The St. Louis Cardinals are the most successful baseball franchise in National League history. Second only to the New York Yankees, the Cardinals have won 10 World Series titles.
The consistent presence of great athletes and coaches is hugely responsible for the club's success. Each great Red Birds team has seen one or more Hall of Fame caliber players.
Breaking down the greats and creating a top 10 was no easy feat. With so many great players, the list is open for debate.
Let's take a look at the 10 best players to ever wear a Cardinal uniform.
Position: Right Field
Time with Cards: (1938-1942, 1946-1953)
Slaughter, known for his hard running and ability to drive in runs, falls in at number 10. He would likely be top five on 80 percent of the teams in the MLB.
While in St. Louis, Slaughter was a 10-time All Star and two-time World Series Champion. He played 1,820 games in a Cardinals uniform, ranking 4th all time. WIth 1,148 RBI, Slaughter ranks second among all Cardinals.
Slaughter's accomplishments are fascinating when you consider he was on a three season hiatus while at war.
The number Slaughter wore, #9, was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996. He inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.
Slaughter passed away in 2002 at the age of 86. His contributions to the Cardinals will forever be remembered.
Position: Second Base
Time with Cards: (1945-1956, 1961-1963); As Manager: (1965-1976, 1980, 1990)
Red Schoendienst would be number one in the "dedication to the franchise" category. This man has made our beloved baseball team part of his life. His accomplishments as a player and manager are worthy of the number nine spot.
Red is a 10 time all-star (nine with the Cards) and won 4 World Series titles with the Cardinals, including one as a manager.
As a player, he was widely known for his defense and hitting ability. He is arguably the best defensive Cardinal ever, although the competition is tough with guys like Ozzie Smith and Ken Boyer in the mix.
He is part of the elite 2,000 hit club with 2,449 hits. A solid 1,980 of these hits were recorded while in St. Louis, making him the 5th best hitting Cardinal in the club's history.
A mere two years after retiring, Red was named the new St. Louis Cardinals manager. His tenure is second longest in Birds history only to current skipper, Tony La Russa. Schoendienst's managerial record sits at 1,041-955 with one World Series title.
Red's number, #2, was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
Position: Third Base
Time with Cards: (1955-1965); As Manager: (1978-1980)
Ken Boyer is one of the best slugging third baseman ever. His 250 home runs as a Cardinal puts him third behind only Albert Pujols and Stan Musial. He finished his career with 282 bombs. I haven't seen any of his footage, but I am told he used to absolutely crush the ball.
Boyer is an 11-time all star, 5-time gold glove winner, the 1964 NL MVP and a world series champion (1964).
He was very consistent as a Cardinal, providing 90 or more RBI in seven consecutive seasons.
As a Manager, Boyer had no success. He was 166-190 as the skipper and was fired early into the 1980 season. His loyalty to the Cardinals became unquestionable when he agreed to manage the Triple-A club instead.
Unfortunately, Boyer had to give up the job due to the cancer that would take his life in 1982 at the age of 51.
Boyer's number, #14, was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1984. He was never inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Position: Starting Pitcher
Time with Cards: (1930, 1937-1932-1937)
Although his time with St. Louis was brief (due to injury), and he left the team to go to the rival Chicago Cubs, Dean is the second best pitcher in Red Bird history.
Dizzy was a 4-time All Star and won the NL MVP in 1934 after going 30-7 with a 2.99 ERA. Led by Dean, the Cardinals went on to win the 1934 World Series.
He ranks 2nd only to the great Bob Gibson on the St. Louis Cardinals all-time strikeout list.
Dean was widely known for his sense of humor and later had success in broadcasting. He broadcast for the Cardinals as well as other teams.
Dizzy's number was retired in 1974 by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.
Position: First Base
Time with Cards: (2001-present)
Pujols is the only active player to make the list. Most people who are reading this have never seen a lot of the old schoolers on here. You have all seen Pujols' greatness.
There isn't enough room to discuss his stats. Take a look at the mans stat page, he has never had less than 100 RBI and never batted under .314.
He already ranks second in Cardinals history in home runs, slugging and RBI. He is third in walks, first in OBP and third in runs. All this after just 9 seasons with the club.
If I were making this list 10 years from now, Pujols would be at least at
He is an 8-time all-star and 3-time NL MVP. Pujols has also won Rookie of the Year honors and is a one time gold glover among many other awards.
In 2006, Albert Pujols helped the Red Birds win their first World Series since 1982.
He is a future Hall of Fame member and a sure candidate to have his number retired at Busch Stadium. At only 30-years-old, Pujols has plenty of time to become the best Cardinal ever.
Position: Left Field
Time with Cards: (1964-1979)
Lou Brock is one of the best base runners baseball has ever seen. He leads the Cardinals all-time list with 938 stolen bases. He once held the record for most stolen bases in a season (118) which would later be broken by Rickey Henderson.
Brock finds himself second on St. Louis' all-time hit list with 2,713 in a Red Birds uniform.
He is a six time all-star and two time World Series champion among other prestigious awards, including the Bath Ruth Award.
Brock's number, #20, was retired by the Cardinals in 1979. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. He also remains at second on the all-time stolen base list.
Time with Cards: (1982-1996)
Ozzie Smith was dubbed, "The Wizard", because of his incredible defensive ability. He sometimes looked like an acrobat out there at shortstop, doing flips and grabbing balls between his legs.
He is undoubtedly the best defensive Cardinal of all time. Being a speedy guy, he also had a great ability to reach base and steal second. He is a member of the 2,000 hit club as well as the 500 SB club.
The Wizard is a 15-time All Star selection, 13-time Gold Glove Award winner, NLCS MVP and World Series champion (1982).
His number, #1, was retired by the Red Birds in 1996. Smith would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, receiving 92% of the first ballot.
He will always be remembered as "The Wizard" who stole hits and made the Cardinals the best defensive team in baseball.
Position: Second Base
Time with Cards: (1915-1926, 1930); As Manager: (1925-1926)
Rogers Hornsby, or "The Rajah", is one of the best all around players ever. He is a member of the All-Century Team and is the only player to ever win the Triple Crown twice.
Hornsby holds the record for batting average in a season at .424; a mark nobody has gotten close to beating. He won the Triple Crown that season and again in 1925 when he batted .403 with 39 HRs and 143 RBI. He is perhaps the best slugger of the 20th Century.
As a Cardinal, The Rajah won two NL MVP awards and a World Series title. He won the title as a player/manager, providing the team with his skills both on and off the field.
He is the best hitter in Cardinals history with a .359 lifetime batting average. That is good for second best of all-time, behind only the great Ty Cobb.
Hornsby's was honored with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937, before numbers were used and retired. His name still remains on the wall at Busch Stadium.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942. He died in 1963 at the age of 66.
Position: Starting Pitcher
Time with Cards: (1959-1975)
Bob Gibson is the best pitcher to ever play for the Cardinals. Better yet, he is one of the best pitchers to ever play the game.
Gibson was an absolute gun slinger and managed to strikeout batters in high volume. He has a record of (251-174) with a 2.91 ERA and 3,117 strikeouts all-time.
Gibson holds many records, including all the Cardinals pitching records. He holds the MLB record for lowest ERA in a single season with 1.12 earned run average in 1968.
Put simply, the guy was unhittable.
Gibson pitched a no-hitter in 1971. He is an 8-time All Star, 9-time Gold Glover, 2-time Cy Young winner and a member of the All-Century Team. He also has won two World Series Championships, both of which he was the MVP.
No pitcher will ever dominate the mound at Busch the way Gibson did. His ability to strikeout batters and work a high pitch count was unreal.
His number, #45, was retired by the Cardinals in 1981. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
Position: Outfield and First Base
Time with Cards: (1941-1944, 1946-1963)
Stan is indeed, the man. He is the best St. Louis Cardinal of all time. He tops an unbelievable cast of Red Birds with his all-around dominance.
Musial leads the Cardinals all-time list in ABs, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and walks. He finished his career with a .331 batter average, 3,630 hits, 725 doubles, 475 home runs, 1,951 RBI and .559 slugging percentage. That, my good friends, is RIDICULOUS!
Stan Musial stands alone. His ability and determination towards the game were unmatchable. He did not just have a few great years, he dominated for three decades only missing time to fight in the war.
Stan-the-man is a 24-time All Star selection, 3-time NL MVP and 3-time World Series Champion. He also is a member of the All-Century Team.
Musial's number was retired by the Cardinals right after he retired from baseball in 1963. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 receiving 93% of the first ballot vote.
Stan Musial, we Red Bird fans thank you for your contributions to the game, the team and the city of St. Louis.