The Cardinals’ 2014–15 offseason began tragically with the death of rookie outfielder Oscar Taveras in a traffic collision on October 26. On November 17, they acquired right fielder Jason Heyward and pitcher Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves in a blockbuster trade for pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. The Cardinals inducted Curt Flood, Bob Forsch, George Kissell and Ted Simmons into the franchise Hall of Fame. Forbes valued the Cardinals at $1.2 billion in 2015, ranking them 27th out of all sports franchises in the world, and the sixth-highest in all MLB.
By winning 22 of their first 29 games of the season, the Cardinals secured their best start since 1887, and became the first major league team of the year to 50 wins, the fastest since the Chicago White Sox in 2005. Outfielder Matt Holliday set a new National League record by reaching base in his first 45 games of the season. In June, reports surfaced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were investigating an incident involving the Cardinals hacking into the Houston Astros’ computer networks, the first known such case of corporate espionage in professional sports.
By winning their 100th game on September 30, the Cardinals clinched their third consecutive division title. It was the first time since 2005 they had won at least 100 games in a season. However, they lost to the Chicago Cubs in the Division Series, ending their streak of four straight NLCS appearances.
In March 2015, Forbes appraised the Cardinals’ outright value at $1.4 billion, making them the 27th-most valuable sports franchise in the world, and sixth-principal franchise in Major League Baseball (MLB). It was an increase from an $800 million pricing and eighth in the echelon in 2014. Their revenue was $294 million while their operating income was $73.6 million, and their overall assessment was approximately $200 million higher than the MLB average of $1.2 billion. Mike Ozanian of Forbes remarked that the Cardinals were “baseball’s biggest anamoly,” with outsize value outpacing their status as one of baseball’s “smallest markets,” and the recently opened Ballpark Village – adjacent to Busch Stadium – was a popular destination for dining and entertainment. The Cardinals’ local television ratings (7.76) graded the highest among all major league teams.
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