St. Louis Cardinals: Their Top 15 World Series Performers of All Time
The St. Louis Cardinals have now won 11 World Series titles in the history of the storied franchise, placing them second all-time in fall classic championships.
This World Series victory will go down as one the most exciting and unorthodox championships in MLB history.
Coming into September, it looked as if the late-season focus would turn into bringing back Albert instead of winning ball games, but an amazing surge of chemistry led a late season rally.
The Cardinals capitalized on their unforeseen momentum and demoralized the Texas Rangers in seven games.
Local kids became heroes, stars shined and bullpen phones were broken, but St. Louis Cardinal legends were made.
This World Series produced some of the greatest moments and heroes in Cardinals history, but where is the recognition for the heroes of the previous 10 Cardinals championships?
World Series legends are never forgotten, and here is a list of the 15 greatest World Series performers in St. Louis Cardinals history.
Bob Gibson was a straight-up stud in the World Series and his numbers in the "big classic" are just jaw-dropping.
Gibson started nine World Series games during his career and completed all nine innings in eight of those contests.
In the 1967 World Series, Gibson had three complete game victories in Games 1, 4 and 7, and in Game 7 he hit a home run that made the game 3-0. Without Bob Gibson, the Cardinals lose the series easily.
In 1968, Gibson set a World Series record and posted 17 strikeouts in Game 1.
He has two World Series rings (1964, 1967) and would have easily been the MVP for both if the award existed back then.
Bob Gibson dominated postseason baseball.
David Eckstein, the spark plug.
That pretty much says it all, right?
The scrappy shortstop was the 2006 World Series MVP for the Cardinals when they beat the Detroit Tigers in five games.
Eckstein started the World Series in 2006 batting 1-for-11 in the first two games but the All-Star quickly turned it around. He ended up going 8-for-22 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored in the series, which means he batted 7-for-11 in Games 3, 4 and 5.
Eckstein's biggest game in the series was Game 4, where he went 4-for-5 with three doubles.
Eckstein became a hero and eventually threw out the first pitch in game six of this year's World Series.
The Cardinals have been blessed to find such a dominant ace in Chris Carpenter.
When he's healthy, and I stress when, the St. Louis ace can compete with any pitcher in the league and he has shown his dominance in World Series play.
Carpenter now holds two World Series rings and has been the ace of the 2006 and 2011 Cardinal championship teams.
In 2006, he won his first career World Series start in Game 3 against the Detroit Tigers by pitching eight innings and allowing no runs on three hits.
In 2011, he continued his postseason dominance and was the winner in Games 1 and 7 of the World Series. Chris Carpenter's dominance in the Series is a big reason why the Cardinals are currently World Champions.
Darrell Porter was a catcher for the Cardinals from 1981-1985 and had a solid career, but his shining moments came in the 1982 postseason.
Suffering through drug addiction his entire career, Porter will be remembered for his huge hits in the '82 World Series and for manning the Cardinals pitching staff during their World Series run in '82 and '85 as well.
Porter was an amazing catcher and could hit for power. He lived for the clutch moments and it paid off when the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series. Darrell Porter won them that series.
Stan "the Man" Musial...could this list be complete without him?
Probably the greatest Cardinal of all time and one of the greatest hitters to ever play baseball, Musial is not really on this list for his numbers in World Series play but rather for getting his team there and willing them to win.
Musial competed in four World Series championships in 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1946. That means Musial led the Cardinals to four World Series in just five years; he deserves recognition for building a dynasty
Musial won three of those World Series and the only one he lost was in 1943, where the Cardinals lost to the Yankees and Musial was the regular-season National League MVP.
How can we not give ol' Tony a shout-out on this list?
Tony Larussa, the manager who has managed the second-most games in MLB history, led the St. Louis Cardinals to World Series glory in two of his 15 seasons with the club.
When everyone thought Larussa lost the Cardinals the World Series after the Game 5 bullpen debacle, the manager comes back and wins the last two games and goes out in style with his third World Series ring.
Larussa won manager of the year in 2002 with the Cardinals and will go down as one of the most successful managers to ever hold the position.
The Cardinals were constant playoff contenders under Larussa and he never gave up, and it showed late in the regular season and postseason this year.
Congratulations Tony, the Cardinals could have never done it without you and you will be missed.
Everybody knows Lou Brock for stealing bases, but man this guy could flat out play baseball.
Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver once said when asked about Brock, "Lou Brock, along with Maury Wills, are probably the two players most responsible for the biggest change in the game over the last 15 years."
Being recognized for changing a sport by a Hall of Famer? Incredible stuff, and the Cardinals were sure lucky to have him in the 1960's and 70's.
Nicknamed "The Franchise," Brock led the Cardinals to the 1964, 1967 and 1968 World Series.
In 1964, after only being on the Cardinals for a few months, Brock batted .300 with nine hits, a homerun and five RBIs in seven games as the Cardinals went on to beat the New York Yankees in the World Series.
In 1967, Brock went off and proved why he is a Cardinal World Series legend. He went on to steal seven bases in the '67 fall classic, which is a World Series record. He batted an astounding .414 and the Cardinals eventually went on to win their second championship with Brock, over the Boston Red Sox.
In 1968, Brock single handedly brought the Cardinals back to the World Series and tied his personal record of seven stolen bases in the fall classic. He actually had his best World Series yet, batting .464, but the Cardinals eventually lost the series after being up 3-1 to the Detroit Tigers.
Whitey Herzog appears as the second manager to make our list of Cardinals World Series legends.
Of course, Herzog never played for the Cardinals, but his managerial talents were a huge reason why the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series and reached two more ('85, '87) under Herzog's direction.
Herzog was hired in 1980 by the Cardinals and in no time had them in the World Series, appearing just a few years later.
Herzog used his "whiteyball" method to make the Cardinals so successful, a method which concentrated on pitching, speed and defense to win games, rather than on home runs.
Herzog's No. 24 jersey is now retired by the Cardinals.
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Ah, ol' Grover Cleveland Alexander...and no we're not talking about Grover Cleveland the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.
Grover Cleveland Alexander is a hall-of-fame pitcher who pitched for the Cardinals from 1926-1929.
In Cleveland's first year with the Cardinals came his World Series glory, where he pitched the Cardinals to a championship title.
Not only did Alexander pitch complete-game victories in Games 2 and 6, but, according to teammate Bob O'Farrell in The Glory of Their Times, after the Game 6 victory, Alexander managed to get drunk throughout the night and was still drunk while going out the next day to pitch Game 7 of the World Series!
Alexander came into Game 7 in the seventh inning, with the Cardinals ahead 3–2, the bases loaded and two outs. Alexander struck out the next Yankee batter and then held them scoreless for two more innings to preserve the win and give the Cardinals a World Series victory.
Amazing piece of history for all of you baseball nerds out there.
Well, I thought there was no better way to end this slideshow than with the great Lance Berkman.
Did I just say that?
Yes, the "great" Lance Berkman as he should now be known to Cardinals fans.
Berkman had a career resurgence in 2011 during his first year with the Cardinals and ended up being the clean-up hitter for the World Series champions.
The 2011 comeback player of the year came up huge for the Cardinals this World Series, especially in Game 6.
In that game, Berkman came up to bat in the 10th inning with the Cardinals down to their last strike, the second time they were down to their last strike.
Berkman roped a single to center and tied the game, instantly becoming a hero.
Lance hit over .400 for the World Series and is now a beloved Cardinal.
The Wizard of Oz!
Who doesn't love Ozzie Smith?
Well, Ozzie did not perform well in World Series play with the bat, finishing with a career average of .173 in three World Series appearances, but his glove did all the work.
Ozzie was spectacular in the field, and writers wisely chose to talk about his fielding in the 1985 World Series rather than his 2-for-23 effort at the plate.
Smith did win one World Series in 1982, in which he scored three runs, had five hits and did not commit an error throughout the series.
Smith became a spark plug in game 7 of the 1982 World Series when he started a sixth-inning rally with a base hit to left while St. Louis trailed 3-1. Smith would later score and the Cardinals would go on to win Game 7, 6-3.
Andujar pitched for the Cardinals from 1981-85 and his success came in the 1982 playoffs.
Andujar was a huge reason why the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series and his dominant pitching throughout the series will always be remembered by Cardinals fans.
He started Games 3 and 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers, winning both with a 1.35 ERA.
Andujar's pitching won them the 1982 World Series.
Tim McCarver is one of the greatest catchers the St. Louis Cardinals have ever had.
McCarver competed in the 1964, 1967 and 1968 World Series, winning the first two and losing the third to the Detroit Tigers in seven games.
McCarver made his imprint on World Series folklore in 1964, where he batted .478 during the contest and hit a tie-breaking homerun in the 10th inning of Game 5.
That is not even what made McCarver so valuable to the Cardinals.
McCarver was the favorite catcher for star pitcher, Bob Gibson and commanded the ace every time he went out on the mound, catching all of Gibson's World Series wins.
McCarver batted .311 in 21 World Series games with 11 RBI and 2 homeruns.
Mr. Postseason? Freese sure has a case.
The hometown hero and currently the most popular man in the Midwest, David Freese.
Freese, raised in the greater St. Louis area, is the current starting third baseman for the Cardinals, and boy do they hope to see him there for a long time.
Competing in his first World Series in 2011, Freese captured the MVP crown after portraying one of the most memorable performances in postseason history during Game 6 vs. the Texas Rangers.
In that classic game, with one final strike to go before losing the World Series in devastating fashion, Freese hit a two-run triple to right to tie the game and give the Cardinals a chance to save their fate in extra innings.
Then in the 11th inning, Freese came up to bat and with two strikes he hit a walk-off homerun to straight center to save the Cardinals and lead them to an eventual World Series title.
Did I mention he was also the NLCS MVP?
Mr. Postseason? Oh yeah.
Great or greatest ever?
Two World Series championships (2006, 2011)
In Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, Pujols joined Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players in baseball history to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Pujols went on to go 5-for-6 with two singles, four runs scored and six RBIs.
He may be the best baseball player ever, and if he comes back to St. Louis then they could win five more championships quickly.
If, if, if, if, if he comes back.
The numbers speak for themselves, Albert Pujols is a baseball god.