My St. Louis Cardinals Dream Team
My Favorite St. Louis Cardinals of the Past
I've been a baseball fan all my life, and a St. Louis Cardinals fan since the Spring of 1982 when we moved to Missouri. Suddenly I had the opportunity to watch on TV, listen to on radio, or attend in person Cardinals Baseball Games all season long and subsequently I became a life-long Cardinals fan.
Many of my favorite players go back to the 1980s-1990s because they are the ones I first became acquainted with through numerous games and several seasons. One or two favorites are famous historical Cardinals players I admire. Come join me while I show off my selected 'Dream Team' of St. Louis Cardinals.
My Favorite St. Louis Cardinals Team - From Yesteryear!
If I were to put together all my favorite St. Louis Cardinals from the past, this is what my team would look like.
- First Base: Albert Pujols
- Second Base: Roger Hornsby
- Third Base: Scott Rolen
- Shortstop: Ozzie Smith
- Left Field: Stan Musial
- Center Field: Jim Edmonds
- Right Field: Willie McGee
- Catcher: Tony Pena
- Pitcher: Bob Gibson
Albert Pujols, born January 16, 1980 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, had his MLB Debut: 4/2/2001 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He played the first ten years of his career in St. Louis, then became a 'Free Agent' and left the Cardinals for the Los Angeles Angels team.
But nothing will take away his impressive stats as a St. Louis Cardinal. In May, 2001 he was named National League Rookie of the Month. In June, he was named to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the first Cardinals' rookie selected since 1955. By the end of his Rookie season in major league baseball, Pujols helped the Cardinals tie for the National League Central Division title and he was named the National League Rookie of the Year.
One of the very 'best of the best' players in baseball today, Albert Pujols won many awards and broke records with his fantastic skills as a First Baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. The story of Pujols is well-told in the featured lens listed below.
"The Rajah" on Second Base"
Rogers Hornsby (April 27, 1896 - January 5, 1963) was a Major League Baseball second baseman and manager. He spent short stints with 3 other clubs during his baseball career, but the majority of his playing career was with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hornsby's 289 career homers are second among second basemen, and his 1922 season was incredible. He had a 33-game hitting streak and batted .401 with 42 homers and 152 RBI at age 26.
Rogers Hornsby is among the greatest hitters in baseball history. He is the only player to win the National League Triple Crown twice. His career batting average of .358 is the highest in National League history, and also the highest in major league history for any right-handed hitter. He was elected to The Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942. He has also been given a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
DID YOU KNOW? Rogers Hornsby was so obsessed with hitting that he refused to watch movies or read newspapers (except to check his batting average) for fear of corrupting his eyesight. (from Fast Facts on the Official Site of Rogers Hornsby)
"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
Scott Rolen (born April 4, 1975) is an MLB Third Baseman who made his debut on August 1, 1996 for the Philadelphia Phillies. He played Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2002 to 2007. Afterwards, Rolen played two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and is currently the third baseman for the Cincinnati Reds.
Scott Rolen was named NL Rookie of the Year in 1997. He has been award the National League 3B Gold Glove Award 7-times and has been an NL All-Star 5-times.
Rolen's 2004 season was probably his best season to date. For much of the season, he led the National League in RBIs, often ranked among the league leaders in most offensive statistics, and had the highest vote total of any player for the All-Star Game. Despite being injured for the last stretch of the season, he finished the year with a career-high .314 batting average, 34 home runs, and 124 RBIs
Scott Rolen last played 3rd Base for the Cincinnati Reds. His final game to date was October 3, 2012. He has not announced his retirement, but has not been an active player in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Short Stop Ozzie Smith - The "Wizard of Oz"
Osborne Earl "Ozzie" Smith (born December 26, 1954) acquired the nickname "The Wizard of Oz" because he is considered the greatest defensive player of all time. Ozzie made his Major League Baseball debut in 1978 with the San Diego Padres and quickly established himself as an outstanding fielder. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982 and played the rest of his active career in St. Louis until his retirement from baseball in 1996.
Ozzie helped the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series. This was my first year in Missouri -- and as a Cardinals fan -- and I became an Ozzie Smith fan from that moment forward!
Three years later Ozzie had the game-winning home run during Game 5 of the 1985 National League Championship Series. This play is what prompted broadcaster Jack Buck's "Go crazy, folks!" play-by-play call that is famous to this day. I remember hearing that play on the radio and became just as excited as if I had been there to see it in person!
Ozzie Smith won 13 consecutive Gold Gloves at Short Stop over the span of his baseball career, his first awarded in 1980, and he made his first All Star Game appearance in 1981. He's a 15-time All-Star, accumulating 2,460 hits and 580 stolen bases during his career His uniform number (# 1) has been retired by the Cardinals, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.
My favorite memory of Ozzie Smith was the day he got his #300 stolen base! We were at the game at Busch Stadium in person, a very cold April day in 1986 with 'snow flurries' in the air - the coldest baseball game I've ever attended! When Ozzie 'stole second base' after reaching first base on a base hit, they 'stopped' the game and awarded him the base. I had no idea they did that 'literally'. The actual base was removed, presented to Ozzie, then taken to the dugout for him, before the game was allowed to continue. A very exciting moment!
Ozzie Smith became known for performing backflips on special occasions while running out to the shortstop position at the beginning of a game. A video of his famous 'flip' can be viewed below:
*Photo scanned from my copy of the St. Louis Cardinals 1989 Yearbook
Ozzie Smith's Famous Back Flip
Willie McGee - Right Field
Willie Dean McGee (born November 2, 1958) is a retired professional baseball player who won two batting titles and was named Major League Baseball's1985 National League MVP. McGee primarily played center and right field, winning three Gold Glove Awards for defensive excellence. McGee spent the majority of his 18-year career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, helping the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series with his outstanding performance in Game 3 of that series. A four-time All-Star, McGee accumulated 2,254 hits during his career.
McGee hit for the cycle on June 23, 1984 in a classic Cardinals vs. Cubs matchup at Wrigley Field. As the Cards led going into the bottom of the 9th, McGee was announced as NBC's "Player of the Game". Ultimately however, McGee's incredible performance in the game was overshadowed in baseball history books by Cubs 2nd Baseman, Ryne Sandberg, who delivered a dramatic game-tying solo homer off of St. Louis' dominant closer, Bruce Sutter in the bottom of the 9th and then topped it with another game-tying 2-run shot - again off Sutter - in the bottom of the 10th. The Cubs eventually won the battle 12-11 in the bottom of the 11th on a bases-loaded single by Dave Owen. The game is now referred to by some as the Sandberg Game. No matter what nickname is applied, the game showcased two spectacular offensive performances by opposing players, as Sandberg ended the game going 5 for 6 with 2 runs, 7 runs batted in and 2 game-tying home runs, while McGee ended the game going 4 for 6 with 3 runs, 6 runs batted in and a cycle. (Quote from the article on Wikipedia)
Willie was so much fun to watch play. He could throw a ball in from right field all the way to the plate to get a runner out like nobody I've ever seen. His defensive play was outstanding. What an 'arm' he had!*Photo scanned from my copy of the St. Louis Cardinals 1989 Yearbook
James Patrick "Jim" Edmonds (born June 27, 1970 in Fullerton, California) is a left-handed Major League Baseball center fielder whose major league debut was 9/9/93 for the California Angels. Jim played for St. Louis Cardinals from 2000 to 2007, and he was affectionately known by Cardinals fans as "Jimmy Baseball," "Jimmy Ballgame," "Lassie," and "Hollywood." He has received eight Gold Glove Awards in his career at center field, most of them coming as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Two of Edmonds' most spectacular defensive plays came while on the Cardinals and the Angels. In June 1997, while playing center field for the Anaheim Angels, Edmonds ran straight back towards the center field wall of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, and dove outstretched for a fly ball over his head, making the catch on the warning track. His other memorable catch came when on the St. Louis Cardinals on July 16, 2004, while covering center field against Reds batter Jason LaRue. LaRue hit a deep shot to center field that surely would have been enough to be a home run. On a dead run, Edmonds scaled the wall, reached his entire right arm over the fence, and caught the ball; ending the game.
Jim Edmonds is one of my all time favorite baseball players. I loved watching him play while a member of the Cardinals, but it doesn't matter what team he's on ... I just like watching him play. He has made some of the most spectacular catches in Center Field I have ever witnessed and is just a 'joy' to watch. I was so disappointed when he left the Cardinals, and delighted to see him again in 2008 with the Chicago Cubs. He sat out the entire 2009 season, then returned to the major leagues for the 2010 season with the Milwaukee Brewers. On August 9th, Jimmy was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. At age 40, this veteran isn't an everyday player anymore, but he gets his share of time in the outfield.
*Update: During Spring Training 2011, Jim Edmonds announced his 'retirement' from baseball. In 2013 Edmonds was hired by Fox Sports Midwest as a broadcaster doing pre-game and post-game analyses. He also co-owns a restaurant in St. Louis called "Fifteen", which was his Jersey Number when he played for the Cardinals.
Stan "The Man" Musial
Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial (1920-2013) played his entire baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals from his debut in September 1941 to his final appearance on September 29, 1963. Stan is 'beloved' by Cardinals fans everywhere to this day!
Stan received his nickname of "The Man" from Brooklyn Dodger fans in 1946. During the June 23 game against the Dodgers at Ebbets Field, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Bob Broeg heard Dodger fans chanting whenever Musial came to bat, but could not understand the words. Later that day over dinner, Broeg asked Cardinals traveling secretary Leo Ward if he had understood what the Dodger fans had been chanting. Ward said that, "Every time Stan came up they chanted, 'Here comes the man!'" "'That man,' you mean," Broeg said. "No, the man," replied Ward. Broeg mentioned this story in his Post-Dispatch column, and Musial was thereafter known as Stan "The Man"
Musial's career statistics include 3,630 hits, 725 doubles and 475 home runs. After playing nearly 22 years with the Cardinals, with a year out during WWII when he was in the U.S. Navy, Stan Musial became a Vice President with the team for 3 years. Between 1964 and 1967, he served as President Lyndon Johnson's physical fitness adviser, a part-time position originally created to spur better fitness among United States citizens. In 1967 the Cardinals named Musial the team's general manager, where he oversaw the team's 1967 World Series championship.
Stan Musial was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1969. On August 4, 1968 a statue of Musial was erected outside of Busch Memorial Stadium on the northeast grounds of the stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The statue was later moved from its original location to the west side of the new Busch Stadium for the first season in 2006. Musial's statue is inscribed with a quote attributed to former baseball commissioner Ford Frick:
"Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight."
Bob & Pat with 'Stan the Man' - A Special Memory of a Great Man
Our Personal Memory of Stan Musial
*In 1989, while at a broadcasting convention, we had the opportunity to meet Stan Musial in person. We treasure this photograph (seen above) taken of us with "The Man".
Stan's The Man!
Just in time for his 90th Birthday on November 21, 2010, Musial was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation's highest civilian honor.
"The Man" has been a constant ambassador for the sport of Baseball, St. Louis and physical fitness.
"How good was Stan Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away."
~ Broadcaster Vin Scully
"baseball's perfect warrior, baseball's perfect knight."
In Honor Of...
The U.S. Senate, on 3/13/2013, unanimously approved naming the new Mississippi River bridge after St. Louis Cardinals great
The "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge" (or 'Stan Span' as it will probably affectionately be called) is a fitting way to welcome folks into St. Louis where Stan Musial was our hometown hero and where his legacy lives on.
*Update: The bridge was officially opened on February 9.2014 and in May 2014 I visited St. Louis and had the opportunity to drive across it. :)
The Life and Times of Stan Musial
Tony Pena (born June 4, 1957) from the Dominican Republic, was a catcher for the Cardinals for only two years (1987-1989), but is well remembered by Redbird fans.
As a player, Pena was known for his defensive skills. He won four Gold Glove Awards and was a five-time All-Star. He was known for his habit of sitting on the ground when there were no runners on base, one leg splayed out to the side, in an arrangement some call the hurdler's position. Pena was the first catcher in the big leagues to use the leg-extended stance behind the plate in his catching position. This enabled him to spring to his feet quickly and throw, or get to bunted balls quickly, and to help his pitchers keep their pitches low in the strike zone.
After the end of his playing career in 1997, Tony became a coach and eventually managed the Kansas City Royals for parts of four seasons. He was named AL Manager of the Year in 2003 after taking The Royals to their first winning season in nine years. From 2006-2008, Tony was the NY Yankees' first base coach and then served as the Yankees bench coach. For the 2015 season, Tony will be back as the First Base Coach.
Greatest Pitcher in Cardinals History
Bob Gibson (born November 9, 1935) pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals his entire career, from 1959 to 1975, and is considered the greatest pitcher in the history of the St Louis Cardinals. He ranks first in wins (251), complete games (255), shutouts (56), innings pitched (3,884.1) and strikeouts (3,117).
Bob Gibson also holds the Cardinals single season record for lowest ERA (1.12 in 1968), shutouts (13 in 1968) and strikeouts (274 in 1970). His awards and honors are numerous, including 9X Gold Glove Award and 2X World Series winner and MVP, making him one of the most dominant pitchers in postseason history. His career postseason record is 7 and 2 with a 1.89 ERA including going 3 and 0 in the 1967 World Series with a 1.00 ERA.
Bob Gibson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 and had his number 45 retired by the Cardinals in 1975.
"Bob Gibson pitches as though he's double parked."
~ Vin Scully
Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals - Gibson's Last Stand
My Google Maps - St. Louis, Missouri
Busch Stadium, located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, is within view of the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River. One can sit in the stadium seats facing East and see the Arch.
A STL Cardinals Souvenir
Calling all baseball fans...
Come brag about YOUR favorite St. Louis Cardinals Player... maybe one or two are the same as some of mine! I love hearing from ALL baseball fans, even if you're not a Redbird Fan! :)
© 2010 Wednesday-Elf