Greatest Cardinals Sluggers Of All Time
The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the oldest franchises in baseball, forming in 1882 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings, and later becoming the Cardinals in 1900. The Cardinals have won 10 World Series titles, which is the most of any National League team, and second in the majors to the Yankees' 26 championships. It should be no surprise that over the years, this great franchise has produced some of the game's best sluggers, even though they haven't always been known as a power-generating team. Here are the Cards' top ten sluggers of all-time, based solely on number of homers with the team.
Stan Musial-Outfielder Stan "The Man" Musial remains one of the most beloved players in Cardinals history. With 475 lifetime homers, all with the only team he ever played for (1941-1963), there is no disputing he's the greatest slugger the team has ever seen (well, watch out for number two). Musial won the National League MVP Award four times, and his best overall season was 1948 when he belted 39 homers with 131 runs batted in an a whopping .376 batting average. He also led his team to World Series titles three times and four NL pennants.
Albert Pujols-Since coming into the major leagues in 2001, first baseman Albert Pujols has been one of the most consistently explosive players and one of the most feared sluggers in the game. In the short period he's been a Cardinal, Pujols already ranks second in team history in home runs with 258. His best season overall was 2003, when Pujols clubbed 43 homers with 124 RBI and a .359 batting average. But he didn't win his first National League MVP Award until 2005 (41-117-.340). Pujols also led his team to a World Series title in 2006 and NL Championships in both 2004 and 2006. And as of writing this, he's only 27 years old.
Ken Boyer-Third baseman Ken Boyer played most of his career in a Cardinals uniform and hit 255 home runs during that time. In 1960, Boyer had his best power season, hitting 32 homers with 97 runs batted in. Boyer also won five Gold Glove awards while with St. Louis, and helped them to a World Series title in 1964. He was traded to the Mets in 1966 and played a few more years with various teams before eventually managing the Cardinals. Boyer passed away from lung cancer in 1982 at the age of 51.
Jim Edmonds-He's only playing in his eighth season with the Cardinals, but already outfielder Jim Edmonds ranks fourth all-time in home runs with the franchise, with 232. Edmonds' best season overall with the team was 2004, when he helped them reach the World Series that they eventually lost to Boston. During that magical year, Edmonds belted 42 homers with 111 RBI and a .301 average. He was also a big part of the 2006 World Championship team, though his power numbers (19 HR, 70 RBI in 110 games) fell off drastically.
Ray Lankford-Center fielder Ray Lankford played most of his career with the Cardinals, from 1990 to 2001, and then again in 2004. During his Cardinals tenure, Lankford belted 228 home runs, including a career high 31 with 105 RBI and a .293 batting average in 1998, the same year Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa set the baseball world on fire with their home run chase. Lankford's most impressive statistic might be that he hit 20 or more home runs with 20 or more stolen bases five times, all with the Cardinals.
Mark McGwire-For first baseman McGwire, we unfortunately think of two things-steroids and the home run chase of 1998. I say unfortunately because that first item has marred McGwire's otherwise stellar career. But still, the numbers stand and he had some of the greatest seasons ever, clubbing 70 homers in 1998 and 65 long balls in 1999, with 147 RBI both seasons. After that, McGwire's playing time was limited in 2000 and 2001 because of injuries, and he retired after the 2001 season. Amazingly, though McGwire only played two full seasons with St. Louis and parts of three others, he still ranks sixth all-time in team history with 220 home runs. Even more amazingly, Sammy Sosa beat out McGwire in 1998 for the National League MVP Award.
Rogers Hornsby-Second baseman Hornsby is recognized as one of the greatest ever to play the game, and his .358 career batting average is proof of that. But in 1922 as a Cardinal (where he played from 1915-1926 and again in 1933), Hornsby had one of the greatest seasons ever by any player, hitting 42 homers with 152 runs batted in and a batting average of .401. In all, Hornsby swatted 193 home runs as a Cardinal, winning the National League MVP in 1925 and helping his team to a World Series title in 1926.
Jim Bottomley-First baseman Bottomley played for the Cards from 1922-1932, belting 181 home runs while with the franchise. Bottomley's best season with the team was 1928 when he hit 31 homers with 136 RBI and a .325 batting average, winning the NL MVP Award and helping the Cards reach the World Series. He also had over 100 RBI in six straight seasons, from 1924 to 1929. Bottomley won two World Series rings with the Cardinals, 1926 and 1931.
Ted Simmons-Catcher Ted Simmons was one of the most popular players in Cardinals history, playing for the team from 1968 to 1980. Though the Cards won the title in 1967 and 1982, before and after Simmons' tenure, he made an impact during his time in St. Louis, hitting 172 homers with the team. Simmons hit a career high 26 home runs in 1979, but his best overall season may have been 1975 (18 homers, 100 RBI, .332 batting average).
Johnny Mize-Second baseman Johnny Mize played for the Cardinals from 1936 to 1941, having one of his best overall seasons in 1940-43 homers, 137 RBI with a .314 batting average. In all, Mize hit 158 home runs as a Cardinal, leading the National league in both 1939 and 1940.
Honorable Mention-Joe Medwick, Enos Slaughter, Bill White, Lou Brock, Chick Hafey, George Hendrick, Ripper Collins, Whitey Kurowski, Scott Rolen, Joe Torre