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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Helene Britton becomes the first woman to own a team

Stanley Robison was a streetcar magnate who, along with his brother Frank, became baseball moguls as well. They were the founding owners of the Cleveland team that would become the Cleveland Spiders. They, infamously, sold the Spiders and purchased the St. Louis Browns — who would become the St. Louis Cardinals — swapping out Browns and Spiders rosters, which resulted in the 1899 Browns becoming the worst team in baseball history before their eventual demise.

Frank ran the show in St. Louis, but he died suddenly in 1906, leaving Stanley as sole owner. The Cardinals were a terrible club during Stanley’s sole ownership, finishing in last or second-to-last place in all five seasons he was solely at the helm. In late 1910 Stanley’s health began to decline. On March 24, 1911 Stanley — a bachelor with no family of his own — died of heart failure and blood poisoning while visiting his brother’s widow, her daughter, Helene, and Helene’s young family in Cleveland.

Stanley’s death was something of a shock, but it was nothing compared to the shock delivered at the reading of his will: he had bequeathed controlling interest in the St. Louis Cardinals to his niece, Helene. The remainder of the shares went to her mother, Frank’s widow. As a result, Helene Hathaway Robison Britton became the first woman to own a major league baseball team.

QLE Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, helene britton, history, ownership, women in baseball

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