The 1956 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team’s 75th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 65th season in the National League.
“Trader” Frank Lane becomes GM
When Frank Lane became the General Manager of the Cardinals he must have made a secret pact with somebody to do whatever he could to rile up the fan base in St. Louis.
Birds on the Bat logo removed
The first thing he did was the fans noticed on opening day the uniforms had been changed and the traditional birds on the bat were removed from the front. The fans are irate. Here is a story on the Birds on the Bat logo removed from Hardball Times about this.
Four more bite the dust
Lane began purging the Cardinals as soon as he got there. Before the season began he dealt Brooks Lawrence and Pete Whisenant. On May 14, he sent Solly Hemus away and three days after that, on May 17, Rookie of the Year winner Bill Virdon was dispatched out of town. Lane was quoted as saying Virdon had poor eyesight.
Red Schoendienst dealt
Mid-June comes around and Lane tops them all as he deals Cardinal favorite Red Schoendienst to the Giants. Yes, Red was 33 years old but he was batting .314 and his fielding was still impressive. Perhaps Lane was following the old Branch Rickey dictum of trading a player a year too early rather than a year too late. His replacement, Don Blasingame, was a solid player but he was no Schoendienst.
Musial Traded Next?
Truly, Lane had a thing about icons. He even wanted to trade Stan Musial to the Phillies for Robin Roberts, but Gussie Busch wouldn’t hear of it. He knew what the fan reaction to that would be.
fourth place finish
The Cardinals complete the season in fourth place with a 76-78 record and find themselves 17 games behind the Dodgers.
Before the next season, the birds on the bat logo is back on the uniforms.