The exhibition games played here to date have hardly served to get a line on the real playing strength of the team that will represent St. Louis in the National League this season. Four of the five games resulted in victories for the home team, three by common canters - running sideways, to use a turf expression - and one by the narrowest kind of a nose finish. The one defeat was administered by the Minneapolis team, which, on form displayed in this city, is by far the strongest of the Western League aggregation. Returning to the Browns, it is hard to state just how strong they are this season. With Sullivan at Hot Springs and Bierbauer out of the fold the team is incomplete, and it is unfair to criticise them on that score. Judging from the exhibition of the other men the Browns of 1897 are stronger than the Browns of 1896.
-Sporting Life, April 24, 1897
The 1897 Browns would not be stronger or better than the 1896 team and that was really a low threshold to reach. By winning percentage, the 1897 club was the worst team in the history of the Cardinals.