The St. Louis Cardinals are the second-winningest organization in all of baseball. Their organization began in 1882 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings of the American Association Baseball League. After morphing into the St. Louis Browns and the St. Louis Perfectos, the club took its current name in 1900: the St. Louis Cardinals. During that time, the franchise has won 11 World Series titles, with the most recent coming in 2011. The Cardinals have 13 retired numbers, including Jackie Robinson‘s famous number 42.
As the latest installment of a continuing series at The Game Haus, here stands one writer’s humble argument for the all-time starting lineup of the St. Louis Cardinals.
1. Lou Brock, Left Field (1964-1979)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 1985
Uniform Number 20 Retired by the Cardinals in 1979
Brock occupied a pivotal role on many of the 1970’s Cardinal teams, despite the club having little success for much of that decade. Still, Brock was a two-time World Series winner and six-time All Star during his time in St. Louis, during which he set the then- MLB steals record with 938 stolen bases. Indeed Brock finished second in the MVP voting in 1974 when he stole 118 bases and hit .306 that season. The left fielder also stands second all time for the Cardinals in total games played and hits recorded, amassing 2713 in 16 years at the top of the St. Louis lineup.
2. Ozzie Smith, Shortstop (1982-1996)
Hall of Fame Inductee in 2002
Uniform Number 1 Retired by the Cardinals in 1996
Players come and go, but there will never be a trademark as recognizable as Smith’s running back-flip. “The Wizard of Oz” is widely known as the greatest defensive shortstop in baseball history, and his career fielding percentage, fifth all-time, backs up the claim. The man won 13 consecutive Gold Glove awards and earned an All Star nod in 15 of his 19 total seasons in MLB. Smith also sharply improved his offense in St. Louis after being traded from the Padres in 1982 offseason. He had a career .272 average in St. Louis despite hitting just 27 total home runs during that time. Smith’s most remarkable career moment came in 1985’s NLCS, where he hit a walk-off home run and folks did indeed “go crazy”.
3. Albert Pujols, First Base (2001-2011)
The arrival of the young Pujols from the Dominican Republic in 2001 began his line of many ‘firsts’ in the Cardinal organization. For example, he won the organization’s first Rookie of the Year award since 1986, in which he hit .329/.403/.610 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs. Pujols made it clear to fans that he was something incredibly special. Through the rest of his time with the Cardinals, “the Machine” never hit fewer than 34 home runs in a season and hit lower than .300 just once (it was still .299). Pujols won MLB MVP three times in St. Louis and earned…
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