When great baseball players leave town, it's important to look back at their greatest moments. The good stuff. The highlight reel. Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday provided fans with many electrifying moments over his seven plus year career. While consistency was his specialty, Holliday dished out a few unforgettable scenes, and some overlooked ones, but that is why I am here to help brush the dust off your memory. Here are the top five moments from Holliday's tenure in St. Louis.
5. Three run home run in Game 1 of 2014 N.L.D.S. against Los Angeles
Many remember the Matt Carpenter bases clearing triple, but few remember the Holliday emphatic three run blast that followed it that inning. The long homer put the game out of reach, and was classic Holliday round tripper swag. There was extra cherries on top of this moment. He hit it, brought the back down and dropped it like a smoking gun, and circled the bases. Randy Choate would give up a late home run(he was so bad that postseason), so Holliday's home run was vital to the series defining win.
4. Achieving the NL record for consecutive games reached base with 45
June, 2015. If it wasn't for the attention hog Joe West, Holliday may have had a shot at Derek Jeter's MLB record of 53 games. When West isn't strumming a guitar, he likes to take his mask off on a baseball field and strangle the attention. Holliday still owns the NL record. He reached base in 45 consecutive games, which is incredible and showed off his greatest asset in his time in St. Louis. The ability to reach base. Low key Holliday goodness.
3. Showing off the arm in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series
Holliday wasn't known for his defense, but he showed off his better than expected arm at an important juncture. On October 22nd in the World Series in Texas, Holliday bailed out Fernando Salas by throwing out Mike Napoli at home plate on a deep sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler. The score was 5-3 Cards, and there were two runners on. Before the game got out of hand, and Albert Pujols went berserk, Holliday held the game in check.
2. The walk-off home run over the Cubs aka the Holliday Coronation
September 18th, 2009. The Cards win 3-2 on a Holliday blast into the home team's bullpen. It was a classic Holliday laser shot that lit up Busch Stadium and showed folks how clutch #7 could be in the wee hours of the regular season. People often remember the misplayed line drive later that year in the playoffs, but forget these kind of heroics.
1. The pinch hit home run full of tears and goodbyes
There wasn't a dry eye in the house on September 30th, 2016. Holliday had been notified by the team that he wasn't going to return in 2017, so he wanted to contribute and get one last hurrah. What followed couldn't have been scripted better. In the bottom of the 7th, Holliday stepped to the plate. The game was out of hand and his hand wasn't fully healthy, but Holliday had one big swing left in him. It was a classic shot; a blast reminiscent of the game winning shot that sank the Cubs ship seven years ago at Busch(referenced in #2). Hearing Dan McClauglin shout, "Un-believe-able" never gets old. This was a farewell for the ages and if you were watching, emotion carried the remote.
In 982 career games as a Cardinal, Holliday hit .293 with an on base percentage of .380 and a slugging percentage of .494 with 156 home runs and 237 doubles. He was a model of consistency, and will be missed. While people never saw the value in his work, his contract is seen as one of the best in baseball from the past decade. In his eight seasons, Holliday was worth 23.1 wins above replacement. That's not too shabby.
He will don the pinstripes in New York in 2017, but that doesn't mean his work in St. Louis will dim. Moments like these will keep the flame of the hulk of Stillwater, Oklahoma's Cardinals candle burning bright for quite some time.