Twenty is the perfect number. We all have it in common. Every one of us, no matter country, color or creed, once you break a 20, it’s gone. When I was 20, I had a head full of hair, a spotless credit report and a belief that a public-school education and a 5’10” frame was all I needed to have the world on a string.

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Ahh, simpler times. But, I digress.

Twenty is the key to our Redbirds reclaiming their rightful spot atop the Central Division Iron Throne. Joe Maddon is Cersei Lannister … and short may he reign.

The Cards have 43 games left as of now, and — by my Lonedell R-14 education math skills — they need to get to 90 wins to clinch the Central. That means a 29-14 record the rest of the way.

29-14=15 + 1 (for first place) =16, Ray Lankford’s number. Coincidence, I highly doubt it.

There are a few ways that the number 20, if achieved, will lead to a Central Division Crown, a Pennant, and ring number 12 here in the Gateway City. So, strap in ladies and germs…this is going to be one convoluted ride to limits of my mathematical abilities.

Here are the 20’s that I guarantee will turn October Cardinal Red.

20 more Save Opportunities for Trevor Rosenthal

Rosie has converted 121 of 141 career save opportunities, an 86% clip. That gets the club at the least 17 more wins, up to 78 from the current 61 at which they sit. Rosenthal saves 17 more games.

17-1 (for first place)=16. 16 is the number of one of the three greatest centerfielders of the 90’s, Ray Lankford.

So, 12 more wins to go, how do we get there? The math gets better.

20 home runs for 7 different men

Yadi (14), Gyroko(15), Carp (15), Grichuk (15), DeJong (18), Pham (14), and Fowler (15) all have a chance to reach the 20 home run mark in 2017. For 12 more wins, we need blowouts! The quickest way to a blowout? Pitching, defense, and a couple 3-run jacks. That’s 34 more home runs from these gentlemen.

34/2-0(for20) - 1 (for first place)= 16, 3k Ray’s number…getting chills yet?

20-point batting average increase for Matt Carpenter

For wins we need runs, for runs we need to get on base, getting on base starts with the leadoff man. Marp currently sits at a .249 batting average. His overall OBP is .385. A 20-point uptick in his barely-above-Adam-Wainwright and below-Luke-Weaver average would make him a .269 hitter. You and add in that average increase with few more walks and his OBP could reasonably jump to .415.

415+269=684. 68-4=64. 64/4 (4 = the number of seasons since the Cards won the pennant) = 16. It’s all coming back to Ray Ray. Now I’m even freaking myself out.

Tommy Pham goes 20-20

Imagine a world.

A world where one player — not an entire team combined, but one player, one human being — steals 20 bases and hits 20 home runs in a single major league season while wearing a St. Louis Cardinals uniform.

It seems insane to even contemplate. But, to quote the great Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown, “It has happened before.”

Pham needs 6 more homers and 4 more swipes to reach this Everest-like peak.

6+4=10. 10+6 (6 = the number of years since the Cards won the Series) = 16…. but wait…you bet your Brian Jordan loving behind there’s more.

In the history of the Redbirds there have only been nine 20-20 seasons. Mr. Lou Brock was the first to accomplish this feat in 1967 with 21 jacks and 52 bags. The last to do so was the greatly underrated Reggie Sanders in 2004 with 22 bombs and 21 thefts.

But, and you will not believe this, only one Cardinal has ever accomplished this feat more than once. That man, you guessed it — you geniuses you — Ray Lankford. He reached the 20 home run 20 steal simultaneous plateau in 5 different seasons, ’92 (20/42), ’95 (25/24), ’96 (21/35), ’97 (31/21), and in ’98 (31/26).

Wow, that much Lank in one article. I am officially in need of what Mike Shannon calls “a nice cold frosty one.”

There you have it, friends, only two things are needed for a Central Division crown, a National League pennant, and a World Series ring.

The number 20 and Raymond Lewis Lankford. It will always — and mark these words being typed by my trembling hands — come back to Ray.