Who would you put in the St. Louis Cardinals all-time lineup?
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The St. Louis Cardinals have a long and rich baseball history, one that includes a National League-record 11 World Series titles. There have been great plays and Hall of Fame players, and the franchise has some of the most devoted and passionate fans in all of sports. Like most of the decisions during our all-time starting lineups, the nods for the Cardinals’ version were not easy. So, who belongs in the lineup? Here are our picks for the best nine (plus a few more spots) in St. Louis Cardinals history.
C: Yadier Molina
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Yadier Molina is simply an amazing backstop, and a Cardinal through and through. And don’t overlook his bat: a career .281 hitter with over 2000 hits (and counting). Add that in with his leadership— on and off the field—and it’s easy to see why we have him as the starting catcher.
1B: Albert Pujols
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It was tough to see Albert Pujols leave St. Louis for Anaheim. The great Pujols hit 445 home runs over 11 seasons with St. Louis, and had 2,073 hits.
2B: Rogers Hornsby
Rogers Hornsby had 2,110 hits over 13 seasons as a Cardinal. How about a career .359 batting average with the Cardinals? A legend. And our starting second baseman.
SS: Ozzie Smith
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Ozzie Smith was one of the best shortstops to play the game. He was a 15-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glove winner, and the durability (19-year career and nearly 2000 games played for the Cardinals) was also impressive.
3B: Ken Boyer
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Ken Boyer won five Gold Gloves in 11 seasons with the Cardinals, which adds to the overall infield strength of this lineup. He had 255 of his 282 career home runs as a Redbird, which is a nice power boost from the hot corner, too.
OF: Stan Musial
Stan Musial is Mr. Cardinal. He played his entire career with St. Louis from 1941-63. “Stan the Man” missed the 1945 season due to military service. Otherwise, he was a megastar. Musial finished with 3,630 hits, including 475 home runs. He was a 24-time All-Star, 7-time batting champ, 3-time NL MVP, and 3-time World Series champ. Legend.
OF: Lou Brock
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Lou Brock specialized in stealing bases—and the Cardinals basically stole the outfielder from the Cubs in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. A Hall of Famer, Brock was an 8-time stolen base leader, 6-time All-Star and 2-time World Series champ.
OF: Curt Flood
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There are arguments for others, such as Joe Medwick and Enos Slaughter. However, when it comes to the overall impact on the game, few have had as much as Curt Flood. The outfielder became one of the pivotal figures in the sport’s labor history when he refused to accept a trade following the 1969 season, ultimately appealing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court unsuccessfully. Sometimes, a little character goes a long way…
SP: Bob Gibson
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Bob Gibson was one of the best righties to take the mound in either league. He went 251-174 in a 17-year career as a Cardinal. Gibson struck out 3,117 and had a 2.91 ERA, and was a 20-game winner five times. He notched 19 wins in two other seasons.
RP: Lee Smith
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A tough decision as the Cardinals have had some great ones. Bruce Sutter? Jason Isringhausen? Al Hrabosky? We’re going to go with Lee Smith, who had 160 saves in his four seasons in red. That’s a sweet 40 per year.
Manager: Tony La Russa
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Tony La Russa gets the edge because of his two World Series victories and 1,408 wins as Cardinals manager. La Russa also was skipper for 50 post-season victories. Other all-time starting lineups: Los Angeles Dodgers. San Francisco Giants all-time starting lineup. New York Yankees.