Founded in 2005
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Minor league titles|
|Nickname||Springfield Cardinals (2005-present)|
|Ballpark||Hammons Field (2005-present)|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|General Manager||Dan Reiter|
The Springfield Cardinals are a Minor League Baseball team based in Springfield, Missouri. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals major-league club, and is owned by the Cardinals. The club plays at Hammons Field.
Attendance at Hammons Field for Springfield Cardinals games has been impressive, as the club has averaged nearly 6,500 fans per game for all eight years of franchise history. They ranked second in average attendance for all of Double-A baseball for each of the first three seasons, trailing only the Frisco RoughRiders, who are located in a much bigger market, just outside Dallas, Texas. In 2008, Springfield was third in attendance, trailing Frisco and the Corpus Christi Hooks. The city of Springfield itself has also experienced a tourism bump because of the team, encouraging St. Louis-area fans to drive down Interstate 44 to Springfield and see local attractions or the Lake of the Ozarks as well as a "Baby Birds" game.
Through the 2015 season, a total of 72 former Springfield Cardinals have gone on to make their major league debuts with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Springfield, Missouri originally had professional baseball teams as early as 1905, when the Springfield Highlanders began play. For nearly 30 years the team was variously called the Highlanders, the Jobbers, the Midgets, and the Merchants. There were several years where no team existed at all.
In 1931, the St. Louis Cardinals purchased a minor league team, renamed it the Cardinals, and relocated it in Springfield. That year, the team won the first of several Western Association titles. With a front office led by Hall of Famer Branch Rickey, Springfield also went to the playoffs in 1931, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1941, and won league titles in 1931, 1932, 1934, 1937, and 1939.
Following the 1946 season, St. Louis moved the team to St. Joseph, Missouri, where it remained until 1953. The city of Springfield saw a brief re-emergence of minor league baseball when the rival Chicago Cubs moved its affiliate to Springfield for one season taking the name Springfield Cubs.
Though there was a gap of 63 years, most in the Springfield and St. Louis organization consider the current Cardinals the same group which existed in 1932. Many pieces of fan apparel actually say "Springfield Cardinals circa 1932." The deck on top of the Cardinals dugout also has the championship banners from the 1930s and 1940s.
Springfield played host to several players that would go on to the Major League and Senior Circuit scene. The greatest of these was Stan Musial, also known as Stan "The Man." Stan played 87 games for Springfield during the 1941 season, batting .379 and quickly becoming a fan favorite. In April 2005, Musial played his harmonica to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to a crowd of near 12,000 during the inaugural St. Louis vs. Springfield Cardinals game. After throwing out the inaugural ceremonial first pitch that same day, Musial stumbled and almost fell to the ground. However, Springfield General Manager Matt Gifford was quick on the scene to catch Stan and avert embarrassment.
Among other stars who played in Springfield are Dizzy Dean and his brother Paul, Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick. Babe Ruth also spent some time playing baseball in Springfield, but not as a member of the Cardinals.
The current Cardinals are a relatively new team, dating back to just 2005. Previous to this, they were known as the El Paso Diablos. That team's owners sold the franchise due to poor attendance and the potential to make more money in a fast-growing metropolitan area.
The previous Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals was the Tennessee Smokies in 2003 and 2004.
The Cardinals' most successful season has been the 2012 campaign, during which they finished first in the North Division in second half of the season, posted a division-best and franchise mark with a 77-61 record, and won the Texas League Championship. They went on to defeat the Tulsa Drillers 3-2 in the best-of-five divisional playoff series, advancing to the 2012 Texas League Championship Series, their second in franchise history. Springfield defeated the Frisco RoughRiders three games to one in the best-of-five Championship Series. Key players included Kolten Wong, Jermaine Curtis, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Vance Albitz, Oscar Taveras, and Xavier Scruggs.