cross-legged stool shown in the engraving matches those in an 1884 photograph of the Browns from the collection of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. The reverse is engraved with the name “John Harding” and the stamped hallmark for the Mermod & Jaccard Jewelry Company, considered the “Tiffany of the Midwest” during the late 19th and early 20th century. This company designed the medals for the 1904 Olympics. This is a tremendous piece which dates back to the earliest day of the current St. Louis Cardinals franchise.

Newspaper Accounts

St. Louis Post Dispatch: February 16, 1884
The St. Louis uniforms will be the handsomest ever put on the field here locally, and will consist of a very pretty shirt, small collar, plain front with the words St. Louis in brown letters across the front; a brown scarf will be used with the shirt; the pants will be plain white, the stockings solid brown of a very handsome shade; the caps will be white with brown stripes after the League pattern, and the belt will be brown with a large nickel buckle. There will be natty little coat of white with brown trimmings worn with the uniform and the entire outfit will be of best procurable material… The reserve team uniform will be very handsome, and will consist of a new shade of light gray with trimmings of a rich shade of blue; the stockings and belt will be blue, and the caps of the same shade as the shirt and pants with blue circles. 

St. Louis Post Dispatch: April 2, 1884
Several of the St. Louis Browns uniforms have arrived from Chicago and they will cut a splendid figure on Sunday next. Tomorrow the men will go to Strauss, the photographer, to have their faces and figures taken for the large photographs which are to be gotten up.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: April 7, 1884
The Browns… appeared in their rich new costumes of white shirts and white breeches, with dark brown stockings and belts and caps of the National League style in browns and white. The uniform was not complete, as there are… jackets of white flannel with brown to be added.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: July 21, 1884
The Browns yesterday appeared in very handsome new white shirts with small polka dots. They are very becoming.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: March 21, 1885
A correspondent writes to me expressing his views on the St. Louis’ use of the brown in their uniform. It is undoubtedly as ugly a combination as could be got together, but with the polka dot shirts used last year was redeemed very materially. At the same time the uniform is not near so unsightly and uncouth looking as is that of the Chicagos, and its virtue rests in the same circumstance that it is the club color. The Chicago people will always insist upon “the Whites” being known by their original title and the St. Louis people could not be induced to speak otherwise but of the Browns. 

Team Colors

Brown – PMS 732

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s