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St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals

Ballpark:
Busch Stadium III (2006 - present)
Established:
1892
Affiliations:
AAA Memphis Redbirds,AA Springfield Cardinals,Advanced A Palm Beach Cardinals,A Quad City River Bandits
Retired Numbers:
1, 2, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 24, 42, 42, 45
Owners:
William DeWitt, Jr. and Fred Hanser
Manager:
General Manager:
John Mozeliak
Played As:
SLN

All-Time Team – St. Louis Cardinals

 

First Base – Albert Pujols

First base has historically been a position of strength for the Cardinals, with outstanding players such as Jim Bottomley, Johnny Mize, Keith Hernandez, Jack Clark, and Mark McGwire all having manned the spot for the team at various times.  One man, though, stands above all others as the premier first baseman in franchise history – Albert Pujols. 

In his 10 years in St. Louis, Pujols has established himself as one of the greatest right-handed hitters in baseball history, and as one of the finest first basemen ever to play the game.  Pujols has hit 408 home runs, driven in 1,230 runs, scored 1,186 others, batted .331, and compiled an on-base percentage of .426 for the Cardinals, earning in the process nine All-Star selections, three MVP Awards, and a top-10 finish in the balloting in each of his 10 years in the league.  Pujols has surpassed 30 home runs in each of his 10 seasons, reaching the 40-homer plateau on six separate occasions.  He has also driven in more than 100 runs and batted over .300 ten times each, scored  more than 100 runs nine times, accumulated more than 40 doubles six times, compiled an on-base percentage in excess of .400 on nine separate occasions, and posted a slugging percentage of better than .600 seven times. 

Second Base – Rogers Hornsby

Frankie Frisch would get the starting nod on most teams, but he has to settle for a spot on the bench here due to the presence of Rogers Hornsby.  Considered by many baseball historians to be the greatest right-handed hitter ever to play in the major leagues, Hornsby compiled a lifetime batting average of .358, which places him second to Ty Cobb (.367) on the all-time list.  Hornsby spent parts of 13 seasons with the Cardinals, batting over .400 on three separate occasions, compiling a mark in excess of .370 three other times, and winning six straight batting titles at one point.  Blessed with outstanding power as well, he led the National League in home runs twice, and he topped the circuit in runs batted in four times.  Hornsby won two Triple Crowns with the Cardinals, capturing his first in 1922, when he led the league with 42 home runs, 152 RBIs, a .401 batting average, 141 runs scored, 250 hits, 46 doubles, a .459 on-base percentage, and a .722 slugging percentage.  He won his second Triple Crown three years later, when he topped the circuit with 39 homers, 143 runs batted in, a .403 batting average, a .489 on-base percentage, and a .756 slugging percentage, en route to being named N.L. MVP for the first of two times.

Third Base – Ken Boyer

One of the most overlooked and underrated players in the rich history of the Cardinals, Ken Boyer starred at third base for the team from 1955 to 1965, earning seven All-Star nominations, five Gold Gloves, and one MVP trophy.  A fine fielder and excellent RBI-man, Boyer led National League third basemen in assists twice, while also driving in more than 90 runs on eight separate occasions.  He also batted over .300 five times and scored more than 100 runs three times.  The Cardinals’ captain captured league MVP honors in 1964, when he led the team to the pennant by hitting 24 home runs, driving in a league-leading 119 runs, scoring 100 others, and batting .295.  Boyer’s single-season high in home runs was 32, and he once posted a batting average as high as .329. 

Shortstop – Ozzie Smith

 A magician with the glove, Ozzie Smith spent 15 years in St. Louis mesmerizing Midwestern fans with his uncanny ability to make seemingly impossible plays in the field.  The Wizard of Oz won 11 consecutive Gold Gloves with the Cardinals, leading N.L. shortstops in assists five times and in fielding percentage on seven separate occasions.  Smith also gradually developed into a solid offensive performer in St. Louis, batting over .280 six times, scoring more than 100 runs once, and stealing more than 30 bases nine times.

Left Field – Joe Medwick

 You’re probably thinking, “But what about Stan Musial?”  Don’t worry…we have other plans for Stan The Man.  Meanwhile, Joe Medwick started in left field for the Cardinals from 1933 to 1939, establishing himself in the process as arguably the National League’s finest all-around hitter.  The muscular right-handed batter hit more than 20 home runs three times for St. Louis, knocked in more than 100 runs six straight times, scored more than 100 runs five times, accumulated more than 200 hits four times, and batted well over .300 and amassed more than 40 doubles each year.  Medwick led the league in runs batted in and doubles three times each, compiling the extraordinary sum of 64 two-baggers in 1936.  He became the last National League player to capture the Triple Crown the following year, when he topped the senior circuit with 31 homers, 154 runs batted in, a .374 batting average, 111 runs scored, 237 hits, 56 doubles, and a .641 slugging percentage.  Medwick earned N.L. MVP honors for his exceptional performance – one of four times he finished in the top 10 in the voting as a member of the Cardinals.

Center Field – Lou Brock

 I deliberated over this selection for quite some time before I finally decided to go with Brock, who spent a limited amount of time playing center field during the early stages of his career, before gradually settling into his far more familiar position in left.  Both Curt Flood and Jim Edmonds were exceptional defensive players, and they were very good hitters as well.  Both men would have made solid picks, and they unquestionably would have provided the team with far better defense in center.  However, I chose to put the three best outfielders in Cardinals’ history on the squad, and Brock was certainly one of those.  He also had the speed to play center field, even though he had neither the instincts nor the judgment possessed by both Flood and Edmonds.  Brock, though, possessed the ability to change the course of games with his exceptional speed and base-running skills that made him one of the premier base-stealers of all time.  He stole more than 50 bases 12 straight times for the Cardinals, leading the league in thefts a total of eight times.  Brock established a then major league record in 1974, when he stole 118 bases.  More than just a base-stealer, though, Brock batted over .300 on eight separate occasions, finished in double-digits in homers six times, and compiled 2,713 of his 3,023 hits during his 16 years in St. Louis.  

Right Field – Stan Musial

Enos Slaughter was the best right-fielder in St. Louis history, and he would not have been a bad choice here.  But, once I decided to go with Joe Medwick in left, it became inevitable that the right field job would go to Stan Musial, who actually spent a considerable amount of time at the position from 1954 to 1956.  One of the greatest players in baseball history, Musial hit 475 home runs for the Cardinals, knocked in 1,951 runs, scored 1,949 others, collected 3,630 hits, batted .331, and compiled a .417 on-base percentage.  He won seven batting titles, leading the league in a major offensive statistical category a total of 46 times over the course of his career.  Musial earned 20 All-Star nominations and three MVP Awards, finishing in the top five in the voting an amazing nine times.

Catcher - Ted Simmons

Although a mediocre defensive receiver, Ted Simmons was one of the finest hitting catchers in National League history.  Simmons compiled a .298 batting average in his 13 years with the Cardinals, topping the .300-mark on six separate occasions.  He also hit 172 home runs and knocked in 929 runs during his time in St. Louis, surpassing 20 homers five times and 100 runs batted in twice.  Simmons had his two best years in 1975 and 1977.  In the first of those seasons, he hit 18 homers, drove in 100 runs, and batted .332.  Two years later, he hit 21 homers, knocked in 95 runs, batted .318, compiled a .408 on-base percentage, and posted a .500 slugging percentage.  Simmons earned six All-Star selections and three top-ten finishes in the league MVP voting as a member of the Cardinals.

Starting Pitcher – Bob Gibson

The greatest pitcher in Cardinals’ history, Bob Gibson intimidated opposing batters with his cold stare, surly temperament, and fierce competitive spirit.  Blessed with an overpowering fastball and sharp-breaking slider, the hard-throwing right-hander dominated National League hitters from 1962 to 1972, surpassing 20 victories five times during that period, while winning at least 18 games another three times.  Gibson won two Cy Young Awards for the Cardinals, capturing the honor for the first time in 1968, when he finished 22-9, with 28 complete games, 305 innings pitched, and a league-leading 1.12 ERA, 13 shutouts, and 268 strikeouts.  He won the award again two years later, when he compiled a record of 23-7, along with a 3.12 ERA, 274 strikeouts, and 23 complete games.  Gibson also earned N.L. MVP honors in 1968.  One of the best big-game pitchers in baseball history, Gibson compiled a record of 7-2 in three World Series with the Cardinals, while pitching to an ERA of 1.89. 

Starting Pitcher – Dizzy Dean

Second only to Gibson among Cardinal hurlers, Dizzy Dean rivaled Carl Hubbell as the National League’s finest pitcher for much of the 1930s.  Dean won 120 games for St. Louis from 1932 to 1936, leading all N.L. starters in wins twice, strikeouts four times, and complete games and innings pitched three times each during that five-year period.  The charismatic right-hander became the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in 1934, when he captured league MVP honors by going 30-7, with a 2.66 ERA, seven shutouts, and 24 complete games.  Dean won another two games for the Cardinals in the World Series, helping the team defeat Detroit in seven games.  He posted 28 more victories for the club the following year, along with a league-leading 29 complete games, 190 strikeouts, and 325 innings pitched.  Only an unfortunate injury prevented Dean from eventually establishing himself as one of the greatest pitchers in N.L. history.  He finished his exceptional seven-year run in St. Louis with an overall record of 134-75, along with an ERA of 2.99. 

Starting Pitcher – Jessie Haines

 Spending virtually his entire career with the Cardinals, Jesse Haines posted an overall record of 210-58 for the team from 1920 to 1937.  Haines surpassed 20 victories three times, having the finest season of his career in 1927, when he won 24 games, compiled a 2.72 ERA, and led the league with 25 complete games and six shutouts.  The right-hander earned an eight-place finish in the league MVP voting for his outstanding performance.  He followed that up by posting a 20-8 mark for the 1928 N.L. champions, along with a 3.18 ERA and 20 complete games.  Haines appeared in four World Series with the Cardinals, compiling a record of 3-1 and an outstanding 1.67 ERA in the Fall Classic.  

Starting Pitcher – Harry Brecheen

 Although he didn’t come up to stay with the Cardinals until after he turned 28 years of age, Harry The Cat Brecheen compiled an impressive record of 128-79 for them between 1943 and 1952.  After earning a regular spot in the St. Louis starting rotation in his second year with the club, the left-hander won at least 14 games in each of the next six seasons, posting an overall mark during that period of 96-53.  He also compiled an ERA below 3.00 in four of those years, ending his time in St. Louis with a career mark of 2.92.  Brecheen had his best year in 1948, when he finished 20-7, with 21 complete games and a league-leading 2.24 ERA, seven shutouts, and 149 strikeouts, en route to earning a fifth-place finish in the league MVP voting. 

Starting Pitcher – Chris Carpenter

 Mort Cooper and John Tudor both merited a great deal of consideration for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation as well, but I decided to go with Chris Carpenter instead because he has maintained a high level of pitching over a longer period of time than either of the other two men.  Since joining the Cardinals in 2004, Carpenter has surpassed 15 victories five times, failing to do so only in 2007 and 2008, when arm problems prevented him from taking the mound for all but a total of four starts.  Carpenter pitched particularly well in 2005 and 2009.  In the first of those seasons, he won the N.L. Cy Young Award by going 21-5, with a 2.83 ERA and a league-leading seven complete
games.  Carpenter finished second in the balloting in 2009, when he compiled a record of 17-4, along with a league-leading 2.24 ERA.  Heading into the 2011 campaign, Carpenter has an overall record in St. Louis of 84-33, with a 2.98 ERA.

Closer – Bruce Sutter

 I could have gone with either Lindy McDaniel or Jason Isringhausen here, since both men spent more time with the Cardinals than Bruce Sutter.   Nevertheless, the decision was to go with Sutter due to the greater level of dominance he displayed during his relatively brief four-year stay in St. Louis.  Sutter led the National League in saves in three of his four seasons with the Cardinals, posting a career-high 45 saves for the club in 1984.  He also compiled an ERA of 1.54 that year, en route to earning a third-place finish in the Cy Young voting and a sixth-place finish in the MVP balloting.  McDaniel and Isringhausen will ably assist Sutter in the St. Louis bullpen.

Manager – Whitey Herzog

I thought about selecting Red Schoendienst to manage the team since he led the Cardinals to back-to-back pennants in 1967 and 1968, and to the world championship in the first of those years.  But I finally settled on Whitey Herzog because he piloted the team to three pennants and one World Series title.  Herzog’s winning percentage of .530 (822-728) was also slightly better than Schoendienst’s mark of .522 (1,041-955).

 
Tagged:
1982 World Series, 2006 World Series, Albert Pujols, Baseball History, MLB Current, St. Louis Cardinals, Stan Musial, Stan Musial Statue
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  • rooster62265 said: St. Louis Baseball fans are the most knowledgable fans anywhere. 8:07PM 12/21/11
  • The Baseball Page said: Without a doubt one of the greatest franchises in baseball history. 6:36PM 10/20/11
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