In the history of the St. Louis Cardinals, one figure towers above all, despite never pitching an inning or taking an at-bat for the team. For decades, the club was defined by his presence – or his absence. From 1876 to 1925, three different National League teams in St. Louis never finished higher than second place. Then everything changed. The St. Louis Cardinals became the league’s most dominant team. Over a twenty-one-season period, 1926 to 1946, the Cardinals won nine pennants and six World Series titles. Branch Rickey is the biggest reason why.