But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

The Six Degrees of St Louis

A fun little sports incest story

You may have heard of the Six Degrees of Separation, especially the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The original idea was that, on average, everyone on the planet is probably connected, in some way, to everyone else by about six steps.

I was marveling about how St Louis had a complex relationship with Baltimore, via team moves, and then, as I thought more about it, I realized I’d stumbled upon a pattern far more astonishing than that. Applying my astonishing powers of apophenia, I worked out the following pattern of sports relationships.

In this ground-breaking series, a maze of teams, names, and cities are all tied to St Louis. Most of them directly (as illustrated by the colors and bolds), the very few honorable mentions (lines without color or bold) are only one degree away.

  • In 1883, St Louis had a pro baseball team called the St Louis Browns
  • That year, Cleveland had a pro baseball team named the Cleveland Blues
  • The St Louis Browns renamed themselves the Perfectos in 1899, then the Cardinals in 1900
  • In 1902, the Milwaukee Brewers moved to St Louis and took up the Browns name
  • That year, the Cleveland Blues tried to change their name to the Broncos, but nobody cared
  • The Denver Broncos don’t figure in this story
  • In 1915, the Cleveland Blues changed their name to the Indians
  • In 1924, for 1 year, Kansas City’s pro football team was the Kansas City Blues, before changing their name to the Cowboys
  • The Dallas Cowboys don’t figure in this story
  • The St Louis football team in 1931 was the St Louis Gunners
  • The only team they lost to that year was the Chicago Cardinals
  • The St Louis Gunners left the NFL in 1934, and were replaced in the league by the Cleveland Rams
  • St Louis, now lacking an NFL team, formed the minor league St Louis Blues (football)
  • The St Louis Blues moved to Kansas City, taking up the Kansas City Blues name, that same year
  • In 1944, St Louis Browns lost the world series to the St Louis Cardinals. The series was played entirely in one stadium.
  • In 1946, the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles
  • That year, Cleveland formed a new football team, named the Browns
  • Same year, the Miami Seahawks moved to Baltimore, and renamed themselves the Colts
  • In 1953, the St Louis Browns moved to Baltimore. They changed their name from the Browns to the Orioles.
  • In 1960, the Chicago Cardinals (football) moved to St Louis
  • In 1967, St Louis got a hockey team that took up the St Louis Blues name, blocking Baltimore from getting their own team
  • That year, a former Cleveland Indians owner formed the Seattle Pilots (baseball), who almost immediately moved to Milwaukee and took up the Brewers name
  • In 1975, Seattle got a new football team, who took up the Seahawks name, though it was a different sport, and city, than the Miami Seahawks
  • In 1984, the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis
  • In 1987, the St Louis Cardinals (football) moved to Arizona.
  • In 1995, the Los Angeles Rams moved to St Louis.
  • In 1999, the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore. They changed their name from Browns to Ravens.


  • St Louis sent one team to Baltimore, but ultimately got one team from Cleveland, who sent another team to Baltimore
  • St Louis sent Kansas City a replacement Blues, but the St Louis Blues kept Baltimore from having hockey, while the Cleveland Blues didn’t go anywhere at all, unlike the Browns of BOTH cities, who EACH went to Baltimore, who still has no hockey, like Cleveland still has no football
  • St Louis beat itself in the world series, the St Louis Browns losing to the former St Louis Browns
  • Los Angeles got one of Cleveland’s two departed teams, but eventually sent it to St Louis, whose team it had originally replaced in the NFL, anyway.
  • Cleveland lost one team to Baltimore, one to Los Angeles, then gave up on football
Coincidence? I think not. Clearly, Paul is dead and Elvis alive.




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