As we move into our 6th weekly installment of the “St Louis Cardinals-All Time Players” series, this week I will be begin the first of the three outfield positions (Leftfield)
Next week, we will be taking a look at Centerfield, then Rightfield. From there, I will go to Starting Pitchers, then Closers and finish up with Managers.
Please remember, some of positions will have just a few players listed, other with have upwards of a dozen
Also just a reminder, I am going to limit this series to the 20th century. It doesn’t make all that much sense to me to start talking about people and events from over 100 years ago. Besides in my opinion at that time the game was still too neanderthal-ish.
Lastly, my opinions are based on what these players did purely as Cardinals. For instance 1B Orlando Cepeda was an outstanding ballplayer but he only spent 3 years in St. Louis, and in those 3 years he did not produce all that much, therefore I was forced to leave him off the All Time 1st basemen list.
St. Louis Cardinals 6 All Time Leftfielders
6) Charles “Chick” Hafey-
Albeit Hafey never won an MVP Award and was only voted to one All Star Game (not even as Cardinal) in his 13 year career, he belongs on the list.
His first three seasons a Cardinal (1924, 1925 and 1926) he averaged just 3 HR’s and about 30 RBI’s per season as a part time player.
It wasn’t until right after the 1926 season where Hafey began to blossom. After not one but two beanings suffered in 1926, he took the advice of then Cardinal General Manager Branch Rickey.
Hafey was suffering from sinus and vision problems due to the head trauma. So, in the winter of 1926, he went out and got glasses. This was unheard of at that time but the results were incredible.
His game both offensively and defensively turn around completely.
** Mentioned in the book “The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time”
** In July 1929, Hafey recorded ten hits in ten consecutive at-bats.
** In August 1930, he hit for the cycle.
** Average 162 games season:
185 Hits, 43 Doubles, 8 Triples, 21 HR’s, 104 RBI’s and Batted .317
** .317 Lifetime Cardinal batting Average
** Stats from 1927 thru 1931:
1927: 114 Hits-26 Doubles-5 Triples-18 HR’s-63 RBI’s- Batted .329
1928: 175 Hits-46 Doubles-6 Triples-27 HR’s-111 RBI-Batted .337
1929: 175 Hits-49 Doubles-9 Triples-29 HR’s-125 RBI’s Batted. .338
1930: 150 Hits-39 Doubles-12 Triples- 26 HR’s, 107 RBI’s Batted .336
1931: 157 Hits-35 Doubles-8 Triples-16 HR’s, 95 RBI’s Batted .349
(Notice the consistency in batting average from 1928 thru 1930 and also total hits in 1928 and 1929)
** 1st in National League in Slugging percentage in 1927 (.590)
5) Vince Coleman
This speedster doesn’t make my list for putting up the great offensive numbers that has been a constant in my series of “All-Time Cardinal Players”. In fact, he might have the lowest offensive numbers out the 45-50 or so players that I will mention throughout this series.
Coleman defense was suspect as well. Although he had a lifetime .971 fielding percentage, Coleman sometimes looked awkward chasing down fly balls and his arm strength was nothing to write home about either. It was average at best.
Vince Coleman gets number 5 on list because he did one thing better than any man I’ve seen in my (almost) 40 years of watching Cardinal baseball….he reeked havoc on the base paths.
He was nothing short of a swashbuckler once he reached base, he stole bases when he wanted or however he wanted. His speed was mind boggling, he’d run on the first pitch or wait as long as 6 or 7 pitches into an at-bat.
What really got my attention when watching Coleman on the base paths was his aggression and the fact that opposing teams knew he was going to run so they would pitch out and they still couldn’t catch him.
** He took all 24 first place votes in winning the 1985 Rookie of TheYear Award.
** Set a Record 50 consecutive Stolen Bases with out getting caught (September 18, 1988 thru July 26, 1989)
** Set a Record 110 Stolen Bases by a Rookie (1985) that still stands.
** Ranks #6 All Time in Career Steals
1) Rickey Henderson- 1406
2) Lou Brock- 938
3) Billy Hamilton-914
4) Ty Cobb- 897
5) Tim Raines-808
6) Vince Coleman- 752
** Averaged 89 Stolen Bases in a 13 year career
** 2 Time All-Star (1988 and 1989)
4) Matt Holliday
I know what you are thinking; Holliday is all timer after just one and half seasons with St. Louis? No he isn’t…..but when all is said and done he will be.
His first season with the Redbirds was spectacular, and looking back on the pattern he is developing he might be ranked higher in the future.
St. Louis Cardinals signed Holliday to a seven-year, $120 million deal. His contract, which runs through 2016 with an option for an eighth year, features a full no-trade clause. So you know he will be in St. Louis for years to come.
** 1st season in St. Louis 187 Hits, 45 Doubles, 28 HR’s, 103 RBI’s and Batted .312
** Also in his 1st season, he was an All Star Selection, a Silver Slugger Winner and finished 12th in MVP race
** .989 Fielding Percentage in 2010
** As a non-Cardinal, finished 2nd in MVP voting in 2007:
216 Hits, 50 Doubles, 6 Triples, 36 HR’s, 137 RBI’s, 11 Stolen Bases, Batted 340 and Slugged .607
** Upon his arrival from Oakland in 2009, He Batted .353 in 63 games.
** Average Season:
107 Runs Scored, 195 Hits, 44 Doubles, 4 Triples, 29 HR’s, 111 RBI’s, 12 Stolen Bases and Bats .317.
3) Joe “Ducky” Medwick
I hate to put Ducky Medwick this far down, but I can not put him over the top two. It’s a shame really because Medwick was quite a ballplayer as his Hall of Fame status would indicate.
He got his nickname from his teammates who said that he “waddled” when he walked.
He played for the Cardinals for a total of 10 ½ seasons from 1932 thru half of 1940 and then 1947 and 1948.
After leaving the Cardinals in 1940, he was never quite the same after being hit with a bean ball. However, his years in St Louis were extremely productive.
Known for his sense of humor. (don’t forget Medwick was a member of the Gas House Gang Cardinal) Upon meeting the Pope during a USO tour in 1944, Medwick was among several individuals given an audience by Pope Pius XII. He was asked by the Pope what his vocation was, Medwick replied, “Your Holiness, I’m Joe Medwick. I, too, used to be a Cardinal.”
** Inducted into the Hall of Fame as Player in 1968.
** 2,471 Career Hits (1590 as a Cardinal)
** 540 Career Doubles (377 as a Cardinal)
** .335 Career Hitter as a Cardinal (.324 career hitter overall)
** 10 Time All Star (7 Times as a Cardinal)
** MVP Award and Triple Crown Winner 1937:
111 Runs Scored, 237 Hits, 56 Doubles, 10 Triples, 31 HR’s, 154 RBI’s and batted an eye popping .374.
** Average Season:
** Member of 1934 World Championship team
** Led the NL in Doubles 3 years in a row 1936 (64), 1937 (56) and 1938 (47)
** Also led the League in RBI’s in those 3 years as well, racking up 138, 154 and 122.
** Inducted into the Hall of Fame as Player in 1968
2) Lou Brock
If you’re a Cardinal fan and you don’t know this name, stop reading now. Not only does Lou Brock go down as the one of the best Cardinal leftfielders ever, he goes down as one of the greatest Cardinals ever.
He played 19 seasons all told and 16 as a Cardinal. I had the pleasure of watching Brock play live several times as a young boy growing up on Long Island, New York. My dad used to take my brothers and I to Mets-Cardinals games back in the mid-1970’s and I remember Brock well.
His speed and agility was obvious to me even at a young age. On one occasion, we had tickets between home plate and 1st Base, Brock laid down a bunt and I could swear he sprouted wings while running to first. He was called out (I’m still not sure he was), and argued the play as the old Shea Stadium crowd boo-ed loudly.
He could hit with power when he wanted to but preferred to use his speed instead, during games he used an 8 mm movie camera from the dugout to film opposing pitchers and study their windups and pickoff moves to detect weaknesses he could exploit later on in the game.
Each year, The National League honors the stolen base leader with the Lou Brock award.
** 6 Time All Star (1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979)
** 3,023 Career Hits
** 486 Career Doubles
** 938 Career Stolen Bases (ranks 2nd behind Rickey Henderson)
** Career .297 Hitter (.293 as a Cardinal)
** Led the League in Triples in 1968 (14)
** Led the League 8 times in Stolen Bases-
1968 - 62
1969 - 53
1971 - 64
1972 - 63
1974 - 118
** Won 2 World Championships and had a lifetime .391 Post Season Batting Average
** Became the first player to steal 50 bases and hit 20 home runs in the same season in 1967.
** Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985 (315/395 ballots)
1) Stan Musial
I have “Stan the Man” ranked as the #2 All Time Cardinals 1st Baseman but have to put him #1 here based solely on one fact. That being he played more games in Left than he did at 1st. (Musial played a total of 2907 games, he played 1890 in Left Field and 1016 at 1st Base.)
He played all 22 seasons as a St. Louis Cardinal and goes down as one of the best Cardinals players of all time as well as one of the overall best players of all time….period…..end of sentence.
** 3 Time MVP award winner and a 4 time runner up.
1943 MVP- 220 hits, 48 doubles, 20 triples, 13 HR’s, 81 RBI’s and hit .357
1946 MVP- 228 hits, 50 doubles, 20 triples, 20 HR’s, 103 RBI’s and hit .365
1948 MVP- (his best year and one of the finest in history)
230 hits, 46 doubles, 18 triples, 39 HR’s, 131 RBI’s, hit .376 and slugged .702
** 20….that’s 20….All Star appearances
** 3, 630 Career Hits
** 725 Career Doubles
** 475 Career Homeruns
** Almost 2000 career RBI’s (1951)
** 2907 total games played
** Average season: 194 hits, 39 doubles, 9 triples, 25 HR’s, 104 RBI’s, .331 average
** 3 World Championships (1942, 1944 and 1946)
** Lifetime .331 Career Batting Average
** 1975 Career RBI’s
** Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969 (317/340 ballots).
The Other All Time Players List: