The Cardinals have won more world championships (10) than any other National League franchise, so picking the five best teams in the rich tradition of this franchise is no easy task. Here’s a shot at it...
Stan Musial’s rookie season (.315-10-72) was a sign of things to come over the next two decades, as the Cardinals won the first of three straight NL pennants and defeated the Yankees 4-1 in the Series.
The Cards were an emerging powerhouse that featured 20-game winners Johnny Beazley and Mort Cooper leading the game’s best pitching staff (2.55 team ERA).
The Cardinals were the dominant franchise in baseball in the early to mid-1940s, and they posted a winning percentage over .680 for the third year in a row in ’44 (105-49) and won an all-St. Louis World Series against the Browns in six games.
The second of three Cardinal teams to reach the World Series in the 1960s, this squad not only boasted stars such as Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock, and Tim McCarver in their drop-dead primes, but also a young upstart left-hander named Steve Carlton.
The future Hall of Famer enjoyed a breakout season with 14 wins and a 2.98 ERA, leading a pitching staff that ranked second overall in the National League. The Cards took the Series from the Red Sox in seven games.
With six pitchers recording 11 wins or more and a potent lineup led by OF Chick Hafey (.349-16-95), 1B Jim Bottomley (.348-9-75) and 2B Frankie Frisch (.311, 82 RBI, 28 SB), the ’31 Cardinals posted a staggering .656 winning percentage before defeating the Philadelphia Athletics in seven games in the Fall Classic.
The only non-championship team to make our list—this team boasted the vaunted MV3 triumvirate of Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds and won the franchise’s first National League pennant in 17 years before being swept by the Red Sox in the World Series.
If ace starter Chris Carpenter had been healthy for the playoffs, it might have been a different story.