Posted on January 29, 2010 at 11:30 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
| United Cardinal Bloggers
As I sit with the winter weather falling around me, it seems an appropriate time to do some reminiscing. The United Cardinal Bloggers
are coming together today to look back at the last decade and pick out their All-Star team from the 2000s
. Lots of similar names, of course, but it's always good to remember.
These picks of mine aren't necessarily the strongest statistically (though I think they'd hold their own), but more of the players that I think represent the last decade. Of course, the danger in doing this is that you may overvalue those that are more recent, because they are fresh in your mind, but the early part of those ten years was pretty strong as well.
So, let's get cracking.....
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Catcher: Yadier Molina
You have two choices, of course. Mike Matheny was a very good receiver for the early part of the decade and was a mentor to Molina. However, when you factor in Molina's increase in offensive production, the insane number of pickoffs he and Pujols have worked out, and that big home run
in the '06 NLCS, I'm taking Yadi.
First base: Albert Pujols
If you want to be picky, you could stock half this team with Pujols. He played third and left for a few seasons and, even though he only got in a couple of innings there, still was the best second baseman the Cards have had. (Hey, he even played second in an All-Star Game!
Where he settled in was first, though, and that's where we'll put him on this team. There's nothing else to say about the three-time MVP except the 2000s (and, hopefully, the 2010s) were defined by him.
Second base: Fernando Vina
When Derrick Goold did his voting for the All-Decade team at the end of last year, I actually voted for Ronnie Belliard, just because of one play. His diving stop in Game 1 of the '06 NLDS set the tone for that team and spurred them on to a title.
However, Vina was the best of a rotating cast of characters. Second basemen don't stay long in St. Louis these days, but Vina held down the position the longest and put up some good numbers while doing it.
Third base: Scott Rolen
I've always been a fan of Scott Rolen, so when the Cards were rumored to be getting him via trade during the 2002 season, I was pretty excited. Rolen didn't disappoint in St. Louis, at least not to me. Sure, he battled through injuries, but he was a great performer who was unceremoniously run out of town. I'm glad to see him land in Cincinnati, one of the few other teams I follow. I still say he should have been World Series MVP.
Shortstop: Edgar Renteria
While it really was a shame that he took off for Boston right after the '04 series, nobody that's come after has quite equaled his complete offensive and defensive package. Brendan Ryan has shown that he may be an interesting name for the first half of the next decade, but he's still no Renteria.
Left field: Reggie Sanders
You know, left field was quite a rotating slot as well, and no one just jumps out at you. Ray Lankford played a couple of years and made a nice comeback a few years later, but I don't think of him as a '00s player. Sanders wasn't in St. Louis a long time, but he made an impact on two 100 win teams.
Center field: Jim Edmonds
It's really no contest with Jimmy Hollywood. Not only did he play center for almost every year of the decade, he played it at an exceptional level. Colby Rasmus may be the center fielder of the future and I look forward to watching him play, but I can't imagine he'll ever have the diving catches and flamboyant style of Jimmy E.
Right field: J.D. Drew
Drew always has been the whipping boy in St. Louis, but around the injuries, he put up quality numbers and played good defense. Drew was the first player that I saw get that kind of treatment, though he wasn't the last.
Starting pitcher: Chris Carpenter
When a guy wins a Cy Young and could easily have won a second, he's a strong candidate for this slot. Carpenter dealt with injuries that forced him to miss a couple of seasons, but when he was on the mound, he was money. Adam Wainwright would have been a close second and might have taken the slot if you took his relief work into consideration.
Relief pitcher: Jason Isringhausen
It's always nice to see a local product come home and do well. Izzy was a solid closer for a number of years in St. Louis. Often those saves were not good for those with weak hearts, but they usually got the job done. Sadly, injuries caused him to become ineffective and he heard about it from the hometown fans whom he wanted to please. While we'll always have Wainwright's curveball to Carlos Beltran emblazoned on our minds, Isringhausen was the reliever of the decade.
I'm sure most of these are the same as everyone else's, but it's good to look back. Just imagine who may be on our lookback for the teens!