The Greatest St. Louis Cardinal Trades of All-Time
The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired some of baseball's best players over the years.
Not every star can come out of the 13th round in the MLB draft like Albert Pujols.
Here is a list of some of the smartest and luckiest Cardinal trades.
Bob Sykes for Willy McGee
In 1981, the Cardinals traded underwhelming pitcher Bob Sykes for outfielder Willy McGee, who was quietly hiding in the New York Yankees' farm system.
McGee had a decent first year with the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .294 in 422 plate appearances, but his postseason performance in 1982 rocketed him to national recognition.
In game three of the 1982 World Series against the the AL Milwaukee Brewers, McGee caught a would-be home run ball at the center field fence; he also hit two homers of his own. The Cardinals would go on to win the series.
In his tenure with the Cardinals, McGee went to four All-Star Games, earned three Gold Glove Awards, and was the 1985 NL Most Valuable Player.
J.D. Drew & Eli Marrero for Ray King, Jason Marquis, and Adam Wainwright
After their disappointing 2003 season, the Cardinals desired improvement in their then average pitching staff.
In a December 2003 transaction with the Atlanta Braves, the Cardinals acquired Ray King, who had his best season in St. Louis in 2004, Jason Marquis, who won 15 games for the Cards in 2004, and Adam Wainwright, who has established himself as one of MLB's most talented starters.
Wainwright hit a home run in his first at-bat with the Cardinals, but his bat is nothing compared to his arm.
In game seven of the 2006 NLCS against the New York Mets, Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded, sending the Cardinals to the World Series, where they beat the Detroit Tigers in five games.
Now, he throws perhaps the deadliest curveball in baseball.
Leon Durham and Ken Reitz for Bruce Sutter
Bruce Sutter is one of the best relief pitchers of all time. The Cardinals acquired the 1979 NL Cy Young Award winner in a December 1980 transaction with the Atlanta Braves.
Sutter helped the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series. He finished his career with 300 saves, a statistic that earned him induction to the Hall of Fame in 2006.
Plácido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith for D. Nickle and Scott Rolen
Scott Rolen is perhaps the greatest defensive third baseman of the 21st century.
The Cardinals got Rolen July 29, 2002, along with a pitcher who sort of fell off the face of the earth. But just getting Rolen was a great achievement for the St. Louis ballclub.
With the Cards, he earned four of his seven Gold Glove Awards and went to five straight All-Star Games. He also helped the Cardinals go to two World Series.
Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz, and Doug Clemens for Lou Brock and Two Others
The Chicago Cubs gave up Lou Brock in a trade to the Cardinals in 1964.
With the Cardinals, Brock went to six All-Star Games and helped the Cardinals win the 1967 World Series. He is best known for his baserunning skills. In his career, Brock stole 938 bases and had 3,023 hits.
Brock went to the Hall of Fame in 1985.
Kent Bottenfield and Adam Kennedy for Jim Edmonds
Jim Edmonds is arguably the best center fielder to ever play for the Cardinals.
In his tenure with the Cards, Edmonds earned six of his whopping eight Gold Glove Awards and was a four-time All-Star.
Edmonds is famous for making spectacular catches, but his bat was also very helpful; he hit 385 homers in his career.
Perhaps his most memorable hit, Edmonds' extra-innings home run in game six of the 2004 NLCS sent the Cardinals to game seven against the Houston Astros, where Edmonds made an amazing catch at the center-field wall. The Cards won the pennant.
Gary Templeton for Ozzie Smith
Alright, folks, it's time to go crazy.
Ozzie Smith, often called "The Wizard," is perhaps the greatest shortstop of all time.
The Cardinals acquired Smith in a 1982 transaction with the San Diego Padres. The trade was somewhat controversial in St. Louis, as the then current shortstop, Gary Templeton, was a very good player.
But Smith turned out to be the overwhelmingly better choice for the Cardinals.
The Wizard earned a staggering 13 Gold Glove Awards, 11 of which he earned in St. Louis. He also went to 14 of his 15 All-Star Games as a Cardinal.
Although he is known for defensive dominance, Smith hit a walk-off home run to win game five of the 1985 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. A switch-hitter, Smith hit the home run from the left side of the plate, a feat he had yet to accomplish in his career. The blast sparked Jack Buck's famous call: "Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!"