St Louis Cardinals

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The St. Louis Cardinals was also the name of a National Football League team based in Saint Louis, Missouri, which moved and became the Phoenix Cardinals (now known as the Arizona Cardinals) in 1988.

Template:MLB infobox Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are in the Central Division of the National League.

Franchise history

Early years

The team was formed as part of the American Association in 1882 where they enjoyed a four-year dynasty under flamboyant owner Chris von der Ahe. Initially they were known as the "Brown Stockings", named for a previous professional team in the city, whose name was one of several "Stockings" teams inspired by the success of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. This new team's nickname was quickly shortened to "Browns". The Browns squared off against the National League's Chicago White Stockings twice in the early version of the World Series. The Series of 1885 ended in dispute and with no resolution. St. Louis won the 1886 Series outright, the only Series of that era that was won by the AA against the NL. The vigorous St. Louis-Chicago rivalry continues to this day.

During the mid-1880s, the National League also had a St. Louis entry, the Maroons, which had come in from the Union Association. The Maroons had the misfortune of arriving at the time when the Browns were in their glory, and they soon folded.

The Browns joined the National League in 1892 following the bankruptcy of the American Association. They were briefly called the Perfectos in 1899 before settling on their present name, a name reportedly inspired by switching their uniform colors from brown to red. Also in 1899, the Cardinals' owner transferred much of the talent from the other team he owned, the Cleveland Spiders, to the St. Louis franchise. This led to the demise of the Spiders but allowed Hall of Famer Cy Young to briefly don a Cardinals' uniform.

The Cardinals generally languished for some forty years after their mid-1880s triumphs, while their crosstown rivals, the American League's version of the Browns, were competitive, though not victorious. The Cardinals became the Browns' tenants in 1920. By the mid-1920s, the Cardinals began to turn their fortunes around, and soon they would become the city's favorite team once again.

1920s: The first NL championship

The Cardinals built themselves into a winner during the mid-1920s, led by second baseman / manager Rogers Hornsby, the closest player the National League had, statistically speaking, to Babe Ruth. In 1926, the Cardinals won their first pennant in 39 years, and then shocked the baseball world by knocking off the powerful New York Yankees in seven games. The storied Game 7 reached its climax in the seventh inning when the previous day's winning pitcher, the aging Grover Cleveland Alexander, was summoned in relief to face slugger Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded (some fans feared that Alex might have been a little "loaded" himself after celebrating the previous days's win). After giving up a long foul ball, "Ol' Pete" then struck out Lazerri swinging on 3 low fastballs. The Yankees failed to mount any further rallies and that World Series was a winner for the Cardinals. Years later, a movie was made about Alexander's life titled The Winning Team, starring Ronald Reagan.

The Cardinals fell just short in 1927, then won the pennant again in 1928, edging out the resurging Chicago Cubs and the perrenially contending New York Giants. The Cardinals did not fare so well in the World Series, as the Yankees continued their dominance from 1927 and shot down the Cardinals in four straight.

Regardless, the stage was set for the new order of the National League. Innovative Cardinals General Manager Branch Rickey was establishing a minor league farm system that would produce great players and keep the Cardinals in contention for two decades. Between 1926 and 1946, the Cardinals, Cubs and Giants would become fierce rivals, that trio winning 17 of the NL pennants to be had during those 21 seasons.

1930s: Ol' Diz and the "Gang"

Highlights from Cardinals history include the 1930s era "Gas House Gang" featuring Dizzy Dean, Joe Medwick, Pepper Martin, and Leo Durocher.

The Cardinals lost the 1930 World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics 4 games to 2, but came back strong the following year, playing an aggressive game of "inside" ball that broke the back of the A's in 7 games, in what would prove to be the A's Swan Song in post-season play.

In 1934, Dean and his younger brother, Paul, combined to win 49 games - still a single season record for brothers. Dizzy, whose real name was Jerome Herman Dean and was called "Jay" by his pals, won 30 of them, with Paul (facetiously nicknamed "Daffy" by the press) contributing 19 wins. Dean's country humor made him a popular favorite, particularly in the rural south and midwest where Cardinals fans were numerous. The outgoing "Diz" and the shy "Daf" (a pair that Diz called "Me an' Paul") sometimes teamed up in doubleheaders. On September 21, 1934, Dizzy won the first game and then Paul pitched a no-hitter in the second game. Later, Diz jokingly remarked that he wished Paul had told him he was going to throw a no-hitter, because "Then I'd've pitched one too!"

In 1935 the Cardinals were overcome and defeated by the Chicago Cubs, who reeled off 21 straight wins in September. The Cubs clinched the pennant in St. Louis, although their streak had been snapped by then. In 1937, Dizzy Dean's toe was broken by a line drive in the All-Star Game, and he injured his arm during the recovery process, losing his famous fastball, and signalling a brief decline by the Cardinals.

1940s: The war years and a young "Man"

In the early 1940s, the Cardinals dominated the National League. The 1942 "St. Louis Swifties" won 106 games, the most in franchise history, and are widely regarded as among the greatest baseball teams of all time. In 1943 and again in 1944 they posted the second best records in team history at 105-49. The 1944 World Series was particularly memorable as they met their crosstown rivals, the St. Louis Browns, in the "Streetcar Series". The Cardinals beat the Browns 4 games to 2 to win the 1944 World Series. Outfielder Stan "The Man" Musial led the ’44 team. Known to loyal fans as "Ol' Number 6", Musial spent 23 years in a Cardinals uniform. In 1968, a statue of Musial was constructed outside Busch Stadium.

After finishing 3 games behind the Cubs in 1945, St. Louis came back to tie for the pennant in 1946, and ousted the Brooklyn Dodgers in a playoff series to get to the World Series. They faced a powerful Boston Red Sox team and defeated them in 7 games, the eventual winning run in Game 7 coming in the eighth inning on Enos Slaughter's famous mad dash around the bases on a hit to shallow left center field.

In 1947, the Cardinals (who were effectively the South's only major league team until the 1960s) gained notoriety by attempting to boycott games against the Brooklyn Dodgers to protest the Dodgers' signing of a black player, Jackie Robinson. The alleged ringleader of the boycott was Enos Slaughter. National League president Ford Frick threatened to ban any players who boycotted any games, and the boycott never happened. The Cardinals did not sign a black regular until Curt Flood in 1958. The Cardinals' resistance to the trend of hiring minority talent contributed to a team slump that ran for much of the next 20 years.

1960s: The best trade ever made

The Cardinals front office continued to improve their minority hiring record, and built the Cardinals into another of their periodic dynasties. In 1963, they made a late-season run against the Dodgers which came close to putting Stan Musial into a World Series in his announced final season. The Dodgers held them off on that occasion, but for the last 5 years before divisional play went into effect and changed the nature of the pennant races, there were only two colors on National League pennants: Dodger Blue and Cardinal Red.

1964 saw one of the wildest pennant races in baseball history. The Philadelphia Phillies seemed to have a commanding lead, but fell apart in the last two weeks of the season, as the Cardinals and other teams pounced on the opportunity. The Cardinals, thanks in part to a mid-season acquisition from the Cubs, one Lou Brock, won on the last day of the season, finishing a game ahead of the Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds, with the San Francisco Giants and the Milwaukee Braves close behind.

In a series that resembled a rematch of the franchises' first encounter in 1926, the upstart "Redbirds", led by third baseman and captain Ken Boyer, took on the veteran Yankees, which featured his younger brother Clete, also an All-Star third baseman. Ken Boyer's stunning grand slam home run in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium, along with the overpowering pitching of their young twirler Bob Gibson, resulted in a 4 games to 3 win by the Cardinals. This signalled a "Changing of the Guard", as this was the last Series appearance by the "Old" Yankees dynasty. Prior to 2001, the Cardinals remained the only team to hold an overall World Series edge against the Yankees, 4 Series to 3.

In a slightly bizarre post-season twist, manager Johnny Keane, who had been targeted for firing before the Cardinals' made their late-season comeback, left the team and took the job managing the Yankees. The Cardinals then promoted coach Red Schoendienst, who would take the managerial helm for the next 12 seasons.

In 1967, the Cardinals ("El Birdos") romped through the National League and then defeated the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, bursting "The Impossible Dream" bubble of the latter team, which had won their first pennant in 21 years, on the last day of the season. The 1967 team featured future Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson, who won 3 games in the Series.

In 1968, "The Year of the Pitcher", Gibson finished with an astonishly low Earned Run Average of 1.12, and the Cardinals again won the pennant by a double-digit margin. Although essentially the same team as the previous year, they faced a tougher opponent in the Detroit Tigers, who had also won their pennant easily, behind the 31-win season of Denny McLain. The Tigers won the closely contested 7 game affair. It was the last Series appearance for this great Cardinals team, and the last Series before baseball adopted its divisional format.

1969 saw a number of changes as the major leagues expanded into 24 teams and 4 divisions. The resurgent Chicago Cubs led the newly-formed NL East Division for much of the summer before faltering. The Cardinals put on a mid-season surge, as their famous announcer Harry Caray (in what would prove to be his final season of 25 doing Cardinals broadcasts) began singing, "The Cardinals are coming, tra-la-la-la". Ultimately the "Miracle" New York Mets would win the division, the league championship and the World Series.

The Cardinals continued to be perennial contenders through the early 70s, led by their popular manager Red Schoendienst, but eventually trailed off. Changes started to come in the late 70s, and the Cardinals would soon become champions again.

1980s: Whiteyball and the "Runnin' Redbirds"

After a less-than-successful 1970s, new Cardinal manager Whitey Herzog revived the winning tradition at Busch Stadium. Herzog's brand of baseball, known in St. Louis as "Whiteyball", catered to the hard Astroturf of Busch Stadium and featured speed on the base paths, sparkling defense, and unconventional roster moves. Herzog was known to put the pitcher in right field, bring in a reliever for one batter, and then put the original pitcher back on the mound. In his 11 years as Cardinal manager, Herzog won three National League pennants, and a 1982 World Series title. The 1980s era Cardinals included stars Darrell Porter (1982 NLCS and World Series MVP), Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee (1985 NL MVP who won two batting titles in a Cardinals uniform), John Tudor, Tom Herr, Jack Clark, Bruce Sutter, Keith Hernandez, Terry Pendleton, and Joaquín Andujar.

The 1985 World Series, christened the "I-70 Series" because it featured the in-state rival Kansas City Royals, is perhaps the most controversial in Cardinals history. The Series started ominously for the Cardinals as their rookie lead-off hitter and catalyst, Vince Coleman, who stole 110 bases that year, was run into by the mechanical tarpaulin at Busch Stadium during the NLCS. Scribes joked about a "killer tarp", but the remark proved metaphorical, as Coleman was unable to play in the Fall Classic. Game 6 of that Series featured "The Call". In the bottom of the 9th inning, umpire Don Denkinger called Royals batter Jorge Orta safe at first base - a call refuted by broadcast television's instant replay. The Cardinals, leading 1-0 at the time of the play and needing that victory to clinch the title, went on to lose Game 6 a few batters later by the score of 2-1. The "Runnin' Redbirds" then were blown out of Game 7 the following night, by the score of 11-0, as both of their pitching aces failed to come through on this occasion - John Tudor, who, upon being removed from the game, punched a mechanical fan and severely cut his pitching hand, and Joaquin Andujar, who was ejected by home plate umpire Don Denkinger for arguing balls and strikes, but it was probably much more than just Denkinger's strike zone bothering the tough Dominican.

The Cardinals again won the National League in 1987, losing to the Minnesota Twins 4 games to 3 in the World Series. This time, St. Louis was without clean-up hitter Jack Clark, the Cardinals' #1 offensive threat, who caught a cleat in the abominable turf at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in the closing days of the regular season. The Series was the first in which the home team won each of the seven games. The Cardinals held their own at Busch Stadium, but the electronically-enhanced crowd noise and the "Homer Hankies" in the Metrodome seemed to spook the Redbirds. The booming bats of the Twins, which seemed to come alive only in the "Homerdome", were too much for the Cardinals "inside baseball" style of offense to overcome. Games 1, 2 and 6 were pretty much blowouts, and in Game 7 the Twins' pitching shut down the Cardinals.

1990s: A new era and Big Mac

The Cards reached the playoffs in 1996 (the first season for long-time Oakland Athletics manager Tony La Russa), but the Atlanta Braves defeated them for the National League pennant. The Cards blew a 3-1 series deficit against the Braves in the 1996 NLCS.

Mark McGwire Mark McGwire broke the single-season home run record while playing with St. Louis in 1998

In 1998 Cardinals' first baseman Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs battled to set the record for most home runs in one season. McGwire broke Roger Maris's 37 year-old record of 61 on September 8 with a low line drive over Busch Stadium's left field fence. McGwire went on to finish with 70 home runs and had a section of Interstate 70 running through downtown St. Louis re-named "the Mark McGwire Highway". His record stood until Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001. The anabolic steroids scandals a few years later have possibly tainted these records, but at the time it was great theater and helped baseball recover further from the players' strike in 1994 which had angered and alienated many fans.

2000s and beyond

In 2000, the Cardinals lost to the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series. This series followed a marked series against the Atlanta Braves by the implosion of phenom pitcher Rick Ankiel in the NLDS, who had 4 wild pitches in one inning and never regained his form. In 2001, the Cardinals advanced to the post-season as a "Wild Card" team after posting the second-best record in the National League, but losing the division to the Houston Astros. The eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Cardinals in a five-game playoff series.

In 2001, the Cardinals finished the season with a 93-69 record. The Houston Astros, also in the National League Central, finished with an identical record. Since the two teams finished tied in the standings, the league went to a tie breaker to determine the division champion. Since Houston won the season series against the Cardinals, 9 games to 7 games, Houston was declared the division champion and St. Louis received a wild card berth. The Cardinals organization refers to the 2001 Cardinals as "co-division champions" along with the Astros. This year was the last for McGwire, whose arrival in St. Louis had signalled the start of a new era for the Redbirds, and whose injury-prone career finally took too much of a toll upon him.

In 2002, the Cardinals won the Central Division and this time defeated the Diamondbacks 3 games to none to reach the NLCS, but lost 4 games to 1 to the San Francisco Giants. The year was also marred with tragedy for the Cardinal family. On June 18, beloved, Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck passed away at the age of 77. Just ten months earlier, Buck (despite ailing from lung cancer and Parkinson's disease) stirred emotions when he addressed the crowd at Busch Stadium when Major League Baseball resumed after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The biggest shock of all came just four days after Buck's passing when ace pitcher Darryl Kile died suddenly at the age of 33 of heart failure while in Chicago for a series against the Cubs.

In 2004, St. Louis posted the best record in the Major Leagues, tallying their most wins since the 1940s and earning home field advantage for the NLDS and NLCS. In the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cardinals rolled, winning the series 3-1. Facing off against division rival Houston in the NLCS, the Cards took a 2-0 lead, then lost three straight in Houston. Coming home for Game 6, the Cardinals took a 4-3 lead into the 9th inning, but Houston tied it up. Jim Edmonds hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th to win the game. The next night, Albert Pujols helped St. Louis win Game 7 to clinch the series, and was named MVP, by getting a game tying hit, and was brought home with what would be the potential winning run off Scott Rolen's two-run Home Run.

The Cardinals then played the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series. This was the third time the two teams have faced each other in the Fall Classic, with the Cardinals winning the previous two in 1946 and 1967. The Cardinals were again without a key player for the World Series: this time it was ace pitcher Chris Carpenter, who, after going 15-5, tweaked his shoulder in September and missed the entire post-season. St. Louis was ill-prepared for the high-riding Red Sox who had just made history by coming back from a 3 games to none deficit against the Yankees to win the American League Pennant. The Cardinals were swept by the Red Sox in four games, with Boston winning their first World Series championship in 86 years. The best demonstration of St. Louis' troubles in the Series: Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds, the normally fearsome 3-4-5 hitters for the Cards, were a dismal 6-for-45 with 1 RBI.

On September 17 2005, The Cardinals clinched their 4th NL Central Division title in 6 years by beating the Chicago Cubs 5-1. This put them into the playoffs for the 5th time in that span. In the first round, the Cardinals swept the NL West Division Champs, the San Diego Padres.

Although the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had been eliminated in the ALCS the previous night, imagery connected with the Angels surfaced in game 5 of the NLCS. Down to their last out and strike and facing elimination in game 5 of the 2005 National League Championship Series, along with a screaming crowd and Brad Lidge's seemingly unhittable breaking stuff, ex-Angel David Eckstein breathed life into the team, hitting a single in the hole on the left side to reach 1st and bring the tying run to the plate. The next batter, ex-Angel Jim Edmonds, swung and missed one of Lidge's ubiquitous sliders but eventually worked a base on balls. With the "Killer E's" on base, Albert Pujols, one of the game's most feared hitters, stepped to the plate. After a quick strike, Pujols slammed a towering drive 412 feet onto the train tracks behind left field, to put the Cardinals ahead 5-4 and turn the crowd roar into stunned silence (had the game been played with the roof open, the drive would have exited Minute Maid Park, as it first hit off the glass wall which forms part of the roof). The blow was reminiscent of Dave Henderson's clutch homer against the Angels in the 1986 ALCS game 5. Houston was then shut down in the bottom of the 9th to preserve the win, guaranteeing at least one more game at Busch Stadium. However, the Astros dominated Game 6, shutting the Cards down 5-1 for their first berth in the World Series in franchise history. Busch is scheduled for demolition in the offseason.

Other historical notes

For much of the last half of the 20th century, the legendary broadcaster, Jack Buck, was the voice of the Cardinals, calling play-by-play on St. Louis' KMOX radio. His son Joe Buck took over for Jack as the radio and television announcer for the Cardinals in 1991. However, in September 2005, the Cardinals announced a new radio broadcast deal with rival station KTRS beginning with the 2006 season.

Between 1960 and 1987, St. Louis was home to two big-league Cardinals teams, baseball and football. Sports fans and local news coverage got into the habit of saying "the Baseball Cardinals" or "the Football Cardinals" to distinguish the two. Locals also got into the habit of using "Redbirds" to refer specifically to the baseball team. This nickname had been commonly used decades before the football team came to town. As a result, the Football Cardinals became known as the "Gridbirds" or the "Big Red."

Over the years, Cardinal fans have gained the reputation as being the best and most knowledgable in the game, according to Peter Gammons and other experts, and St. Louis has been deemed "Baseball City, USA". Players have been known to tell other players that they have not played baseball until they have played baseball in St. Louis. The atmosphere is so addictive that several players have accepted a lower salary, a "home team discount", to remain on the Cardinals, most notably Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols.

St. Louis has two rivalries that draw near sell-outs on a regular basis. The well-known Cardinals-Cubs rivalry, sometimes referred to as the I-55 Series; and the more recent Cardinals-Royals rivalry, also known as the I-70 Series.

The Cardinals (with the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics) are second only to the New York Yankees in the number of World Series championships won. The Cardinals are the only one of the eight oldest National League teams to hold an edge over the Yankees in Series play, 3 to 2.

In 2005, the Cardinals played their final season in Busch Stadium. Beginning in 2006, a new Busch Stadium will be the new home of the baseball Cardinals.

Quick facts

Current uniform colors: Cardinal red, White, and Navy blue
Current logo design: One or two cardinals perched on a baseball bat.
Current mascot: Fredbird, an anthropomorphized Northern Cardinal

Baseball Hall of Famers

 

Current roster

St. Louis Cardinals roster

Minor league affiliations

See also

External links

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