The Cardinal has won three world championships in the past 55 years, which may not sound like much, except that only the New York Yankees (seven) and Boston Red Soxes (four) have more.
But, like this season, in the three world championships, the Cardinals have won since 1967, they were not favourites in any of them.
In 1982, the Cardinals were underdogs for “Harvey’s Wallbangers,” the powerhouse Milwaukee Brewers club run by Harvey Kuenn who led the Homers’ majors and beat the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Eastern Division and then beat the California Angels 2-0 for the lead in the championship series. The best league out of five.
But, while fate was tough on the Cardinals, who had better teams in the 1985 and 1987 World Championships but didn’t have injured players Vince Coleman, Jack Clarke and Terry Pendleton, the Cardinals got a breather when future Hall of Fame approached Rollie’s fingers struggled The Brewers suffered an arm injury in late 1982 and was unable to play in the series.
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The Cardinals won seven games, and as it usually happens, a player who wasn’t much publicized rose to the occasion.
Rookie Jon Stopper, who won nine games in the regular season, overcame two rain lags, including one of two hours and 13 minutes, to deliver a full game, and four hitters in a 13-1 win that tied the series at 3-3 before the The Cardinals win Game 7 the next night.
Stuper went after midnight, but manager Whitey Herzog wanted him to get the closure even though Stuper allowed a run at nine.
“For him, giving nine rounds was one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen under the circumstances,” said Jim Cat, a member of the Cardinals.
“But, I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” said Stober. “In both of my weddings, I’ve never been so nervous.”
Stober felt his teammates knew this. “They realized who Wetty was sending me there and said, ‘Okay, we better score some kicks,'” he joked. “”
Stuper had his biggest win the following season when he was 12-11 but dropped out of Major League Baseball two years later at the age of 28 after a string of arm injuries.
Eventually, he became a successful baseball coach at Yale University, where one of his team leaders in 2001 was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Cardinal also got a break that year when, in Game One of the Top Five National League Series, Atlanta’s Phil Negro closed the Cardinals 1-0 through four innings, but it rained, and although the rules have now been changed, the The game is disqualified because five rounds have not passed.
Bob Forch dumped the Braves in New Game 1 and the Cardinals won the series in three games.
In 2006, the Cardinals lost seven games in late September to get the Houston Astros back in the National League Championship race for the Central Division, but they continued to win despite losing several players to injuries. The Cardinals’ 83-78 record was the worst for either the league or league champions.
Some players, like quarterback Jim Edmunds, made a comeback in the post-season but closer Jason Isringhausen, who suffered a groin injury at the end of the season on Labor Day, did not.
Having finished poorly, the Cardinals were given little chance of winning the World Championship and perhaps even a playoff round. But thanks to defensive play provided for the game by second baseman Ronnie Billard, a mid-season pickup not particularly famous for his defense, the San Diego Cardinals defeated the San Diego Cardinals three-to-one in the Division Series.
At Game 1 in San Diego, bases were loaded in the sixth inning and he went down 5-1 when Billiard ran to block Todd Walker’s shot, rolled and fired first to eliminate Walker in the final.
“We saved the game,” Edmonds said. “If they get two runs there, we’re in trouble.”
“I never thought he’d get the ball,” said first base officer Albert Pujols.
At the club, Edmonds presented a game ball to billiards, a process that rarely takes place outside of football.
“I think I got lucky with that.” Billard said.
To replace Isringhausen, Cardinals used veteran Braden Looper and rookie Adam Wainwright on the stretch. Wainwright, whose post-season coach Tony La Russa hits Carlos Beltran with loaded rules into Game 7 in New York to end the National League Championship streak with the Mets.
Next, rookie Anthony Reyes, who was 5-8 years old with a 5.06 average win in the regular season, earned a first game start in the World Series against the favorite Detroit Tigers. Reyes carried the Tigers to two and four strokes over the course of eight innings and the Cardinals were on their way to winning four of their five games to capture the series.
Reyes will have a 13-26 record in the majors.
In 2011, the year the Cardinals had their last World Series victory, they barely made it to the final arena ever, slipping into the wild-card playoff berth after the Philadelphia Phillies, having already snatched away the National League in the Eastern Conference, beating the Braves Three games in succession during the final series of the season when Velez didn’t have to. It ended up rewarding them to a five-game streak in the league against the Cardinals.
Despite the Phillies winning 102 games against the 90 Cardinals, the teams split in the first four games with old friends and fellow Toronto Cardinals Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay of the Phillies matching in game five in Philadelphia.
“I’ve thought about it a lot. It almost became like a fork in the road. One went right and one went left. It was an epic game,” said baseball chief of operations John Mozilac on Thursday.
The Cardinals led 1-0 twice in the game after Rafael Forcal tripled and Cardinal’s current coach Skip Schumaker doubled. This was the end result.
From there, the Cardinals went on to beat the NLCS Central Division champion Milwaukee Brewers four-to-two in the NLCS after the Brewers were pushed to the five-game limit by rookie Paul Goldschmidt and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the division round.
This postseason was the one in which David Friese became the unsung hero who will be forever sung here. After a barrage of hits early in the Philadelphia series, Freese hit a major home run against the Phillies, and became the NLCS MVP by hitting the .545 three-time home against Milwaukee, then tripled, taking straight hits in the games. 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Championships where the Cardinals escaped from the Texas Rangers.
Meanwhile, The Phillies hasn’t been to Posteason since 2011 — until now.
Here, in 2022, the Cardinals, who had a stellar season when it was 93-69, still had the fourth-best record in the National League and sixth-best in the leagues. So, they are not on everyone’s short list as potential champions.
But they have items to play in October, including a deep bull game and the best defense in the league.
They have star power in Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and once again Pujols.
But, if the Cardinals took their fourth World Championship title since 1967 for Cardinal Bob Gibson, there would certainly be less light.
Dylan Carlson? Tommy addiction? Jordan Montgomery? Jose Quintana?
Quintana has the first chance, being named starter Game 1 on his debut as a post-season rookie since 2017 when he made two with the Chicago Cubs. On one of those starts, against the eventual champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Quintana allowed eight runs in seven rounds. On the flip side, no earned rounds were allowed in 6 1/3 innings to Washington.
Combined with the Pittsburgh and Cardinals this year, Quintana took a loss mark of just under 0.500 won at 6-7. He will be the first Cardinals player to score a losing start for the first game in the post-season since 2019 when Miles Mikulas was 9-14 when he opened the 2019 playoffs for the Cardinals. If Mikulas had opened this year’s wild card series with the Phillies, he would have also lost a regular season record of 12-13. As Adam Wainwright (11-12) would have done, if he were to start.
This is a postseason baseball issue. Often throw away regular season records. Sometimes, you don’t even look at them.
Now, you just have to be the best team for four weeks. Not six months.