St. Louis Cardinals: The National League's Winningest Team

Harold FriendChief Writer INovember 13, 2011

A Greater Cardinal Than Even Albert Pujols
A Greater Cardinal Than Even Albert PujolsEzra Shaw/Getty Images

In 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals will celebrate their 120th birthday. They have won 11 World Series championships, which is second only to the New York Yankees. The teams have met in five World Series. The Cardinals have won three of them.

The Cardinals are a St. Louis treasure. No fans love their team more than Cardinals fans. Fine, maybe Brooklyn fans loved the Dodgers as much, but the Brooklyn Dodgers haven't existed since 1958.

There is an old story about a Cardinals fan who passed away. Standing before the "Pearly Gates," he was asked where he had been at the moment of death. He replied that he had been at Busch Stadium.

"Ah," St. Peter said, "then you will be disappointed here in Heaven."

The Cardinals have never received enough credit for being the winningest of all National League teams. Since 1900, they have won 18 pennants and 11 World Series. Before they moved to San Francisco, the New York Giants won 17 pennants but only five World Series.

Yes folks, the Cardinals have won the most National League pennants. Some teams have good seasons. The St. Louis Cardinals have good eras.

Anheuser-Busch bought the Cardinals from Fred Saigh, who had been convicted of tax evasion and ordered to sell the team, in 1953. August "Gussie" Busch became the team president.

The New York Yankees have had some of the greatest hitters in baseball history, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.

The St. Louis Cardinals have had Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols and Joe Medwick. The Yankees get the edge.

But great pitching stops great hitting. Grover Cleveland Alexander, Dizzy Dean and Bob Gibson top any Yankees pitcher, with the exception of Whitey Ford. Mariano Rivera doesn't count. He wasn't a starter.

The Cardinals have had some great rivalries, starting with the Chicago Cubs. But while the Cubs lead in regular season wins, they have 16 pennants to the Cards' 18. With respect to World Series, how does 11 to two sound?

Many veteran fans used to say that New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry couldn't be a rivalry because since the Red Sox won the 1918 World Series, the Yankees won 26 to the Red Sox's none. Of course, the Red Sox have won in 2004 and 2007 while the Yankees have won only in 2009.

Since the last Cubs' world championship in 1908, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series.

St. Louis Cardinals fans are used to winning. What makes them—and not the New York Mets—"amazing" is the number of times the Cardinals surprised the "experts" once late September and October rolled around.

Source Citation

"The spirit of St Louis." The Economist [US] 17 Oct. 1992: 106. General OneFile. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.