There is only one thing that St. Louisans love more than a superstar that can single handedly carry the Cardinals to a World Series. There’s only one thing they love more than a transcendent talent that litters his name across the record books. There’s only one thing they love more than a World Series parade down Clark. Only one thing. A short, scrappy, next to nothing utility player.
I knew that opening up a Facebook thread asking all on my friends list to chime in as to who should be on the All-Scrap team would cause a stir, but wow. When you click open the app and see “see 41 more replies” you know you’ve opened a box of madness that even the scrappiest of scrap players couldn’t close.
There were many names suggested, some accepted, some rejected. There are a few rules to make this team. First, you have to be a marginal player. If you’ve been an All-Star with the Cards, or you’ve won an award like a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger, you’re far too good of a major leaguer to be thrown onto this scrap heap. Due to these rules written and voted upon by me alone, players such as Tom Pagnozzi, and Scrap Jesus David Eckstein have been omitted.
I have broken this team into three tiers. The first tier is the Scrap and Rust Team. Players that were scrappy past their prime and clung to the bigs here in the STL. The second tier is Scrap and Polish. Players that were almost more than just scrap, (if there is even anything better to aspire to) but fell just short. The final tier, the greatest tier, is the Scrap Hall of Fame. To get in the HOF of Scrapitude you need
a) An awesome name
b) True STL worthy grit
c) Insane passion from a fan base located mostly in Jefferson and Franklin County.
So…with no further ado.
Scrap and Rust
Scott Spiezo: When the dyed goatee got to the gateway he was a former WS champion with legit major league stats, and an appetite for partying that would make even Stephen Nations say, “whew…I don’t know man…” Spiezo shook off some of the rust and was an important part of the 2006 champs, but was done less than a year later. But hey, those two triples in the ’06 LCS were pretty awesome.
Ryan Theriot: The great last gasp of The Riot that started in STL was quite glorious. Talk about an end to a scrap-irific career. After some very productive years on the North Side of Chicago, Ryan finished out his career with back to back rings in ’11 with the Birds on Bat, and then his scrap swan song, out with Tony Bennet’s heart in 2012. John Elway who?
Jason Larue: As Dean Martin once sang “Ain’t that a”…ohhh… that was borderline tasteless. I apologize to the entire Larue family. Look, Chris Carpenter loved this guy and that’s all the endorsement I need. Larue was a legit major league catcher during his days in Cincy. Great behind the plate, plenty of pop, and dude got hit by 107 pitches in his career. Now that is scrap.
Scrap and Polish
Joe McEwing: Super Joe was gonna be somebody. 5th in the RoY voting in 1999, 141 hits, 28 doubles…then…to the scrap heap with him. He bounced around till 2006 scraping it up from NYC to KC to Houston.
Daniel Descalso: Tom Bartels light is so close to being a Gold Glover and a mainstay in a lineup it’s painful. His career feels like someone has been reject by the front of rim on dunk attempt after dunk attempt. Maybe his days in the desert will prove fruitful. I will be constantly pulling for a dude who jacked two blasts and drove in six in the LDS to drop the Nationals yet again. Eat it Bryce
Skip Schumaker: Nominee for the All Handsome team as well, Skip was close to being at an All-Star level in ’08 and ’09, topping .300 and 160 hits each year. He had over 700 hits as a Redbird and played whenever and wherever they told him. What god did Tony LaRussa please?
So Taguchi: So didn’t get stateside until his 32nd year on this fine planet of ours and he was the perfect scrappy Cardinal. That insane swing, the odd trot in the outfield, and the greatest Name-Turned-Verb ever. You’d wake up hungover in the mid ought’s here in the STL, groan and mutter… ”Ohhh…I got Soooooo Taguchied last night...time for a slinger.”
Aaron Miles: I will believe in my mind to the day that they scatter my ashes in the Mississippi that if you gave a Cardinal fan outside of the 270 loop truth serum, and asked them who the better Cardinal was, Pujols or Miles, they’d pick Miles. I will never understand it, but I do believe it to be true. To little Aaron’s credit, he did produce. He topped 100 hits three straight years for the Cards and can flash that 2006 Ring anytime he sees fit.
Jose Oquendo: The Secret Weapon and possible God Father to Nolan Bartels could literally do every single thing on a baseball diamond. He slapped over 700 hits for the Cards, played every position, and tossed a total of six innings (don’t check his ERA). He topped 100 hits three times, and had one jackerton and six ribs during the 1987 playoffs.
Scrap Hall of Fame: This is where we start cooking with gas.
Bo Hart: The love of this dude is beyond my comprehension, but I’ll be darned, what a perfect STL name, look, and play. Ol’ Discount Scott Rolen burned a comet streak across the City Skyline in late 2003 that will never be duplicated. Across 77 games in ‘03 Hart had 82 hits, 4 homeruns and 28 ribs…and a bust that shall forever be enshrined in the Scrap Hall of Fame
Steve Kline: This guy was, as the great Tim Wilkinson once said, a few points short of a pica. (Every designer reading this is now laughing uncontrollably) How Kline was not an All-Star is almost as much of a travesty as Ray Lankford only making one mid-summer classic. In Kline’s three seasons as a Cardinal he had these stats. 12-11 record, 300 games, 21 saves, and a 2.69 ERA. 300 games in 4 years. That is insane durability and production.
Stubby Clapp: The perfect name to forever be loved in St. Louis. His numbers are in no way anywhere near anyone else in this article. But, his name is about 1000 times better than anyone this side of So Taguchi. Just reading the words “Stubby Clapp” gave each and every one of you a warm feeling like hot coco after a sled ride down Art Hill. Here’s why we all may be insane. In his entire career he had 26 plate appearances. 26. He went 5-25 to finish right at the Mendoza line and never again sniffed the bigs. But as the kids say…”Dat name tho.”
Rex Hudler: Rex played parts of three seasons in the STL and when he was on the diamond he had absolutely no regard for his own body. He ran like he was being chased by a pack of wolverine’s whilst covered in A-1. This hustle and determination kept Hudler in the majors for 13 seasons, getting 461 hits and stealing 107 bags. He was so South County it hurt.
Tom Lawless: We have to finish our list with Tommy Law for one reason. THE Bat Flip. And it was THE Bat Flip. Joey Bats ain’t got nothing on the Law man. Youtube it now. What makes it even better is knowing he had a total of 2 career regular season homers. But, when you absolutely demolish a three-run blast in the Fall Classic you can do whatever you want. Scrap plus unfiltered swagger. Tom Lawless, you are my Scrap Team Captain, GM, and VP. Seriously, THE Bat Flip.
Well, that’s your All-Time Scrap Team. We made some friends today, and maybe lost a few along the way. You got a problem or feel someone has been omitted? Hit me up on twitter @will_KSDK and we can go back and forth about which marginal, easily replaceable, and nearly forgotten scaptastic Redbird you please.