The Top 10 St. Louis Cardinals Players of the Decade
Over the past 10 years, many players have come through the hallowed halls of Busch Stadium (both old and new).
While some of them have been disappointments (i.e. Mark Mulder), some have shone brightly in Cardinal Red.
Which 10 players were the top to suit up for St. Louis from 2000-2009? I'm here to tell you. Feel free to argue, heckle or criticize me. Heck, I probably missed someone.
Just don't criticize the guys on this list, because they are truly the Cardinals of the Decade.
10. Yadier Molina (Catcher, 2004-2009)
Molina burst onto the national scene in 2006, when he hit two memorable ninth-inning homers of Aaron Heilman in the NLCS.
He's quickly outshining his brothers Bengie and Jose, and has become one of the top fielding catchers of the decade.
Home Runs: 60
Batting Average: .269
On-Base Percentage: .327
Slugging Percentage: .365
On-Base Plus Slugging: .692
Fielding Percentage: .992
2x Gold Glove
9. Jason Isringhausen (Closer, 2002-2008)
The all-time Cardinals leader for saves, Isringhausen was a star closer for a good portion of the decade.
He was at his best in 2004, when he saved 47 games for the National League pennant winners.
Acquired via free agency, Isringhausen gave the Cardinals six great years before collapsing during an injury-riddled 2008 campaign.
Win-Loss Percentage: .459
8. Edgar Renteria (Shortstop, 2000-2004)
Renteria was a premier shortstop in the early 2000's, when he won two Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers in his six years with St. Louis, five of which came this decade.
He was a key cog in the National League Championship team of 2004, although he grounded out to end the World Series against Boston.
He was traded following that season in a shortstop carousel that sent Renteria to the Red Sox, Orlando Cabrera to the Angels, and David Eckstein to St. Louis.
Home Runs: 60
Batting Average: .293
On-Base Percentage: .350
Slugging Percentage: .425
On-Base Plus Slugging: .775
2x Gold Glove
3x Silver Slugger
7. Adam Wainwright (Closer/Starting Pitcher, 2006-2009)
Like Molina, Wainwright became a star during the 2006 postseason, where he stepped into the closer's role as a rookie for an injured Jason Isringhausen.
He was acquired in a trade for J.D. Drew with Atlanta. However, his best was yet to come.
Wainwright pitched like an ace in 2009, winning 19 games and finishing third in the voting for the Cy Young Award.
Innings Pitched: 644
1x Gold Glove
6. Darryl Kile (Starting Pitcher, 2000-2002)
Darryl Kile was the Cardinals' ace at the start of the decade, even finishing fifth in Cy Young Award voting his first year in St. Louis.
He was the Cardinals' veteran leader and the workhorse of the pitching staff, and could have accumulated many more incredible stats and accolades if not for his untimely death during the 2002 season.
Innings Pitched: 544.1
5. Matt Morris (Starting Pitcher, 2000-2005)
Along with Darryl Kile, "Matty Mo" was the Cardinals' "Ace 1A". They formed one of the top pitching duos of the decade, and it could be said that Morris had one of the top pitching seasons in Cardinals history in 2001, winning 22 games while finishing third in Cy Young voting.
He continued to pitch well, although not always ace-worthy, until his departure to San Fransisco via free agency.
Innings Pitched: 1046.2
4. Scott Rolen (Third Baseman, 2002-2007)
After coming over in a trade during the 2002 season for Placido Polanco and no-hit man Bud Smith, Scott Rolen quickly showed who got the better of that trade.
In 2004, along with teammates Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols, he formed a key part of the "MV3" heart of the Cardinals batting order, and became one of the best fielders in the game.
He was on track to be the top 3rd baseman in Cardinals history until a falling out with manager Tony LaRussa caused his trade to the Blue Jays for Troy Glaus.
Batting Average: .287
On-Base Percentage: .370
Slugging Percentage: .510
On-Base Plus Slugging: .880
3x Gold Glove
3. Chris Carpenter: (Starting Pitcher, 2004-2009)
In 2003, the Cardinals signed Carpenter to a minor-league deal. Two years later, he won the Cy Young Award with 21 wins and a 2.83 ERA.
Whether this is a testament to Dave Duncan's coaching ability remains to be seen, but, on the basis of being the first Cardinal to win a Cy Young since Bob Gibson in 1970, he cements his place as Cardinals Pitcher of the Decade.
Innings Pitched: 1730.0
1x Cy Young
2. Jim Edmonds (Centerfielder, 2000-2007)
Jimmy Ballgame was quite possibly the greatest Cardinals centerfielder ever. \
He could one day be in the Hall of Fame. He is one of the better fielding centerfielders ever.
And what's lost amongst his defensive prowess and Gold Gloves is the power and finesse Edmonds showed at the plate.
He mashed quite a few homers in his days with the Cardinals, and is fourth on St. Louis' all-time leaderboard.
His 42 home runs (twice!) rank 8th and 9th on the single-season leader-board for the Cardinals. Jim Edmonds was truly meant to wear the Birds on the Bat.
Batting Average: .285
On-Base Percentage: .393
Slugging Percentage: .555
On-Base Plus Slugging: .947
6x Gold Glove
1x Silver Slugger
1. Albert Pujols (First Baseman, 2001-2009)
Only one man is suitable to top this list. He goes by many names: El Hombre, Prince Albert, Phat Albert, The Machine.
But one thing is for certain. He is the greatest Cardinal of the Decade, and probably the best of the last two decades combined.
He could be the greatest Cardinal ever one day, and even the greatest right handed hitter.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently named Bobby Bonilla's 2001 Spring Training injury the top Cardinals moment of the decade.
Rightfully so, because it opened a roster spot for this man. Seriously, just look at the stats below.
Batting Average: .334
On-Base Percentage: .427
Slugging Percentage: .628
On-Base Plus Slugging: 1.055
5x Silver Slugger
1x Gold Glove
Rookie of the Year