Why Cubs vs Cardinals is one of baseball's best rivalries

Why Cubs vs Cardinals is one of baseball's best rivalries

Kenneth Mwenda
May 22, 2023 at 9:35 AM

Throughout the rich history of baseball, numerous rivalries have captivated fans, but few can compare to the intensity, tradition, and significance of the ongoing Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry. This fierce competition between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals extends beyond the field, encompassing shared legacies and passionate fan bases. As a result, the Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry has rightfully earned its place as one of baseball's most enduring and compelling rivalries.

Why Cubs vs Cardinals is one of baseball's best rivalries
Nolan Arenado (28) of the St. Louis Cardinals fields a ground ball and tags out Christopher Morel (5) of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 09, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Michael Reaves
Source: Getty Images

The Cardinals-Cubs rivalry, known as the Route 66 rivalry or The I-55 rivalry, is a fiercely contested competition between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs in the National League (NL). It stands out as one of the most bitter rivalries in Major League Baseball.

Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry: A clash of the Titans

The Cubs and Cardinals are two iconic franchises in Major League Baseball, located in the Midwest region of the United States. Their storied history, passionate fan bases, and geographic proximity have fueled a fierce rivalry that transcends mere competition. Intense on-field battles, memorable moments, and a deep-rooted sense of pride mark the rivalry.

Historical context: A trade rivalry

Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry
St. Louis Cardinals Lou Brock (20) slides, vs Chicago Cubs Dave Rosello (29) at Wrigley Field. Chicago, on May 25 1974. Photo: Heinz Kluetmeier
Source: Getty Images

The economic trade rivalry between Chicago and St. Louis likely played a role in forming the St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1875, which later became the Cardinals. This emergence set the stage for future encounters with the Cubs, then known as the White Stockings.

The initial series between the two teams in 1885 took place not only in St. Louis and Chicago but also in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. A contentious incident occurred during the series when Browns' manager Charles Comiskey pulled his team off the field in protest of an umpire's call. The rivalry intensified as St. Louis won Game 7 against Chicago despite the controversy.

At that point, the White Stockings were up 5-4 and were given the victory by forfeit. In Game 7, St. Louis defeated Chicago 13-4 behind pitcher Dave Foutz. The Browns argued that the Game 2 forfeit did not matter and went on to claim the title.

Since the Browns moved to the National League in 1892 and became the Cardinals, both franchises have been in the same league and, eventually, the same division as the Cubs. This continuity has fueled the long-standing and ongoing rivalry between the two teams.

The Cubs vs Cardinals head-to-head record

Cubs vs Cardinals head to head record
Terry Pendleton (9) of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs during a Major League Baseball game circa 1986 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

The Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry is characterised by closely contested matches and a remarkable head-to-head record. Over the years, both teams have consistently challenged each other's dominance in the National League Central division. The frequent clashes between them have added fuel to the fire, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement every time they face off.

For over 125 years, the teams have played over 2000 games against each other. The all-time head-to-head record shows the Cardinals are 1211-1260 against the Cubs all-time.

Rivalry and the Cubs vs Cardinals: A historical perspective

When exploring the greatest rivalries in baseball history, it is essential to understand the historical context surrounding the Cubs and Cardinals. Both teams have a long-standing presence in the sport, dating back to the early 20th century. This shared history has cultivated a sense of rivalry that has stood the test of time.

Cubs vs Cardinals most wins: A battle for bragging rights

Cubs vs Cardinals most wins
National League All-Stars and former TCU teammates Jake Arrieta (49) of the Chicago Cubs and Matt Carpenter (13) of the St. Louis Cardinals pose for a photo at Petco Park on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in San Diego, California. Photo: Rob Leiter
Source: Getty Images

Their consistent success and quest have marked the competition between the Cubs and Cardinals for supremacy. The pursuit of the most wins and championships intensifies their rivalry. Both teams have established themselves as powerhouses in the National League, with each striving to outperform the other and claim bragging rights.

Despite the Cardinals' historical dominance over their rivals in the standings and postseason success, the Cubs hold the advantage in the all-time win/loss record. Since their first meeting on April 12, 1892, the Cubs have emerged as the statistical leaders in this enduring rivalry.

Cubs vs Cardinals trophies

The Cardinals have won 19 NL pennants, while the Cubs have won 17. Regarding World Series success, the Cardinals have an advantage with 11 championships compared to the Cubs' three. The feud between the two teams is evident in the spirited games played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Stadiums: Battlegrounds of tradition and passion

Cubs vs Cardinals stadium
A general view of Busch Stadium and the downtown skyline during the Cubs and Cardinals game on May 12, 2014. Photo: Mark Cunningham
Source: Getty Images

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, and Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, serve as iconic battlegrounds for this storied feud. These stadiums are steeped in history and have witnessed countless memorable moments contributing to the rivalry's lore. The intense atmosphere created by the fans in these historic venues further fuels the competitive spirit of the rivalry.

Owners and legacy: Continuity and passion

The ownership of both franchises has played a crucial role in shaping the Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry. Through their passion and commitment to their respective teams, the owners have fostered a sense of loyalty and dedication among their players and fan bases. This dedication has trickled down through generations, contributing to the timeless nature of this rivalry.

The Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry has seen its fair share of legendary players who have left an indelible mark on the sport. From Cubs legends such as Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Ryne Sandberg to Cardinals icons like Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, and Ozzie Smith, the rivalry has been graced by some of baseball's greatest talents. These legends have elevated the rivalry beyond the realm of competition, cementing its place in baseball history.

READ ALSO: MLB rivalries: A list of the biggest rivalries in baseball

Sports Brief has published an article about the biggest rivalries in baseball. MLB rivalries typically start when two teams simultaneously reach their peak levels of success and find themselves competing against one another year after year for supremacy.

Each team is eager to win the match they compete together since it is such a determinant. It is always significant when these pairs get together, especially for the fans. Click the above link to read more!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.