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My Personal Cardinal All-Star Team

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 others, though!



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Catcher—Yadier Molina

 
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.

1-3.

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 Hornsby

Shortstop—Ozzie Smith

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

Third Base—Scott Rolen

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 in 2006.

HM: Ken Boyer

Outfield—Stan Musial

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.

Outfield—Jim Edmonds

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.

Outfield—Lou Brock

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

Rotation—Bob Gibson, 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

Closer—Lee Smith

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 mentioned.



8 Comments

8 Comments | Leave a comment

Interesting list. Pretty close to mine, although your criteria was slightly different.

These are the same picks I would make. Nice.

Also, I've only been reading your blog for a few months now, but I think this one of my favorite posts. Great stuff, and keep up the good work.

Thanks! I appreciate it. You ought to join up with the UCB--our next project is a big one in March.

Well, I'm probably a bit older than most of you, so this might be a different perspective. Not sure what "My personal All Star Team" actually means, but I'm going to assume I can make my team with players that were before my time.

Catcher: While might heart says Simba, I have to give the nod to Yadi, but only because his defensive ability can be game changing more often than simba went yard. Yadi's not the first to be decent at picking off runners, but he has been the best I have ever seen. And more times than not it happens when the game is on the line. Too bad he isn't more proficient with the bat. If he were, we'd be able to at least speak of him in the same breath as Bench.

1B: Albert, no question. While Keith was superior defensively, and even pretty proficient with the bat, Albert is a once in a generation player. No question that Mize should be considered as well.

2B: Sure, I'd loved Tommy Herr too. But, to think his was the best ever in St. Louis, you have be be ignoring the record books. If there's one Cards player I would have loved to see play the game (first game I went to that I can remember was 64) it would have to be Rogers Hornsby. And since Musial is on the blog's list, I find it odd that Rogers' isn't even mentioned.

SS: Wizard, for certain. He'd make my all MLB team. I never ever went to a game that he didn't make a play that was worth the price of admission. He's the best I have ever seen.

3RD: Ken Boyer. Five gold gloves and hit for power. 32 HR's weren't as easy back in his day.

OF: The Man. Do I really have to say anything else?

OF: Lou Brock. SB's a 300 hits gives him the edge.

OF3: Here I would place a half a dozen or so players in, and it would be hard to choose one. Names like Edmonds, Medwick, Slaughter and McGee. Nod might have to go to Enos.

Starting pitchers:

1. Gibby.
2. Carp.
3. Tudor
Those we agree on.
4. Matty had some good years, but to consider him would be from the heart. Dizz would have to get my nod, or even Jesse Haines.

Relief Pitcher:
Without any doubt in my mind whatsoever, it would be Bruce Sutter. In his prime, Bruce was automatic. In his prime his splitter was the best I have ever seen. Hi's closer stats came about when closers were not in vogue. I was there at game 7 of 82, and when he came on I had complete confidence, as did most fans. If it would have been Izzy that came into a game 7 of 2006, I wouldn't have been able to watch. Sure, Izzy is past his prime, but even in it, he was not near the weapon that Sutter was. Izzy is not Hall of Fame material. Sutter is already there.

I'd agree that Hornsby would be considered the best (or at least most talented) second baseman and I probably should have gone that way. However, his prickly personality, plus the fact that he went the wrong way (left Cards, went to Cubs) doesn't help him any.

Gee, who did Dizzy Dean pitch for? Herr over Hornsby, maybe you should try another sport.

We agree with the following:
1B, SS, 3B, all three OF positions. I labeled mine by individual positions but all three made the cut.

As for the rotation, we agree on three of them.

I came close to choosing who you did for C and 2B.

I also decided to go the extra mile and look at management as well.

Herr over Hornsby every time! Herr was part of one of the most exciting, and dominant teams in baseball history with the 85' Cards. Hornsby played in an ere when baseball wasn't a sport, it was a hobby...

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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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