Posted on January 31, 2008 at 7:00 AM
Filed Under: Baseball
| St. Louis Cardinals
| United Cardinal Bloggers
As I said in my introduction earlier in the week, I have
organized some of my fellow bloggers into a group that we refer to as the
United Cardinal Bloggers. What we
typically do is post our answers to a question of some sort all on the same
day. At the end of November, we did the
first annual Cardinal Blogger Awards and at the end of December, it was our
selections for the top 5 stories of the year.
Today, the third in our series has everyone selecting their
own personal Cardinal All-Star team.
There were no particular criteria—it could be the best at each position,
personal favorites, players they’d actually seen play, anything the blogger
wanted to do. (Check out CardinalsGM, Stan Musial's Stance, Redbird Ramblings, CardinalNationGlobe and Rockin' the Red.)
Most of mine are players that I’ve seen, though some of the
obvious classic players made the cut as well.
These are more of my favorites than the definitive roster of Cardinal
greats. I’d take this team against most
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Obviously, most people would say Ted Simmons or Tim
McCarver. Some of the defensively minded
might take Tom Pagnozzi or Mike Matheny.
But there’s one big reason Yadi makes my team.
I’ve never seen any catcher be able to use the pickoff as a
legitimate weapon until Molina came along.
The way he and Albert Pujols work together to unleash that strong arm and
get a runner off first is tremendous.
Add to that his ability to cut basestealers down and his hopefully
growing bat and Molina will be a legend in St. Louis for a long time to come. I mean, the town still reveres Matheny, who
barely could hit water if he fell out of the boat and probably still wasn’t in
Molina’s defensive class.
Honorable mentions: Simmons, Matheny
First Base—Albert Pujols
Basically the no-brainer of the exercise. Albert has a great shot at being perhaps the
greatest Cardinal of all time, or at least in a debate with Mr. Musial. His consistent offensive numbers since his
rookie year have overshadowed his early flexibility in the field (playing
numerous places) and his extremely strong work with the glove at first. Add to that the fact that he’s my favorite
current Cardinal and it’s obvious he’s making the team.
HM: Mark McGwire, Jim Bottomley
Second Base—Tommy Herr
I started really following the Cardinals in the 1980s, so
Herr is the first second baseman I really remember. The second base position hasn’t been very
strong since he left and in recent years there’s been a carousel of players
coming in and out (Womack, Grudzielanek, Kennedy). Herr was a great fit for those speedster
Cardinal teams and it was disappointing when he was traded to Minnesota in 1988.
HM: Frankie Frish, Rogers
Ozzie was my first “favorite player”. His acrobatics and amazing glovework made me
the fan of defense that I am today. I
still love watching a 6-4-3 double play or a shortstop going into the hole and
throwing a runner out. His bat got
better as his career went on and he did finish with close to 600 stolen bases,
a number that would be unheard of in today’s game.
HM: Edgar Renteria
If you were reading my blog earlier in the month, you are
not at all surprised to see Mr. Rolen’s name in this slot.
Again, to some degree it goes back to defense. Rolen made plays that you think are
physically impossible. How many times
did he make a solid throw to first base sitting on his rear? His glovework was impeccable. And, even accounting for the fact that he had
two major collisions during his time in St.
Louis, which robbed him of some of his bat, he still
was able to be one of the MV3 in 2004 and should have won the World Series MVP
HM: Ken Boyer
Unless the blogger has a very strict criteria of who is on
his team, Stan Musial’s name should be on everybody’s list. Mr. Cardinal.
The greatest Cardinal hitter of all time, with only Pujols even
tangentially in the conversation. Not
only a wonderful hitter, but a great ambassador for the game. There’s a reason “baseball’s perfect knight”
has the big statue in front of the ballpark.
Try to pick your favorite Jim Edmonds moment. It’s really
not that easy, is it? Is it one of his
home run robbing catches, perhaps against Cincinnati?
Is it the walk-off home run in Game 6 of
the 2004 NLCS? Or The Catch in Game 7 of
that series? Perhaps you dwell on the
fact that he came to St. Louis
in one of Walt Jocketty’s signature moves for a pitcher after his career season
and a minor league prospect. Or you see
the full page ad he took out after his trade, thanking the fans for their
support. No matter how you slice it, Edmonds should make most
all-time Cardinal teams.
He came over from the Cubs, giving Cardinal fans an extra
reason to enjoy his success. The best
baserunner in team history (if you go by stolen bases) and one of the best of
all time. He helped emphasize the speed
element that was the Cardinal trademark for so long, all the way to the early
‘90s. And he wasn’t one-dimensional, as
his 3000 hits will attest to.
HM: Joe Medwick
Chris Carpenter, John Tudor, Matt Morris
How could you ignore probably the greatest pitcher in
Cardinal history? Gibson (along with a
few counterparts) changed the rules of the game after his amazing 1968
season. A 1.12 ERA? Are you kidding me? The strikeouts and general dominance of one
of the fiercest competitors of all time gets him on this list.
Carpenter hasn’t been a Cardinal long and he’s been hurt during
his stay. But he brought something back
to St. Louis
that the Birds hadn’t had for a while—a true ace. Not just the best pitcher of the staff, but
one of the best pitchers in the whole league.
He was the first Cardinal since Gibson to win a Cy Young Award. There have been other dominant Cardinal
pitchers, but in the span from Gibson to Carpenter, there weren’t many.
Tudor would probably be one that was close to that dominant
level. His run in 1985, when he went
20-1 after a rough start, was one of those stretches you don’t see even out of
the best of the best. He was also part
of one of the more interesting trades the Cardinals made, going to LA for Pedro
Guerrero, then returning to the Cardinals within two years.
Matty Mo was the pitcher I really grew up watching. I remember him coming up and being a very
effective pitcher at a young age.
Watched him go through the surgery, the rehab, the year in the bullpen. Morris was a very good pitcher for the
Cardinals for most of his career, though when he left for San Francisco, it was time for him to
go. While I appreciate what Matty did in
Cardinal red, I’m not one of those that wants to see him return.
HM: Dizzy Dean, Steve Carlton
One thing the Cardinals have not lacked for is closers. For many years, the bullpen and speed were
things that were associated with the Cardinals.
Even in years when winning games was a hard task, often the Cards had
someone to slam the door.
Big Lee was one of those players. I don’t know that he was the best closer
ever, but he’s the one I remember from my early days of following the
game. He just looked like a guy that was
going to overpower you. I’m not sure if
he’s a Hall of Famer, but I wouldn’t argue if he got in either.
HM: Dennis Eckersley, Al Hrbrosky, Jason Isringhausen
So that’s my personal Cardinal All-Star team. Leave your changes and arguments in the
comments and check out the other UCB posts to see what other players are