Sunday, March 29, 2009

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS - ALL TIME HOME GROWN TEAM vs. ALL TIME ACQUIRED TEAM









So it has come down to this…

What started as a lark to make sure I kept writing in the off season turned into a obsessive compulsion that consumed WAY too much time for me but has been incredibly fun.

I’ve written 29 Home Grown rosters. I’ve written 29 Acquired rosters.

One more and I will have each of the 30 franchises.

And I've been saving the St. Louis Cardinals for last.

Why?
Well first of all Cardinals Best News Links has been writing updates of each of my entries... I figured if I did the Cardinals, I would lose my captive audience.

But the Cardinals are also one of the most fascinating franchises with one of the great fan bases.

Other than the Yankees, no team has had more success that the Red Birds. And with these posts, I try to make sure I honor each successful era in the team's history.

That's easy to do when covering the history of the Tampa Bay Rays. (2008 and... um... did I mention 2008?)

But the Cardinals have the Rogers Horsnby era in the 1920s, the Gashouse Gang of the 1930s, the Stan Musial years of the 1940s, the Bob Gibson 1960s teams, the Ozzie Smith/Whitey Herzog teams of the 1980s and the Albert Pujols/Tony LaRussa run in the 2000s.

And St. Louis remains one of the fan bases that remains baseball first. When we Red Sox fans or New York fans try to beat our chests for being the most passionate fans, we always need to throw in the "and St. Louis" qualifier.

So I knew some passionate fans would be taking a look at this post.
And I also knew that with so many Hall of Famers and legends to choose from, not to mention MVPs and World Series heroes, that some truly beloved players are going to be on the outside looking in.

And home grown First Baseman and acquired Third Baseman forced me to make some interesting choices...

So I am prepared to listen to your complaints... and who knows? I might change one or two entries.

As it was the previous 29 times, the rules for the rosters can be found here.

Hitch up the Clydesdales. It's time to talk Cardinals!!!!


ALL TIME HOME GROWN CARDINALS TEAM


STARTING CATCHER
TED SIMMONS

Who are the greatest catchers of all time?
Any short list would include Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter and Johnny Bench.

Simmons has more RBI than Bench.
He has more runs scored than Carter.
He has more hits than Berra or Fisk.

I was trying to find a way to express how great he was but Frank Murtaugh III, the sponsor of his Baseball Reference page, expressed it much more clearly than I could.



STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
KEITH HERNANDEZ

OK, first of all those of you about to write a protest post or e mail, please note that Albert Pujols is indeed on the team and in the starting line up.

Assuming Pujols goes to the Hall of Fame, I had three Cooperstown choices at first. Yet I am going with Mex.

First of all, nobody could field the position like him, so putting him elsewhere would be a waste of his glove.

Secondly, the rise of Keith Hernandez in the late 1970s basically put into motion a return to glory for the Cardinals. Hernandez was the Co-MVP (along with Pops Stargell) in 1979 when he won the batting title. The next year he had the highest OPS all the while playing Gold Glove Defense.

And in 1982, his 94 RBI were second on the team as they made the post season for the first time since 1968. He hit .333 in the NLCS and drove in 8 runs in the World Series.

He would have been one of the best Cardinals of the 1980s had they not sent him to the Mets for Neil Allen.

Either way, his role in bringing the Cardinals back to glory earns him a spot here.
Not bad for a 42nd round pick.


STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
ROGERS HORNSBY

Hornsby MUST have been the biggest pain in the neck in all of baseball. There's no other explanation for a quick glance at his career.

He was a great hitter, one of the best ever, by anyone's standards. He batted .424 in 1924. That's a batting average. Not an on base percentage.

His on base percentage that year? .507.
More than half of the times he came to the plate he made it on base.

By the way, his slugging was .696. His OPS was 1.203 that year.

Want to know something scary? It IMPROVED the next year... he had an OPS of 1.245 in 1925.

His numbers are breathtaking. 7 batting titles and a .359 career average.
9 times leading the league in slugging. 9 times leading the league in On Base percentage. 11 times having the highest OPS. Plus 2 home run titles and 4 RBI titles for 2 Triple Crowns.

in 1926 he was the player manager for the World Champion Cardinals... and was dealt the next year to the Giants... and dealt the year after that to the Braves... and dealt the year after that to the Cubs. Four teams in four years before free agency?

How big of a pain do you have to be to have teams say "Look, I know he's the best hitter alive... but get him OUT OF HERE!"?


STARTING SHORTSTOP
MARTY MARION

Originally I had Dal Maxvill at this spot, but a reader who identifies himself as DizzyDean17 reminded me about Marty Marion.

Unlike Maxvill, Marion could hit. OK, maybe he wasn't a great hitter, but he led the league in doubles while playing for the 1942 World Champion Cardinals. 

An 8 time All Star, he was a star based on his dazzling defense. He started on 4 pennant winners in St. Louis and three World Series winners. In Game 4 of the 1942 World Series he drove in a key run during the 7th inning go ahead rally and helped put the Cardinals up 3-1 in the series.

And in 1944 was the NL MVP.

So sorry Dal... you are on the outside looking in.
Maybe he can be the Home Grown General Manager!



STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
ALBERT PUJOLS

Hey! He played 96 games at third! He won the 2001 Silver Slugger for Third basemen!

Look, I really wanted Hernandez on the team... and there are two other Hall of Fame first baseman I needed to get on. So Sir Albert takes grounders at third. (And Hernandez will pick his bad throws out of the dirt.)

He's played 8 seasons in the bigs and he finished in the top 5 in the MVP vote all but 1 of those seasons. He's won it twice. He's already led the league in hitting. He's led the league in OPS twice. He hits 30-40 homers a year. He hits 110+ RBI a year.

He's been a playoff MVP and hit a mindboggingly clutch homer off of Brad Lidge.

He is the greatest offensive force in the 2000s.
PLEEEEEASE don't test positive!


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
DUCKY MEDWICK

Imagine a player so good in the World Series that he had to be removed for his own safety!

That's what happened to Ducky Medwick!

The last National Leaguer to win the Triple Crown was turning the 1934 World Series into his own personal showcase. The future Hall of Famer had 11 hits, a homer, 5 RBI, batted .370 and had an OPS of .952.

In Game 7, he hit a triple off of Tommy Bridges and slid hard into Tigers third baseman Marv Owen.

When he went out to left field, the Detroit fans started pelting him with garbage. Now why they brought garbage to the park is anyones guess. But Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis thought the best thing to do was NOT get more security in the seats but pull Medwick out of Game 7 of the World Series!

Not that it affected the game... the Cardinals won 11-0. But imagine what a travesty that would have been if the Tigers went on a 12 run rally off of Dizzy Dean!!!


STARTING CENTER FIELDER
STAN MUSIAL


I hate to play the "Can you imagine how big they'd be if they played in a bigger market?" card... but it is worth playing with Stan Musial.

He is considered to be one of the All Time greats and yet is STILL underrated!

The original 3,000 hit, 400 home run man, his career stretched from the War years to the 1960s. He was teammates with Johnny Mize and Enos Slaughter... and he was teammates with Bob Gibson, Curt Flood and Tim McCarver.

He won three MVPS, was named to 24 All Star teams. Won seven batting titles and had the league's best OPS seven times. He hit at home. He hit on the road. He led the Cardinals to three World Series titles... and he played the harmonica.

If he played in New York, there would be streets named after him!




STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
ENOS SLAUGHTER

The Red Sox fan in me should hate Enos Slaughter... the future Hall of Famer's mad dash in the bottom of the 8th inning in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series sunk the Sox in their only World Series appearance between 1918 and 1967.

And he was the guy who sharpened his spikes when he played against Jackie Robinson in 1947, so he clearly wasn't the nicest guy on the block.

But he was also the source of one of my favorite Abbott and Costello routines when I was a kid.

Costello: I need a baseball bat.
Abbott: I have this one. It was made for Slaughter.
Costello: Ain't you got one that was made for baseball?
Abbott: No Slaughter! The player.
Costello: What's his first name?
Abbott: Enos.
Costello: Great. He knows! I don't his name. What's his name?
Abbott: Enos.
Costello: I know HE KNOWS!

Etc... it made me laugh.


TOP PINCH HITTER OFF OF THE BENCH
SUNNY JIM BOTTOMLEY

The Hernandez/Pujols first base controversy gets a little trickier with Sunny Jim Bottomley looming in the background.

The Hall of Fame slugger was the chief power source for the 1926 Cardinals, their first ever World Series winner.

He hit .345 with 5 RBI in the 1926 World Series.

He was the National League MVP for the 1928 National League Champion Cardinals when he hit .325, got 31 homers, 136 RBI and had the second ever 20 double, 20 triple and 20 home run season. (I assume he also had 20 singles.)

And as if the first base situation wasn't sticky enough, there's one more Hall of Famer Cardinals home grown first baseman lurking out there!!!

THE STARTING ROTATION


DIZZY DEAN

I could write volumes on Dizzy Dean and these entries are getting long enough.

He was the face of the Gashouse Gang and brashly talked a big game. He made predictions about how many games he'd win. And he'd back it up.

He was Joe Namath and Reggie Jackson before they ever played. He gavethe hilarious quote in the newspaper and the wild locker room antics... and then would throw a complete game shutout to clinch the World Series.

He was a media darling when sound in films and radio were becoming prevalent and became a revered broadcaster himself.

In other words he understood how to play the media when the media was an infant.
It's safe to say the 1934 NL MVP (the year he won 30 games in 311 innings) would have fit in perfectly with today's TV sports culture!


BOB GIBSON

Whenever I heard Bob Gibson described as "a terrifying pitcher" or "fearsome" I always thought it was a little bit racist. I know he was intimidating and his numbers were dominating. (His 1.12 ERA in the 1968 season is nothing short of mind boggling.)

I knew he was a complete pitcher... a strikeout artist who was also a Gold Glove fielder and could hit. (His homer in Game 7 helped put the 1967 World Series away... and he homered in the 1968 World Series as well!)

And his 7-2 record over 9 World Series starts (and 8 complete games) with a 1.89 ERA and 92 strikeouts over 81 World Series innings remains the standard for great post season performances.

But why "Scary?" At the Hall of Fame event I attended in 2002, I saw Bob Gibson talking to Red Schoendienst. The players were there for a meet and greet and I decided to say hello to Gibson.

I said "Mr. Gibson?"

He shot me a look... a look that basically said "How dare you say anything to me right now?"

I walked backwards and decided to find another Hall of Famer. Gibson was terrifying.


STEVE CARLTON

The Cardinals must have really lusted after Rick Wise, who was a good 26 year old pitcher on a bad Phillies team. He wound up pitching two seasons in St. Louis before being dealt to Boston for Reggie Smith.

The price of their lust was high. They sent their own 27 year old stud, Carlton, packing. He won 20 games in 1971, his final year in St. Louis and made three All Star teams as a Cardinal.

Of course in Philadelphia he became a four time Cy Young winner and transformed from "All Star" to "First Ballot Hall of Famer."

A decidedly Un-Wise trade for the Cardinals. (I am so so sorry.)


PAUL “DAFFY” DEAN

The Cardinals had the flamboyant and dominating Dizzy Dean on their team. So imagine their delight when they found out he had a brother.

Maybe Paul Dean could be as fun, over the top and dynamic as his brother.

He wasn't. He was quiet, serious and didn't love the spotlight like his brother. And certainly didn't like his nickname "Daffy."

But what he COULD do was pitch. He won 19 games his first two seasons (1934 and 1935) and even saved 5 in 1935, the fourth highest total in the league.

The 1934 World Series was the Dean Brothers Show. Dizzy threw complete game victories in Games 1 and 7 while Paul threw complete game victories in games 2 and 6. Injuries derailed his career, but in those two seasons, he held his own with his brother.

By the way, if you do a Google Search of Paul Dean, you'll have to go through 80 pages of TV chef Paula Dean.
I came real close to adding Danny Cox who threw the complete game shutout to clinch the 1987 NLCS... and I love to honor those who clinch the big ones.

But I could not neglect Sadecki. A 20 game winner for the 1964 World Champion Cardinals, he also made some relief appearances, picking up a save in that wild pennant race. Later he became a truly effective reliever for the Mets 1973 World Series run.

He struggled in Game 1 of the 1964 World Series, but ultimately won the slug fest against Whitey Ford and the Yankees.

He became valuable as trade bait as well. During the 1966 season he was dealt to San Francisco. Who did the Cardinals get back? Future Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda.






THE BULLPEN

TODD WORRELL

Imagine the confidence that Whitey Herzog must have had in Todd Worrell.

The Cardinals had a 1-0 lead in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series going into the 9th.

The lead was trusted to 25 year old Worrell who had 21 2/3 regular season innings to his name. The first batter he faced was Jorge Orta... grounder to first... Worrell covers... throw is in time... and Cardinal fans don't need to be reminded what happened after that.

It turns out that Herzog's faith was well founded. Despite his near heroics in the 1985 World Series, he was still technically a rookie in 1986. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1986 and was the Rolaids Relief Award winner in 1987.

By 1989 he was well on his way to establishing the Cardinals saves record and looked like he might be a Hall of Fame closer in the making.

Injuries kept him out of baseball during all of 1990 and 1991. He would come back first as a Cardinal and then as a Dodger, but injuries ended his career after 1997.

Herzog's trust of him was correct. His trust that Don Denkinger would get the call right was not.




McDaniel was developing into an effective starter when he posted a 15-9 record with a 3.49 ERA in 1957. But manager Solly Hemus put McDaniel in the bullpen in 1959 and the results were terrific.

He won 14 and saved 15  games in 1959... and then went 12-4 with 26 saves and a 2.09 ERA over 116 1/3 innings (all but 12 in relief) in 1960. He finished 5th in the MVP vote and 3rd in the Cy Young vote. He also won the first ever Reliever of the Year Award from the Sporting News.

He continued the solid relief but was dealt to the Cubs before the Cardinals started winning pennants again.

The 1960 All Star would play 21 seasons for the Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Yankees and Royals... and never play a post season game. That is NOT a Lucky Lindy.


The mighty Forsch brothers are the only brother combination to each throw a no hitter in the big leagues.

Bob did it twice, which I am sure he reminds Ken whenever they are chatting by the grill.

Forsch did a little bit of everything for the Cardinals. He won 20 games in 1977. He threw a complete game shutout in Game 1 of the 1982 NLCS. He won a pair of Silver Slugger Awards and hit 12 homers in his career.

As a reliever he won a Game 3 of the 1987 NLCS against the Giants and Game 4 of the World Series against the Twins.

He even wrote a book about his times as a Cardinal... which is available on Amazon.



MORT COOPER

When Cooper broke in with the Cardinals in the late 1930s, he was a very effective spot starter and reliever. But during the War years, he dominated. He won 20 games each year from 1942 to 1944, winning the MVP in 1942.

In 1943 he won 21 which led the league and his 3 saves put him in the top 10 of that category.

And in the all St. Louis 1944 World Series, his Game 5 shutout put the Cardinals up 3-2.

Some have belittled his accomplishments because he pitched in the War years. But there is no arguing he was the Cardinals best pitcher during that era. Let's please both sides of the argument and put him in the pen!

Matt Morris had some bad timing with the Cardinals. He broke in with the 1997 team and became a 12 game winner and Rookie of the Year candidate. After Tommy John surgery in 1999 he returned to the Cardinals as an effective middle reliever in 2000 (thus why he is here instead of the rotation.)

He became the ace of the staff with a 22 win season in 2001 and locked horns with Curt Schilling twice in the Division Series only to see the Cardinals bats fail him both times.

He continued being one of the top Cardinals pitchers during their 2002, 2004 and 2005 playoff runs before jumping ship to the Giants in 2006.

The Giants went nowhere and naturally the Cardinals went on to win the World Series.
Bad bad timing.





THE BENCH


RESERVE INFIELDER
RED SCHOENDIENST

When I met all of those Hall of Famers, I approached Schoendienst after Bob Gibson scared the tar out of me.

I introduced myself and he was pleasant. I knew my stuff when I talked to him and gave the 10 time All Star his due respect.

Referring to his successful stint as manager I said "I'm a fan of yours, even though you beat my Red Sox in 1967."

He looked up at me with a little Clint Eastwood like squint and said "We beat you in 1946 too!"

And indeed they did, with Schoendienst at second batting lead off and driving in a run in the wild Game 7.

He seemed to have added glee sticking THAT knife back into this Red Sox fan.


RESERVE INFIELDER
PEPPER MARTIN

His full name was Johnny Leonard Roosevelt Martin. Johnny Martin would have been a good enough baseball name.

Pepper Martin? That's an All Time baseball name.


A key member of "The Gashouse Gang", he became a regular at the All Star Game and led the leagues in steals three times. But he shone most as a regular of two World Series. He batted .500 over the seven game 1931 World Series. For you fans of the OPS, he finished the series with a 1.330 OPS.

He hit .355 with an OPS of ,928 in the 1934 World Series including a lead off triple in Game 3.

So why not give him another awesome nickname? He was also known as The Wild Horse of the Osage!

That sounds like a Washington Irving story!


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
CHICK HAFEY

When your bench has Hall of Famers on it, you know you are dealing with some serious depth!

Hafey led the NL in slugging in 1927, won the 1931 batting title and drove in 100 runs three straight years from 1928 to 1930.

Along the way he played in four World Series for the Cardinals, being a regular for the 1926 and 1931 World Champs.

And he wasn't too proud to wear his glasses on the field. Even his Hall of Fame plaque has specs!


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
VINCE COLEMAN

For a while, the Major League rookie record for Stolen Bases was disputed. Some claimed the record belonged to Phillies second baseman Juan Samuel who stole 72 in 1984.

Others gave the honor to Benny Kauff, who stole 75 bases for the 1914 Indianapolis Hoosiers of the Federal League. But calling the Federal League a Major League was a reach.

How best to solve this problem?
In 1985, Vince Coleman figured out a novel solution. He stole 110 bases for the Cardinals, obliterating both marks. He stole two bases in his first game and never stopped.

His legs were his greatest weapons and they were broken in a grotesque tarp accident during the 1985 NLCS.

He kept stealing 100 bases a season each of his first three years while being a medicore offensive player. Just imagine how many bases he would have stolen if he got on base more!


RESERVE CATCHER
TIM McCARVER

Yes he was a player once.

Before signing a contract that evidently requires him to announce just about EVERY SINGLE MAJOR GAME until the universe folds into itself, Tim McCarver was an All Star catcher for the Cardinals.

Bob Gibson's catcher during his tremendous post season runs, McCarver had his share of World Series highlights. The biggest one was the go ahead 10th inning home run to win Game 5 of the 1964 World Series.

And is now a broadcaster beloved by everyone.



25TH MAN
JOHNNY MIZE

I almost put Terry Pendleton here. Or Mike “Moon Man” Shannon. Or Tommy Herr.

But it hard for me to leave off Johnny Mize. The future Hall of Famer got MVP votes in five of six seasons in St. Louis, placing second in back to back seasons (1939 and 1940.)

He had the highest average in 1939, the best OPS in the NL in 1938, 1939 and 1940. He won two home run titles and narrowly missed a triple crown in 1939.

As I mentioned in the Giants post, the Cardinals made quite a blunder dealing him away. And I think leaving him off of the roster would be as bad a blunder.



HO-LEE COW!
That is a team!

Hall of Famers on the bench?
MVPs put apologetically into the line up?
World Series heroes stuck in the bullpen?

It seems like legends only need apply.

A quick glance at the Home Grown Team would make you think that the home grown team would be MURDERED...

But let's just say the acquired have their share of Hall of Famers, MVPs and World Series heroes.

As for beloved legends, the most loved Cardinals player of the last two decades was acquired.

And if you fall behind, good luck scoring a run on the Acquired Bullpen.

Read on...







ALL TIME ACQUIRED CARDINALS TEAM


STARTING CATCHER
BOB O’FARRELL

When he Cardinals won their first World Series in 1926, they had a team that featured future Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby, Jesse Haines, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sunny Jim Bottomley and Chick Hafey.

So who was the MVP?

That would be veteran catcher Bob O'Farrell, who came over the year before from the Cubs. He batted .293 and provided a steady leadership behind the plate.

Plus he provided the biggest thrill for Cardinals fans during Game 7 of the 1926 World Series when he threw out Babe Ruth stealing to end the series.

I guess throwing out Babe Ruth isn't the greatest accomplishment for a catcher... but he was the first catcher to ever end a series in that manner.



STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
ORLANDO CEPEDA

Cha Cha spent most of his career in San Francisco. His Hall of Fame plaque has a Giants hat on it. The Cha Cha Bowl is sold at his grill in AT&T Park.

And yet he carved out quite a niche in St. Louis as well.

He suffered what looked like a career ending knee injury in 1965 and in 1966 the Giants sent him packing to the Cardinals.

In 1967 he achieved two milestones in St. Louis that he never met in San Francisco:
He won his only MVP award and won his only World Championship.

His time in St. Louis lifted the Baby Bull from "Terrific All Star" to "Cooperstown bound." Something to think about while scarfing down that Cha Cha Bowl!


STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
FRANKIE FRISCH

Former Cardinals General Manager Branch Rickey was a believer in trading a player a year too early rather than a year too late.

So when Rogers Hornsby, the greatest player in Cardinals history, led the team as a hitter and a manager to their first ever World Championship, Rickey rewarded him by trading him to the Giants.

The trade wasn't popular at first (especially since Hornsby continued his great hitting with the Giants and the Braves.) But he got Frankie Frisch in the deal... he would be the MVP runner up his first year and win the 1931 NL MVP.

He would win two stolen base titles and be a key member of "The Gashouse Gang" and in 1934 led the Cardinals to the World Series title as a player/manager... just like Hornsby. Later, he joined Hornsby in the Hall of Fame.

THAT is getting good value in a trade.



STARTING SHORTSTOP
OZZIE SMITH

I met a bunch of Cardinals at that event in 2002. I guess the Cardinals have had a lot of Hall of Famers.

But what player has been more synonymous with the Cardinals than Ozzie? At least for people my age the Cardinals meant a fast pace style of baseball with stolen bases and dazzling defense.

That's the Wizard! And no single gesture showed the joy of playing baseball quite like Ozzie's backflip.

And as I noted in my Royals post, when Ken Burns put together his montage of why baseball was still fun in the 1980s, it was primarily clips of Bo Jackson and Ozzie Smith.

It's hard to imagine him in any other uniform. (Sorry Padres fans.)

And let's face it... his greatest moment was his appearance on The Baseball Bunch.


STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
JOE TORRE

OK... why is Joe Torre getting the start over Scott Rolen?

Let me say it wasn't an easy decision.

Rolen fit like a glove... or at least a Gold Glove winner... when he came over from Philadelphia. He hit for power, had an MVP caliber season in 2004, homered three times in the 2004 NLCS and then homered in Game 1 of the 2006 World Series to set the tone for St. Louis.

In the end he had 2 1/2 great years in St. Louis, a lot of injuries and it ended badly.

Torre came over from the Braves in 1969 for Orlando Cepeda and batted .325, and was a 100 RBI man his first two seasons. But then he eclipsed that with a spectacular 1971 season. He won the batting title and had a .976 OPS. He had the most hits in the league and led the league in RBI. He was named NL MVP.

But the deciding factor? The mutton chops on this Sports Illustrated cover could not be denied.
It's my rules, my list!


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
LOU BROCK

OK, let's try to defend the Lou Brock trade from the Cubs point of view.

First of all Ernie Broglio was a good pitcher. He finished third in the Cy Young vote in 1960 and was 18-8 with a 2.99 ERA in 1963, the year before the trade.

Secondly, it wasn't a straight one for one trade.

The Cardinals included pitcher Bobby Shantz, a former MVP who had developed into a solid reliever, and Doug Clemens, a young outfielder.

Thirdly the Cubs were also throwing in Jack Spring and Paul Toth, both pitchers who had no real worth.

So the Cubbies thought they'd deal one good outfielder and two dead weight pitchers for a good starter, a good reliever and another young outfielder.

Granted, the pitchers they got from the Cardinals faded fast and Brock became not only a Hall of Famer with 3,000 hits and for a time the Stolen Base King, but also a career .391 hitter with a 1.079 OPS in 21 World Series games.

If the Cubs knew that, they probably wouldn't have made the trade.



STARTING CENTER FIELDER
JIM EDMONDS

It is safe to say outfield defense will not be a problem for the Acquired Team.

In fact Edmonds is one of the few players I can think of whose defense actually overshadows the fact that he was an offensive force.

When he wasn't a staple on SportsCenter highlights, he finished in the top ten of homers three times with the Cardinals, finished in the top 10 of OPS three times and had two top 5 MVP finishes.

His first taste of post season play, the 2000 Division Series against Atlanta, was a doozy. He batted .571 with an OPS of 1.886 with 2 homers and 7 RBI in the three game sweep.

Plus his mammoth walk off homer in Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS basically saved the season.

But man he could field.




STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
WILLIE McGEE

Willie McGee had the single worst batting stance I could ever remember. His hands were forward, the bat looked limp and his awkward stance mixed with an expression that always looked a bit confused made him look like a foreigner who has never played baseball before taking a swing.

I am sure he had batting coach after batting coach trying to fix his stance.
It's a good thing they didn't. The one time Yankee farm hand was a career .295 hitter and won a pair of batting titles for the Cardinals along the way. He homered twice and made a dazzling catch in the 1982 World Series and won the 1985 MVP.

The three time Gold Glove winner was primarily a center fielder, but played right towards the end of his career.
Kids... don't try to imitate his swing. You'll look bad.


TOP PINCH HITTER OFF OF THE BENCH
JACK CLARK

Did we ever find out why Lasorda didn't walk Jack Clark?
In Game 6 of the 1985 NLCS, Clark came up with first base open and the Dodgers one out from tying the series 3-3. One out would set up a Game 7 in Chavez Ravine with Bob Welch or Jerry Reuss on the hill.

Clark was the only real home run threat on the team. Yes Andy Van Slyke was on deck and he was a left handed hitter and he had 13 homers, second highest total on the team. But please!

Clark was a veteran All Star and an MVP candidate. Van Slyke was a 24 year old still coming into his own.

Lasorda didn't put him on... and he crushed Niedenfuer's pitch for a go ahead 3 run shot. Three outs later the Cardinals were in the World Series.

This wasn't a second guess 24 years later. I said it while it was happening.

Injuries held Clark to one post season at bat in 1987. I wonder if Tom Kelly would have pitched to him if he came up in a similar situation in the World Series.

THE STARTING ROTATION

JOAQUIN ANDUJAR

Andujar is on here for a few reasons... some baseball... some other wise.

He won the clinching game of the 1982 NLCS and won two games in the 1982 World Series, including Game 7.

He had three top 10 Cy Young finishes in St. Louis including back to back 20 win seasons in 1984 and 1985.

He was also sent out in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series basically as a way for Whitey Herzog to vent at Don Denkinger as they were both ejected. He later destroyed the toilet in the clubhouse. (I am sure Cardinals fans everywhere can relate.)

Also, in one of the most obscure and worst seasons of Saturday Night Live, Randy Quaid portrayed Andujar in a sketch. That's an honor... I think.
Someday Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan might get Hall of Fame consideration. Nobody seems to be better at taking a pitcher off of the scrap heap and getting the most out of them than Duncan.

For Pete's Sake he took Jeff Weaver, who seemed to have the big game guts of Billy Bibbit, and turned him into a World Series hero.

His greatest work was taking Chris Carpenter. He was hurt and not offered a big league deal by the Blue Jays after 2002. The Cardinals take a flier on him, he sits out the 2003 season... and under Duncan's eye transformed into the 2005 Cy Young winner.

In 2006 he won 2 games in the Division Series and then threw 8 innings of shutout ball to win Game 3 of the 2006 World Series. He's been hurt the last few years but don't count him out. He's got Duncan working with him.
Jesse Haines appeared in 555 games in the major leagues.

554 of them were with the St. Louis Cardinals. His first game, in 1918, was with the Reds. He threw 5 innings of relief and didn't see another big league box score until 1920 when he was a Cardinal.

The knuckleballer would win 20 games three different times and become a mainstay in the Cardinals pitching staff for 18 years, going 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA over four different World Series.

He would throw a no hitter win 210 games and be elected to the Hall of Fame.

I'm pretty sure the Reds didn't envision that kind of career based on one relief appearance.
Burleigh Grimes is being included on this list for several reasons.

1. He's a Hall of Famer. I tend to err on the side of including Hall of Famers.

2. He pitched brilliantly in the 1931 World Series for the Cardinals, including throwing a shutout into the 9th inning of Game 7 before letting up a pair of runs and having Bill Hallahan come in to clinch the series.

3. His nickname was Ol' Stubblebeard. Nicknames like that should be honored.

4. Burleigh Grimes is probably my third favorite name in the history of baseball (Oddibe McDowell and Razor Shines are 1 and 2.)
When I used to consume the Red Sox year book each season during the late 1970s and early 1980s, it seemed like John Tudor was always listed as a "Future Star."

That was his position.
Jim Rice was in left.
Dwight Evans was in right.
John Tudor was a prospect.

It never occurred to me that he would actually become a 21 game winner and playoff hero.

Of course he did it with the Cardinals and not the Red Sox.
In 1985 he finished second to Doc Gooden for the Cy Young Award and probably would have been the World Series MVP had the Cardinals closed out Game 6. He threw two solid wins including a complete game shutout in Game 4.

Tudor broke his leg in 1987 trying to stop Barry Lyons from crashing into the dugout and was held to 16 games... yet still won 10 and pitched for another World Series team. He pitched 7 2/3 brilliant shutout innings in Game 6 of the 1987 NLCS to spoil the Giants best shot and force a Game 7.

I guess the Red Sox yearbook should have listed him as "Future Cardinals Star."


THE BULLPEN

BRUCE SUTTER

Bruce Sutter's Hall of Fame plaque has a Cardinals hat on it.

I wonder what Cubs fans think about that.

He won his Cy Young Award as a Cub. He became an All Star as a Cub. They developed him and gave him his big break.

Then dealt him to the Cardinals before the 1981 season... and the top 5 finishes in the Cy Young voting continued... he grew a bad ass beard... and went 2-0 with 3 saves in the 1982 post season, including striking out Gorman Thomas to end the 1982 World Series.

You'd think after Lou Brock, the Cubs would stop dealing with the Cardinals.
Number crunchers will tell me that Jason Isringhausen should be here instead of Wainwright... and they may have a valid argument. But two Wainwright highlights from 2006 earned him eternal love from Cardinals fans.

When the Cardinals limped into the 2006 post season without a closer, they were an after thought. How could a team win using a closer with 3 career saves like Wainwright?

Wainwright turned in a tour de force effort, closing all three series, saving 4 games and posting a 0.00 ERA over 9 2/3 innings, walking only 2 and striking out 15 (including Brandon Inge to clinch the World Series.

But it was Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS that should make him a borderline God among Cardinal fans... Shea Stadium going nuts... bases loaded... 2 outs... Cardinal killer Carlos Beltran at the plate... a base hit would tie the game... an extra base hit would win the pennant for the Mets... and he threw that wicked curve to Beltran and basically sent the Mets franchise reeling.

Those 2006 ghosts look a lot like Adam Wainwright celebrating.

Remind me of Jason Isringhausen's all time highlight that matches that.

Of course I had to include Old Pete as a reliever. Even though he threw two complete game victories in the 1926 World Series, it was his astonishingly clutch relief appearance in Game 7 that is his permanent legacy.

The day after throwing 9 innings (and drinking the equivalent of 9 innings after the game), Alexander was called in to pitch to Tony Lazzeri in the 7th inning with 2 outs and a 1 run lead but with the bases loaded. He struck him out, threw a 1-2-3 8th and walked Babe Ruth in the 9th with 2 outs... and the Babe was caught stealing to end the series and give Alexander the save and his lone World Series title.

Alexander spent many many more years in Philadelphia than he did in St. Louis... but
I always think of him as a Cardinal instead of a Phillie. I am guessing I am not alone.

Maybe not as legendary as Alexander's performance in 1926, Harry Breechen had his own World Series dramatics in the rotation and the bullpen twenty seasons later in 1946.

Breechen threw complete game victories against the favored Red Sox in Games 2 and 6 of the 1946 World Series. In Game 7 he was brought into the 8th to save a 3-1 lead. He got two quick outs, but Dom DiMaggio hit a double to tie the score. He then faced Ted Williams with the go ahead run on second. Williams popped up.

When Slaughter scored in the bottom of the 8th, Breechen needed three outs to clinch the series. With the tying run at third, Beechen got Tom McBride out to win the World Series and become the answer to a trivia question:

Who was the first person to win Game 6 and Game 7 of a World Series?
(Randy Johnson became the second in 2001.)

Harry the Cat played one obscure season in the Cubs farm system before being signed by the Cardinals... ergo he is on THIS team.


DENNIS ECKERSLEY

Eckersley is the lone reliever in this bullpen to not close out a World Series for the Cardinals. (Eck did it for the 1989 A's.)

In his lone post season stint with the Cardinals, however, he showed his Hall of Fame stuff. In the 1996 Division Series against the Padres, Eck saved all three close games, earning the coveted Sully Baseball Division Series MVP.

In the NLCS, Eckersley closed out all three Cardinals wins picking up a win and a save. His 1996 post season ERA was 0.00. And once again, I declared him robbed of a post season MVP by his own team. When you get two fake Trophies from this blog for one post season... you KNOW you were good.


THE BENCH

RESERVE INFIELDER
JULIAN JAVIER

You are going to find a pattern developing regarding a lot of the Reserves on the Acquired Team: There will be guys who don't necessarily put up the best numbers but show up in October big time.

Julian Javier is certainly a case in point. A decent but not spectacular player, he became an offensive hero in the 1967 World Series. He batted .360 with an OPS of .960 including a spirit crushing, back breaking, three run homer in Game 7 that basically put the Red Sox away for good.

He drove in two runs off of 31 game winner Denny McLain in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series and finished the series with a .333 average.

When he was acquired from the Pittsburgh system and made his big league debut with the 1960 Cardinals, his teammate was the legendary Stan Musial. He must have made an impression on him because he named his son after him... future 17 year big league veteran Stan Javier.


RESERVE INFIELDER
DAVID ECKSTEIN

Yes, I am giving it to Eckstein over Scott Rolen. And yes I am anticipating a flood of “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” e mails.

Please read my reasons before you start typing!

In Game 4 of the 2006 World Series, he hit the two out RBI double in the 8th inning that gave St. Louis the lead and would give them a 3-1 series lead over the Tigers.

He got two more hits and drove in two more runs in the clinching Game 5 and was a pain in the neck to the Tigers all series. He batted .364 with an OPS of .891... all the more impressive when you consider he was 0-9 over the first two games.

Yes I know Rolen actually had superior numbers in the series... but Eckstein was the MVP for reasons beyond the box score.

And speaking of 0 fers... Rolen went hitless during the 2004 World Series.

But the point is, I am not leaving off a World Series MVP.
You can throw every stat in the world at me... and I'll show you Eckstein's trophy case.




RESERVE OUTFIELDER
CURT FLOOD

Curt Flood should remembered first and foremost as a terrific baseball player.

He was the best defensive center fielder of his era, he regularly batted over .300, led the NL in hits in 1964 for the World Champs and was named to three All Star Games and played a big part for three pennant winners and two World Champion squads.

And with that resume, he had every right to say "Hey! Why can't I have a say in where I play!"

Every current player should have a photo of Curt Flood in their locker and they should say "Thanks Curt" each time their paycheck comes in.




RESERVE OUTFIELDER
BILL WHITE

Sure, Harry the Hat Walker could be here… or Larry Walker… or Roger Maris…

But White was a terrific left handed hiter with a lot of pop. He had five straight 20 home run seasons for the Cardinals, made five All Star teams and finished 3rd in the MVP vote in the 1964 World Championship season.

Plus, he was Phil Rizzuto's best partner on Yankee broadcasts and became the President of the National League. A career like that should be honored.

And I know he was primarily a first baseman, but he did play in the outfield. And I already have Willie McGee, Curt Flood and Jim Edmonds on the team. I think outfield defense is TAKEN CARE OF!!!



RESERVE CATCHER
DARRELL PORTER

Yeah I know Walker Cooper, Tony Pena, Joe Garagiola, Yadier Molina and Mike Matheny could all go here.

The Late Darrell Porter is actually an interesting case study. I already addressed the demons of "Double Barrel Darrell" in my Royals Post.

But his Cardinals tenure can spark an interesting debate: Was he a bust or a success?

On the one hand he came over from Kansas City to replace Ted Simmons and he didn't come close to matching either Simmons' production nor his own All Star numbers in Kansas City. His batting average plummeted to the .230-.220 level. His on base percentage went down. His home run totals went down. By all accounts he was a bust.

Except in October. In the 1982 NLCS against the Braves, Porter batted .556 with an OPS of 1.603 and was named the MVP of the Series.

He continued his hitting in the 1982 World Series. In Game 2 he got the game tying double off of future Hall of Famer Don Sutton. His two run homer (again off of Don Sutton) in Game 6 helped break the game open. And in Game 7, his two out bottom of the 8th RBI single gave the Cardinals a vital insurance run.

He became the second person ever to win the LCS and World Series MVP. (Willie Stargell was the first in 1979. Orel Hershiser, Livan Hernandez and Cole Hamels have since joined him.)

So was he a bust? If he was brought in to win a Championship... then he was an unquestioned success!



25TH MAN
MARK McGWIRE

Yeah I know... I'm not supposed to put the big cheater on here.

But let me justify my inclusion of McGwire with a very personal story about my pre marriage love life.

Before I ever knew my wife, I was living in New York and dating a very beautiful red head. She will remain nameless but she was actually kind of well known in her field. And while we were dating it was a romantic whirlwind that only exists in New York (and usually happens to Carrie, Miranda, Samantha or Charlotte.) And it was wonderful while it was happening.

Then she told me she was seeing someone else while we were dating and she left me for him.

And I was crushed. And suddenly all of those memories became bad memories. They were fake. There was something she wasn't telling me and cast a pall over everything.

Then some years passed... I am happily married to a wonderful (and more beautiful) woman. I have a family and perspective. And if I do think back to that romance, I think "Man that was fun... fake but fun."

Guess what Cardinal fans. You too had a romance with a red head who wasn't telling you something. And you've moved on, won a bunch more games and even got a World Series title since.

That year, 1998, was fraudulent... and we all feel a little silly being wrapped up in a romance... but it was fun.


WHO WOULD WIN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES?

I have NO IDEA!!! Both teams are so solid!

Each time I lean towards one side, I find a reason pick the other team.

The Acquired Bullpen is better... but when your rotation starts with Dizzy Dean and Bob Gibson, how many times are you going to the pen anyway?

The Homegrown Line Up has more firepower... but can they get anything past the Acquired Defense?

All I know is it will go Seven Games!

VERDICT: THE HOME GROWN TEAM WINS... PROVIDED BOB GIBSON IS PITCHING THE SEVENTH GAME!


CLICK HERE TO GO BACK TO THE HOME PAGE

THAT'S THE CARDINALS!

And the Braves
And the Rays
And the Phillies
And the Cubs
And the Indians
And the Tigers
And the White Sox.
And the Royals
And the Brewers
And the Reds
And the Dodgers
And the Blue Jays
And the Pirates
And the Diamondbacks
And the Mariners
And the Nationals
And the Angels
And The Padres
And The Twins
And The Orioles
And the A's
And the Astros
And the Giants
And the Rockies
And the Mets
And the Rangers
And the Marlins
And the Yankees
And the Red Sox

That's it!

I'm done! Right?

HOLD ON!!!!

I have decided to do one more.
The best players in Washington DC history are spread out over three teams (the Twins, the Rangers and the Nationals.) And in each of those posts, I concentrate not on the best Washington players but on the best Minnesota, Texas and Montreal players.

So, for what Washington fans that are out there, I am adding a 31st Home Grown vs. Acquired Roster consisting of the best players in DC history using only their Washington numbers.

NEXT ALL TIME HOME GROWN VS. ACQUIRED TEAM:
ALL THREE WASHINGTON FRANCHISES













61 comments:

  1. Do the Expos count on your Washington list?
    :-)

    Hey, I remember really enjoying Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee. Those Ozzie flips were cool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks sully

    this was a great series you put together.

    josh

    ReplyDelete
  3. DizzyDean178:25 AM

    Marty Marion won an MVP in 1944 as the Cardinals' shortstop. He should be there instead of Dal Maxvill.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are right!

    I will switch out Marion and Maxvill

    Thanks for the suggestion

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous8:55 AM

    I have to argue with your choice of Keith Hernandez on two points. Number one, there's no way you pick Hernandez over either Mize or Bottomley. Hernandez was very good in his time. Mize and Bottomley were better.

    Number two, by picking him, you force Albert Pujols over to third and force Ken Boyer off the team, something I wouldn't do.

    Then there's Dal Maxvill over Marty Marion. Tsk, tsk.

    Finally, Grover Alexander as a reliever, when he started 25 games or more in both 1927 AND 1928?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cardinal Fan8:56 AM

    Because you have written such a compelling series on each club, it can be forgiven that you are a Red Sox fan. I have truly enjoyed reading these presentations and feel that the Cardinal one is the best one(but, of course I would since I am a Cardinal fanatic).
    Thanks Again,
    Will

    ReplyDelete
  7. There were so many great Cardinals to choose from that inevitably I knew some of my omissions would be controversial.

    Leaving Ken Boyer (and Terry Pendleton) off was hard

    But I am immovable on Keith Hernandez. I firmly believe that the rise of Hernandez was the beginning of the turn around that culminated in the1982 World Series title.

    Plus Mize and Bottomley ARE ON THE TEAM! Not a lot of Red Sox bloggers are mentioning Sunny Jim Bottomley these days.

    I switched Maxvill out for Marion. That was a mistake.

    As for Ol' Pete Alexander... yes I am well aware he was mainly a starter. But his bad ass relief appearance in 1926 is one of the great moments in World Series history and gave the Cardinals the World Series title

    Anyway, I'm not dumping John Tudor, who was awesome in St. Louis.
    I'm not dumping Andujar, Grimes, Carpenter or Haines.

    This blog isn't just about stats... it's about emotion too.
    And if Orel Hershiser can be in the Dogers bullpen and Vida Blue can be in the A's bullpen than Grover Cleveland Alexander can be in the Cardinals bullpen!

    Thanks for reading it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Cardinal Fan,

    I can not control me being a Red Sox fan

    ReplyDelete
  9. DizzyDean179:30 AM

    Having read your entire Cardinal article, I have to give you a "Well done!" although I can nitpick several of your selections.

    I loved Danny Cox, especially the story about him flying off somewhere on an off day to punch out his sister's ex but guys like Larry Jackson, Harvey Haddix and Lindy McDaniel probably would have been better picks.

    Jim Edmonds should not be riding the pine behind Flood or McGee. Flood was a great defender and Giants fans will argue about who the better defender was during Flood's era. Mays was pretty good. Willie McGee had a great World Series in 1982 and a great season in 1985 but was pretty much an average player the rest of his career. Edmonds was one of the five or so best players in baseball during the first few years of the 21st century. He was Duke Snider with a better glove and arm.

    I'd have Kenny Boyer on this team, too, even ahead of Mex.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You are right about Lindy McDaniel.
    I forgot about him...

    I switched out Danny Cox (who I remember killing the Giants and breaking the hearts of my Giant fan friends) with McDaniel.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I should give DizzyDean17 co writer credit!

    ReplyDelete
  12. DizzyDean176:26 PM

    I've been rooting for this team for more than half a century and have had more than a few favorite players and heartbreaking moments.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is obviously your call, but count me as another opposed to the Hernandez pick. As an Indians fan I can't say anything positive about Hernandez. He signed with the Tribe and then played the "my back hurts" card for the length of the contract.

    Separately, a neat fact about Musial is he managed to have exactly the same number of hits at home and on the road. What balance!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well OF COURSE you hate Hernandez! You saw him at his worst.

    Are you also objecting me putting Steve Carlton on this list too?
    He didn't exactly light it up with the Tribe!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Carlton tried. He was done and just didn't want to let the ball go. Hernandez couldn't wait to let go as soon as the ink was dry on his contract.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This was great. Also, I cannot believe that a Red Sox fan actually acknowledged the fact that the Cardinals exist/have great fans haha.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Outstanding list Sully! This was a great project, and I'm sure a massive undertaking.

    Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great column! Couldn't stop reading it! Check out my Cardinals blog:
    http://cardinalbeatblog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
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  20. Anonymous9:05 AM

    i really love this set of articles. sully, you did a fantastic job with every team (even the rays, which was a challenge to say the least). i think you represented every team extremely well with the balance of a bill james-esque statician and the rabid enthusiasm of a fan only boston, st. louis, new york, and chicago could have. side note, i teased some of my mets fans buddies about the comment you made. not exact but "mets fans are masochists." it certainly helps pass a 14 hour shift sitting in a humvee. thank you for the hardwork and love for the game that's so rare.

    p.s. i think the keith hernandez decision was a good one. not only because he was one of my father's favorite players (with bob gibon and roberto clemente) but he was practically the face of the franchise in his day.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What an extensive and interesting blog!
    I love to find places related to my favorite team, The Cardinals.
    In fact, I enjoyed a lot watching all these pictures you attached in here

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous4:31 PM

    The best things about this World Series, McCarver wouldn't be announcing!

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