1940s 6” St. Louis Browns and Cardinals Pins
The decade of the 1940s in St. Louis, Missouri provided the intersection of several major pinback companies and two Major League teams. The most notable pinback company was the St. Louis Button Company, makers of particularly high quality pins. The St. Louis Cardinals won four National League pennants in that decade (1942, 1943, 1944, and 1946), and the St. Louis Browns won their only American League pennant in 1944. I have identified ten large (6”) pins made in this era. Five of them are dated and five undated. The Cardinals appeared in the 1942 and 1943 World Series, but there are no known pins of this type from those years. The Browns would never win another pennant, and the Cardinals would not win another pennant until 1964. I have some evidence that all ten pins were made in a three year span, 1944 – 1946. An undated pin has a hand-written date on the back of 1944.
The pins are very large, extremely well made, and feature iconic images. Two of the pins present just the team logo: a cardinal perched on a bat for the Cardinals, and the namesake of the city for the Browns, Saint Louis.
Two pins present both the team logo and the team name.
One pin for the Browns features the team logo and a slogan.
The remaining five pins are World Series related. Aside from New York teams, in the history of baseball only twice did two teams from the same city face each other in the World Series. They were Chicago in 1906 and St. Louis in 1944. The 1944 World Series produced four of these pins. Two pins were made featuring the American League champion St. Louis Browns.
One pin was made featuring the National League champion Cardinals.
Another pin was made for the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Finally, a pin was made for the 1946 National League champion Cardinals.
It is possible there are more than these ten pins. Among the candidates are a 1946 World Series champion Cardinals pin, and a pin for the Cardinals featuring a slogan, the mate to the Browns pin (as “Win With the Cardinals”). Additionally, some of the ten known pins may have been made with a different font. It is not known why there are two pins for the American League champion St. Louis Browns. Perhaps there is a corresponding second pin for the 1944 National League champion St. Louis Cardinals. However many pins there are, they are beautiful tributes to hometown baseball made by artisans of the pinmaking business.
The Browns would move to Baltimore in the early 1950s. The great pinmaking companies in St. Louis have long gone out of business. The Cardinals would go on to win many more National League pennants. While pins were made of their championship teams, very few would have the stylistic grace of these pins from the 1940s.
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