I know, I know, the season’s over. Dead. Done. But, we can always look back. Way back. Remember the good times, and players, and start some conversations, and even better, some fights? So, let’s.
It’s going to be in the 80’s today, I just cannot talk hockey.
Let’s get nostalgic, shall we?
First, we define greatest. When I say greatest I’m not talking greatest based on you and your fancy numbers. Not based on WARP, VORP, fielding independent blah blah blah, and park adjusted nonsense. I’m talking actual greatest. I’m talking a team I would want to tune into and watch 162 straight games. This isn’t your greatest. This isn’t about you, Jeff. This is my greatest.
The Saulsbery Cardinals. This team will include the starting lineup, the starting rotation, the bullpen, the bench, the manager. The whole nine yards. Alright Twitter trolls, eat at this trough.
Manager: TLR of course. I loved the White Rat as much as you, but Tony and I had wine together in a Casino steakhouse.
The Starting Lineup
1. 2B- Delino DeShields- Yes, I loved watching Delino. He led league in triples with 14 in 1997, plus had 55 steals. FIFTY-FIVE. I want speed and excitement at the top of my lineup and he delivers. Plus, my man had some swagger.
2. SS- Ozzie Smith- About a billion Gold Gloves and even a Silver Slugger in ’87. The face of the 80’s in STL. Three pennants and a ring. Ozzie is a god in the gateway. Plus, his kid played youth ball with by boy Nations, so he’s got that going for him.
3.1B Mark McGwire- Did you ever once look away when Mac was at the plate? Sure, he took a lot of vitamins, but he was must watch! If you want non-stop excitement on your club, you gotta have the Giant Ginger.
4. LF- Albert Pujols- Before you get started on the best way to use your 140 characters, know this! Albert played 269 Games in left, for a total 2084 innings, only 8 errors! I know…I had to double check that. Offensively he is the second greatest Cardinal to ever live (all respect to Mr. Hornsby), 3 MVPs, 3 pennants, and 2 rings. Did I actually have to sell you on this?
5. CF- Ray Lankford- Lankford is the greatest Cardinals OF other than Stan the Man. I SAID IT. Ray Ray finished his career among the Cardinal Top 10 in home runs, stolen bases, runs scored, RBIs and walks. Five 20-20 seasons, led the league in triples...believe me I can go on and on. Finally, just YouTube him straight trucking Darren Daulton at home.
6. 3B- Fernando Tatis-I kid! (but ‘99 was no joke .298, 34 bombs, and 107 rbi’s) Of course, it’s Scott Cooper…I kid again! We Know it’s Scott Rolen- He won four Gold Gloves here and was on a rocket ship to the hall of fame until Hee-Seop Choi destroyed his left shoulder. Mind-blowing fact, he’s bigger than Albert Pujols was.
7. RF- Tommy Pham- Pham is my dude. I can watch this guy play D or take ABs all day. Gold Glove level play in the OF, speed, average, pop, and attitude. What else do you want?
8. C- Yadier Molina- Shout out to Pags and his 3 Gold Gloves, but Yadi is a clear No. 1. Four pennants and 2 rings to go with his 8 and counting Gold Gloves. HOF is happening. Plus, those neck tats dude.
9. P- Chris Carpenter- My clear No. 1…we will get into this below.
1. OF/2B- Skip Schumacher- Skip played a good CF and an adequate 2B, and most importantly to the folks in STL, scrappy as all scrap can scrap!
2. SW- Jose Oquendo- Every position. Every single one. Plus, he can double as the third base coach. Then he turns your infield into a collection of vacuum cleaners and boom! Your pitching staff is better and you can count the rings.
3. OF- Willie McGee- Everyone’s favorite player (shout out to Vince Coleman and his firecrackers). He swung like he was going to hit .215 and then won an MVP and a couple batting titles. Fantastic defender and pinch hitter.
4. OF- Brian Jordan- 5 career interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 safeties…wait…wrong website…
5. INF- Daniel Descalso- Fantastic glove at every infield position, timely hits, ice water in his veins, but most importantly, he kinda looks like my buddy Bartels.
6. OF/LHP-Rick Ankiel- Ank struck out 269 batters in 242 career innings pitched. Then had a 20 home run season. Plus, he brings the handsome up to Todd Zeile levels.
1. Chris Carpenter- One of my three favorite Cardinals of all time. Every time he took the mound we all felt the Cards were the best team on the planet. You doubt me? Just re-watch game 5 versus Halladay. That’s all the “advanced metrics” you need.
2. John Tudor- No Jokes. Nothing but this stat line. 1985. 21-8, 1.93 ERA, 10 shutouts, 275 IP. ABC me about Tudor.
3. Adam Wainwright- Uncle Charlie still has a few hooks left in that right elbow of his and I’m pulling for him. He’s closed out a WS, been one Kyle McClellan blow up away from a Cy Young award, and a consummate Redbird. Plus, tore an Achilles and came back in the same season. THE SAME SEASON.
4. Matt Morris – In a Cardinals uniform, Matty Mo went 101-62, 3.61 ERA. In 2001 he put up stupid numbers going 22-8, 3.16, 185 Ks, and finished third in Cy Young voting. Plus, dude loved plunking Cubbies.
5. Jose DeLeon- We have to close this rotation out with a flame-throwing strikeout machine. DeLeon struck out 200 or more in ’88 and ’89. Plus, sweet, sweet stache.
Alright…like the Cards bullpen in August, I’m running out of steam. Let’s close this out.
1. Closer- Lee Smith- He's the best the birds have ever had. 160 saves, 2.90 ERA, and led league in saves in both ‘91 and ’92. Plus, he looks like the Uncle your mom sends you to live with in your teens because she can’t handle you anymore.
2. LHP- Steve Kline- He pitched 89 games in 2001, and 300 games in 4 years with a 2.69. Plus, he was certifiably nuts. And every team needs at least one crazy dude.
3. RHP- Trevor Rosenthal- Heat. Pure heat. Like Kathleen Turner in Body Heat, heat.
4. LHP- Ray King- We need another lefty. He was reliable and his nickname was “Burger.”
5. RHP- Rich Croushore- I know nothing about him except he threw a screwball. Who does that!?
P.S. Sorry Jimmy Ballgame, you’re an honorable mention; I mean… the size of that dome.
That’s all I have and I hope it fed your Cardinals withdrawal. So, comment below or on Twitter (@Will_KSDK), Facebook, or Friendster and let me know what an idiot I am. It’s OK, I can handle it.