The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most-storied franchises in the history of Major League Baseball.
With 11 World Series championships, the Cardinals have more championships than any other National League team and, second to only the New York Yankees.
In a history that’s as successful as the Cardinals’ has been, there’s bound to be several Hall-of-Famers and many other great players who have worn the team’s jersey.
So, let’s take a look at the top 25 greatest players in Cardinals history.
The Cardinals have had some great defensive catchers in the past, but none has been as good as Yadier Molina.
Molina handles the Cardinals pitching staff with ease. He is a nightmare for opposing base runners.
He’s also a pretty decent hitter, but he’s on this list for his defense.
Yadi has won four straight Gold Glove awards, and should win a fifth in 2012.
He's also won two World Series championships with the Redbirds, in 2006 and 2011.
Wainwright is one of the best starters in the game right now, and was also a pretty good closer a few years ago.
Every Cardinal fan remembers his curveball in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. The bases were loaded, and the pitch froze Carlos Beltran and sent the Redbirds to the World Series.
He also has a 20-win season under his belt, and has the potential to do it again.
And like Molina, Wainwright has two World Series rings and counting.
Simmons had some bad timing in his career with the Cardinals.
However, he did hit .298 during his Cardinal career and is widely considered the greatest offensive catcher in team history.
Lankford also never won a World Series in his career, but still was one of the best Cardinal hitters of all-time.
He ranks fifth in home runs with 228, and ninth in RBI with 829.
He was also pretty speedy at the start of his career, amassing 250 stolen bases as a Cardinal.
Flood was a great defensive centerfielder for the Cardinals, winning Gold Gloves every year from 1963-1969.
He was a key member of two World Series champions (1964 and 1967). Perhaps his biggest contribution to the game of baseball was his role in the development of free agency.
Flood rejected his trade after the 1969 season. Although he lost his case, he laid the groundwork for future generations of players.
Mize started his career in St. Louis, and had some really good years.
In his six seasons with the Cardinals, he didn’t win a World Series but made four All-Star teams.
In 1940, Mize hit 43 home runs and drove in 137 runs.
He was one of the greatest first basemens in St. Louis history and is very deserving of a spot on this list.
Forsch spent 15 of his 17 professional seasons in Cardinal red, amassing 163 wins in that span.
He was a member of the 1982 World Series team, and also pitched two no-hitters for the Redbirds.
He’s third in all-time in wins as a Cardinal and also third on the all-time team strikeouts list with 1,079.
The Cardinals signed an injured Chris Carpenter in 2003, hoping to get something out of him in the future.
95 wins later, Carpenter has been one of the best pitchers in Cardinal history. He won a Cy Young after a 21-5 season in 2005 and has been an integral part of the Redbirds’ two World Series championships since 2003.
His complete game shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS was one of the best pitching performances in St. Louis playoff history.
Ducky Medwick, in addition to winning the World Series as a member of the 1934 Gashouse Gang, had one of the best seasons in the history of baseball during his time in St. Louis.
In 1937, Medwick won the NL MVP award and also accomplished a Triple Crown, hitting .374 with 31 home runs and 154 RBI.
Medwick is still the last National League player to win the Triple Crown, and his .335 batting average 923 RBI as a Cardinal earn him a spot on this list.
Hornsby was another player who won a Triple Crown as a member of the Cardinals. He won it twice, actually, once in 1922 and once in 1925.
One of the best pure hitters ever to play the game, Hornsby also won an NL MVP award with the Cardinals in 1925. (He also won one as a Cub, but we won’t get into that.)
In 1926, Hornsby won a World Series with the Cardinals before moving on to other teams to finish out his career.
Still, a man who hit over .400 three times in a Cardinal uniform deserves a spot on this list.
Coleman was one of the greatest base stealers of all-time. In his six years with the Cardinals, the speedy outfielder swiped an amazing 549 bases.
In his Rookie of the Year campaign in 1985, he stole 110 bases three different seasons in a Cardinal uniform.
He was a game-changer, because any time he got on first base, he was pretty much a lock to steal second.
Ken Boyer was a vacuum at third base, winning five Gold Gloves in his time with the Cardinals.
He also helped the Cardinals win the 1964 World Series, and claimed the NL MVP award that year for good measure.
Boyer also provided some power at the plate. He currently ranks third on the Cardinals’ all-time home run list, with 255.
Fittingly, his No. 14 jersey is retired by the team.
Hernandez was yet another defensive standout for the Cardinals, winning 11 consecutive Gold Gloves at first base—six of which came with St. Louis.
He was a part of the 1982 World Series championship team and won the 1979 NL MVP award.
He wasn’t a true slugger, but he was a solid all-around player and was a staple in St. Louis for 10 strong years.
McGee was one of the all-time fan favorites in St. Louis and played his best years as a member of the Cardinals.
As a rookie in 1982, he was a part of the Cardinals’ World Series championship team.
He also won an MVP award in 1985, hitting .353 with 10 home runs, 82 RBI and 56 stolen bases.
He played for the Cardinals from 1982 until 1990 and then returned to St. Louis from 1996-1999 to end his magnificent career.
Sutter only played four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he still did enough to have his No. 42 jersey retired by the team.
Sutter earns a spot on this list for his clutch performance in the 1982 World Series. In addition to clinching the NLCS with a save, Sutter saved two World Series games.
One of those games happened to be Game 7, giving the Cardinals the series victory.
Sutter saved 127 games as a Cardinal and was one of baseball’s first great closers.
Schoendienst was another very popular Cardinal and has been around the organization for several decades, both as a player and a manager/coach.
He helped the Cardinals to the 1946 World Series as a player, and also managed the team to a 1967 World Series victory.
He scored more than 1,000 runs as a Cardinal and also ranks sixth on the Cardinals’ all-time hits list.
McGwire was one of the best power hitters ever to play the game of baseball.
His 1998 home run chase with Sammy Sosa rejuvenated the game of baseball.
In his time with the Cardinals, Big Mac hit 220 home runs, an outstanding number for just five seasons.
He took over as the batting coach and helped coach the Cardinals to their 2011 World Series victory.
Edmonds came to the Cardinals from the Anaheim Angels for second baseman Adam Kennedy and pitcher Kent Bottenfield.
That ended up being a very, very favorable trade for the Cardinals.
In Edmonds’ eight seasons with the team, he hit 241 home runs and drove in 713 runs while hitting .285.
He also won six Gold Gloves with the Redbirds, playing a very solid center field. He played a large part in the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series victory.
Slaughter led the Cardinals to a World Series victory in 1942. Then, he served in the armed forces for three years.
When he returned to baseball in 1946, he picked up right where he left off, leading the Cardinals to another World Series victory.
“Country” is best known for his “Mad Dash” in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series. In it, he scored from first base to break a 3-3 tie in a game the Redbirds would eventually win 4-3.
Dean was a member of the exciting 1934 “Gashouse Gang” Cardinal team.
During that magical year, Dean won a whopping 30 games and had an ERA of 2.66. The Cardinals won the World Series that year and Dean won the NL MVP award.
Dean won 134 games in his seven years with the Cardinals.
Brock was a key component in the St. Louis Cardinals two World Series wins in 1964 and 1967.
What made trading for Brock even sweeter for the Cardinals was the fact that they stole him from the Cubs in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history.
He’s first in Cardinal history with 888 stolen bases, and second only to Stan Musial in hits.
His No. 20 jersey has been retired by the Cardinals.
The Wizard of Oz was the best shortstop ever to put on a Cardinal uniform.
With his trademark backflips, flashy defense and solid hitting, Smith became one of the most popular Cardinals of all-time.
After coming over from the San Diego Padres in 1982, Smith promptly helped the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series. He also made 14 all-star teams as a Redbird and is third on the St. Louis all-time stolen base list with 433 swipes.
He played some of the best defense of his era as well, winning 11 Gold Gloves as a Cardinal and 13 overall.
Cardinal fans are still a little bitter that Pujols left St. Louis the way he did.
But, eventually, they’ll look back and fondly remember how special Pujols was as a player.
He was the leader of two Cardinal World Series champions (2006 and 2011) and won three MVP awards as a Redbird. He hit 445 home runs in 11 seasons with the team and would have become the all-time Cardinal home run leader with 31 more home runs in 2012.
His exit was hard to swallow, but he’ll someday be remembered as one of the greatest Cardinals ever to play.
Bob Gibson was unquestionably the best pitcher in the history of the St. Louis Cardinals.
He’s one of the main reasons the Cardinals won World Series titles in 1964 and 1967, winning the MVP award for each of those series.
In his time as a Cardinal, Gibson won 251 games and had an ERA of 2.91 for his career. He was a two-time Cy Young winner, won the 1968 MVP award, won nine Gold Gloves and threw a no-hitter in 1971.
Naturally, his jersey is retired and he’s a member of the baseball Hall of Fame.
Stan the Man is without question the greatest Cardinal of all time.
Musial played his entire career in Cardinal red, winning three World Series rings, three MVP awards and 24 all-star nominations.
There are very few offensive categories in which Musial isn’t the Cardinals’ all-time leader. He’s first in hits, runs scored, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and walks.
No one embodies St. Louis baseball better than Stan Musial and no other player comes close to challenging Stan the Man for the No. 1 spot on this list.