Chris Von der Ahe is the most under-appreciated and most misunderstood Founding Father in baseball history. There is a chance the most passionate baseball historian in the Society of American Baseball Researchers (SABR) knows his name, knows the American Association and his St. Louis Brown Stockings. There’s a chance that person may know about his club winning four-consecutive AA championships and competing in four World Series in the 1880’s. But there’s only a tiny chance that same historian could connect Von der Ahe to his long list of innovations that disrupted the National League’s monopoly and laid a new foundation that defined base ball as America’s National Pastime.
If that researcher has heard Von der Ahe’s name, he may also have heard that Von der Ahe was a buffoon who barely spoke English, or that Charlie Comiskey was Von der Ahe’s baseball genius. The researcher probably may have even heard that Von der Ahe was a womanizer who squandered his fortune. Well, it’s true that Von der Ahe was an easy target for his enemies in the media and rival businessmen who were trying to displace him as the promoter of professional base ball in St. Louis. But none of his human failings should diminish his contributions to the game.
So, we decided enough is enough. Our team of passionate researchers and award-winning authors decided to pull back the veil to reveal the truth about “Der Boss President,” Chris Von der Ahe. We decided to dispel the myths, hyperbole and fiction and replace them with fact. We decided that the “best fans in baseball” should know the history of the team they now call Cardinals and embrace Von der Ahe as the grandfather of professional baseball in St. Louis. And we also believe that he deserves his place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as one of the most important contributors the great game has ever seen.