St. Louis Cardinals

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St. Louis Cardinals
Established 1882
Cardinals Logo 02.gif
Major League Affiliations
Current Uniform
Nl 2005 stlouis 01.gif
Ballpark
Major League Titles
World Series Titles (10) 2006 • 1982 • 1967 • 1964 • 1946
1944 • 1942 • 1934 • 1931
1926
NL Pennants (17) 2006 • 2004 • 1987 • 1985 • 1982
1968 • 1967 • 1964 • 1946
1944 • 1943 • 1942 • 1934
1931 • 1930 • 1928 • 1926
AA Pennants (4) 1888 • 1887 • 1886 • 1885
Central Division Titles (7) 2006 • 2005 • 2004 • 2002 • 2001
2000 • 1996
East Division titles (3) [1] 1987 • 1985 • 1982
Wild Card Berths (1) [2] 2001

[1] - In 1981, the Cardinals finished with the overall best record in the East Division. However, a players' strike in the middle of the season forced the season to be split into two halves. St. Louis finished second in both halves and was thereby deprived of a post-season appearance.
[2] - In 2001, the Cardinals and the Houston Astros finished the season with identical records of 93-69 and finished tied for first place in the Central Division standings. Both teams were awarded a co-championship.1. According to MLB, this was the "the first shared championship in major-league history" 2. For playoff seeding, the NL Central slot went to Houston and St. Louis was awarded the wild card berth.

The St. Louis Cardinals are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Louis. They are in the Central Division of the National League.

Franchise History

Timeline of Nicknames

  • Called St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1882
  • Called St. Louis Browns from 1883 to 1898
  • Called St. Louis Perfectos in 1899
  • Called St. Louis Cardinals from 1900 to present

Early Years

The team was formed as part of the American Association in 1882 where they enjoyed a four-year dynasty under flamboyant owner Chris von der Ahe. Initially they were known as the "Brown Stockings", named for a previous professional team in the city, whose name was one of several "Stockings" teams inspired by the success of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. This new team's nickname was quickly shortened to "Browns". The Browns squared off against the National League's Chicago White Stockings twice in the early version of the World Series. The Series of 1885 ended in dispute and with no resolution. St. Louis won the 1886 Series outright, the only Series of that era that was won by the AA against the NL. The vigorous St. Louis-Chicago rivalry continues to this day.

During the mid-1880s, the National League also had a St. Louis entry, the Maroons, which had come in from the Union Association. The Maroons were by far the strongest entry in the UA, but they had the misfortune of arriving at the time when the Browns were in their glory, and they soon folded.

The Browns joined the National League in 1892 following the bankruptcy of the American Association. They were briefly called the Perfectos in 1899 before settling on their present name, a name reportedly inspired by switching their uniform colors from brown to red. There was already a "Reds" team at Cincinnati, so the St. Louis team became "Cardinals". Also in 1899, the Cardinals' owner transferred much of the talent from the other team he owned, the w:Cleveland Spiders, to the St. Louis franchise. This led to the demise of the Spiders. Dropping brown as the team color led to its adoption by the new American League franchise, the St. Louis Browns, which co-existed with the Cardinals during 1902-1953 before transferring to Baltimore.

1920s: The First NL Championship

The Cardinals built themselves into a winner during the mid-1920s, led by second baseman/manager Rogers Hornsby, the closest player the National League had, statistically speaking, to Babe Ruth. In 1926, the Cardinals won their first pennant in 39 years, and then shocked the baseball world by knocking off the powerful New York Yankees in seven games in the World Series. The storied Game 7 reached its climax in the seventh inning when the previous day's winning pitcher, the aging Grover Cleveland Alexander, was summoned in relief to face slugger Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded (some fans feared that Alex might have been a little "loaded" himself after celebrating the previous days win). After giving up a long foul ball, "Ol' Pete" then struck out Lazerri swinging on 3 low fastballs. A closely-guarded secret at the time was that both men in that confrontation happened to suffer from epilepsy. The Yankees failed to mount any further rallies and that World Series was a winner for the Cardinals. Years later, a movie was made about Alexander's life titled The Winning Team (1952), starring Ronald Reagan.

The Cardinals fell just short in 1927, then won the pennant again in 1928, edging out the resurging Chicago Cubs and the perennially contending New York Giants. The Cardinals did not fare so well in the World Series, as the Yankees continued their dominance from 1927 and shot down the Cardinals in four straight.

Regardless, the stage was set for the new order of the National League. Innovative Cardinals General Manager Branch Rickey was establishing a minor league farm system that would produce great players and keep the Cardinals in contention for the next two decades. Between 1926 and 1946, the Cardinals, Cubs and Giants would become fierce rivals, that trio winning 17 of the NL pennants to be had during those 21 seasons.

1930s: Ol' Diz and the "Gang"

Highlights from Cardinals history include the 1930s era Gashouse Gang featuring Dizzy Dean, Joe Medwick, Pepper Martin, and Leo Durocher.

1930-1931

The Cardinals lost the 1930 World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics 4 games to 2, but came back strong the following year, playing an aggressive game of "inside" ball that broke the back of the A's in 7 games, in what would prove to be the A's Swan Song in post-season play.

1934

In 1934, Dizzy and his younger brother, Paul Dean, combined to win 49 games - still a single season record for brothers. Dizzy, whose real name was Jerome Herman Dean and was called "Jay" by his pals, won 30 of them, with Paul (facetiously nicknamed "Daffy" by the press) contributing 19 wins. Dean's country humor made him a popular favorite, particularly in the rural south and midwest where Cardinals fans were numerous. The outgoing "Diz" and the shy "Daf" (a pair that Diz called "Me an' Paul") sometimes teamed up in doubleheaders. On September 21, 1934, Dizzy won the first game and then Paul pitched a no-hitter in the second game. Later, Diz jokingly remarked that he wished Paul had told him he was going to throw a no-hitter, because "Then I'd've pitched one too!"

1935

In 1935 the Cardinals were overcome and defeated by the Chicago Cubs, who reeled off 21 straight wins in September. The Cubs clinched the pennant in St. Louis, although their streak had been snapped by then.

1937

In 1937, Dizzy Dean's toe was broken by a line drive in the All-Star Game, and he injured his arm during the recovery process, losing his famous fastball, and signalling a brief decline by the Cardinals.

1940s: The War Years and a Young "Man"

In the early 1940s, the Cardinals dominated the National League. The 1942 "St. Louis Swifties" won 106 games, the most in franchise history, and are widely regarded as among the greatest baseball teams of all time. In 1943 and again in 1944 they posted the second best records in team history at 105-49. The 1944 World Series was particularly memorable as they met their crosstown rivals, the St. Louis Browns, in the "Streetcar Series" or "Trolley Series". The Cardinals beat the Browns 4 games to 2 to win the 1944 World Series. Outfielder Stan "The Man" Musial led the ’44 team. Known to loyal fans as "Ol' Number 6", Musial spent 23 years in a Cardinals uniform. In 1968, a statue of Musial was constructed outside Busch Memorial Stadium (since relocated to the entrance of new Busch Stadium).

After finishing 3 games behind the Cubs in 1945, St. Louis came back to tie for the pennant in 1946, and ousted the Brooklyn Dodgers in a playoff series to get to the World Series. They faced a powerful Boston Red Sox team and defeated them in 7 games, the eventual winning run in Game 7 coming in the eighth inning on Enos Slaughter's famous mad dash around the bases on a hit to shallow left center field.

In 1947, the Cardinals (who were effectively the South's only major league team until the 1960s) gained notoriety by threatening to boycott games against the Brooklyn Dodgers to protest the Dodgers' signing of a black player, Jackie Robinson, by former Cardinals front-office genius Branch Rickey, who was now building the Dodgers into a perpetual contender as had previously done with the Cardinals. The alleged ringleader of the boycott was Enos Slaughter. National League president Ford Frick threatened to ban any players who boycotted any games, and the boycott never materialized. The Cardinals did not sign a black regular until Curt Flood in 1958. The Cardinals' resistance to the trend of hiring minority talent contributed to a team slump that ran for the better part of the next two decades. Once they became sufficiently color-blind and brought in some high-caliber minority players, their fortunes would reverse and they would again become a contender. However, the organization was also the first Major League team to integrate spring training housing a decade later.

1960s: The Best Trade Ever Made

The Cardinals front office continued to improve their minority hiring record, and built the Cardinals into another of their periodic dynasties. In 1963, they made a late-season run against the Dodgers which came close to putting Stan Musial into a World Series in his announced final season. The Dodgers held them off on that occasion, but for the last 6 years before divisional play went into effect and changed the nature of the pennant races, there were only two colors on National League pennants: Dodger Blue and Cardinal Red.

1964

1964 saw one of the wildest pennant races in baseball history. The Philadelphia Phillies seemed to have a commanding lead, but fell apart in the last two weeks of the season, as the Cardinals and other teams pounced on the opportunity. The Cardinals, thanks in part to a mid-season acquisition from the Cubs, one Lou Brock, won on the last day of the season, finishing a game ahead of the Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds, with the San Francisco Giants and the Milwaukee Braves close behind.

The Brock acquisition was part of a multi-player exchange that brought veterans (notably pitcher Ernie Broglio) to the Cubs. Ironically, it was thought at the time to be a good move for the Cubs, although some observers were wary of sacrificing young talent. The other players in the deal have largely been forgotten, and the swap became known (in glory for the Cardinals, and infamy for the Cubs) as the "Brock for Broglio" trade.

In a series that resembled a rematch of the franchises' first encounter in 1926, the upstart "Redbirds", led by third baseman and captain Ken Boyer, took on the veteran Yankees, which featured his younger brother Clete, also an All-Star third baseman. Ken Boyer's stunning grand slam home run in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium, along with the overpowering pitching of their young twirler Bob Gibson, resulted in a 4 games to 3 win by the Cardinals. This signalled a "Changing of the Guard" in baseball, as this was the last Series appearance by the "Old" Yankees dynasty. Prior to 2001, the Cardinals remained the only team to hold an overall World Series edge against the Yankees, 3 Series to 2.

In a slightly bizarre post-season twist, manager Johnny Keane, who had been targeted for firing before the Cardinals' made their late-season comeback, left the team and took the job managing the Yankees. The Cardinals then promoted coach Red Schoendienst, who would take the managerial helm for the next 12 seasons and become a Cardinals legend.

1967

In 1967, the Cardinals ("El Birdos") romped through the National League and then defeated the Boston Red Sox in the World Series, bursting "The Impossible Dream" bubble of the latter team, which had won their first pennant in 21 years, on the last day of the season. The 1967 team featured future Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson, who won 3 games in the Series.

1968

In 1968, "The Year of the Pitcher", Gibson finished with an astonishingly low ERA of 1.12, and the Cardinals again won the pennant by a double-digit margin. Although essentially the same team as the previous year, they faced a tougher opponent in the Detroit Tigers, who had also won their pennant easily, behind the 31-win season of Denny McLain. Even though both Gibson and McLain were league MVPs that season, another Tigers starter, Mickey Lolich, stole the show, becoming the last pitcher to date to win three complete games in a single Series. The Tigers won the closely contested 7-game affair. It was the last Series appearance for this great Cardinals team, and the last Series before baseball adopted its divisional format.

1969

1969 saw a number of changes as the major leagues expanded into 24 teams and 4 divisions. Originally, the Cardinals were to be placed in the new National League Western Division. But the Mets wanted three extra home games against St. Louis. In addition, the Cubs were forced to be in the East and have the more eastern teams of Atlanta and Cincinnati placed in the West. The resurgent Chicago Cubs led the newly-formed NL East Division for much of the summer before faltering. The Cardinals put on a mid-season surge, as their famous announcer Harry Caray (in what would prove to be his final season of 25 doing Cardinals broadcasts) began singing, "The Cardinals are coming, tra-la-la-la". However, to the surprise of both Chicago and St. Louis fans, the "Miracle" New York Mets would ultimately win the division, as well as the league championship and the World Series.

1970's

In 1970, Curt Flood, along with Tim McCarver, Byron Browne, and Joe Hoerner, was to be traded to the Phillies for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas, and Dick Donovan. However, Flood would challenge the reserve clause since he did not want to play for one of the worst teams in the National League. As a result, Willie Montanez and another player would compensate for Flood as he would set the tone for free agency. Also in 1970, Bob Gibson would continue his dominance as he won another Cy Young Award. He would be the last Cardinal to win it until Chris Carpenter won it in 2005.

Another deal with the Phillies proved to be even more disastrous. Prior to the 1972 season, owner Gussie Busch refused to renegotiate the contract of left-handed pitcher Steve Carlton, who was coming off of his first 20-win season and an appearance in the All-Star Game. Instead of paying the money, Busch traded Carlton to Philadelphia for right-hander Rick Wise. Carlton immediately turned the deal into a steal for the Phillies by winning 27 games and the Cy Young Award for a club that finished the 1972 season at 59-97.

The Cardinals continued to be perennial contenders through the early 70s, led by popular manager Red Schoendienst, but eventually trailed off. Many players came and went through the Gateway to the West. They included 1971 National League MVP Joe Torre and 1979 NL MVP first baseman Keith Hernandez. Others included Jose Cruz, Dick Allen, and Larry Dierker. Changes started to come in the late 70s, and the Cardinals would soon become champions again.

1980s: Whiteyball and the "Runnin' Redbirds"

After a less-than-successful 1970s, new Cardinal manager Whitey Herzog revived the winning tradition at Busch Stadium. Herzog's brand of baseball, known in St. Louis as "Whiteyball", catered to the hard Astroturf of Busch Stadium and featured speed on the base paths, sparkling defense, and unconventional roster moves. Herzog was known to put the pitcher in right field, bring in a reliever for one batter, and then put the original pitcher back on the mound.

1982

With Herzog at the helm, the Cardinals aced the Phillies by 6 games to win their first NL East title. After sweeping the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series, the Cardinals faced the Milwaukee Brewers in the World Series. The Cardinals would win in 7 games, capturing their ninth world series championship, most among National League Clubs.

1985

After Bruce Sutter's 45 saves in 1984 sent him to the Braves, the Cardinals found a new savior in rookie outfielder Vince Coleman. The youngster would win Rookie of the Year by stealing 110 bases. Speaking of saviors, outfielder Willie McGee would win MVP honors. He would be the last Card to do so until Albert Pujols won the MVP in 2005. In a close race with the Mets (led by ex-Card Hernandez), the Cardinals would win the NL East once again. The NLCS against the Dodgers featured both shortstop Ozzie Smith and 1st baseman Jack Clark hitting game-winning home runs off Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer (the former did it in game 5 while the latter did it in the 6th game). The light hitting shortstop (and immortal Cardinal) surprised everyone in the extra innings, prompting the famous call of "Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!" by Jack Buck. This play is considered one of the all-time highlights in Cardinal history. However, Coleman was not able to play in the World Series due to an injury in the NLCS.

The World Series was known as the "I-70 Series" since it pitted them against their Missouri rival Kansas City Royals. After leading 3-2, Game 6 of that Series featured "The Call". In the bottom of the 9th inning, umpire Don Denkinger called Royals batter Jorge Orta safe at first base — a call refuted by broadcast television's instant replay. The Cardinals, leading 1-0 at the time of the play and needing that victory to clinch the title, went on to lose Game 6 a few batters later by the score of 2-1. The "Runnin' Redbirds" then were blown out of Game 7 the following night, by the score of 11-0, as both of their pitching aces failed to come through on this occasion — John Tudor, who, upon being removed from the game, punched a mechanical fan and severely cut his pitching hand, and Joaquín Andújar, who was ejected by home plate umpire Denkinger for arguing balls and strikes.

1987

The Cardinals had a lackluster year in 1986 with Rookie of the Year Todd Worrell. But the next year was highlighted by a Terry Pendleton home run on a September 11 game against the contending Mets. The Redbirds would win 95 games, capturing the NL East title. The NLCS pitted the Redbirds against the San Francisco Giants. The Cardinals would win that series in 7 games (despite having the Giants' Jeffrey Leonard win the NLCS MVP award).

The Cardinals again won the National League in 1987, losing to the Minnesota Twins 4 games to 3 in the World Series. This time, St. Louis was without clean-up hitter Jack Clark, the Cardinals'#1 offensive threat, who caught a cleat in the abominable turf at Montreal's Olympic Stadium in the closing days of the regular season. The Series was the first in which the home team won each of the seven games. The Cardinals held their own at Busch Stadium, but the electronically-enhanced crowd noise and the "Homer Hankies" in the Metrodome seemed to spook the Redbirds. The booming bats of the Twins, which seemed to come alive only in the "Homerdome", were too much for the Cardinals "inside baseball" style of offense to overcome. Games 1, 2 and 6 were pretty much blowouts, and in Game 7 the Twins' pitching shut down the Cardinals.

1990s: A New Era and Big Mac

After August Busch Jr. died in 1989, the Cardinals would finish in last place in 1990. That season, Whitey Herzog was replaced by Schoendienst and eventually Joe Torre. During Torre's tenure in St. Louis, the Cardinals' highest finish was 87 wins (3rd place in 1993).

In 1995, Anheuser Busch sold the Cardinal team and Busch Stadium to a new ownership group headed by Southwest Bank's Drew Baur, Fred Hanser and William DeWitt, Jr., for a price substantially undervalued in order to keep the team in St. Louis. Additionally, Civic Center Redevelopment, earlier acquired by AB, sold the parking garages and other surrounding property owned by this quasi-civic organization to the new ownership group.

The new ownership group almost immediately sold off the parking garages next to the stadium to an investment group. With the proceeds of sale from the garages, the cost basis in the team was in the $100 million range, a real steal considering that Forbes Magazine values the Cardinals franchise on the high side of $300 million.

The year before the sale of the team, Anheuser Busch had hired baseball executive Walt Jocketty as their new general manager. With a new ownership group in place and their commitment to return a winning team to St. Louis, Jocketty's expertise in locating baseball talent soon was tested in one baseball's most successful franchises.

The Cardinals reached the playoffs in 1996 (the first season for long-time Oakland Athletics manager Tony La Russa), but the Atlanta Braves defeated them for the National League pennant. The Cardinals blew a 3-1 series lead to the Braves in the 1996 NLCS.

Mark McGwire broke the single-season home run record while playing with St. Louis in 1998

1998: Big Mac's Big Year

See main article: Mark McGwire Day

In 1998, Cardinals' first baseman Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs battled to set the record for most home runs in one season. McGwire broke Roger Maris's 37 year-old record of 61 on September 8 with a low line drive over Busch Stadium's left field fence. Somewhat ironically, it was the shortest home run McGwire hit that season. McGwire went on to finish with 70 home runs and had a section of Interstate 70 running through downtown St. Louis re-named "the Mark McGwire Highway". His record stood until Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001. The anabolic steroids scandals a few years later have possibly tainted these records, but at the time it was great theater and helped baseball recover further from the players' strike in 1994 which had angered and alienated many fans.

2000s and Beyond

2000

In 2000, the Cardinals lost to the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series. This series followed a series against the Atlanta Braves marked by the implosion of phenom pitcher Rick Ankiel in the NLDS, who had 4 wild pitches in one inning and never regained his form, and is currently trying to make his way back to the big leagues by transitioning to the outfield. In 2001, the Cardinals advanced to the post-season as a "Wild Card" team after posting the second-best record in the National League, but losing the division to the Houston Astros. The eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Cardinals in a five-game playoff series.

2001

In 2001, the Cardinals finished the season with a 93-69 record. The Houston Astros, also in the National League Central, finished with an identical record. Since Houston won the season series against the Cardinals, 9 games to 7 games, Houston received the NL Central playoff seeding and St. Louis received the wild card berth. Major League Baseball refers to the 2001 Cardinals as "co-division champions" along with the Astros and notes that this was the first shared championship in major league history.[1] This year was the last for McGwire, whose arrival in St. Louis had signaled the start of a new era for the Redbirds, and whose injury-prone career finally took too much of a toll upon him.

2002

In 2002, the Cardinals won the Central Division and this time defeated the Diamondbacks 3 games to none to reach the National League Championship Series, but lost 4 games to 1 to the San Francisco Giants. The year was also marred with tragedy for the Cardinal family. On June 18, beloved, Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck died at the age of 77. Just ten months earlier, Buck (despite ailing from lung cancer and Parkinson's disease) stirred emotions when he addressed the crowd at Busch Stadium when Major League Baseball resumed after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The biggest shock came just four days after Buck's passing when pitcher Darryl Kile died suddenly at the age of 33 of heart failure while in Chicago for a series against the Cubs.

2004

In 2004, St. Louis posted the best record in the Major Leagues, tallying their most wins (105) since the 1940s and earning home field advantage for the NLDS and NLCS. In the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cardinals rolled, winning the series 3-1. Facing off against division rival Houston in the 2004 National League Championship Series, the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead, then lost three straight in Houston. Coming home for Game 6, the Cardinals took a 4-3 lead into the 9th inning, but Houston tied it up. Jim Edmonds hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th to win the game. The next night, Albert Pujols helped St. Louis win Game 7 to clinch the series with a game tying hit. Pujols was brought home by Scott Rolen's two-run home run. Albert Pujols was named the series MVP.

World Series Run

The Cardinals played the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 World Series. This was the third time the two teams have faced each other in the Fall Classic, with the Cardinals winning the previous two in 1946 and 1967. The Cardinals were again without a key player for the World Series: this time it was ace pitcher Chris Carpenter, who, after going 15-5, tweaked his shoulder in September and missed the entire post-season. St. Louis was ill-prepared for the high-riding Red Sox who had just made history by coming back from a 3 games to none deficit against the Yankees to win the American League Pennant. The Cardinals were swept by the Red Sox in four games, with Boston winning their first World Series championship in 86 years. The best demonstration of St. Louis' troubles in the Series: Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds, the normally fearsome 3-4-5 hitters for the Cardinals, were a dismal 6-for-45 with 1 RBI.

October 27, 2004, Game 4 of the 2004 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox will be remembered by movie fans as well. Portions of the romantic comedy Fever Pitch were filmed during the World Series. Hollywood movie stars Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon were filmed celebrating together on the field of Busch Stadium after the Red Sox victory. A brief shot of the filming could be seen live on the Fox broadcast of the World Series.

2005

On September 17, 2005, The Cardinals clinched their fourth NL Central Division title in six years by beating the Chicago Cubs 5-1. This put them into the playoffs for the fifth time in that span. In the first round, the Cardinals swept the NL West Division Champs, the San Diego Padres.

Playoffs

Down to their last out and strike and facing elimination in game 5 of the 2005 National League Championship Series, along with a screaming crowd and the Houston Astros' shutdown closer Brad Lidge's seemingly unhittable breaking pitches, David Eckstein breathed life into the team, hitting a single in the hole on the left side to reach 1st and bring the tying run to the plate. The next batter, Jim Edmonds, swung and missed one of Lidge's ubiquitous sliders but eventually worked a base on balls. With the "Killer E's" on base, Albert Pujols, one of the game's most feared hitters, stepped to the plate. After a quick strike, Pujols slammed a towering drive 412 feet onto the train tracks behind left field (had the game been played with the roof open, the drive would have exited Minute Maid Park, as it first hit off the glass wall which forms part of the roof), to put the Cardinals ahead 5-4 and turn the crowd roar into stunned silence (one of the announcers described it as a "vacuum" from the sudden intake of air by the crowd). The blow was reminiscent of Dave Henderson's clutch homer against the Angels in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS.

Houston was then shut down in the bottom of the 9th by the Cardinals' closer Jason Isringhausen to preserve the win, guaranteeing at least one more game at old Busch Stadium. However, the Astros dominated Game 6, shutting the Cardinals down 5-1 for their first berth in the World Series in franchise history.

That offseason, Chris Carpenter won the Cy Young award and Albert Pujols won the NL MVP award. This made the Cardinals the first team since the 1991 Braves to have somebody on their team to win both of these awards the same year (The 2002 Oakland Athletics are the most recent to have a player win both the AL MVP and Cy Young award).

2006: A New Busch Stadium, Another Championship

In the off-season of 2005, the Cardinals needed to fill in the holes left by the retired Larry Walker, as well as Matt Morris, Reggie Sanders, Mark Grudzielanek, John Mabry, and Julian Tavarez, who departed as free agents. The Cardinals first traded pitcher Ray King to the Colorado Rockies for second baseman Aaron Miles and outfielder Larry Bigbie. They later signed free agents Juan Encarnación, Sidney Ponson, Junior Spivey, Braden Looper, Gary Bennett, Jeff Nelson, and Deivi Cruz. All are on the Major League roster except Ponson (optioned, was with the New York Yankees until recently released), Spivey (AAA Memphis Redbirds), Cruz (released), and Nelson (released).

Old Busch Stadium was demolished in the 2005 offseason, and the third Busch Stadium opened on April 4, 2006 with a minor league game between the Memphis Redbirds and the Springfield Cardinals. The home opener was on April 10, 2006, with the Cardinals winning 6 to 4 against the Milwaukee Brewers. A week later, Albert Pujols hit three homers in a row to defeat the Cincinnati Reds.

From June 20-June 28, the Cardinals suffered an eight game losing streak, their longest since July 4-July 15, 1988. This was in large part due to a slump in their starting pitching, and various injuries to Albert Pujols, David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, and Mark Mulder. A second eight game losing streak occurred from July 27-August 4.

In late September, with a lead of seven and a half games over the Cincinnati Reds, and eight and a half games over the Houston Astros, the Cardinals lost seven straight games, and the Astros won nine straight, giving the Cardinals a lead of only one-half game over the Astros, and two and a half games over the Reds. On the last day of the regular season, despite a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, featuring 9th inning home runs by Chris Duncan, Albert Pujols, and Scott Spiezio, the Cardinals clinched the NL Central title, with the Astros' loss to Atlanta 3-1.

2006 Playoffs

They opened play at San Diego in the first round of the playoffs on October 3. The Cardinals won games one and two with scores of 5-1 and 2-0. The series shifted to St. Louis where they lost game three 3-1; however, the Cardinals won game four with a score of 6-2 to clinch the series.

Their next opponent was the New York Mets in the NLCS, eventually starting October 12th at Shea Stadium. The NLCS was scheduled to begin on October 11, but the game was postponed due to heavy rain. In the first game, despite pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings against the Mets' potent lineup, Jeff Weaver gave up a two-out single to Mets catcher, Paul Lo Duca. Carlos Beltran, who consistently terrorized the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS, hit a towering two-run home run--the only two runs New York needed to win the game 2-0.

In game two, the Cardinals came back from deficits of 3-0, 4-2, and 6-4 to win the game in dramatic fashion, the first playoff game in 2006 decided with a comeback after the sixth inning. Thanks to a three-run ninth inning against Mets closer Billy Wagner, including a solo blast by So Taguchi, the Cardinals won 9-6 to tie the series going back to St. Louis.

The Cardinals began game three with a fast start, scoring 2 in the first inning and 3 in the second. The scoring included a home run by pitcher Jeff Suppan, his second career longball, both off of Mets starting pitcher Steve Trachsel. Suppan pitched superbly, throwing 8 innings and giving up 3 hits and no runs. The Cardinals won 5-0.

In game four, Anthony Reyes walked four in four innings, giving up two runs and three hits. He left with the game tied 2-2, but the Cardinals' bullpen performed terribly in relief, giving up 10 runs to the Mets' batting order. Carlos Beltran finished with two home runs, Carlos Delgado with a homer and five RBIs, and even solo taters by Eckstein, Edmonds and Molina couldn't save the home team as the Cards went down to defeat 12-5. Pujols went 0-4, continuing his disappointing series.

In game five, the Cardinals gave the Mets an early lead, 2-0, but starting pitcher Jeff Weaver effectively shut the door after that, going six innings and giving up only 2 runs and 6 hits. The offense was sparked by Albert Pujols, who hit his first home run and delivered his first RBI of the series in the bottom of the 4th inning. Chris Duncan added a long home run in the 6th, and the St. Louis Cardinals moved one game away from their 17th pennant.

Despite having reigning Cy Young award winner Chris Carpenter on the mound in game six, the Cardinals lost to Mets 4-2.

In game 7, a 9th inning homerun by Yadier Molina put the Cardinals over the Mets 3-1. In the bottom of the 9th Cardinals closer Adam Wainwright overcame a bases loaded situation to strike out Carlos Beltran with a surprise strike on a 0-2 count, thus clinching the NL Pennant with a 3-1 victory over the Mets. Jeff Suppan was named series MVP.

2006 World Series
St. Louis Cardinals: 2006 World Series Champions

The Cardinals entered the World Series as underdogs to the heavily favored Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals had been underdogs to San Diego in the NLDS and the New York Mets in the NLCS, so not being expected to win in the World Series was nothing new. One reporter said "It's not a question if the Cardinals can win the World Series, it's a question of whether or not the Cardinals can even win a game." The Cardinals won the first game of the World Series in Detroit 7-2. The winning pitcher was Anthony Reyes, outdueling Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. This was the first time in Major League history that two rookie pitchers faced each other in Game 1 of the World Series. Reyes retired 17 straight batters and went 8+ innings, whereas Verlander was pulled in the sixth. The game was also characterized by homeruns from Cardinals Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen.

In Game 2, the Cardinals lost 3-1, as Detroit's veteran pitcher Kenny Rogers out-pitched St. Louis's Jeff Weaver, allowing only two hits through eight innings. There was controversy concerning the appearance of dirt or possibly pine tar (an illegal substance in baseball for pitchers) on Rogers's hand; however, after the substance was washed off of Rogers' pitching hand before the second inning, nothing else was done. An ESPN.com online poll showed the majority of espn online voters believe Kenny Rogers was cheating. [2]

The Cardinals took Game 3, 5-0. Former Cy Young award winner for St. Louis, Chris Carpenter, went 8 innings on 3 hits. Two runs were scored on a Jim Edmonds double, and another two on an error by Detroit pitcher Joel Zumaya. Game 4 was postponed by rain, to be played on Thursday, October 26.

Game 4 was rained out the first day they tried to play, and rain threatened the second attempt at game 4, but MLB got the game in and the Cardinals won game 4, 5-4 to move within one victory of their first World Series title since 1982. David Eckstein was the player of the game, because of the RBI double off Craig Monroe's glove that put the Cardinals on top in the 8th. He also had 3 doubles and 2 RBIs in the game. An error by the pitcher that allowed a run brings the Tigers up to 6 total errors in the series and 4 from the pitching staff (more than any other team in World Series History).

On October 27, the Cardinals won game 5, 4-2. The winning pitcher was Jeff Weaver, who went 8 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 9. Adam Wainwright got the save, striking out Brandon Inge for the final out.

This was the first World Series Win for the Cardinals since 1982. David Eckstein was presented the 2006 World Series MVP Award, along with a Chevrolet Corvette Z06, for his performance.

The number of championships won matches the uniform number of manager Tony LaRussa (10), who had asked to wear the number because he wanted to help the Cards win their tenth world championship. LaRussa also joined Sparky Anderson as the only two managers to win the World Series while managing in both leagues.

Other Historical Notes

  • For much of the last half of the 20th century, the Cardinals' radio flagship was St. Louis powerhouse 1120 KMOX-AM. Over the years such announcers as Harry Caray and Jack Buck (Baseball Hall of Fame honorees), the latter's son Joe Buck, and former Cardinal player Mike Shannon broadcast games over KMOX and its affiliate network. In late 2005, after the Cardinals organization purchased a controlling interest in rival station 550 KTRS (AM), it was announced that KTRS would become the team's new flagship station beginning with the 2006 season. Missouri native and longtime Chicago White Sox announcer John Rooney joined Shannon in the broadcast booth in the inaugural season with the new station.
  • Between 1960 and 1987, St. Louis was home to two big-league Cardinals teams, baseball and football. Sports fans and local news coverage got into the habit of saying "the Baseball Cardinals" or "the Football Cardinals" to distinguish the two. Locals also got into the habit of using "Redbirds" to refer specifically to the baseball team. This nickname had been commonly used decades before the football team came to town. As a result, the Football Cardinals became known as the "Gridbirds" or the "Big Red."
  • Over the years, Cardinal fans have gained the reputation as being the best and most knowledgeable in the game, according to Peter Gammons and other experts, and St. Louis has been deemed "Baseball City, USA". Players have been known to tell other players that they have not played baseball until they have played baseball in St. Louis. The atmosphere is so addictive that several players have accepted a "home team discount" (lower salary) to remain on the Cardinals (which play in a relatively small market compared to other franchises), most notably Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, and Albert Pujols.
  • St. Louis-Chicago Cubs rivalry draws sell-outs on a regular basis. More recently a new rivalry with the Houston Astros due to the frequent meetings in the NLCS in the past years, it is often dubbed as the "Juice-Beer Rivalry" (in reference to their stadium names Minute Maid Park, an orange juice brand, for Houston, and Busch Stadium, a beer brand, for St. Louis).
  • The Cardinals are second only to the New York Yankees in the number of World Series championships won. The Cardinals are the only one of the eight oldest National League teams to hold an edge over the Yankees in Series play, 3 to 2.
  • In 2005, the Cardinals played their final season in old Busch Stadium. Beginning in 2006, new Busch Stadium became the new home of the baseball Cardinals.
  • The Cardinals are one of the few teams to open a stadium with a World Series title in its inaugural year. The last was the 1923 New York Yankees.
  • The team's 83 victories during the 2006 regular season are the fewest total victories for a team that went on to win the World Series in a non-strike season. The previous record-holder was the 1987 Minnesota Twins, who had 85 wins in the regular season, but defeated the Cardinals for the championship that year.

Season-by-Season Records

  • St. Louis Brown Stockings (AA) (Not Included in W/L Total)
  • 1882 37-43 .463 5th in AA
  • St. Louis Browns (Not Included in W/L Total)
  • 1883 65-33 .663 2nd in AA
  • 1884 67-40 .626 4th in AA
  • 1885 79-33 .705 1st in AA
  • 1886 93-46 .669 1st in AA
  • 1887 95-40 .704 1st in AA
  • 1888 92-43 .681 1st in AA
  • 1889 90-45 .667 2nd in AA
  • 1890 78-58 .574 3rd in AA
  • 1891 86-52 .623 2nd in AA
  • St. Louis Browns (NL) (Included in W/L Total)
  • 1892 56-94 .373 11th in NL
  • 1893 57-75 .432 10th in NL
  • 1894 56-76 .424 9th in NL
  • 1895 39-92 .298 11th in NL
  • 1896 40-90 .308 11th in NL
  • 1897 20-102 .221 12th in NL
  • 1898 39-111 .260 12th in NL
  • St. Louis Perfectos
  • 1899 84-67 .556 5th in NL
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • 1900 65-75 .464 5th in NL
  • 1901 76-64 .543 4th in NL
  • 1902 56-78 .418 6th in NL
  • 1903 43-94 .314 8th in NL
  • 1904 75-79 .487 5th in NL
  • 1905 58-96 .377 6th in NL
  • 1906 52-98 .347 7th in NL
  • 1907 51-101 .340 8th in NL
  • 1908 49-105 .318 8th in NL
  • 1909 54-98 .355 7th in NL
  • 1910 63-90 .412 7th in NL
  • 1911 75-74 .503 5th in NL
  • 1912 63-90 .412 6th in NL
  • 1913 51-99 .340 8th in NL
  • 1914 81-72 .529 3rd in NL
  • 1915 72-81 .471 6th in NL
  • 1916 60-93 .392 7th in NL
  • 1917 82-70 .539 3rd in NL
  • 1918 51-78 .395 8th in NL
  • 1919 54-83 .394 7th in NL
  • 1920 75-79 .487 5th in NL
  • 1921 87-66 .569 3rd in NL
  • 1922 85-69 .552 3rd in NL
  • 1923 79-74 .516 5th in NL
  • 1924 65-89 .422 6th in NL
  • 1925 77-76 .503 4th in NL
  • 1926 89-65 .578 1st in NL Won World Series vs New York Yankees, 4-3.
  • 1927 92-61 .601 2nd in NL
  • 1928 95-59 .617 1st in NL Lost World Series to New York Yankees, 0-4.
  • 1929 78-74 .513 4th in NL
  • 1930 92-62 .597 1st in NL Lost World Series to Philadelphia Athletics, 2-4.
  • 1931 101-53 .656 1st in NL Won World Series vs Philadelphia Athletics, 4-3.
  • 1932 72-82 .468 6th in NL
  • 1933 82-71 .536 5th in NL
  • 1934 95-58 .621 1st in NL Won World Series vs Detroit Tigers, 4-3.
  • 1935 96-58 .623 2nd in NL
  • 1936 87-67 .565 2nd in NL
  • 1937 81-73 .526 4th in NL
  • 1938 71-80 .470 6th in NL
  • 1939 92-61 .601 2nd in NL
  • 1940 84-69 .549 3rd in NL
  • 1941 97-56 .634 2nd in NL
  • 1942 106-48 .688 1st in NL Won World Series vs New York Yankees, 4-1.
  • 1943 105-49 .682 1st in NL Lost World Series vs New York Yankees, 1-4.
  • 1944 105-49 .682 1st in NL Won World Series vs St. Louis Browns, 4-2.
  • 1945 95-59 .617 2nd in NL
  • 1946 98-58 .628 1st in NL Won World Series vs Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
  • 1947 89-65 .578 2nd in NL
  • 1948 85-69 .552 2nd in NL
  • 1949 96-58 .623 2nd in NL
  • 1950 78-75 .510 5th in NL
  • 1951 81-73 .526 3rd in NL
  • 1952 88-66 .571 3rd in NL
  • 1953 83-71 .539 4th in NL
  • 1954 72-82 .468 6th in NL
  • 1955 68-86 .442 7th in NL
  • 1956 76-78 .494 4th in NL
  • 1957 87-67 .565 2nd in NL
  • 1958 72-82 .468 6th in NL
  • 1959 71-83 .461 7th in NL
  • 1960 86-68 .558 3rd in NL
  • 1961 80-74 .519 5th in NL
  • 1962 84-78 .519 6th in NL
  • 1963 93-69 .574 2nd in NL
  • 1964 93-69 .574 1st in NL Won World Series vs New York Yankees, 4-3.
  • 1965 80-81 .497 7th in NL
  • 1966 83-79 .512 6th in NL
  • 1967 101-60 .627 1st in NL Won World Series vs Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
  • 1968 97-65 .599 1st in NL Lost World Series vs Detroit Tigers, 3-4.
  • 1969 87-75 .537 4th in NL East
  • 1970 76-86 .469 4th in NL East
  • 1971 90-72 .556 2nd in NL East
  • 1972 75-81 .481 4th in NL East
  • 1973 81-81 .500 2nd in NL East
  • 1974 86-75 .534 2nd in NL East
  • 1975 82-80 .506 4th in NL East
  • 1976 72-90 .444 5th in NL East
  • 1977 83-79 .512 3rd in NL East
  • 1978 69-93 .426 5th in NL East
  • 1979 86-76 .531 3rd in NL East
  • 1980 74-88 .457 4th in NL East
  • 1981 59-43 .578 2nd in NL East
  • 1982 92-70 .568 1st in NL East Won NLCS vs Atlanta Braves, 3-0. Won World Series vs Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3.
  • 1983 79-83 .488 4th in NL East
  • 1984 84-78 .519 3rd in NL East
  • 1985 101-61 .623 1st in NL East Won NLCS vs Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2. Lost World Series to Kansas City Royals, 3-4.
  • 1986 79-82 .491 3rd in NL East
  • 1987 95-67 .586 1st in NL East Won NLCS vs San Francisco Giants, 4-3. Lost World Series to Minnesota Twins, 3-4.
  • 1988 76-86 .469 5th in NL East
  • 1989 86-76 .531 3rd in NL East
  • 1990 70-92 .432 6th in NL East
  • 1991 84-78 .519 2nd in NL East
  • 1992 83-79 .512 3rd in NL East
  • 1993 87-75 .537 3rd in NL East
  • 1994 53-61 .465 3rd in NL Central No Postseason Due to Player's Strike.
  • 1995 62-81 .434 4th in NL Central
  • 1996 88-74 .543 1st in NL Central Won NLDS vs San Diego Padres, 3-0. Lost NLCS to Atlanta Braves, 3-4.
  • 1997 73-89 .451 4th in NL Central
  • 1998 83-79 .512 3rd in NL Central
  • 1999 75-86 .466 4th in NL Central
  • 2000 95-67 .586 1st in NL Central Won NLDS vs Atlanta Braves, 3-0. Lost NLCS to New York Mets, 1-4.
  • 2001 93-69 .574 1st in NL Central# Lost NLDS to Arizona Diamondbacks, 2-3.
  • 2002 97-65 .599 1st in NL Central Won NLDS vs Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-0. Lost NLCS to San Francisco Giants, 1-4.
  • 2003 85-77 .525 3rd in NL Central
  • 2004 105-57 .648 1st in NL Central Won NLDS vs Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-1. Won National League Championship Series vs Houston Astros, 4-3. Lost World Series to Boston Red Sox, 0-4.
  • 2005 100-62 .617 1st in NL Central Won NLDS vs San Diego Padres, 3-0. Lost NLCS to Houston Astros, 2-4.
  • 2006 83-78 .516 1st in NL Central Won NLDS vs San Diego Padres, 3-1. Won National League Championship Series vs New York Mets, 4-3. Won World Series vs Detroit Tigers, 4-1.
  • 2007 78-84 .481 3rd in NL Central
  • Regular Season Totals 9,843-9,195 .517
  • Playoffs 98-85 .536 (21-12, .636 in Postseason Series)
  • 10 World Series Championships (#=Won Wild Card)

Quick Facts

Uniform colors: Cardinal red, White, and Navy blue
Logo design: One or two cardinals perched on a baseball bat.
Team motto: Welcome to Baseball Heaven.
Mascot: Fredbird, an anthropomorphized Northern Cardinal
Other nicknames: Often called Redbirds, a synonym for the Cardinal bird. Sometimes called Cards, more so by headline writers than by fans.
Theme Song:"The Budweiser Clydesdale Jingle (Here Comes the King)" is associated with the team from its time as an asset of Anheuser-Busch. The song was often played by organist Ernie Hays during the 8th inning while the Budweiser Clydesdales made a circuit of Busch Stadium. In addition, other songs that have been associated with the Cardinals are:
  • "The Heat Is On" by Glenn Frey, played after Cardinals victories during the glory years of the 1980s
  • "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter, currently played after losses.
  • "Shout It Out Loud" by KISS, currently played after wins.
  • "Redbird Fever" by Gretchen Wilson, a country song about Cardinals support in Wilson's rural Illinois home
  • "Everytime We Touch" by Cascada, the team's current run-out song.
  • "Sandstorm" by Darude, played after home runs
  • "Meet Me In St. Louis", played before each game by organist Ernie Hays, with the words scrolled on the scoreboard.
Pre-bat songs include:
  • "Number One Spot" by Ludacris, for David Eckstein
  • "Ridin" by Chamillionaire, for Juan Encarnación
  • "Rollin'" by Limp Bizkit, for Scott Rolen
  • "Swing" by Trace Adkins, for Chris Duncan
  • "Bat Country" by Avenged Sevenfold, for Anthony Reyes
  • "Back in Black" by AC/DC, for Aaron Miles
Local radio: KTRS
Local Television: FSN Midwest, KPLR (CW 11)
Broadcasters: John Rooney and Mike Shannon on radio, Dan McLaughlin, Al Hrabosky and Joe Buck on FSN, Wayne Hagin and Rick Horton on KPLR.
Overall Record (1901-2005): 8,433 wins - 7818 losses
Spring Training Facility: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, FL
Rivals: Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals
Famous fans: Chingy, Nelly, Kristin Cavallari, John Grisham, Bill Clinton, Billy Bob Thornton, Gretchen Wilson, Jason LaBruyere

Retired Numbers

  • StL Rogers Hornsby, OF, 1915-26, 1933; MGR, 1925-26 (played in era before uniform numbers)
  • 1 Ozzie Smith, SS, 1982-96
  • 2 Red Schoendienst, 2B, 1945-56, 1961-63; MGR, 1965-76, 1980 & 1990; Coach 1964, 1977-95
  • 6 Stan Musial, 1B-OF, 1941-63
  • 9 Enos Slaughter, OF, 1938-53
  • 14 Ken Boyer, 3B, MGR, 1955-65, Coach 1971-72, MGR 1978-80
  • 17 Dizzy Dean, P, 1930-37
  • 20 Lou Brock, OF, 1964-79
  • 42 Jackie Robinson (retired throughout baseball)
  • 42 Bruce Sutter, RP, 1981-84
  • 45 Bob Gibson, P, 1959-75, Coach 1995
  • 85 Gussie Busch, Team Owner, 1953-89

Cardinal stockholders honored Busch with the number 85 on his 85th birthday, in 1984. Also, while not officially retired, the number 25 of Mark McGwire (1B, 1997-2001) has not been reissued since he retired, the number 51 of Willie McGee (OF 1982-1990, 1996-1999) has not been reissued since the late 2001 season, and the number 57 of Darryl Kile (P, 2000-02) has not been reissued since his death in the middle of the 2002 season. The team also honored longtime radio commentator Jack Buck by placing a drawing of a microphone on the wall with the retired numbers.

The Cardinals have retired the second-most numbers in baseball (10), behind only the New York Yankees (16), although the Los Angeles Dodgers have also retired 10 numbers.

At Busch Memorial Stadium, the retired greats were honored with large flagpoles in the center field scoreboard area that had flags with their numbers on them, while at the base of them was a large sign with the number and the player's nickname (for instance, Stan Musial's flagpole had "6 STAN the MAN" at the base of it). At the current Busch Stadium, the numbers were first memorialized in small circles below the scoreboard in right-center field: when several members of the local media complained (including influential columnist Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch), the Cardinals erected a mural on the left field wall with pictures of the players as well as their numbers.

Minor League Affiliations

  • AAA: Memphis Redbirds, Pacific Coast League
  • AA: Springfield Cardinals, Texas League
  • Advanced A: Palm Beach Cardinals, Florida State League
  • A: Quad City Swing, Midwest League
  • Short A: State College Spikes, New York-Penn League
  • Rookie: Johnson City Cardinals, Appalachian League
  • Rookie: VSL Cardinals, Venezuelan Summer League

See Also

External Links