Peter and Paul Share a Merry December Fifth
Rose Still Had A World Series Championship In Him When He Left Cincinnati
Both First Basemen Left Long Time Home For New Opportunities
Arizona made headlines earlier this week, trading the player who has been the face of the franchise for nearly a decade. Perennial All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was shipped from the Diamondbacks to the St. Louis Cardinals for starting pitcher Luke Weaver and highly-touted young catcher Carson Kelly.
Because the trade involved St. Louis, several different comparisons have been made to the Goldschmidt deal involving other first basemen acquired by the Cardinals. Sports columnist Tyler Kepner, in the December 6 issue of The New York Times, brought up a decision the front office made in 2011 regarding the most famous first baseman in St. Louis history.
Future Hall of Fame slugger Albert Pujols won a Most Valuable Player Award, numerous All-Star selections, and a plethora of offensive accolades, all while playing for eleven years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Then after they captured the World Series Championship at the end of the 2011 season, the Cardinals allowed Pujols to leave as a free agent. He that winter signed a lucrative contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
In addition to that article titled "The Cardinals Hope To Have A New Pujols", another news item regarding Goldschmidt appeared in a different paper on that same day. The Houston Chronicle referenced a deal a decade earlier, when St. Louis traded for first baseman Mark McGuire from the Oakland Athletics.
McGuire of course went on to be a home run champion for the Cardinals, and his seventy home runs even established a short-lived record for most in a single season. As the article points out, Goldschmidt is just about the same age now as McGuire was when he joined St. Louis, thereby stirring a lot of hope for their new first baseman.
The McGuire deal was much different, however, from that involving Goldschmidt. For one, Big Mac was acquired during the regular season, not over the winter. Also, St. Louis manager Tony Larussa had for many seasons been McGuire's skipper in Oakland. No such relationship exists between Goldschmidt and current Cardinals manager Mike Shildt.
An example similar to the Goldschmidt case that has been totally ignored by the baseball press, in spite of the fact that it happened on the exact same day precisely forty years ago. Granted, the transaction did not involve the Cardinals, but it did involve a veteran star first baseman.
On December 5,1978 Pete Rose left his hometown team for whom he had played all sixteen years of his career, just as Goldschmidt has spent all eight of his Major League seasons with the Diamondbacks. Like Rose, Goldy made the All-Star team in all but two of his seasons in Arizona, along with several runner up finishes in the voting for Most Valuable Player.
Rose, too, had numerous runner up finishes for that coveted honor, which he actually won in 1973 as a member of the Reds. He did, however, come close to winning the award after his first year with the Phillies, something Goldschmidt hopes happens in his debut season for the Cardinals.
Another hope for Goldschmidt is that he will also repeat another accomplishment of Rose the year after he joined the Phillies, one treasured by Philadelphia fans ever after. Charlie Hustle, along with future Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt and many other greats, led the team to the World Series Championship over the Kansas City Royals in 1980.
If Goldschmidt can repeat that feat with his new team, the St. Louis Cardinals can expect to win the Fall Classic in 2020