The idea for the All-Stars came to Ollie Kraehe while he was still a substitute offensive lineman playing for the Rock Island Independents. Kraehe figured that if small towns markets, like Green Bay and Rock Island, could be successful operating a professional football team, then operating in a larger market like St. Louis would bring in even more income. He was a local football hero in St. Louis since he had played college football at Washington University in St. Louis alongside Jimmy Conzelman and had captained the 1921 team.
In 1923, NFL President Joe Carr gave Kraehe an NFL franchise. He paid $100 for the franchise and began organizing a team about a month before the 1923 season was to start. He also named his club the "All-Stars", however he soon discovered that there was a lack of All-American talent available. Many of the players were locals who came from St. Louis University and Washington University. Kraehe later stated that, "There were some players who didn't want their parents to know they were in the game and some of them used fictitious names". He also admitted that, "there were some who pretended to be All-Americans from the East just to get a chance to play".
One of the most notorious All-American impostors for the All-Stars was a man using the alias Jack "Dolly" Gray. Gray claimed to be the All-American end from Princeton's 1922 "Team of Destiny;" it soon became obvious that the impostor was not the Princeton end (for one, the man whose identity Gray was trying to steal was actually named Howard "Howdy" Gray) and was nowhere near as talented. Ollie Kraehe sold Gray to the Green Bay Packers after a game between the two. Packers chairman Curly Lambeau believed that he had just acquired Howdy Gray, who would have been by far the All-Stars' best player, but Lambeau soon discovered he had been hoodwinked after watching his new end perform so badly the next game that he addressed Kraehe on the matter. Kraehe told Lambeau that trading away the impostor was meant as a "joke" and that he would return the money paid for Gray to Lambeau.