St. Louis Cardinals: Ranking the Top 10 Teams of the Franchise

Lake CruiseAnalyst IFebruary 16, 2011

St. Louis Cardinals: Ranking the Top 10 Teams of the Franchise

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    Founded in 1892 and named the St. Louis Browns, the team first appeared at Sportsman's Park. In 1900, the franchise was renamed "Cardinals" and the world famous uniforms were born.

    The team lived a meager existence until the mid-1920s. In 2011, however, they're second to the Yankees for the most World Series championships with 10. 

    The Cardinals are the only National League team to have won more World Series head-to-head against the damned Yankees (3-2). 

    Join me as I count down the top teams the Cardinals have ever put on the field.

10. Albert Pujols and the Red Birds Rolled the Detroit Tigers in 2006

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    The 2006 Cardinals extracted payback for what Minnesota did to them in the 1987 World Series. The Twins were (85-77) in the regular season but beat heavily favored St. Louis.

    Minnesota owned the distinction of having the worst record ever for a World Series champion.

    Against the Tigers in the 2006 Series, the amazing underdog tendencies of the Redbirds, throughout their history, were on display. 

    They finished at (83-78)—the worst record ever for a World Series champion.   

    As a result, the Redbirds were heavy underdogs to the Detroit Tigers in the third WS matchup between the two franchises.

    Bob Nightingale of USA Today predicted: “The Detroit Tigers’ biggest obstacle to a championship will be keeping a straight face. The Tigers in three (OK, make it four).”

    Nightingale is still wiping the egg off his face.

9. Willie McGee, the Wizard and Whitey Herzog Win the 1982 World Series

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    The Cardinals finished (92-70) and swept the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. Underdogs to the AL Champion Milwaukee Brewers (95-67), Keith Hernandez, George Hendrick and Lonnie Smith dogged Brewers pitching.

    Bespeckled catcher Darrel Porter won the Series MVP, but he is best remembered  for flipping his mask and celebrating after strike three ended the Series. 

    Pitchers Jaquin Andujar and Bruce Sutter were stalwarts, but center fielder Willie McGee was absolutely electric at the plate and on the field. 

    Manager Whitey Herzog, shortstop Ozzie Smith and Sutter would all make it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

8. The Gashouse Gang Knew How to Intimidate the Competition

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    1934, the Cardinals’ world famous “Gashouse Gang” won the franchise’s third championship in eight years. 

    Third baseman and outfielder Pepper Martin was known as the “Wild Horse of the Osage.”

    Built around second baseman Frankie Frisch, who was the player/manager, the Redbirds weren't horsing around. They won 95 regular season games and beat the Red Sox in seven.

    Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher, Jesse Haines and Joe “Ducky” Medwick would become Hall of Fame inductees. Dean's brother Paul also starred for this team.

    Dizzy won the NL MVP after winning 30 games and became the last NL pitcher to accomplish the incredible feat. He's the subject of the alleged headline during the Series:

    "X-Rays of Dean's Head Reveal Nothing." 

7. The 1967 Squad's Record (101-60) Was 9 Games Better Than the Closest Team

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    The Redbirds this season won the World Series over Boston (4-3).

    First baseman Orlando Cepeda was the NL MVP, and his St. Louis teammates, Lou Brock, Roger Maris, Ken Boyer and Curt Flood, helped power the offense. 

    Bob Gibson broke his leg and was injured during the season, but he still won 13 games. Steve Carlton won 14 in his first full MLB season. 

    The Cardinals won the division by 14 games and by far had the most wins in MLB (101). The Red Sox were (92-70)—second to the Cardinals for best record.

6. 1931: The Redbirds Rule the World Championship Series

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    This Cards squad had four future Hall of Fame inductees including Frisch, who won the NL MVP in '31.

    Frisch—“the Fordham Flash” was traded to the Cardinals from the New York Giants for Rogers Hornsby after the 1926 season.  

    Pitchers Jim Bottomley and Wes Ferrell anchored the strong pitching rotation.  

    World Series combatants, the Cardinals finished (101-53) and the Philadelphia A’s (107-45). The underdog Redbirds, however, defeated Connie Mack's A’s (4-3).

5. Red Schoendienst, Stan Musial and Enos

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    In 1946, Boston boasted Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr, while the Cardinals brought Stan "The Man" Musual, Red Schoendienst and Enos “Country” Slaughter—three more Hall of Fame inductees. 

    The Cardinals beat the Red Sox (4-3). And again, the Cardinals were the underdogs—coming in at (98-58) to Boston’s (104-50) record.

    Slaughter scored from first base on the famous Mad Dash in Game 7 to score the Series-winning run and etched himself deep in Cardinals lore.

4. In 1944, the World Was at War and the Cardinals Were World Champions

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    With a three-peat in 100 win seasons from 1941-44, the Cardinals became the first franchise to accomplish the feat. They won a total of 316 game in three years—105 in '44. 

    Shortstop Marty Marion was the NL MVP.

    It was an all-St. Louis World Series nicknamed the “Trolley Series,” “Streetcar Series,” or the “St. Louis Showdown." 

    Slaughter and Musial as usual led the way for the Redbirds (4-2) WS victory.

3. The 1942 World Series Champions Dominated the Early 1940s

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    The '42 squad won more games than any of St. Louis' World Series champions (106). The 1944 squad is second to them and '46 is third.

    On the left, Slaughter throws out the first pitch during a game at Busch Stadium. His No. 9  jersey was retired by the Redbirds in 1996. 

    A statue outside the stadium commemorates his '46 Mad Dash.

    The Cardinals dashed the Yankees in the 1942 Series (4-1).

2. Rogers Hornsby, Johnny Haines and Grover Cleveland Alexander (1926)

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    Three Hall of Fame inductees, and Hornsby was one of the best batters ever to play. 

    His career .358 batting average is second only to Ty Cobb in major league history. Hornsby won two Triple Crowns and batted over .400 three times.  

    He's the only player to smash 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year (1922). In 1924, he was on some .424 stuff.

    The Cardinals were a NL-leading 89-65 in the regular season.

    By beating Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Herb Pennock and the "Jankees" (4-1), this team won St. Louis its first World Series. With the Cardinals winning 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7, Ruth got gunned out trying to steal second base.

1. By Beating New York, St. Louis Crushed the Yankee Dynasty in 1964

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    The 1964 Cardinals are best remembered for beating the mighty Yankees in the World Series and ending their 44-year domination.

    In The First Downfall of the Yankee Dynasty—chapter one, book one—New York had played in 14 of the last 16 World Series and were (99-63)—the No. 1 seed. 

    The Cardinals (93-69) were seeded No. 4.

    The electrifying Bob Gibson—the former Harlem Globetrotter—was 3-0 and pitched a complete Game 7 to conquer the Dynasty. He was 29-years-old, and the Cardinals African-American ball players were setting a precedence for performance.

    The Yankees, meanwhile, wouldn’t perform in another World Series until 1976.