Cardinals History: The Bidwill's


Since we're at another lull in the action (thanks to the push back of the draft this year), I thought I would write a short article on another facet of Cardinals history for those of you who might be interested (and will try to keep it short and concise).

The Bidwill's

"Blue Shirt Charley" Bidwill purchased the Chicago Cardinals of the fledgling National Football League in 1933 for the reported pricey sum of $20,000. As the sole owner of the Cardinals, Charley was popular with the players and fans until he passed away just months before the Cardinals first (and only) NFL Championship in 1947. Charles Bidwill Sr. was later inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

William (Bill) - Charles (Charley) Sr. - Charles (Stormy) Jr.

Charley's widow 'Violet' Bidwill then re-married to Walter Wolfner, who became 'Managing Director' of the Cardinals - and instrumental in the relocation to St. Louis in 1960. Violet passed away in 1962, leaving the issue of ownership of the Cardinals to the Bidwill boys ('Stormy' and 'Bill') to be challenged by Wolfner.

During the ensuing litigation, Wolfner's based his case on the revelation that the Bidwill's had not only been adopted - but illegally as well! This came as quite a shock to Stormy and Bill who had never been told. However this failed to sway the judge who ruled in favor of the Bidwill's.

In 1972 Stormy offered to buy-out Bill, while Bill counter-offered to buy-out Stormy (the latter having been accepted for an undisclosed amount).

As sole owner, Bill quite frankly was not overly popular in St. Louis with the players (who labeled him as 'rather cheap' - remember this was before the salary cap system), or with the fans who felt he didn't try hard enough to field a quality product.

The subsequent move to 'Phoenix' in 1988 did nothing to help his stature with St. Louis Cardinals fans (a small few of which remain loyal to the Big Red). But having preceded the Cardinals to Arizona, what great news this was for this Cardinals fan!


And as we all know, since moving to Arizona, Bill began slowly relinquishing power to where we are today - Michael Bidwill running the organization. I would imagine that Bill has veto power if he so chooses, but for all intents and purposes appears to be retired as the longest-tenured owner in the NFL.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Revenge of the Birds' (ROTB) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of ROTB's editors.</em>

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