The Seven Greatest St. Louis Cardinals Post-Season Heroes
The St. Louis Cardinals have clinched the NL Central and are on an 11-game quest for the franchise's 11th championship: the most in the National League.
In honor of their two-year absence from extra curricular baseball, let's look back on the seven biggest post-season studs in St. Louis Cardinals history.
7. Jim Edmonds
13 home runs and 43 RBI are nothing to scoff at when discussing post-season history. But Jim Edmonds' value as a October weapon of mass demoralization can be summed up with one swing.
Game 6 of the 2004 NCLS. The Cardinals trail the series 3-2 as action moves to the bottom of the 12th in a tied game. Then, with a singular swing, the Cardinals were on their way to a game 7.
The next night Jim Edmonds again rescued the team with a mind-blowing diving catch in left-center field to stave off a big inning for the Astros.
In the span of 24 hours, Jim Edmonds had not only cemented his place in Cardinals lore... he ended a 17-year drought of World Series action for the city.
6. Ozzie Smith
1985 could possibly be the most furtive year for Cardinals meme building that Generation X would encounter in their youth.
From Glenn Frey's "The Heat is On" becoming the official theme song of a decade to Jack Buck's most infamous call: Go crazy folks, go crazy!...
Of course, Mr. Buck was referring to the Wizard's walk-off HR against Tom Niedenfuer...his first of the entire season.
And while Smith posted serviceable offensive numbers in the 80's, this Gold Glove stalwart led the Cardinals to three World Series appearances in the 80's with one title.
5. Stan Musial
The Man, Stan was. One of the best hitters of all time is hard to exclude from a "Greatest" list of any kind, but Mr. Musial's greatness belies some pretty paltry post-season statistics.
.356/ 1 HR/ 8 RBI
Of course, Stan didn't have to navigate three rounds of playoff baseball as well as being pitched to like he had Polio.
So any Cardinal HOFer with three rings in a single decade has to be on this list. Or any list for that matter. Hell, you don't become 'The Man' for no reason.
4. Bob Gibson
Hoot was nothing short of a machine in the post-season.
8 compete games (and the other one went to extra innings, so he's actually got 81.0 IP)
Sub 2.0 ERA
2 World Series
Give him the damn ball and give the bullpen a day off. When Mr. Gibson took the pill in the post season the opponents better not give up two runs or it's over.
The Cardinals fans that saw him pitch in person say no player was ever as intimidating as Bob Gibson. And, honestly, I still think he'd be better than 35 percent of pitchers playing in the 2009 post-season.
3. Joe Medwick
The Cardinals of the 1930's were coming into their own as the marquis team in St. Louis and the main reason for this surge of success was Joe "Ducky" Medwick.
Two World Series and an inordinate amount of at bats later, Medwick finished his career a .326 hitter in the postseason.
But his stellar defense that teammates refereed to as 'the best in baseball,' helped cement his legacy as one of founding fathers of a winning tradition for Cardinals baseball.
2. David Eckstein
Lil Lil, Davie Eckstein may not be as good a fielder as Ozzie or as good a hitter as Edmonds... but dammit, in the 2006 World Series he willed the Cardinals to championship number 10. And took home MVP honors for his troubles.
Yes, this ranking is fully biased on the fact that the 2006 championship was the first one in this writers lifetime that I wasn't shitting in my diaper for, so cut me some slack.
David went moved on afterwords and is still kicking around the majors with the San Diego Fathers, but to Cardinal fans of a certain age, he'll be a memory we'll never forget.
1. Albert Pujols
It might not be a good time to bring up Albert Pujols to Brad Lidge, but chances are, if you do, you'll get a blank stare. A stare that says more than words could ever convey.
In 2009, El Hombre will shatter ever individual post season record the Cardinals have. He will also have played in more playoff games as a Cardinal than any other in team history as well.
And did I mention he's 29 and just now entering his prime?
When it's all said and done, Albert Pujols will go down in the annals of baseball history as the greatest hitter ever.
And that includes the post-season.