St. Louis Cardinals’ “Most Hated” MLB Team in Six States
The St. Louis Cardinals are one of Major League Baseball’s iconic franchises. The team with the “Birds on the Bat” has won more World Series titles than any other club in the National League, and is second only to the New York Yankees overall.
St. Louis has been home to a National League franchise since 1892, but the franchise was not known as the Cardinals until 1900.
Behind future Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby, the Cardinals won their first World Series in 1926 against the Babe Ruth / Lou Gehrig Yankees. The Gashouse Gang era Cardinals dominated the 1930s thanks to Dizzy Dean, Johnny Mize and Joe Medwick and won the 1934 World Series.
Did you know that Branch Rickey, who would later become famous for bringing Jackie Robinson to the major leagues and breaking baseball’s color barrier, invented the minor league farm system we know today with the St Cardinals? Louis? It was Rickey who built a system of affiliated teams to develop talents that would later shine in St. Louis. In the 1930s and 1940s, this system produced figures such as future Hall of Fame members Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, and Enos Slaughter, all of whom won World Series championships for the Cardinals.
The Musical Age Cardinals would later give way to a new generation, and it was Bob Gibson and Lou Brock who helped bring the World Series back to St. Louis in the 1960s. Gibson had one of the seasons. dominant in baseball history in 1968. He was so good at baseball that he lowered the mound the following year.
The 1970s saw the end of the Gibson and Brock years, Steve Carlton’s business in Philadelphia, and the arrival of Keith Hernandez. Hernandez would share the 1979 NL MVP award with Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell.
For the Cardinals, the ’80s could be summed up in one word: Whiteyball. Behind manager Whitey Herzog, baseball in St. Louis has become synonymous with speed, stolen bases and defense. Shortstop Ozzie Smith was acquired in San Diego, and with Hernandez, second baseman Tommy Herr, a rookie outfielder named Willie McGee and closer Bruce Sutter, the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series against the Brewers from Milwaukee. After Hernandez dealt with the New York Mets, that core of players, along with slugger Jack Clark, would take the Cardinals to two more World Series trips this decade.
The 1980s saw the end of Gussie Busch’s ownership era for the Cardinals. When he died in 1989, the Anheuser-Busch brewery took over after nearly 40 years under his management.
In 1996, the Brewery sold the club to the ownership group still led today by Bill DeWitt, Jr. The DeWitt family brought in former Oakland A manager Tony LaRussa, who would go on to become the most successful manager. team history winner. With another former Oakland hand running Walt Jocketty’s front office, the team acquired Mark McGwire from the A’s in 1997. The beating first baseman would break Roger Maris’ one-season record for Home Runs in 1998 in a lawsuit with Sammy Sosa that captivated the nation, only later to be tainted by the use of performance enhancing drugs that McGwire admitted years later.
In 2001, a young rookie named Albert Pujols burst onto the Saint-Louis scene. Playing across the court, he was the smashing winner of the National League MVP, paving the way for the most dominant decade of offensive performance ever seen in a player’s first ten years in Major League Baseball. Wide receiver Yadier Molina arrived on board in 2004 as the Cardinals made their first World Series appearance since 1987. Two years later, a rookie pitcher named Adam Wainwright would come closest to a club that won their first World Series since 1982.
The Cardinals’ third World Series appearance in eight seasons was perhaps the most unlikely of 2011. A team left for dead in early September managed to advance to the playoffs on the last day of the regular season behind them throwing heroism. by Chris Carpenter all the way down the straight. Once in the playoffs, the legend of David Freese was born. Freese, a native of St. Louis County, won the MVP of the National League Championship Series by hitting three home runs against Milwaukee. Then in the World Series against Texas, until the team’s last strike in what would have been a Rangers clincher, a triple Freese tied the game. A Freese home run in extra innings forced Game 7, which the Cardinals won, bringing home an 11th World Series title.
Albert Pujols left via free agency in the offseason and LaRussa retired, but the Cardinals kept moving forward, reaching the 2013 World Series against the Boston Red Sox with former wide receiver Mike Matheny now running the club. . In some ways, the Cardinals are still recovering from what happened on October 26, 2014, when outfielder Oscar Taveras, seen as a potentially generational talent who could have become the face of the franchise, died in a car crash. in the Dominican Republic.
The Matheny era would last for 6.5 seasons, until he was replaced by current manager Mike Shildt in 2018.