St. Louis Cardinals: Where Do the 2011 Cards Rate Among the Last 40 Champs?

Diamond NotesCorrespondent IIIOctober 29, 2011

Team Leader Chris Carpenter
Team Leader Chris CarpenterEzra Shaw/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals finished a roller coaster season Friday night, defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2, earning the 11th world championship in the club's history.

The 2011 Cardinals ballclub is a talented bunch, but in late August they found themselves 10.5 games back in the National League Wild Card race. At that point they were not only embarrassing themselves with their play, but also with their behavior.

Instead of playing like champions, they had become "The Gateway Crybabies," complaining and making excuses about nearly everything, and yet they could not understand why they were so hated.

That all changed when workhorse and team leader Chris Carpenter called a team meeting addressing the embarrassment. Carpenter, who at the time was struggling through one of his own worst seasons in recent memory, was able to the turn the Cardinals around. The improvement in play and attitude was remarkable and the rest is history.

The miracle Cardinals displayed a never-die attitude that carried them to the top. But, where does this team rank among the last 40 world champions?

Over the course of the next several weeks I will rank the world champions from the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates to the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. I will start with the 40th ranked team and work up to the No. 1 team, with some side bar articles about players on those teams. 

Please chime in and let me know your thoughts as I count them down.