The Cardinals, by most accounts, earned this nickname from the team's generally very shabby appearance and rough-and-tumble tactics. An opponent once stated that the Cardinals players usually went into the field in unwashed, dirty, and smelly uniforms, which alone spread horror among their rivals. According to one account, scrappy shortstop Leo Durocher coined the term. He and his teammates were speaking derisively of the American League, and the consensus was that the Redbirds—should they prevail in the National League race—would handle whoever won the AL pennant. "Why, they wouldn't even let us in that league over there," Durocher, who had played for the New York Yankees, observed. "They think we're just a bunch of gashousers." The phrase gas house referred to plants that produced town gas for lighting and cooking from coal, which were common fixtures in US cities prior to the widespread use of natural gas. The plants were noted for their foul smell and were typically located near railroad yards in the poorest neighborhood in the city. Another account states that Dizzy Dean, who played at City Park (renamed McKechnie Field in 1962), located in Bradenton, Florida, for spring training in the 1930s, liked the city so much, that he bought a local gas station and hung out there when he wasn't playing, giving the Cardinals' famed Gashouse Gang its nickname. Many of the players on the Cardinal roster, including the Dean brothers, Pepper Martin, Spud Davis, and Burgess Whitehead, were Southerners or Southwesterners from working-class backgrounds. Led by playing manager Frankie Frisch and the hard-nosed Durocher, as well as stars like Joe Medwick, Ripper Collins, Pepper Martin, and the Dean brothers, the 1934 Cardinals won 95 games, the NL pennant, and the World Series in seven games over the Detroit Tigers.
The team featured five regulars who hit at least .300, a 30-game winner in Dizzy Dean (the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in a single season, and the last pitcher in Major League Baseball to do so until Denny McLain accomplished the feat for the 1968 Detroit Tigers), and four All-Stars, including player-manager Frisch. Not among the All-Stars was Collins, the first baseman who led the team in sixteen offensive categories with stats like a .333 batting average, a .615 slugging percentage, 35 home runs, and 128 runs batted in.
In the World Series, the Cards and Tigers split the first two games in Detroit, and the Tigers took two of the next three in St. Louis. St. Louis proceeded to win the next two, including an 11-0 embarrassment of the Tigers in Detroit to win the Series. The stars for the Cards were Medwick, who had a .379 batting average with one of St. Louis's two home runs and a series-high five RBI, and the Dean Brothers, who combined for all four of the teams wins with 28 strikeouts and a minuscule 1.43 earned run average.
In popular culture 
- One of the teams in the 1946 Warner Bros. cartoon Baseball Bugs was the "Gashouse Gorillas".
- Country-bluegrass band Old Crow Medicine Show refers to them in the song "Caroline" on their 2008 album Tennessee Pusher.
- "1934 St. Louis Cardinals". thisgreatgame.com. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- Robinson, Alan (March 30, 2007). "Turn on the lights; party's over as McKechnie Field gets lights". USA Today. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
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