The one constant throughout all the years Ray has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers, it has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But, baseball has marked the time.
-Terrance Mann, Field of Dreams
I think the first time I ever watched Field of Dreams was when I was about 12. I found myself most fascinated with the old uniforms which the actors wore. Yes, there was Shoeless Joe, but the old uniforms always stuck out the most to me. Research always leads to me find new minor league teams that I’ve never even heard of as well as owns that strike my curiosity.
This curiosity led to, most recently, the Columbus Red Birds. A St. Louis Cardinals Double-A/Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, Ohio (not to be confused with the Columbus Red Birds out of Columbus, GA) who wore the hat below during their 1933 Season.
As can you see the Red Birds wore the basic Cardinal design from that era (which makes sense given that they were an affiliate of St. Louis) which is a cool design. I find the retro designs (like this one) to be better than most of the logos that are worn today in the MLB (but, I am just a man with an opinion).
The Red Birds were an incarnation of Columbus’s first minor league ball team the Columbus Senators, who were founded in 1888 and joined the American Association in 1902. The Red Birds played in the American Association from 1931 through 1954. The Red Birds produced a number of MLB greats including Enos Slaughter and Billy Southworth. Slaughter batted .382 with 245 hits in ’37 as well as leading the Red Birds to pennant titles in ’33, ’34, ’37, ’41-’43 and ’50. While Southworth was the manager in ’32 for the Red Birds.
The best year for the Red Birds came in 193 as they plowed through the rest of the American Association to win the pennant while compiling a 101-51 record. The Red Birds had eight batters that year to go over the .300 mark. Burgess Whitehead, (.346/1 HR/120 H/49 RBI) Benny Borgmann(.340/2 HR/128 H/29 RBI), Nick Cullop (.313/12 HR/161 H/143 RBI), Jack Rothrock (.347/11 HR/173 H/94 RBI), Gordon Slade (.353/5 HR/55 H/30 RBI), Charley Wilson (.356/7 HR/62 H/46 RBI) and Andy High (.340/o HR/18 H/0 RBI).
The Red Birds were also led by ace Paul Dean who compiled a 22-7 record while posting 3.15 ERA with 222 Ks. Bill Lee wasn’t very far behind in that compiling a 21-9 record with a 3.79 ERA with 141 Ks.
Enos Slaughter is by far the most notable alumni of the Columbus Red Birds. Slaughter played 19 MLB seasons with four different teams during that time. The Cardinals from ’38-’42, the Yankees in ’54 and ’55, the KC Athletics in ’55 and ’56, and finally the Milwaukee Braves in ’59. He is most known for his time with the St. Louis Cardinals, specifically, he’s known for scoring the winning run in Game 7 of the ’46 World Series. As a major leaguer, he compiled a .300 batting average with 2,383 hits, 169 home runs and 1,304 RBIs. In 1985 he was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame, below is a picture of him in ’48.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikepedia.com