25 Greatest Pitchers in St. Louis Cardinals History
The Cardinals are one of the oldest and most storied franchises in baseball. Their 11 World Series titles are more than any other National League team, second only to the Yankees in all of baseball. They have fielded pitchers ranging from Cy Young to Chris Carpenter and pitchers with nicknames like Dizzy and the Mad Hungarian.
But who are the top 25 of all time?
Perhaps not the most dominant Cardinal pitcher of all time, The Mad Hungarian is certainly one of the most colorful and memorable. Sporting an oversized Fu Manchu and long hair, Hrabosky was known for manically stomping the back of the mound to work himself into a frenzy. He kept hitters off-balance for 13 seasons, the first eight with St. Louis. In 1975, he went 13-3 along with 22 saves and a 1.66 ERA.
He is currently the Cardinals color commentator for regular season games, and he owns Al Hrabosky's Ballpark Saloon across the street from Busch Stadium.
He was known as "Three Fingers" due to a farm injury he suffered as a boy where he lost a finger in a feeding machine. He used his remaining three to perfect what became known as the curveball.
His Hall-of-Fame career began with the Cardinals in 1903 and ended with 239 wins and a minuscule 2.06 ERA. He won back-to-back World Series for the Cubs in 1907 and 1908—their last.
He was Cy Young before there was the award named after him, and he pitched two years for the Cardinals, going 45-35. He makes the list because he claims these all time records: wins (511), losses (316), innings pitched (7354.67), starts (815) and complete games (749).
Charles "Silver" King pitched for St. Louis for three years, racking up 112 wins, still good for seventh all-time for Cardinal pitchers. He was known for his unconventional sidearm delivery without a windup. His 11-year career included 203 wins and a 3.18 ERA.
Bonus points for being a St. Louis native.
Todd Worrell began his career in 1985 with the Cardinals, the year the team won 101 games and went to the World Series. He picked up a save in Game 1 and lost the ill-fated and now infamous Game 6.
Over six seasons, Worrell collected 129 saves for the Cardinals (third all-time). He saved 259 overall.
Left-handed Slim "Scatter" Sallee was known for his impeccable control, his unflappable demeanor on the mound and his scheming baseball mind. He pitched nine seasons in St. Louis from 1908-1916, good for 106 wins (ninth all-time) 107 losses (seventh) and a 2.67 ERA (second). His career ended with 203 wins.
Owner of one of the greatest Cardinal nicknames of all time, Bill "Spittin Bull" Doak pitched for St. Louis from 1913 to 1923. He racked up 144 wins for the Cardinals, good for fifth all time.
Affectionately known as "Matty Mo" to some fans, Matt Morris began his career with the Cardinals and pitched eight solid seasons, including a 22-win performance in 2001. He was the ace of the staff during St. Louis' 105-win 2004 season.
His 101 wins for St. Louis are 13th all-time, and his 989 strikeouts are fifth. Arm troubles plagued his career, and he retired in 2008 with 121 career wins.
Once upon a time, Lee Smith was the all-time save leader with 478. He passed Rollie Fingers with 353 in 1993 with the Cardinals. Overall, he collected 160 late in his career with St. Louis, and that number is second all-time for the team. At 6'6", Smith cut an imposing figure on the mound, which he matched with a 95 mph fastball.
Jason Isringhausen came to St. Louis in 2002 after collecting 18 saves with the Mets and Oakland over a six-year span. Between 2002 and 2008, Izzy became the Cardinals all-time leader in saves with 217. He was a part of St. Louis' division winning teams in 2002, 2004 and 2006, although he did not pitch in the 2006 World Series due to a hip injury.
He currently pitches for the Mets and has 300 career saves.
"Wild Bill" Hallahan makes the list for pitching in four World Series with the Cardinals (1926, 1930, 1931, 1934) and winning three. He compiled a 3-1 World Series record with a scant 1.36 ERA. He has 93 wins with the Cardinals and 102 all-time.
Joaquin Andujar was one of the most dominant pitchers of the 1980s. After coming over to the Cardinals from the Astros in 1981, he went 15-10 the next year for St. Louis and dominated in the World Series, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA.
In 1984, he was 20-14, and in 1985, he was 21-12, pitching for the Cardinals in the World Series.
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Adam Wainwright made the Cardinals 2006 opening day roster, and on May 24, hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat. This began a charmed season, as Wainwright stepped in for closer Jason Isringhausen after an injury shut him down late in the season.
The Cardinals won their division and later advanced to the NLCS against the favored Mets. The series went seven games, and Wainwright memorably struck out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded on three pitches, propelling St. Louis to the World Series, which the Cardinals won in five games (Wainwright struck out Brandon Inge on a slider to win the series).
Since that season, Wainwright has been an effective starter, notching a career total 66-35 record with a low 2.97 ERA. Wainwright won 20 games in 2010 and finished second in the Cy Young voting. He missed all of 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Bill "Wee Willie" Sherdel began his career in 1918. He pitched for the Cardinals for 11 seasons, winning the World Series in 1926. His 153 wins are fourth in Cardinals history.
In 1985, left-handed John Tudor was traded to the Cardinals. Fans know what happened next. He went on to compile one of the greatest pitching seasons in St. Louis history, going 21-8 with a 1.93 ERA, including 10 shutouts to lead the league. He would have walked away with the Cy Young were it not for the Mets' Dwight Gooden (24-4).
He led the club to the 1985 World Series, which they would have won were it not for the infamous Denkinger call in Game 6, something Cardinals fans now remember as simply "The Call."
He won a World Series in 1988 with the Dodgers. He is the Cardinals all-time ERA leader with 2.52.
Grover Cleveland Alexander
By the time Pete Alexander, better known as Grover Cleveland Alexander (or simply: "Old Pete") arrived in St. Louis he had already established himself as one of the greatest pitchers of all time with 318 career wins. He came to St. Louis in 1926 at the age of 40 and won only nine games while the team went to the World Series.
But there, Alexander etched himself into Cardinals lore.
Facing a dominating Yankees team featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig, Alexander pitched complete game shutouts in Games 2 and 6, pushing the series to a decisive seventh game. He got drunk after Game 6, thinking his work was done, but was called to pitch in Game 7, coming on in the seventh inning with the Cardinals ahead 3-2 and the Yankees with the bases loaded.
He struck out Tony Lazerri and held the Yankees scoreless for the next two innings, sealing the Cardinals first World Series title.
Three-time All-Star Mort Cooper was a part of the Cardinals team in the 1940s which went to three consecutive World Series. They won in 1942 and 1944.
In 1942, Cooper was National League MVP, going 22-7 with a 1.78 ERA. Between 1942 and 1944, Cooper won 65 games. His 105 wins for the Cardinals are good for 12th all-time.
Bruce Sutter pitched for the Cardinals from 1981-1984, notching 127 saves, which was, at the time, a club record. It stands at fourth overall now.
He set the National League save record with 194 in 1982, which has since been eclipsed. He ended his career with 300 overall. He won the Cy Young in 1979 and the World Series with St. Louis in 1982. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
His No. 42 is retired by the Cardinals.
Nicknamed "Harry the Cat," Brecheen had an 11-year career with the Cardinals, racking up 128 wins. He was known for his deceptive screwball. His four World Series wins were a career record for the Cardinals until Bob Gibson broke it in 1967.
Breechen was the ace of the Cardinals staff for three of their four World Series appearances in the 1940s. They won in 1944 and 1946. He would have pitched in the 1942 Series (which St. Louis also won) were it not for his service in World War II.
Jesse "Pop" Haines pitched 18 seasons with the Cardinals, amassing 210 wins, second all-time only to Bob Gibson. He won two World Series for the Cardinals. The first in 1926 with Grover Cleveland Alexander, where he won two games including the decisive seventh game. The second came in 1934 with Dizzy Dean and the "Gashouse Gang."
Generally considered the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time, Steve Carlton pitched 23 years, won 329 games, played in 10 All-Star Games, won four Cy Young Awards and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. While he won all of his Cy Youngs with the Phillies, he began his career in St. Louis in 1965.
He won a World Series with the Cards in 1967, pitching one game and losing, but only giving up one run (unearned). In 1971, he went 20-9 and then was traded to Philadelphia after a contract dispute. He went 27-10 the next year with a 1.97 ERA and 310 strikeouts, earning his first Cy Young in what many consider one of the greatest pitching seasons in the modern era.
His 951 strikeouts with the Cardinals are seventh all-time in the team's history.
Bob Forsch was a staple of the dominant Cardinal teams of the 1980s. His career with St. Louis lasted from 1974-1988, during which he pitched in three World Series, winning one in 1982. He gained all but five of his 168 career wins with the Cardinals, good for third all time with the club. He and his brother, Ken, are the only brothers ever to have each pitched a no hitter.
He came from Arkansas. He dropped out of school after the second grade, and Cardinal scouts eventually discovered him playing sandlot ball. He became the most famous member of the Cardinals "Gashouse Gang," averaging 24 wins over five seasons. He won a World Series in 1934 and an MVP (30-7, 2.66).
His career was cut short after a line drive hit his foot in the 1937 All-Star Game, affecting his mechanics and ultimately damaging his arm. His 11-year career ended with 150 wins and a Hall of Fame induction. His 134 wins with the Cardinals are sixth all time for the team.
His No. 17 is retired by St. Louis.
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Chris Carpenter has led the Cardinals pitching staff to two World Series titles (2006, 2012). He currently has 144 lifetime wins with a 3.76 ERA. He won the Cy Young award in 2005 and finished second and third in 2009 and 2006, respectively.
But Carpenter vaulted ahead of many other Cardinals pitchers due to his clutch postseason pitching. He is 9-2 overall, and his highlights include a 1-0 deciding Gave 5 win over Roy Halladay and the Phillies in the 2011 NLDS and a 3-0 record in the World Series with a 2.00 ERA.
In the 2011 World Series, he pitched three games and won two, including Game 7.
Bob Gibson is not only the greatest Cardinal pitcher of all time, but one of the greatest pitchers ever. He overcame asthma as a child to become a proficient athlete (he left the Harlem Globetrotters to play baseball). He refused to leave a game after Roberto Clemete broke his leg with a line drive. He is the all-time Cardinals leader in wins (251) and strikeouts (3,117), innings pitched (3,884.1) complete games (255), shutouts (56) and hit-batsman (102).
An eight-time All Star, and two-time Cy Young Award winner, Gibson was one of the most feared pitchers of his time described by players as simply "terrifying." He glared at opposing hitters, threw inside at will and was known for working extremely fast. Teammate Curt Flood said he could throw a baseball through a brick wall.
He won the MVP award in 1968 after going 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA, the lowest ERA ever with 300 or more innings pitched.
But for as great as he was in the regular season, Gibson is considered the greatest World Series pitcher ever. His eight complete games are an all-time record. His 17 strikeouts in Game 1 in 1968 is also a record.
He lost his first World Series game in 1964 and then rattled off seven consecutive World Series wins (another record). Those seven wins are also a Cardinals record, along with a ridiculous 1.89 ERA and 92 strikeouts.