Reasoning on the Mississippi River: The Top 30 Cardinals Hitters Ever

Lake CruiseAnalyst IMarch 31, 2011

Reasoning on the Mississippi River: The Top 30 Cardinals Hitters Ever

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    One of the most storied franchises in the world, the St. Louis Cardinals have captured 10 World Series championship trophies.

    Recently awarded a Medal of Freedom by president Obama, Cardinal for life—Stan Musial—is a champion in baseball and in life.  Considered one of the best hitters ever in the majors, he's ranked somewhere on my list of all-time Cardinals rippers. 

    Zip along for the ride to find out where.  Rip camera one...

30. Mike Shannon: A Two-Time World Series Champion (1964, 1967) as a Player

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    Shannon broke in with the Cardinals in 1962 and two year later he was the starter in right. 

    He played in three different World Series with the Redbirds and won two—contributing a game-tying two-run homer off Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford in the first WS game in 1964. 

    In 1968, he tagged a solo shot off Mickey Lolich of the Tigers, but the Tigers clinched.  Shannon's home run was the only time the Cardinals scored in that game.  

29. Bill White: A Lefty and a World Champion

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    Bill White batted .286 with 202 home runs and 870 RBIs in 1,673 games during his career.

    He was  Redbird from 1959-65 and won a World Series in 1964.

    He also is known for hitting the big time with his own sports program on the later legendary KMOX radio in St. Louis.

28. Gary Templeton: Welcome to the Temple of 50 Triples

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    Templeton could outright spank the ball all over the park and was a Silver Slugger Award winner on the 1980 Cardinals—offensive juggernauts in Redbirds uniforms.   

    In six seasons with the Cards (1976-81), his lowest batting average was .280.  He batted .314 or better in three.  In a three-season stretch run, Gary walloped 50 triples.

    Rain, clouds or sunshine, he sent line drives rolling through the gaps. 

27. Ozzie Smith: The Wizard Hit One of the Most Memorable Redbird Homers

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    "The Wizard of Oz" corked an unforgettable line drive home run off Tom Niedenfuer and the L.A. Dodgers in the 1985 NLCS.  

    The homer won the sixth game and allowed the Cardinals to eventually advance to the World Series.

    Smith worked his way up from being known for his light hitting to becoming a key offensive cog on Saint Louis' perennial World Series contenders of the 1980's.

26. Ken Boyer: World Series Game 7 Hero Against the Yankees in 1964

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    General manager John Mozeliak, left, would have loved to have had Boyer last year.

    Boyer’s career average was .287, but he makes this list for smashing the Yankees in the 1964 World Series.  He hit the go-ahead home run to clinch the victory.

    The only Cardinal to hit for the cycle twice (1961, 1964), Boyer won the MVP and the Lou Gehrig Award in 1964. 

    His jersey number 14 hangs in the rafters.  He’s the only Cardinal not in the Hall of Fame to have his jersey retired.

25. Charles 'Chick' Hafey: For Goodness Sakes, He Could Rake

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    He played for the Cardinals from 1924-31 and finished with a career average of .317.  

    Batting .349, he edged Bill Terry and teammate Jim Bottomley for the batting crown in 1931.

24. Jim Bottomley: Bottoms Up on the Bat's Barrel for the Redbirds

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    He set a record by batting in 12 runs for the Cardinals against Brooklyn on Sept. 16, 1924.  Mark Whitten tied the record on Sept. 7, 1993.

    The Cardinals first baseman from 1922-1932, Bottomley's career average was .310 and he finished with 1,422 RBIs.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame posthumously.

23. Matt Holliday: His Reliable Swing Rarely Takes a Vacation

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    Holliday owns four Silver Sluggers and is a four-time All-Star. 

    He batted .353 with 13 homers and had 55 RBIs in 63 games with the Cardinals in 2009.  Last year, he started off slowly, but got hot and finished with 28 home runs, a .312 average and 103 runs knocked in.

22. Red Schoendinst: He Owns Four World Series Rings as a Cardinal

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    Schoendienst played for the Cardinals from 1945-1956. 

    Red posted a career high .342 batting average in 1953 and had five seasons hitting .300 or better.  He was a career .289 hitter and racked 2,449 hits.

    He retired as a player in 1963, continuing as a coach and manager with the Cardinals.  Shoendienst was a member of the 1946, 1964, 1967 and 1982 World Series champions.

21. Tom Herr: Herroe of the 1980's Running Redbirds Offense and Base Running

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    Thomas Mitchell Herr was a Cardinal from 1979-1988.  He was an exceptional RBI man for the running Redbirds. 

    In 1985, Herr set career highs in nearly every stat.  He drove in 110 runs—even though he only hit eight home runs that year.

20. George Hendrick: The Cardinals' Quiet Cleanup Hitter's Bat Did the Talking

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    "Silent George" was a Cardinal from 1978-84 and won two Silver Slugger Awards (1980, 1983) in St. Louis.  With Bob Forsch, Gary Templeton and Ted Simmons, the 1980 team featured four Silver Sluggers. 

    Hendricks was a four-time All-Star and a two-time World Series champion and helped the Cardinals win the 1982 Series batting fourth. 

19. Curt Flood: He Flooded the National League with Hits in the 1960's

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    Flood finished his career with 1,861 hits and a .293 batting average. 

    A fixture in center field for the Redbirds for 12 seasons (1958-69), in 1964, he batted .311 and led the NL in hits.

    An outfield mate of Lou Brock and Mike Shannon's Flood also won two championships with the Cardinals.

18. Jack Clark: The Round Tripper Ripper for the Running Redbirds

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    Big Jack's career batting average is only .267, but he won two Silver Slugger Awards with the Redbirds (1985, 1987)—both World Series years in St. Louis.

    Clark was the thump in the middle of the Running Redbirds fleet-footed lineup after Hendricks was traded in 1984.

    Sometimes called “Jack the Ripper,” Clark has been known to lash out at Mark McGwire’s alleged steroid use.

17. Pepper Martin: The Salt of the Gashouse Gang Gave Them Some Flavor

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    Johnny Leonard Roosevelt "Pepper" Martin was a career Cardinal from 1928 to 1944.  He was a four-time All-Star and two-time champ.

    He posted a .298 lifetime batting average and hit .355 in 1934—a World Series championship season—with the Gashouse Gang, of course.

16. "Ripper" Collins (1931-36): He Spent 10 Seasons in the Majors

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    J.A. Collins—James Anthony—was Frankie Frisch's teammate in 1931 and 1934 when they won the World Series.  Collins played for the Redbirds from 1931-36.

    As a member of the Gashouse Gang, he hit 35 home runs, had 128 RBIs and hit .333.

    He batted .367 in the 1934 World Series and could've won the Series MVP had if not been for his teammate—player/manager Frankie Frisch—who won it.

15. Jim Edmonds: A Smooth-Swinging Lefty with Plenty of Pop

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    As a Cardinal, Edmonds produced his best MLB seasons.

    From 200-2007, he was part of the fierce Redbird offense along with Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and crew.  His best year was 2004.  He batted .301 and slugged .643., 42 home runs and 111 runs batted in.

14. Joe Torre: A Torrid Hitter

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    A catcher for the Atlanta Braves, Torre played third base for the Redbirds while the organization brought the young Ted Simmons along.

    As a Cardinal, he won the NL batting crown and the MVP in 1971 after batting .363 with 137 runs batted in. 

13. Scott Rolen: Scotty Beamed the Redbirds Up to a World Series Title

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    Rolen was part of the 2004 "MV3" Cardinals with Pujols and Edmonds. 

    In 2004, he batted a career high .314, hit 34 home runs and banked 124 RBIs.  The Cards won 104 games that season.  A Redbird from 2002-7, he won the 2007 Silver Slugger Award.

12. Johnny Mize: The Missouri Masher

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    Mize played for the Cardinals from 1936-41 and made the All-Star team four times.

    His 43 home runs in 1940 broke the Cardinal record of 42 and it stayed the record until Mark McGwire hit 70 in 1998.

    Mize was chosen by the Veterans Committee of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

11. Ted Simmons: A Cardinal for Life to Me, "Simba" Was St. Louis

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    Nicknamed "Simba," Simmons was perhaps the best-hitting catcher for the Redbirds ever.  The Cards drafted him with their first pick in 1967.

    A career .285 hitter, and a switch-hitter, he won the first Silver Slugger Award in 1980. 

    He played for the Cardinals from 1968-80.  In 1975, he finished second to Bill Madlock for the batting crown but set a record for hits by a catcher (188). 

    Simmons was an eight-time All-Star—six with the Cardinals.

10. Willie McGee: A Switch-Hitter, He Could Run Like the Mississippi River

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    After batting for the cycle on June 23, 1984, McGee won the Silver Slugger Award and the NL MVP in 1985.

    As a tall an lanky witch-hitting speedster with some pop in his bat, he won the NL batting title in  1985 with a .353 average. 

9. Keith Hernandez: MVP

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    The first baseman for the 1982 World Series champions, Hernandez spanked more line-drives than home runs throughout his career.

    He came up with the Cardinals in 1974 and played St. Louis until 1983.  Hernandez’s career batting average of .296 is much lower than his average as a Cardinal.  His high was .344 in 1979—the year he shared the MVP with Willie Stargell.

8. "Country" Slaughter: Hitting the Ball a Country Mile Was His Style

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    Slaughter was a .300 career hitter and racked 2,383 hits.  From 1938-1953, "Country" was a Redbird—notwithstanding 1943-45.

    He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

7. Orlando Cepeda: Cardinal Great (1966-68)

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    Cepeda won the NL MVP in 1967 and assisted the Redbirds in winning their second World Series of the 1960's.

    The Cardinals traded Cepeda to the Atlanta Braves for Joe Torre in March of 1969.

6. Frankie Frisch: The Fordham Flash

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    The man known as the "Fordham Flash" batted .318 with 2,880 hits in his career. 

    A two-time World Series champion and Cardinals stalwart, he was possibly the best hitter on the loaded "Gashouse Gang" squad.

5. Lou Brock: A Saint Louis Staple, Including Restaurant Food

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    Lou Clark Brock is the only player in history to have his own umbrella named after him.  That's right—the Brockabrella:

    The Cardinals leadoff man and Hall of Fame left fielder batted .293 for his career and posted 3,023 hits.

4. Joe "Ducky" Medwick: Duck! Here Comes a Line Drive

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    Medwick dished out almost 2,500 hits and a .324 career average.  He started his career with the Cardinals and stayed for nine seasons (1932-40).  He also played his final two seasons in MLB with the Cardinals (1947-8).

    He is, therefore, like Musial and Slaughter, one of the great Cardinals to play in both the pre-Jackie Robinson and in the Robinson eras. 

3. Rogers Hornsby: The Horn of Saint Louis (1915-1926, 1933)

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    In 1922, Hornsby set the MLB record for home runs in a single season with 42 rockets.  He also batted .401 and scored 141 runs that year to win the Triple Crown.

    The middle infielder was the first Cardinals player to win the Triple Crown—the only one to win it more than once.  Hornsby remains the only two-time winner in the NL (1922, 1925). 

    He played in the live ball era—the steroid era when the ball was juiced—but he was one of the highest paid athletes in the world and tops in the majors in 1922.

    His career batting average was .358 and he had 2,930 hits including 301 home runs. 

2. Stan "The Man" Musial: My Man Earned a Medal of Freedom

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    With a .331 lifetime batting average, 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and 1,951 runs batted in, the Cardinals are the only team he played for from 1941-1963.  While serving with the U.S. Navy, he sat out in 1945.

    He was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 1969 with 93.2 percent of the votes.

1. Albert Pujols: Perrenial MVP

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    Pujols owns the highest career batting average by a Cardinal (.331).  The former NL Rookie of the Year and Silver Slugger Award winner in the same season, he gets better with time.

    He's hit 43 or more home runs four times and his 49 in 2006 are the most in a single season by a Cardinal other than Mark McGwire.

    Speaking of Big Fly, it's time for me to fly out of here.  Catch me next time.  Until then, Redbirds and white doves.  Peace and one love.