St. Louis Cardinals All-Stars of the Aughts

Jeff StearnsContributor IJanuary 31, 2010

CHICAGO - MAY 11:  Fernando Vina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals follows through on his swing during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 11, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois.  The game between the Cardinals and the Cubs was postponed until later in the season due to rain after four complete innings.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Many thanks to Daniel of Cardinal 70 at the Bat ...were it not for him graciously including me on the United Cardinals Bloggers projects, this Web log would be, well... gathering more dust than it currently is.

Anyway, January's project is the Cardinals All-Stars for the Aughts. Some positions will be easier than others, I think.

 

As wonderful a person that I'm sure Mike Matheny is, there is no question who gets the nod here. Yadi has all the defense of Matheny but with the added bonus of league-average offense. Which, of course, is above-average as far as catchers go.

Just kidding. It's actually Eduardo Perez.

Freddie gets this almost by default. He was a rock for the first four years of this decade, although I must admit that during a game near the end of the 2003 cluster in which he did not run out a grounder sort of took the bloom off his rose.

But given the revolving door at the keystone after his departure, Vina gets my vote in a heartbeat.

Another no-brainer. I hate to play the what-if game, but I've still yet to forgive Alex Cintron. Or Hee Seop Choi, for that matter.

I always unfairly judged David Eckstein by the standard that Renteria set.

Left field during the Aughts was only slightly less of a turnstile than second base was. And while I was goofing on my first-base pick, Pujols' two seasons in left (2002 and '03) were far and away better than anyone else's.

In fact, if you're into such things, Pujols' Wins above Replacement during his superlative 2003 campaign (10.9) was nearly as much as all the decade's other primary left-fielders combined (11.2). And that includes Matt Holliday's hotness in 2009.

Love him or hate him, James P. Ballgame was the gold standard in center this past decade. The Hero of the Half-Shirt was a joy to watch, especially during his many offensive tears.

And we might get to see him one last time, as our Pharaoh of the Frosted Tips has wrangled himself an invite to Milwaukee Brewers' camp this spring. It is unknown how he plans to untuck the half-shirt, though.

Few players in recent memory inspired so much consternation than the supremely talented Drew. His problem was that he wasn't on the field enough, and as such, developed a reputation of being soft. But when he did play, he was brilliant.

I recall one game I went to in which Drew took Matt Clement deep , and although it's a cliche, I swear the ball was still going up when it ricocheted off the facing of the third deck in right field.

 

I think I will choose a full rotation:

  1. Chris Carpenter
  2. Darryl Kile
  3. Adam Wainwright
  4. Matt Morris
  5. Rick Ankiel

In 2000, I had the pleasure to catch three of Ankiel's starts in person, including his first big-league victory (on Willie McGee Day!) and one against the Giants in which he made Barry Bonds poop his pants three times with that filthy curveball of his.

If you have followed me on Twitter for any length, you might know that I harbor quite the grudge against Ankiel the hitter. But Ankiel the pitcher? ... *looks wistfully into the distance*

For most of the decade, the Cardinals franchise basically lived and died with Jason Isringhausen. As maddening as he often was, it seemed that he never made excuses and was always willing to face the music. And you have to respect that.

This article first appeared at Five O'Clock Blogger .