All posts by Marilyn Green

Cardinals Blast from the Past – Ripper Collins

photo: Ripper Collins

The third installment in our Blast from the Past solo series introduces you to another member of the “Gashouse Gang” of the 1930s era St. Louis Cardinals.  This first baseman first played for the Cardinals, then went on to the Cubs, and finally ended his career in Pittsburgh.

Ripper Collins

James Anthony Collins was born on March 30, 1904 in Altoona, Pennsylvania.  Collins was the oldest of three children born to William and Elizabeth Collins.  The family moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania when James was a child in elementary school.  His father William played semipro baseball and young James wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps after watching him play.  Collins practiced his father’s craft when he could and would often field ground balls off a basement wall.

Collins dropped out of school at the age of 14 and took a job in the shipping department of the coal mine where his father worked.  His father played baseball on the company team and the son soon joined him, with Jimmy in center field and his father in left field.  William Collins taught his son how to switch hit, which he continued to do throughout his baseball career.

Collins took on the nickname “Ripper” when a ball he hit struck a nail protruding from the outfield fence.  The nail caused a partial tear in the cover of the ball, a “rip” if you will.  When retrieving the ball, the opposing outfielder was asked who hit it. His reply was, “It was the ripper”.

Collins began playing minor league ball in 1922 and continued off and on in that journey until 1930.  While with the Rochester Red Wings, a long time Cardinals farm club, Collins’ prowess with the bat (.376 average with 40 home runs in 1930) was noticed and in 1931, he was called up to the big league club.

Collins made his major league debut on April 18, 1931 with St. Louis. He played in 89 games at first base that season as the backup to future Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley.  Collins appeared in 149 games in 1932.  The Cardinals were happy enough with Collins’ performance that they traded Bottomley to Cincinnati prior to the 1933 season.

Ripper Collins, Pepper Martin, Jack Rothrock

Ripper’s breakout season was in 1934.  He played in all 154 games to lead the National League.  He also led the NL in home runs with 35 (tied with Mel Ott), and in slugging and OPS, with .615 and 1.008, respectively.  Collins became the first switch hitter to hit 30 home runs in a season.  That record was surpassed by Mickey Mantle in 1955.  The Cardinals won the pennant and the 1934 World Series, where Collins hit .367.

Collins was an active prankster and a member of the The Mudcat Band, a group started by Pepper Martin.  Collins’ performances included singing on KMOX Radio in St. Louis.

Frenchy Bordagaray, Bill McGee, Ripper Collins, Pepper Martin (seated), Bob Weiland (rear)

Collins also began writing a series of articles for the local St. Louis newspaper during the 1934 pennant race.  The articles provided baseball news and commentary from his roommate, Pepper Martin.  After striking out in one game, his manager, Frankie Frisch, told him, “Next time, swing your typewriter”.

In 1935, Collins hit career home run number 74, which was the major league record for switch hitters at that time.  On August 21, Collins played an entire game at first base without a putout.

Collins’ playing time with the Cardinals dwindled in 1936 with the arrival of Johnny Mize, who played in 129 games at first base that season.  Following the 1936 season, the Cardinals traded Collins to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Lon Warneke (the subject of last week’s Blast from the Past).

Collins played for the Cubs through the 1938 season and then was sold to the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League.  Collins returned to the major leagues in 1941 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he played in 49 games.  That would be Collins’ finale in major league baseball, as he was released at the end of the season.  In four of his nine big-league seasons, Collins hit over .300 and his 135 home runs led all MLB switch-hitters until Mantle’s success.

Collins became a player-manager of the Albany Senators of the Eastern League, where he remained through the 1944 season, then became the manager only until November 1946.  Collins managed the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres for one season. His final managerial stint was with the Hartford Chiefs of the Eastern League for the 1949 and 1950 seasons.

Collins left managing to go into broadcasting as a color commentator in Baltimore. He became a roving minor league instructor for the Cubs in the early 1960s.  His final job in professional baseball was as a scout for the Cardinals.  He remained in that position until his death.  In the spring of 1969 Collins suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized.  On April 15, 1970, Collins passed away of a fatal heart attack in New Haven, New York at the age of 66.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals in High-A – 1990-2019


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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Blast from the Past – Meet Lon Warneke

photo: Lon Warneke

In the second installment of our solo Blast from the Past series, we introduce you to Lon Warneke, a pitcher who played for the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals in his 15-year major league career.  Warneke appeared in two World Series for the Cubs and spun a no-hitter while with the Cardinals.

Lonnie Warneke was born March 28, 1909 in Owley, Arkansas.  Owley was a farming community that consisted of 15 families, located six miles south of Mount Ida, the county seat of Montgomery County.  Warneke was born the fourth of five children to Louis and Martha Warneke.  He learned to play baseball during his elementary school days, but upon entering high school, he was denied a spot on the baseball team because he was not considered good enough. Warneke persisted and made the team the following year, initially playing first base.  During the summer of 1927, as Warneke played for the Mount Ida town team, the manager decided to try him as a pitcher.  He proceeded to strike out five of the six best opposing hitters.

Warneke made his way into professional baseball through his sister Kate, a beautician in Houston, Texas.  One of Kate’s customers was the wife of Fred Ankenman, the president of the Houston Buffaloes, a Class A farm team of the Cardinals. Kate told Mrs. Ankenman about her brother who played baseball, and the message was relayed to Mr. Ankenman.

Warneke decided to move to Houston and live with his sister and her husband for the purpose of attempting to get a tryout with the Buffaloes.  Eventually Warneke met the manager of the Buffaloes, Frank Snyder, and convinced him to give him a trial at first base.  Snyder was not impressed with his infielding skills but asked him to pitch instead.  Snyder liked what Warneke had to offer on the mound and signed him to a contract.  He was just 19 years old.

Lon Warneke

Warneke was sent to play for a team in Laurel, Mississippi, where he pitched a couple of games before being released.  He went to Shreveport, Louisiana and was signed to pitch for a team in Alexandria that was affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. Warneke finished the 1928 season there and returned for 1929.  At the end of that season, the Chicago Cubs bought his contract for $7,500.

Warneke made his major league debut with the Cubs on April 18, 1930.  He played for Chicago from 1930-1936, and then again from 1942-1945 with a year off in 1944 to serve in the military in a civilian supporting role during World War II.  Warneke posted a record of 109-72 with an ERA of 2.84 in his 10 seasons with the Cubs.  He pitched in two World Series, 1932 and 1935, was named the outstanding National League pitcher in 1932 and was named to three All-Star Games while with Chicago.

Lon Warneke

In October 1936, the Cubs traded Warneke to the Cardinals for infielder Ripper Collins and pitcher Roy Parmalee.  It was an unpopular trade with Cubs fans.

In his first season with the Cardinals, in 1937, Warneke posted a record of 18-11 with an ERA of 4.53.  In six St. Louis seasons, he posted a record of 83-49 with an ERA of 3.67.  He was named to two more All-Star teams, in 1939 and 1941.  On August 30, 1941, Warneke pitched a no-hitter in a 2-0 shutout of the Cincinnati Reds.

Lon Warneke (right)

A sportswriter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Roy Stockton, dubbed Warneke “The Arkansas Hummingbird” due to his darting fastball.  It was a nickname that stuck.  He fit right in with the Cardinals, joining a band assembled by Pepper Martin called the “Mississippi Mudcats”. Warneke played guitar along with Martin, Bob Wieland, Frenchy Bordagaray, Bill McGee, and Max Lanier.

In 1940, Warneke was recruited for umpire duties when a rescheduled rained out game against the Reds had no umpires because National League President Ford Frick neglected to assign any.  One umpire was found preparing to board a train, but two more were needed, so one player from each team was selected to assist.  Warneke was the Cardinals’ choice.

The Cardinals traded Warneke back to the Cubs on July 18, 1942.  After returning from his stint in the military, he pitched for Chicago starting in June 1945 but retired at the end of the season.

Warneke became an umpire for the Pacific Coast League from 1946-48, then in the National League from 1949 through 1955.  He umpired in the 1952 All-Star Game and the 1954 World Series.

Warneke returned to Arkansas and became a businessman and then county judge of Garland County, Arkansas from 1963 to 1972.  He passed away on June 23, 1976 at his home in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals in Triple-A – 1963-2019


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Blast from the Past – Meet Clyde Shoun

photo: Clyde Shoun

Our Monday St. Louis Cardinals Blast from the Past feature here at The Cardinal Nation goes solo for awhile as we wait for baseball to reconvene when the time is appropriate and safe.

The series will introduce readers to old time Cardinal players, ones who most fans have likely never heard of.  The first of these old timers is a pitcher named Clyde Shoun, who played for five teams in his 15-year baseball career, including St. Louis, of course.

Clyde Shoun

Clyde Mitchell Shoun was born on March 20, 1912 in Mountain City, Tennessee.  He was the fifth of 13 children, four of whom died in infancy.  Shoun was nicknamed “Hardrock”, perhaps because of his fastball.  Clyde’s brother Miles, also known as “Slim”, played professional basketball for the Firestone Rubber company team, prior to the founding of the NBA.

Shoun pitched for some local teams before reaching the pros.  His first year as a professional was with a semi-pro team in South Carolina’s Textile League in 1934.  The left-hander was signed by the Birmingham Barons of the Southern Association in 1935 and he pitched very well, so well that his contract was purchased by the Chicago Cubs in the latter part of the season. He debuted with the Cubs on August 7, 1935.  Shoun tossed two innings in his debut, a game the Cubs lost to Pittsburgh, 6-0.  He made his first start that August 19 against the Phillies.

Shoun began 1936 with the Cubs but was sent back to Birmingham in May.  He returned to the major leagues for good in 1937 and finished that season with a record of 7-7 and an ERA of 5.61.

In 1938, Shoun went to Spring Training with the Cubs, but before the season began the Cubs traded him to the Cardinals.  The Cubs received Dizzy Dean in return.  Along with Shoun, the Cubs sent two other players and $185,000 in cash to St. Louis, representing one of the largest cash transactions in baseball to that point.

Shoun started 12 games for the Cardinals in 1938, then was primarily used out of the bullpen the remainder of the season.  He posted a record of 6-6 with a 4.41 ERA. In 1939, Shoun was again mostly deployed out of the bullpen, leading National League pitchers in games (53), games finished (25) and saves (9).  He led league hurlers in games again in 1940 with 54.  Shoun also made two starts in 1939 and 19 in 1940.

Shoun’s playing time was diminished in 1941 due to injury.  In 1942, he pitched in only two games before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds.

It was with Cincinnati that Shoun reached his career pinnacle – but very few saw it. On May 15, 1944, in front of just 1,014 fans at Crosley Field, the lefty tossed a no-hitter against the Boston Braves. Had it not been for a lone third-inning walk to the opposing pitcher, Shoun would have completed a perfect game. It is reportedly the sparsest crowd to see an MLB no-hitter in at least the last century.

Shoun remained with the Reds, with a hiatus for service in the Navy late in World War II, until the 1947 season, when dealt to the Boston Braves.  Shoun’s final MLB season was in 1949, when he was traded to the Chicago White Sox and later released. He returned to Triple-A to finish 1949 and remained at the highest minor league level until he concluded his playing career in 1951.

Following baseball, Shoun returned to Mountain City where he farmed tobacco and owned a commercial dog kennel.  He had two daughters with his first wife Anna.

Shoun passed away on his 56th birthday, March 20, 1968 in a veteran’s center in Johnson City, Tennessee.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals 2019 Minor League Award Winners Recognized


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of March 9 – 15

photo: Paul DeJong (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals finished the first part of spring training with a 10-9-1 record before the players dispersed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Stats leaders include Paul DeJong, Kwang-Hyun Kim and Tyler Webb. Our history feature highlights past MLB interruptions and a Cardinal who passed away in a prior pandemic.


Spring training game recaps

Monday, March 9 – Cardinals 3 at Twins 0

The Cardinals blanked the Twins in Fort Myers to begin the week.  Kwang-Hyun Kim got the start and tossed three scoreless innings, allowed no hits and struck out four.  Daniel Ponce de Leon followed with five scoreless innings with no hits allowed, two strikeouts and two walks.  Alex Reyes pitched the ninth and gave up two hits in a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.

John Nogowski got St. Louis on the board in the third inning on a ground out RBI.  In the fourth, Austin Dean hit a solo home run.  Max Schrock’s sac fly in the fifth delivered the third and final Cardinal score.

Justin Williams was picked off first base.  Andrew Knizner had a passed ball error.


Tuesday, March 10 – Cardinals 2 at Red Sox 3

The Cardinals remained in Fort Myers to take on the Red Sox on Tuesday.  The offense scored both of its runs in the first inning on a single by Brad Miller.  There was six St. Louis hits in total, two singles from Paul DeJong and singles from Rangel Ravelo, Nolan Gorman, and Max Schrock in addition to the Miller RBI single.

Jack Flaherty

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched three scoreless innings, allowed three hits, struck out five and walked two. Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford, Junior Fernandez, Roel Ramirez, Giovanny Gallegos, and Tyler Webb followed. Oviedo surrendered one run before Fernandez yielded two.

Ravelo and Lane Thomas each stole a base.  Tyler O’Neill was caught stealing.  Jose Godoy made a passed ball error.


Wednesday, March 11 – Cardinals 3 at Mets 7

The Cardinals returned to the Atlantic Coast Wednesday to face the Mets in Port St. Lucie.  Carlos Martinez took the mound and had a rocky start.  Martinez pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on six hits while fanning six and walking one. John Brebbia, Brett Cecil, Evan Kruczynski, Ryan Helsley and Kodi Whitley succeeded Martinez on the mound.  Helsley yielded the seventh Mets run.

St. Louis’ offense was kept off the board until the fourth inning when Matt Carpenter hit a solo home run to left field.  Lane Thomas had his own solo shot in the eighth, and John Nogowski plated a run on a single in the ninth.

Austin Dean made an outfield assist at second base.


Thursday, March 12 – Cardinals 3, Marlins 0

The Cardinals blanked the Marlins in what turned out to be the final game of spring training.  The game was scoreless on both sides until Justin Williams’ double in the sixth inning got St. Louis on the board.  Dennis Ortega followed with a two run single to make the final score 3-0.

Adam Wainwright

Starter Adam Wainwright tossed five scoreless innings, allowed two hits and struck out three.  John Gant, Tyler Webb, and Giovanny Gallegos combined for the final four run-free frames.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals began the shortened week with a record of 8-7-1 and ended the week and the first part of spring training 10-9-1.  The final game was anticlimactic in that the announcement that spring training was ending was made while the game was in progress.

The Cardinals as a team ranked 13th of 30 teams in OPS at .749, with a team slash line of .242/.337/.412.  Of all 40-man players, Paul DeJong led the offense with a slash line of .464/.484/.929.  Last was Dexter Fowler, with a slash line of .097/.176/.097.  Among prospects, Dylan Carlson slashed .313/.436/.469.  Right behind him was Nolan Gorman, with a slash line of .308/.357/.500.

Paul DeJong

In pitching, the Cardinals ranked fifth of the 30 teams with a team ERA of 3.55.  Potential rotation member Kwang-Hyun Kim posted a 0.00 ERA in four appearances, two as a starter. In the reliever category, Tyler Webb had a 0.00 ERA in six appearances.  Other standouts included Daniel Ponce de Leon (0.69), Ryan Helsley (1.29), Genesis Cabrera (1.50), and Austin Gomber (2.25).

Kwang-Hyun Kim

These numbers should be taken in the context of a shortened spring training, however.  When baseball returns, there will likely be spring training preparation before the season starts of approximately two weeks, whether back in Florida or possibly in St. Louis.


Baseball delayed indefinitely

In light of the public health crisis in the United States (and elsewhere) and the very real risks involved with mass gatherings, the Commissioner’s office, in conjunction with the MLBPA, made the decision to end spring training as of 4:00 pm ET on Thursday, March 12.  The regular season was also delayed for at least two weeks, until April 9.

Players were given the choice of either: 1) remaining at spring camps; 2) returning to the team’s home city; or 3) returning to the player’s offseason home.  All spring training camps were closed and shut down to the general public.

The Cardinals met on Friday to decide as a team what they would do.  It was reported that from 15-25 players would likely be remaining in Jupiter.  There would be informal workouts planned, said manager Mike Shildt, and a “good, healthy presence of staff”.

All Cardinals minor leaguers were sent home and there will be no minor league camp for the foreseeable future.

The Cardinals share the Roger Dean Stadium Complex in Jupiter, and the Marlins have shut down their camp completely.  Players have been discouraged from even holding workouts outside the complex.

On Sunday morning, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that MLB is expected to issue guidelines advising teams to not hold workouts at spring training sites or home ball parks.  The guidelines are expected to allow camps to remain open for individual needs, but with limited staff.

Should these guidelines be issued as expected, the Cardinals’ plans will have to change.

The public health situation remains at crisis levels and is expected to get worse.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a recommendation that all mass gatherings over 50 people be cancelled for the next eight weeks, to mid-May.

Many states have closed schools, restaurants and bars and more are expected to follow.  Given the extent of the crisis, the likelihood of baseball returning by April 9 is almost zero.  The CDC directive plus the time to run what the Cardinals are calling “Camp 2” suggests a June 1 restart of regular season play may be the most optimistic target at this point.

Obviously, the situation remains fluid.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

  • Early in camp, RHP Miles Mikolas (right flexor tendon) had a second PRP injection in his right arm to battle a recurrence of inflammation in his right flexor tendon. The last update was that Mikolas would likely be out until mid-April but would be able to start throwing again soon.  Given the delay in the start of the season, Mikolas could be available when the season starts.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (Tommy John surgery) was placed on the 60 day injured list and is expected to be out until after the All-Star Break.
  • LHP Andrew Miller (left arm) pitched a bullpen session on Wednesday of last week and felt he was on the right track. Whether he will be available for Opening Day depends on continued improvement with no setbacks.
  • LHP Brett Cecil (right hamstring strain) was scheduled for an MRI last Thursday. Manager Mike Shildt stated that the injury is fairly significant but is not a full tear.  He has stated he expects Cecil to be out “multiple weeks”. So are all players at this point.

Looking Ahead

Spring Training has ended early and Opening Day is postponed.  On Thursday, March 12, Commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLBPA came to an agreement to end spring training and delay the beginning of the regular season for at least two weeks due to public health concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).  When baseball will resume is unknown at this time.  Given the severity of the public health situation, a June re-start is not out of the realm of possibility. How the delay will affect the post-season is one of many, many open questions.


Blast from the Past

Major League Baseball faces a shortened season for 2020, potentially losing months off the season calendar, due to the current coronavirus public health crisis that has gripped the world in a global pandemic.

Baseball has experienced shortened seasons before, with most having been of minor consequence – labor issues.  The first player strike in the game’s history occurred in 1972. A dispute over pension payouts delayed the start of the season by two weeks.  The owners relented after 13 days, but 85 games in all were missed in those two weeks, all of which were never made up.

In 1981 there was a player walkout on June 11 over a free agency dispute.  Play did not resume until August 10.  A two-day strike in 1985 related to the pension fund and a salary cap in arbitration.  The games missed were made up.  1990 brought a brief lockout that caused opening day to be postponed for a week.  The games were made up.

Then there was the big one, in 1994-95.  Negotiations over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement went badly, and the schedule was cancelled following games on August 11.  There were no playoffs and no World Series in 1994.  This was the first and only time since 1904 there was no October Classic.  The strike continued until April 2, 1995.  The start of the season was postponed for three weeks to give the players an abridged spring training.  Opening Day was on April 25, and the season was shortened to 144 games.

The only other time prior to 2020 when the season was threatened was in 1918.  World War I had begun in 1917, but the baseball season was not affected all that much.  Some players were either drafted or enlisted but the season went on as scheduled.  However, by the time the 1918 season came around, the reality of war had set in, and owners decided to reduce the season from 154 games to 140.  By May, the War Department needed more soldiers for the War, and though owners tried to get an exemption for baseball players, they were unsuccessful.  The season was cut short by another two weeks and the season ended early, on September 2.  The World Series was played from September 5-11.

Harry Glenn

The 1918 season was also the year of the Spanish flu – the greatest global pandemic in history which killed millions of people worldwide.  The disease didn’t hit the United States until the fall, so it didn’t affect the season the way the War did.  An estimated 675,000 Americans died of the disease.

While the flu did not affect the season, baseball players individually were affected.  A handful of players, including one who played for the Cardinals, died of the Spanish flu.  Harry Glenn played baseball from 1910 to 1918, mostly in the minor leagues, but he did play in six major league games for the Cardinals in 1915.  Glenn was a catcher.  He was drafted into the military in August of 1918 and was training in St. Paul, Minnesota when he caught the Spanish flu and died of it on October 12, 1918.

The Spanish flu also felled sportswriters and umpires as well as players.

The shortened 2020 season will be the first season affected by a global pandemic.  How much the season will be shortened is unknown.  While baseball seasons come and go, let us hope no baseball player is a victim the way Harry Glenn and others were in 1918.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Sign Minors Free Agent Pitcher, Say Goodbye to Catching Trio


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Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of March 2 – 8

photo: Dakota Hudson (David Dermer/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals had a strong 5-1-1 week as the offense has come to life. The outfielders are hitting well, with the exception of Dexter Fowler and Justin Williams. Yairo Muñoz left the team and was released.  Dakota Hudson leads the pitching staff. Our history feature highlights Cardinals number 17.


Spring training game recaps

Monday, March 2 – Cardinals 6, Twins 1

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the visiting Minnesota Twins 6-1 in the first meeting of both teams in Grapefruit League play.   Tyler O’Neill’s single in the first inning plated the first run.  In the second, Edmundo Sosa’s sac fly, a double by Tommy Edman, and a single off the bat of Yadier Molina brought three runs home.  Jose Godoy added a two-run single in the seventh.

Yadier Molina

Genesis Cabrera got the start for the Cardinals but only pitched one inning, exiting early with a cracked fingernail.  Cabrera allowed one hit, struck out one and walked two.  Jose Ramirez. Brett Cecil, Johan Oviedo, Zack Thompson, Alex FaGalde, and John Brebbia followed.  FaGalde yielded the lone Twins run.


Tuesday, March 3 – Cardinals 6, Astros 3

When the Astros came to Roger Dean Stadium, the Cardinals jumped out to a lead and kept it throughout.  Starter Dakota Hudson pitched four innings, yielding one run on two hits with two strikeouts and one walk.  Alex Reyes, Matthew Liberatore, Tyler Webb, Giovanny Gallegos and Jesus Cruz pitched in relief.  Reyes and Gallegos surrendered a run each.

St. Louis’ offense got on the board in the second inning on a force out RBI by Dylan Carlson and a Max Schrock double.  Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the third, and Matt Wieters did the same in the fourth.  Kolten Wong plated a run on a ground out also in the fourth and Schrock scored on a wild pitch for the third score in that inning.

Elehuris Montero committed a throwing error. Evan Mendoza stole his first base of the spring.


Wednesday, March 4 – Cardinals 1 at Mets 4

The Cardinals fell to the Mets 4-1 in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday.  The only Redbird score came in the eighth inning on a solo home run by Nolan Gorman.

Jack Flaherty started and tossed four innings, giving up three runs on five hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked one.  Daniel Ponce de Leon and Junior Fernandez followed with Ponce de Leon pitching three innings and Fernandez taking the eighth.  Ponce de Leon relinquished the fourth Mets run in his outing.

Tommy Edman was caught stealing for the first time this spring.  Austin Dean was picked off second base.


Thursday, March 5 – Cardinals 7 (split squad), Mets 7

One of two Thursday split squad games ended in a tie with the Mets in Jupiter.  Adam Wainwright took the mound to start and hurled four innings, yielding five runs on eight hits.  The right hander walked one. Kwang-Hyun Kim, Johan Oviedo, John Brebbia and Kodi Whitley pitched the rest of the way.  Brebbia gave up the tying runs in the eighth.

St. Louis’ offense played catch up in a big way after falling behind 5-0.  In the fourth, Paul DeJong began with a solo home run, and Lane Thomas followed with a three-run shot.  Not to be outdone, Matt Carpenter sent a two-run blast over the center field wall to give the Redbirds the 6-5 lead.  Aaron Antonini added a sac fly in the seventh to increase the lead to 7-5.

Kolten Wong stole his first base of 2020.  Harrison Bader committed a throwing error.


Thursday, March 5 – Cardinals 11 (split squad) at Nationals 0

Just down the road from Jupiter, the Cardinals blew out the Nationals in an evening game in Palm Beach.  St. Louis plated three runs in the second inning on an Austin Dean double and a two-run home run by Andrew Knizner.  Tommy Edman hit a two-run shot in the fifth and Tyler O’Neill doubled in a run to make it 6-0.  Edman added an RBI single in the sixth for a seventh score.  In the seventh inning, doubles by Rangel Ravelo and Dean, and a two-run home run by Justin Williams ran the score up to 11-0.

Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez was excellent in his start, going five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and fanning two.  Zack Thompson, Jake Woodford, and Ryan Helsley combined for the remaining four scoreless frames.


Friday, March 6 (off day)


Saturday, March 7 – Cardinals 5, Astros 1

The Cardinals welcomed the Astros back to Jupiter on Saturday, and the Redbirds were the victors, 5-1. Starter John Gant tossed four scoreless innings, yielding one hit, fanning three and walking two.  Austin Gomber followed the next three innings and gave up the lone Astros score.  Tyler Webb and Giovanny Gallegos followed with a scoreless inning each.

John Gant

Matt Wieters put the first Cardinals run on the board on a force out in the second inning.  Wieters then doubled in the fourth to plate another.  Kolten Wong added a two-run double, also in the fourth.  In the seventh, Edmundo Sosa’s solo home run closed the scoring.

Wieters stole his first spring base, as did Tommy Edman.  Matt Carpenter made a throwing error and Justin Williams had a fielding miscue.


Sunday, March 8 – Cardinals 7, Marlins 3

The final spring game of the week was a 7-3 win for the Cardinals over stadium mate Miami.  The first inning included Paul Goldschmidt’s double that plated two, followed by an RBI single from Yadier Molina.  Molina plated his second run on sac fly in the fifth.  Also in that inning, Tyler O’Neill was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Harrison Bader singled to score two more.

Dakota Hudson started and hurled 3 2/3 innings.  The right hander surrendered one run on two hits, struck out five and walked three.  Hudson yielded to Junior Fernandez, Genesis Cabrera, Brett Cecil, John Brebbia, and Kodi Whitley.  Cabrera and Brebbia gave up a run each.

Dexter Fowler had an outfield assist, nailing a runner at third base.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals began the week with a 3-6 record and ended the week 8-7-1, going 5-1-1 in the process.  The team lost to the Mets on Wednesday and tied them in a Thursday split squad game.  The Cardinals won twice over the Astros, once each against the Twins, Nationals, and Marlins.

The Cardinal are 12th of 30 MLB teams in offense with a team slash line of .258/.352/.443.  The team is ninth of 30 teams in pitching with a team ERA of 3.75.

Dylan Carlson

Dylan Carlson stands out among all position players in offense, leading in average (.357) runs scored (10), OBP (.471) and OPS (1.006).  Carlson has yet to hit a home run, however. Paul DeJong leads in that category with four.  DeJong also leads in RBI (8), and hits (11).  Tyler O’Neill leads in slugging at .560.  Carlson, Austin Dean, and Rangel Ravelo are tied for the most doubles at three each.  Carlson, Andrew Knizner, and Max Schrock each have one triple.  Carlson, Schrock and Harrison Bader are tied with the most walks at six each.

In pitching, Dakota Hudson is the standout.  He leads in ERA (2.92), strikeouts (12), WHIP (0.97), and innings (12.1).

Dakota Hudson

With multiple players battling for an outfield spot, veteran Dexter Fowler has shown little in the spring to justify starting, hitting a mere .080/.179/.080 for a .259 OPS.  On the other hand, Tyler O’Neill is slashing .280/.438/.560 with a .998 OPS and Harrison Bader is slashing .296/.441/.481 with a .923 OPS.  The other top contender, Lane Thomas, is hitting .259/.375/.519 with an .894 OPS.  Justin Williams is struggling, however, hitting .091/.167/.364 with a .530 OPS.  Others in the mix – Austin Dean and Rangel Ravelo – are also having good springs at the plate.

With 14 games left in spring training, things could change, but the question arises whether Fowler’s veteran status and high dollar contract will be enough to overcome his poor spring training showing.  In addition, Carlson’s standout performance so far is making the decisions even more difficult for the Cardinals to make.


Cardinals make spring cuts, release Munoz

The first cuts of spring were made on Saturday, with 13 players either optioned or reassigned to minor league camp.  LHP Ricardo Sanchez and 3B Elehuris Montero were optioned to Springfield, while RHP Alvaro Seijas was optioned to the Palm Beach.

Reassigned to minor league camp were non-roster players Akeem Bostick, Nabil Crismatt, Seth Elledge, Alex FaGalde, Griffin Roberts, Angel Rondon, and Ramon Santos, all RHP.  First baseman Luken Baker and catchers Julio Rodriguez and Alexis Wilson were also reassigned.

57 players remain in camp with just over two weeks remaining in spring training.  More cuts will be forthcoming in the next several weeks.

Yairo Muñoz

In addition to the cuts, a surprising announcement was made concerning injured utility player Yairo Munoz.  The Cardinals placed Munoz on release waivers on Saturday, due to him leaving camp without notice and returning to his home in the Dominican Republic.

Munoz injured his hamstring on a run to first base a week ago.  He was scheduled for an MRI but did not show up.  Munoz texted a teammate and informed him that he had flown home to the DR with no indication of returning.   Munoz had complained about his playing time last season and was apparently frustrated with what he saw as limited opportunities going forward.  Munoz was battling for a roster spot with other utility infielders, notably Tommy Edman, Edmundo Sosa, and the newly signed Brad Miller.

Munoz’ release leaves a spot open on the 40 man roster.


Cardinals settle contracts with 0-3 year players

On Sunday, the Cardinals announced that they agreed to terms and signed one-year contracts for the 2020 season with their 24 pre-arbitration players. The team also renewed the contract of pitcher Jack Flaherty. For the second consecutive year, the staff ace disagreed in protest of the current player compensation system in place across MLB.

More details here.

Cardinals Finalize 2020 Contract Terms with Pre-Arbitration Players


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 3/7 The Cardinals optioned 3B Elehuris Montero to the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 3/7 The Cardinals optioned LHP Ricardo Sanchez to the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 3/7 The Cardinals optioned RHP Alvaro Seijas to the Palm Beach Cardinals.
  • 3/7 The Cardinals released Yairo Munoz.

Injury Report

  • RHP Miles Mikolas (right flexor tendon) had a second PRP injection in his right arm to battle a recurrence of inflammation in his right flexor tendon early in camp. The latest update is that Mikolas will not be ready to start the season and will likely be out until mid-April.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (Tommy John surgery) was placed on the 60-day injured list and is expected to be out until after the All-Star break.
  • IF Brad Miller (back stiffness) continues to be held out of spring games out of caution but is taking some swings. Miller participated in a full workout on Sunday, and will be evaluated on Monday for a return to play.
  • LHP Andrew Miller (left arm nerve problem) is doubtful for opening day. Tests were performed but no results have been announced. Miller threw a light bullpen session on Saturday.
  • LHP Genesis Cabrera had been day to day with a cracked fingernail but appeared in relief in Sunday’s game.
  • 2B Kolten Wong exited Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch on his left leg. The diagnosis was left calf contusion.  Wong is day to day, and will be reevaluated on Monday.

Looking Ahead

On Monday, March 9, the Cardinals travel to the Gulf Coast to take on the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.  Kwang-Hyun Kim is scheduled for the start.  On Tuesday, the Cardinals will face the Red Sox at JetBlue Park, also in Fort Myers.

The Cardinals return to the Atlantic Coast to play the Mets on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie.  On Thursday, St. Louis as the home team will take on the Marlins.

The Astros return to Roger Dean Stadium on Friday.  On Saturday, the “visiting” Cardinals will face the Marlins again.

The Red Sox travel to Jupiter to play the Cardinals on Sunday.

The full spring training game broadcast schedule can be found at TCN here.


Blast from the Past

We return to the series on Cardinals player nicknames with another standout from the Gashouse Gang era.

Jay Hanna Dean, a/k/a Jerome Herman Dean was born on January 16, 1910 in Lucas, Arkansas.  Dean only attended school through the second grade.  His younger brother, Paul, also played baseball for the Cardinals.

Dizzy Dean

Dean may be best known as the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in a season.  Dean debuted for the Cardinals on September 28, 1930 and was with the Cardinals through the 1937 season.  During his time in St. Louis, Dean led the league in innings pitched in 1932, 1935, and 1936, and in strikeouts from 1932-35.  He was the National League MVP in 1934 and a four-time All Star.

Dean was known for his eccentric personality. The story behind his nickname “Dizzy” was that he enlisted in the Army in 1926 by lying about his age, and a sergeant gave him the nickname after he had done something stupid.

With the Cardinals, he demonstrated his quirky personality on many occasions.  Once on a hot July day, Dean built a fire in the dugout and covered himself with a wool blanket as a mocking gesture to the heat.  He and teammate Pepper Martin used to throw bags of water out of hotel windows on walkers below. Another time he brought a black cat to the ballpark to put a hex on the opposing team.

Dean suffered an arm injury in 1937 after changing his pitching motion to compensate for a fractured toe.  Dean was never the same pitcher after, and in 1938 the Cardinals traded him to the Cubs. He remained with the Cubs for the next two seasons, then pitched in only one game in 1941 to end his playing career.

From there, Dean went into broadcasting.  He called games for the Cardinals from 1941-1946, the Yankees from 1950-51, and the Braves from 1966-68.  He also called national games for ABC and CBS from 1953-1965.  He was well known for butchering the English language.

Dean was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953 and was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in the 2014 inaugural class.

After retiring from broadcasting in the late 1960s, Dean returned to his home in Bond, Mississippi.  He passed away on July 17, 1964 in Reno, Nevada of a heart attack and was buried in the Bond Cemetery.


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Six Cardinals Top Prospect Acceleration Candidates – 2020


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 24-March 1

photo: Paul DeJong (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals are just 3-6-1 on the spring, with pitching and hitting in the middle of the MLB pack. A number of pitchers are performing well, with Paul DeJong leading the offense. Our history feature highlights a trio of leap year day-born Cardinals.


Spring training game recaps

Monday, February 24 – Cardinals 3 at Marlins 6

The Cardinals fell to the Marlins on Monday by the score of 6-3.  John Gant took the mound to begin the game and pitched two innings, giving up one unearned run following his error on a pickoff attempt.  Gant was followed by Ryan Helsley, Junior Fernandez, Zack Thompson, Matthew Liberatore, Bryan Dobzanski, and Kodi Whitley.  Liberatore had a rough first spring outing, giving up five runs on three hits.

St. Louis’ initial runs were produced in the second by an RBI single from Rangel Ravelo and a force out RBI by John Nogowski.  Nogowski drove in his second run on a single in the fifth.  Ravelo had an outfield assist.

Lane Thomas was picked off first base.


Tuesday, February 25 – Cardinals 6, Nationals 9

The Cardinals were outhit by the Nationals 16 to seven in a three-run home loss on Tuesday.  The Redbirds scored six runs, five of which came via the long ball.  Paul DeJong blasted a three-run shot in the third inning, and Yairo Munoz thumped a two-run blast in the fifth.  DeJong also plated a run on a sac fly in the first, for a total of four RBI on the day.

Austin Gomber made his first spring start, going two innings and giving up one run on three hits.  Pitching in relief were Seth Elledge, Alex Reyes, Roel Ramirez, Brett Cecil, Tommy Parsons, Johann Oviedo, and Alex FaGalde.  Elledge, Reyes, and Cecil were charged with two runs each.


Wednesday, February 26 – Cardinals (split squad) 7 at Astros (split squad) 5

The Cardinals defeated the Astros in one of two split squad games on Wednesday.  The Astros were also playing split squads.  Genesis Cabrera started and spun two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and fanning two.  Cabrera was succeeded by Angel Rondon, Ramon Santos, Griffin Roberts, Jesus Cruz, Nabil Crismatt, and Bryan Dobzanski.  Rondon yielded three runs in his two innings pitched.

Genesis Cabrera

Home runs by Lane Thomas and Justin Williams contributed three of the Cardinals’ seven runs.  Thomas hit a two run shot, while Williams’ was a solo shot, both in the second inning.  Williams also had an RBI on a bases loaded walk in the fifth.  Singles by Brad Miller and Ivan Herrera drove in three more in the fifth.


Wednesday February 26 – Cardinals (split squad) 7, Marlins 8

In the other split squad contest, the Cardinals were edged 8-7 by the Marlins in their shared stadium in Jupiter.  Nolan Gorman had a good day at the plate, driving in runs on a force out with an error in the second inning, a double in the sixth, and a single in the seventh.  A third inning force out off the bat of Edmundo Sosa brought home a run, as did a Yairo Munoz single in the fifth, and a Dennis Ortega single in the sixth.

Kwang-Hyun Kim got the start and he pitched two scoreless, hitless innings, striking out three.  John Brebbia, Tyler Webb, Giovanny Gallegos, Rob Kaminsky, Ricardo Sanchez, and Akeem Bostick followed.  Gallegos and Sanchez yielded three runs apiece.


Thursday, February 27 – Cardinals 1 at Braves 3

The Cardinals took a bus ride to the Gulf Coast to take on the Braves at their new stadium in North Port.  Jack Flaherty got the start, pitching 2 2/3 innings and giving up one run on two hits while walking two, and striking out one.  Relievers were Alex FaGalde, Dakota Hudson, Roel Ramirez, Junior Fernandez, and Kodi Whitley.  Hudson surrendered two runs in his 2 2/3 innings.

The only Redbirds run came on a double by Yairo Munoz, who also stole his first base of the spring.  Lane Thomas was caught stealing for the second time.  Nolan Gorman committed a fielding error and Max Schrock made a throwing miscue.


Friday, February 28 – Cardinals 2 at Mets 3

The Cardinals suffered a one run loss to the Mets in Port St. Lucie on Friday.  Solo home runs by Paul Goldschmidt and Austin Dean were the Redbirds’ only scores.  Harrison Bader went 2-for-4 and was the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Adam Wainwright took the mound and pitched three innings.  The right hander was charged with one run on four hits, walking one and fanning two.  Daniel Ponce de Leon, Andrew Miller, and Alex Reyes followed.  Miller and Reyes each surrendered a run.


Saturday, February 29 – Cardinals 6, Nationals 3

St. Louis beat the visiting Nationals in Jupiter on Saturday.  Carlos Martinez got the start and pitched three scoreless innings with no hits, three walks and four strikeouts.  Tyler Webb and Ryan Helsley followed with three scoreless innings, one from Webb and two from Helsley.  Jake Woodford gave up all three Nationals runs in his two innings of work.  Giovanny Gallegos tossed a scoreless ninth.

Carlos Martinez

Paul DeJong hit a solo home run in the second inning to get the Cardinals on the board. In the fifth, John Nogowski plated a run on a single, as did Tommy Edman.  Edman got his second RBI with a single in the seventh.  One run in the seventh scored on a fielding error, and Andrew Knizner plated a run on a sac fly.

Kolten Wong was caught stealing.


Sunday, March 1 – Cardinals 4 at Astros 5

The Cardinals took a tough loss to the Astros on Sunday in Palm Beach.  The Cardinals were leading 3-0 through the fifth inning on home runs by Paul DeJong (two run shot) and Tyler O’Neill (solo shot).  The Astros tied it in the sixth with three runs on a triple and a wild pitch.  Dennis Ortega gave the Cardinals the lead back in the top of the ninth with a solo home run, but the Astros took advantage of Cardinal pitching issuing too many free passes in the bottom of the ninth to win.

Austin Gomber made the start and he pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, and striking out four.  John Gant followed and gave up three runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched.  Jesus Cruz, Junior Fernandez, and Kodi Whitley combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings.  Rob Kaminsky started the ninth and issued four walks and got two outs.  Nabil Crismatt pitched to one batter and issued a walk that scored the winning run.  Two runs scored in the final inning, both charged to Kaminsky.

Tyler O’Neill was caught stealing.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals are 3-6-1 through their first 10 games of the spring and their team stats have them in the middle of the MLB pack. Across the 30 teams, St. Louis is 19th in batting average at .245 and 16th in OPS at .764. Team pitching ranks 14th in ERA at 4.57.

Offensively, Paul DeJong is the early leader with three home runs and seven RBI to go with a .545 average and a 1.993 OPS. Dylan Carlson is batting .500, Yairo Muñoz is hitting .375, with Brad Miller and Tyler O’Neill at .300 each. The latter has two long balls. Muñoz four RBI is second-highest on the team.

Paul DeJong

Pitchers with at least three mound innings who are unscored upon include Genesis Cabrera, Junior Fernandez, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Ryan Helsley, Kodi Whitley and Daniel Ponce de Leon. Austin Gomber and Jack Flaherty have ERAs under 2.00.

On the struggler’s end, Brett Cecil, Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes are off to tough early starts. Among the hitters at or below the Mendoza line are Edmundo Sosa, Tommy Edman, Andrew Knizner, Paul Goldschmidt, Austin Dean and Dexter Fowler.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

  • RHP Miles Mikolas (right flexor tendon) had a second PRP injection in his right arm to battle a recurrence of inflammation in his right flexor tendon. The latest update is that Mikolas will not be ready to start the season and will likely be out until mid-April.
  • 3B Matt Carpenter has been held out of games for the last several days due to back tightness. Carpenter is considered day to day and will likely return to spring games this coming week.
  • IF Brad Miller was a late scratch from the lineup in Sunday’s game against the Astros, due to lower back stiffness. Manager Mike Shildt estimates Miller will be unavailable for at least three days, according to Goold.
  • IF Yairo Munoz injured his left hamstring running to first base in Saturday’s game. It is reported to be a hamstring strain. Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported that Munoz’ availability for Opening Day is doubtful.

Yairo Muñoz


Looking Ahead

The Cardinals begin the second full week of Grapefruit League play on Monday, as the Minnesota Twins travel to Jupiter. Kwan-Hyun Kim is scheduled to start. Following his three innings/50 pitches are scheduled to be Genesis Cabrera (3/50), Brett Cecil (1/25), Andrew Miller (1/25) and John Brebbia (1/25).

The Cardinals will play the Astros again on Tuesday in Jupiter.  The team travels to Port St. Lucie on Wednesday to take on the Mets.  A Redbirds split squad plays the Mets again on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium while the second squad takes on the Nationals in Palm Beach.

The Cardinals will take Friday off. On Saturday, the Astros return to Jupiter, and on Sunday the Cardinals (as the home team) take on their stadium mates the Marlins.

The full spring training game broadcast schedule can be found at TCN here.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past takes a brief detour away from the series on Cardinal nicknames to commemorate an event that doesn’t occur every year.  Leap year comes every fourth year when the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. 14 major league players were born on Leap Day.   This segment looks at two Cardinals in franchise history who have February 29 birthdays (one with a nickname) and one sort of Cardinal also born on Leap Day.

Pepper Martin (St. Louis Cardinals)

Pepper Martin is the longest tenured of the Leap Day Cardinals.  Born Johnny Leonard Roosevelt Martin on February 29, 1904 in Temple Oklahoma, Martin played 13 non-consecutive seasons for St. Louis.  The origin of Martin’s nickname “Pepper” is unclear, though he may have first been called that by the owner of the minor league team in Fort Smith where he played in 1925.

He made his major league debut with the Cardinals on April 16, 1928.  Martin played in 39 games that year and made one appearance as a pinch runner in the 1928 World Series.  The Cardinals were swept in four games by the Yankees.

Martin was sent back down to the minor leagues.  Martin appeared in six games for St. Louis in 1930 but had only one plate appearance.  Martin returned in 1931 and stayed, playing with the notorious “Gas House Gang” through the remainder of the decade.  Pepper led the league in runs scored in 1932, and in stolen bases in 1933, 1934, and 1936.  Martin’s rough style of play took a toll on his body, and in 1940 he was sent to the minor leagues as player-manager of Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League.

Martin returned to the Cardinals in 1944 at the age of 40 because of a player shortage due to World War II.  He played in 40 games that year and helped the Cardinals clinch the National League Pennant, but he did not play in the World Series.

Martin passed away on March 5, 1965 at the age of 61.  He was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2017.

The second Cardinal born on Leap Day was Roy Parker, who was born in Union, Missouri on February 29, 1896.  Parker played for the Cardinals in only two games in September of 1919, following his service in World War I.  Parker was a pitcher, and he tossed only two innings in those two games, in which he gave up seven earned runs in total for a major league ERA of 31.50.

Dickey Pearce

Finally, Richard J. Pearce, known as “Dickey” was born on February 29, 1836 in Brooklyn, New York.  Pearce played professional baseball for 22 years, beginning with the Brooklyn Athletics in 1856.  Pearce may have been the first baseball player to earn money for playing the game.  He is credited with pioneering the position of shortstop.  He also invented the bunt, called the “tricky hit”.

Pearce played from 1875-1877 for the St. Louis Brown Stockings.  The Brown Stockings were basically the forerunner of the Cardinals.  The original Brown Stockings went bankrupt in 1877, but a few of the former players convinced St. Louis merchant Chris von der Ahe to buy the team in 1881.  The team and five others became the American Association.  The Brown Stockings became the Browns, who became the Perfectos in 1899 and ultimately the Cardinals in 1900.  The Browns moved to the National League in 1892 and it is from that year that current ownership recognizes the beginning of the Cardinals.

So, Pearce was only “sort of” a Cardinal, playing for a predecessor of today’s Cardinals.  Pearce passed away on September 18, 1908 in Wareham, Massachusetts at the age of 72.  He didn’t start, but finished, his professional baseball career in St. Louis.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 17-23

photo: Tyler O’Neill (Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals picked up a win and a tie in their first two spring training games, as the pitching appears to be ahead of the offense. However, the depth will be tested, as starter Miles Mikolas will be out for some time. Our history feature highlights Hall of Famer Ducky Medwick.


Spring training game recaps

Saturday, February 22 – Cardinals 2, Mets 0

In the first game of the 2020 Grapefruit League schedule, the St. Louis Cardinals blanked the New York Mets 2-0 at Roger Dean Stadium. A solo home run by Tyler O’Neill in the second inning got the Cardinals on the board. The score remained 1-0 until the eighth inning when Andrew Knizner tripled to right field and Dylan Carlson followed with an RBI single to center to make it 2-0.  Carlson went 2-for-2 as did Matt Carpenter.

Tyler O’Neill

On the bump to begin the game was Jack Flaherty.  Flaherty pitched two scoreless innings, giving up two hits and fanning three.  Dakota Hudson, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Brett Cecil, Evan Kruczynski, Rob Kaminsky, and Genesis Cabrera followed.  Hudson tossed two scoreless innings, and each of the others added a scoreless inning each in a strong staff showing.

Lane Thomas was caught stealing.

Sunday, February 23 – Cardinals 3 at Mets 3

The Cardinals and the Mets played again on Sunday, this time at the home of the Mets in Port St. Lucie.  The game ended in a tie in regulation.

Adam Wainwright made his first Grapefruit League start and scuffled a bit. The veteran right hander pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up one run on two hits.  The Mets tally came on a solo home run by Jake Marisnick.  Following Wainwright on the bump was Angel Rondon, Carlos Martinez, Ramon Santos, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Jesus Cruz, and Jake Woodford.  Martinez struggled in his spring debut, giving up two runs on four hits.

Edmundo Sosa

On the offensive side, leadoff hitter Harrison Bader took the second pitch he saw from Steven Matz deep over the left field wall for a solo home run to give the Redbirds a 1-0 lead.  Bader went 2-for-3 with a third inning leadoff double to go with the long ball.  The Mets took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning, but it ended there when Edmundo Sosa thumped a line-drive two-run home run to left to tie the game at 3-3.  The game came to a close in regulation in the ninth still knotted up 3-3.

New outfielder Austin Dean was caught stealing in his first spring attempt.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

    • RHP Miles Mikolas (right flexor tendon) had a second platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right arm to battle a recurrence of inflammation in his right flexor tendon. The latest update is that Mikolas will not be ready to start the season and will likely be out until at least mid-April. Kim is his likely replacement in the rotation.

Miles Mikolas

  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt (right elbow soreness) is being limited to appearances as a designated hitter in spring games in early action. The injury is not deemed serious, but the team is being cautious and limiting his throwing for the first few games.

Looking Ahead

The first two games of spring training were played over the weekend.  Both were against the Mets, with the first at Roger Dean Stadium and the second in Port St. Lucie. A win and a tie ensued.

The Cardinals return to Jupiter on Monday for a game against the Marlins.  St. Louis will be the visiting team.   The Nationals visit Jupiter on Tuesday, then the Cardinals as the home team play a Marlins split squad on Wednesday.

The Cardinals travel to the Gulf Coast to play the Braves in North Port on Thursday.  To finish the week, the team returns to the Atlantic Coast to play the Mets again in Port St. Lucie, followed by a contest against the Nationals in Jupiter, and a Sunday game in Palm Beach against the Astros.

The full spring training game broadcast schedule can be found at TCN here.


Blast from the Past

In the second installment of the series on former Cardinals nicknames, this week’s Blast from the Past looks at the career of a member of the Cardinals infamous “Gashouse Gang’’ of the 1930s.

Ducky Medwick

The son of Hungarian immigrants, Joe Medwick was born on November 4, 1911 in Carteret, New Jersey.  Medwick excelled in several sports as a youth, and almost played football at Notre Dame for coach Knute Rockne.  Medwick chose, however, to play baseball rather than attend college.  After spending a couple of years in the minor leagues with the Houston Buffaloes, Medwick was called up by the Cardinals in September of 1932.

Medwick excelled in 11 seasons with St. Louis – for nine years to start his career, and two more at the end.  In those 11 years, Medwick put up a slash line of .335/.372/.545, with 152 home runs and 923 RBI.  He led the league in RBI for three straight years in 1936, 1937 and 1938.  He won the “Triple Crown” in 1937, leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBI.  He was the National League MVP in 1937 and was a seven time All-Star with St. Louis.

The Cardinals traded Medwick to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940.  He played with the New York Giants, the Boston Braves, and the Dodgers for a second time before returning to the Cardinals in 1947.  Medwick ended his MLB career in St. Louis in 1948.

Medwick was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.  He was a hitting coach in the Cardinals’ minor league system and was acting in that role when he passed away from a heart attack in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1975.  Medwick is buried in St. Louis.

Medwick got his nickname “Ducky” while he was playing with the Houston Buffaloes.  His teammates in Houston noticed he waddled like a duck when he walked, and they started calling him “Ducky”.  The nickname stuck.  Medwick was known to hate the nickname, but he never shook it, as sportswriters picked up on the name and referred to him as Ducky throughout his career.

Medwick was among the inaugural class inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.


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Breaking Down Cardinals Reserve Decisions – 2020


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 10-16

photo: Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals added a left-handed bench bat, and experienced their first potentially significant injury of 2020 this past week. Our history feature highlights a “Creepy” period from the team’s past.



Cardinals sign free agent infielder Brad Miller

The St. Louis Cardinals placed emphasis on obtaining another left handed bat for the roster, and with Spring Training underway, they finally found what they were looking for.  This past Wednesday the team announced it had signed free agent infielder Brad Miller to a one-year contract for a reported $2 million.

Brad Miller

The 30-year old has spent his seven-year MLB career playing primarily shortstop but has logged time at all other infield positions as well as the outfield.  Miller began 2019 with the Cleveland Indians but played in only 13 games before being designated for assignment. He then played in the Yankees minor league system and was traded to the Phillies on June 13.  Miller ended the season in the majors with the Phillies and was granted free agency.

Miller will be competing for an infield spot on the roster with switch hitter Tommy Edman, and right handed hitters Yairo Munoz and Edmundo Sosa. Miller has no minor league options left and while Edman, Munoz, and Sosa all have options, Edman is almost assuredly guaranteed a spot on the roster due to his performance in 2019.

To open up a 40-man roster spot, the Cardinals placed RHP Jordan Hicks on the 60-day injured list.  Hicks is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be ready to play after the All Star break.


Mikolas battling arm issues

Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas is experiencing the return of arm soreness in this first week of spring training that will slow his readiness for the season.  The right hander pitched through issues with his right flexor tendon at the end of 2019 and received a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection at the end of the season.  Mikolas also had an MRI that found no ligament damage.

Miles Mikolas

The flexor tendon problem has cropped up again.  Mikolas did not throw a scheduled bullpen session but a second MRI on Saturday again found no issues with the ligament.  A second PRP injection is a possibility.

The arm issues will delay Mikolas pitching in Grapefruit League games, which begin on Saturday, February 22.  It is unclear whether Mikolas’ start to the regular season will also be impacted.  The Cardinals have sufficient pitching depth in camp to cover any innings Mikolas will miss, with newcomer Kwang-Hyun Kim the most likely candidate to step into the rotation if needed.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports that 2B Kolten Wong is open to discussing an extension of his contract with the Cardinals.  The 29 year old Wong has one more year left on his current contract that he signed four years ago.  The Cardinals have a $12.5 million dollar option on Wong for 2021.

Continuing the longest-running rumor of the off-season, now spring training, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak addresses ongoing questions about Rockies star third baseman Nolan Arenado.


Transactions 

  • 2/11 2B Ramon Urias was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.
  • 2/12 The Cardinals placed RHP Jordan Hicks on the 60-day injured list. Recovering from right elbow Tommy John surgery.
  • 2/12 The Cardinals signed free agent 2B Brad Miller.

Injury Report

  • RHP Miles Mikolas will have his spring training work delayed due to flexor tendon soreness in his right arm. An MRI found no damage to the ligament.  Mikolas suffered with the same issues at the end of last season and received a PRP injection to address the problem then.  A second PRP injection is being considered.

Looking Ahead

Spring Training is underway, with both pitchers and catchers as well as position players having reported.

A total of 73 players are in major league camp – 41 rostered players (including Hicks) and 32 non-roster invitees.  The list of 32 NRIs are available at TCN here.

The first of 31 spring training games will be played on February 22 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The full spring training schedule can be viewed here.

The full spring training game broadcast schedule, including 24 games to be televised, can be found at TCN here.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past is the first in a series that will discuss former Cardinals players with unusual nicknames.  We begin with one of the weirder nicknames in Cardinals lore, one that sounded worse than it actually was.

This player was born Frank Angelo Joseph Crespi on February 16, 1918 in St. Louis, Missouri, a hometown boy who played his entire five-year major league career with the Cardinals.  Crespi was an infielder and made his big league debut at second base for the Cardinals on September 14, 1938.

Frank “Creepy” Crespi

Crespi only played in 25 major league games in his first three seasons, from 1938-40.   His only full season was 1941, in which he played in 146 games and posted a slash line of .279/.355/.379.  In his final season, 1942, he played in 93 games.  Crespi appeared in one game in the 1942 World Series against the Yankees.  He was a pinch runner in Game 1 and scored a run.  The Cardinals won that series 4-1.

Crespi’s unusual nickname was “Creepy”.  He is listed on his Baseball Reference page as “Creepy Crespi”. In a 1977 interview with Jack Buck, Crespi explained that he was given the nickname by a sportswriter because of the way he crept up low on a ground ball when fielding it.  This is probably not the first meaning one would assume upon hearing the nickname for the first time.

Crespi was drafted into the US Army in World War II, refusing a deferment to care for his elderly mother.  Unfortunately for Creepy, his left leg was fractured three times during this period, once during an Army baseball game, a second time during a training accident, and a third time in a hospital wheelchair race.  A nurse accidentally burned Crespi’s leg with boric acid and he suffered a permanent limp as a result.  Crespi had 23 surgeries on the leg in total.

Needless to say, Crespi’s baseball career was over, so he went to work for McDonnell Douglas, where he remained employed for 20 years.  After his retirement, he discovered he had not been officially retired from baseball but had been on the disabled list the entire time.  As a result, Crespi qualified for his major league pension.

Crespi passed away on March 1, 1990 in Florissant, Missouri after suffering a heart attack.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

BaseballHQ’s 2020 Cardinals Prospects – Debuts and Ceilings


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 3-9

photo: Ricardo Sanchez (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals finalized their fan ballot for the team Hall of Fame and made a 40-man roster change this past week. Spring TV schedules are filling out as players report to camp. Our history feature highlights former Cardinals outfielder Specs Toporcer, an MLB trailblazer.



Cardinals Hall nominees announced

The slate of Modern Era nominees for the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame class of 2020 was announced this past Wednesday.  Seven players will be on the fan ballot for two slots in the 2020 class: Steve Carlton, Keith Hernandez, Tom Herr, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, Lee Smith, and John Tudor.  Of these seven, four are returnees from last year’s ballot, Hernandez, Morris, Renteria, and Tudor. Carlton and Smith were on an earlier ballot, making Herr the only first-timer.

To be eligible for the Modern Era ballot, players must have been a Cardinal at least three seasons, be retired from Major League Baseball at least three years and have retired within the last 40 years.  The HOF was created in 2014 and there are currently 43 members.

The slate of candidates was selected by a Red Ribbon Committee of experts. Fan voting will began on March 1 and continue through April 17 at Cardinals.com/HOF. The two players ultimately selected by fans will be inducted in a ceremony on August 29 at Ballpark Village.

The induction class will include one or two others – a veteran player selected by the Red Ribbon Committee, and possibly a fourth non-player who is an important figure in club history selected by ownership.  The class will be announced on May 8 at 6 pm on Fox Sports Midwest and in a pre-game ceremony at Busch Stadium.

More info here:

2020 St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Ballot Announced


Cardinals add to pitching depth

The Cardinals made an addition and a subtraction to the 40-man roster this past week just prior to the beginning of Spring Training.  On Thursday, the club claimed left-handed pitcher Ricardo Sanchez off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.  In a corresponding move to open up a spot for Sanchez, the Cardinals designated second baseman Ramon Urias for assignment.

Sanchez, 22, was originally an international signing by the Los Angeles Angels in 2013 out of Venezuela.  The Angels traded Sanchez to the Braves on January 8, 2015.  Sanchez remained in the Braves minor league system until he was traded to the Seattle Mariners on November 28, 2018.  The left hander pitched for the Mariners Double-A affiliate in 2019, tossing 146 innings and posting a record of 8-12 with an ERA of 4.44.  The Mariners designated Sanchez for assignment on January 30, 2020.

Sanchez was placed on the Cardinals 40-man roster and will join the Cardinals big league camp on Tuesday.  He joins two other newly acquired lefties in Spring Training – Kwan-Hyun Kim, who the Cardinals signed out of Korea in December, and prospect Matthew Liberatore, acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in January.

Urias, 25, was a signing out of the Mexican League by the Cardinals in 2018.  He slashed .263/.369/.424 in 96 games for Triple-A Memphis in 2019.  Urias is mostly a second baseman, but also played innings at shortstop and third base.  Urias is essentially blocked as a utility infielder for the Cardinals by both Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz.

Should Urias clear waivers in the next few days and is not traded or released, he would remain in the Cardinals organization.

More details for members of The Cardinal Nation can be found here:

Cardinals add LHP Sanchez on Waivers, DFA Infielder Urias


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 2/6 The Cardinals claimed LHP Ricardo Sanchez off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • 2/6 The Cardinals designated 2B Ramon Urias for assignment.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Jupiter, Florida this Tuesday, February 11, with the first workout on Wednesday.  Position players will report on February 16, with first workout the next day.  These are the mandatory reporting dates with some players having been in Jupiter for a while now.

There will be a total of 72 players in major league camp – the members of the 40-man roster plus 32 non-roster invitees.  The list of 32 NRIs are available at TCN here.

The first spring training game will be played on February 22 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The full spring training schedule – including 21 televised contests, 15 of which will be on FOX Sports Midwest – can be viewed in the following article:

Cardinals Announce 2020 Spring TV and Radio Schedule


Blast from the Past

In a nod to trivia buffs in Cardinal Nation, this week’s Blast from the Past looks at a former Cardinals player and minor league manager, widely believed to be the first major league baseball position player to wear eyeglasses on the playing field.

George “Specs” Torporcer was born on February 9, 1899 in New York, NY.  Torporcer loved baseball, becoming hooked on the sport at the age of six when he attended the 1905 World Series.  Torporcer’s history teacher in the seventh grade formed a baseball team, but Specs was turned down from playing on it due to his small build and poor eyesight.  Torporcer went to all the games, and on one occasion he was the only spectator and the team was short one player, so Specs was drafted to play center field.  During the game he had two hits and made a difficult catch.

Torporcer had to help in the family business after his father passed away, so he did not attend high school. He began playing semi-pro baseball in New York and New Jersey in 1920, and eventually signed with the Syracuse Stars, the team that became the Cardinals first minor league team in a deal with Branch Rickey.

George “Specs” Toporcer

Rickey selected Torporcer from the Syracuse roster to play for the Cardinals after Milt Stock refused to report to Spring Training in 1921.  Rickey moved Rogers Hornsby to third base and put Torporcer at second base.  Stock returned to the team before the start of the season, so Rickey put Stock at third and Hornsby in the outfield, leaving Torporcer to make his major league debut on April 13, 1921 at second base as the first major league position player to wear spectacles.

Specs played for the Cardinals from 1921-1928, playing in 546 games and posting a hitting line of .279/.347/.373 over eight seasons.  In addition to second base, Torporcer also played shortstop, third base, first base, and right field.

Torporcer moved down to the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate in Rochester from 1928-1932.  He became player-manager there in 1932 and continued in that dual role until 1934, when he left the organization after a financial dispute with Rickey.  Specs continued to play with other minor league teams until 1941.  After 1941, he was named farm director for the Boston Red Sox, then in 1948, he became the farm director for the Chicago White Sox.

Specs became completely blind in 1951 following a fifth operation to try to save his failing eyesight.  Both the Cardinals and the Red Sox organizations helped to pay the expenses of the surgeries.  Torporcer became a motivational speaker and was known as “Baseball’s Blind Ambassador”.

Torporcer wrote an autobiography entitled “Baseball—From Backlots to Big Leagues” in 1944.  He passed away on May 17, 1989 at the age of 90 from injuries sustained at a fall in his home in Huntington Station, NY.  He was the last surviving member of the 1926 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Prospects on 2020 National Top 100s


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 27-February 2

photo: Brian Jordan (Getty Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals finalized their spring training camp invitee list of 72 players. As the Super Bowl concluded the football season, our history feature highlights former Cardinals who also played in the NFL.


Cardinals announce 32 non-roster invitees

The Cardinals announced 32 non-roster invitees to major league spring training this past week.  Among them are the top three prospects in the system – Dylan Carlson, Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore.

The Cardinals will have a total of 72 players in major league camp, a departure from how things have been done in past years.  Previously, the Cardinals had a separate camp for minor leaguers by invitation only that began one or two weeks after the start of big league camp, called STEP Camp or Spring Training Early Program.  STEP Camp was for top prospects believed to be close to contributing at the major league level.

This year, because of the early start to big league camp – full squad workouts begin on Feb. 17 and the first spring training game on Feb. 22 – and the March start to minor league camp, the team decided to increase the size of major league camp by eight players and not hold STEP Camp.

Further details, including the full list of NRI players can be found at TCN.

Cardinals Spring Training Camp Swells to 72 Players


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

The list of non-roster invitees include two pitchers signed to minor league contracts. Both were in other teams’ major league camps in 2019.


Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

Spring Training is right around the corner. The semi-trailer trucks loaded with equipment are scheduled to depart from St. Louis, heading for Florida, on Tuesday, February 4.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report in 16 days, on February 11, with the first workout on February 12.  Position players will report on February 16, with their first workout on February 17.

There will be a total of 72 players in major league camp, 40 rostered players and 32 non-roster invitees.  The list of 32 NRIs are available at TCN here.

The first spring training game will be played on February 22 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The full spring training schedule can be viewed here.

The Cardinal Nation features an early, partial look at Cardinals spring training games to be televised here.


Blast from the Past

In last week’s Blast from the Past, we looked at former St. Louis Cardinals who also played in the NBA.  This week, in honor of the Super Bowl, we look at former St. Louis Cardinals who also played in the NFL.

There has been a total of 67 athletes who have played in both MLB and the NFL.  Eleven of those 67 played for the NFL in its inaugural year of 1920.  Only seven have played in both MLB and the NFL since 1970.   Of the 67 players, seven are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. None of the 67 are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Brian Jordan

The most well-known of these dual sport athletes to play for the Cardinals is Brian Jordan, the team’s first round draft pick in 1988.  Jordan made his major league debut with St. Louis on April 8, 1992.  The outfielder posted a slash line of .291/.339/.474 in seven seasons, with 84 home runs and 367 RBI. Jordan became a free agent in 1998 and signed with the Atlanta Braves.

Jordan also played in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons as a defensive back from 1989 to 1991, during the time he was playing in the minor leagues for the Cardinals. He gave up football to play baseball full time in 1992.

Pitcher Chad Hutchinson was drafted in the second round by the Cardinals in 1998.  Hutchinson was drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in 1995 but chose to attend Stanford University on a football scholarship instead.  The quarterback left Stanford and football with two seasons of eligibility remaining to play baseball for the Cardinals.

Hutchinson spent the majority of his baseball career in the minor leagues but made his major league debut with the Cardinals on April 4, 2001.  He pitched in only three games for St. Louis and was sent down to Triple-A for the rest of the season.  Hutchinson left baseball and returned to football.  He was signed by the Cowboys in 2002 and played two bumpy seasons with Dallas and one in Chicago.

Matt Kinzer pitched for the Cardinals in eight games during the 1989 season.  He had been the second round draft pick of St. Louis in 1984.  Kinzer was traded to the Detroit Tigers in December of 1989.  Earlier, Kinzer played in one NFL game as a punter for the Detroit Lions during the NFL strike in 1987.

Ernie Vick was a catcher for the Cardinals from 1922-1926 but appeared in only 57 major league games during that time, including 24 games during the 1926 World Championship season.  Vick played for the Detroit Panthers (now Detroit Lions) in 1925, then for the Chicago Bears from 1927-28.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Capsules in the Fantasy Baseball Guide 2020


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 20-26

photo: Larry Walker and Scott Rolen (Ford-Mobley.com)

Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker joins the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 as Scott Rolen improves his standing considerably. Free agent Marcell Ozuna signed with Atlanta and Matt Wieters’ St. Louis return was finalized. As the sports world mourns the passing of Kobe Bryant, our history feature highlights former Cardinals who also played in the NBA.



Larry Walker elected to the Hall of Fame

On Tuesday, January 21, the results of the voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2020 were announced.  Former Cardinal Larry Walker, in his final year on the ballot, received 304 votes, which exceeded the minimum 75% threshold for election by six votes.  Former Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter was also elected in his first year on the ballot, falling one vote short of a unanimous selection.

Larry Walker (Getty Images)

Walker joins former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons in the 2020 Hall of Fame class.  Simmons was selected back in December by the Modern Baseball Era Committee along with former Players’ Union head Marvin Miller.

Walker played in the major leagues for 17 years with three teams, the Montreal Expos, the Colorado Rockies, and finally the St. Louis Cardinals to end his career.

The Canadian born Walker was not eligible to participate in the MLB draft out of high school, as Canadian players did not become eligible until 1991.  Instead, Walker was signed as a free agent in 1984 by the Montreal Expos for $1,500.  Walker made his major league debut with the Expos on August 16, 1989 and played there for six seasons.

He was signed as a free agent by the Colorado Rockies in 1994 and played in Denver for the next 10 years.  Walker was traded to the Cardinals in August 2004 and played for the Cardinals through 2005, his final major league season.  He slashed .286/.387/.520 with 26 home runs during his short time with St. Louis.

Former Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen received increased support in his third year on the ballot, garnering a 35.3% of the vote, up from 17.2% the previous year.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on July 26, 2020, in Cooperstown, NY.

Note: This past weekend, Walker participated in Cardinals Fantasy Camp in Jupiter, FL and spoke about what being selected to the Hall means to him.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Despite persistent rumors that the Cardinals were pursuing free agent and former Cardinal Marcell Ozuna, the outfielder agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal with the Atlanta Braves this past week.

His new salary is only $200,000 more than the $17.8 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals that Ozuna rejected in November.  There are rumors that Ozuna turned down longer bids at lower annual value.

The Cardinals will receive a compensation draft pick in this summer’s draft for the loss of Ozuna.  The pick will occur following the Competitive Balance Round B and is the #71 pick in the draft.


Transactions 

  • 1/22 The Cardinals signed free agent Matt Wieters. This was disclosed last week, but the club did not make the catcher’s return official until Wednesday, likely when he passed his physical exam.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

Spring Training is right around the corner. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report in 16 days, on February 11, with the first workout to begin on February 12.  Position players will report on February 16, with first workout on February 17.

The first spring training game will be played on February 22 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The full spring training schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

At the time of this writing, the sports world is mourning the untimely and tragic death of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.  Numerous current players and fans are followers of the NBA, most notably Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, a southern California native and Lakers fan.  Though this writer is not among those who follow basketball, the sad and tragic death of Bryant led me to investigate former St. Louis Cardinals who also played in the NBA.

As a result of this cursory search, this week’s Blast from the Past introduces Richard James (“Dick”) Ricketts Jr, player for the St. Louis Hawks from 1955-56 (currently the Atlanta Hawks) and the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals from 1956-1958 (currently the Sacramento Kings).  Ricketts is also the brother of the late Dave Ricketts, catcher for St. Louis as well as manager and coach in the Cardinals minor league system.

Dick Ricketts was signed as an amateur free agent pitcher by the Cardinals in 1955.  Rickets played basketball and baseball simultaneously through 1958.  Most of Ricketts’ Cardinals baseball career was spent in the minor leagues.

Ricketts made his major league debut on June 14, 1959 at the age of 25.  His major league career with the Cardinals was short lived, as he pitched in only 12 games for St. Louis, including nine starts. He appeared in his final major league game on July 27, 1959.  In his 12 games, Ricketts posted a record of 1-6 with an ERA of 5.82.

On September 20, 1960, the Cardinals traded Ricketts to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Ricketts finished his baseball career in the Phillies minor league system in 1964.

Ricketts was one of 13 athletes to play in both the NBA and MLB.  He died of leukemia in 1988.

Former Cardinals shortstop Dick Groat (1963-1965) played one season in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons (currently the Detroit Pistons) in 1952-53.

Ron Reed pitched in 24 games for the Cardinals in 1975.  He had a record of 9-8 with an ERA of 3.23.  The Cardinals acquired Reed from the Braves on May 28, 1975, then traded him to the Phillies in December 1975.  Reed played for the Detroit Pistons from 1965-67.

These three former Cardinals all played in the NBA at some point in their athletic careers, but only Ricketts played baseball and basketball at the same time.

Two Cardinals Hall of Famers also played basketball professionally, but not in the NBA.  Bob Gibson and Lou Brock toured with the Harlem Globetrotters.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Prune Minor League Ranks before Spring Camp


Now Available! – TCN’s New 2020 Prospect Guide

232 pages, 97,000 words, over 60 player capsules, history and much more – in both PDF and spiral-bound book versions. Foreword by Dan McLaughlin. Order your copy today!

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 13-19

photo: Matt Wieters (Kim Klement/Imagn)

This past week, the St. Louis Cardinals added two players with two other moves long-rumored but not yet happening. Our history feature highlights the late team Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Forsch.


Cardinals reunite with backstop Wieters

On Sunday, the Cardinals reached a deal with catcher Matt Wieters for a return as backup catcher to Yadier Molina, according to national reporter Jon Heyman.  It had been rumored for much of the offseason that the Cardinals and the Oakland A’s were competing for the services of the switch hitter.

Matt Wieters

The terms for Wieters, 33, are reportedly one year for $2 million with incentives worth an additional $1 million.  In 2019, Wieters played in 67 games with a slash line of .214/.268/.435.  The catcher hit 11 home runs and drove in 27.

Cardinals catching prospect Andrew Knizner, no. 5 in TCN’s 2020 rankings, may begin the season with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds or the Cardinals could use the new 26th roster spot on a third catcher.

The team has not confirmed the move yet, perhaps waiting until a physical has been taken.


Cardinals acquire outfielder from Miami

The Cardinals announced this past Tuesday that outfielder Austin Dean was acquired from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league outfielder Diowill Burgos.  This move follows the trade of two from the Cardinals outfield depth in the trade of Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena to the Tampa Bay Rays for LHP prospect Matthew Liberatore. Earlier in the off-season, Adolis Garcia was traded and Marcell Ozuna became a free agent.

Austin Dean

The 26 year old Dean played 64 games with the Marlins in 2019 and slashed .225/.261/.404 with a .665 OPS.   Dean put up better numbers in Triple-A, slashing .337/.401/635 with a 1.036 OPS in 73 games with Miami’s Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans.  The right handed outfielder was the Marlins Minor League Player of the Year in 2018.

Dean was added to the Cardinals 40-man roster and will compete with other outfielders for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Burgos, 18, was a 2017 international signing by the Cardinals.  The young outfielder played in 58 games between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast Cardinals in 2019 and slashed .316/.420/.579.

For more details…

Craig Mish Dishes on New Cardinal Austin Dean


Cardinals Winter Warm-Up

The Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up began on Saturday and continues through Monday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in St. Louis.  The event features individual autograph signings by current and former Cardinals players and coaches as well as interviews, live and silent auctions, and question and answer sessions with Cardinals staff.

The Cardinals Caravans are operating in conjunction with the Winter Warm-Up. In them, current players, alumni and media personalities travel to a number of cities in the Midwest to meet and answer questions as well as sign autographs for young fans. TCN’s Derek Shore recapped the events at the Friday stop in Springfield, MO.

Hicks, Thomas and Fernandez Lead Cardinals Caravan into Springfield

You can view full coverage of the Warm-Up at TCN, with daily summaries of the events as well as photos and audio interviews.


MLB Network’s documentary on the Whiteyball Era

A new documentary entitled “Birds of a Different Game:  The ‘80s Cardinals” is a film which highlights the successes of the Cardinals teams of the 1980s, a/k/a “Whiteyball”, after the Cardinals manager of that time, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog.

The film will air on MLB Network on January 28, but Cardinals fans were treated to an early screening of the film at Ballpark Village on Saturday.

Whitey Herzog

Following the viewing, Herzog, as well as former players Ozzie Smith, John Tudor, and Tom Herr conducted an onstage Q&A.

The documentary features the hiring of Herzog as manager in 1980, and how he put together the roster.  It includes the 1982 trade for Ozzie Smith, acquired by the Cardinals from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Garry Templeton.

The film also includes interviews with Herzog, Smith, and former Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez, as well as other former Cardinals.  Broadcasters Bob Costas and Al Michaels, Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel, author Doug Feldman, and actor and Cardinals fan Jon Hamm, are also showcased in the film.

The film will air on MLB Network at 7 pm CT on January 28.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals continue to explore outside additions, but no move is imminent.  Free agent Marcell Ozuna remains on the Cardinals’ radar, though Goold states that sources have indicated that the Cardinals would have to increase their offer for Ozuna to sign.

As for the possibility of trading for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, his availability is uncertain, as he would have to waive his no trade clause. Further, the opt out in his contract after 2021 may remain as a road block.  Further, acquisition of Arenado means Matt Carpenter may have to be traded to make room.  Carpenter also has a no trade clause in his contract, but Carpenter told Goold this weekend that he “wouldn’t stand in the way of doing what I thought was right for the organization”.  However, the rumors of a trade of Arenado to St. Louis have lost steam in recent days, making a trade of the All Star third baseman seem more unlikely.


Transactions 

  • 1/14 The Cardinals acquired OF Austin Dean from the Miami Marlins for OF Diowill Burgos.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

TCN’s Winter Warm-Up coverage on Sunday includes injury updates on Cardinals Austin Gomber, Lane Thomas, Jordan Hicks and more.


Looking Ahead

Spring Training is less than a month away.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 11, with the first workout to begin on February 12.  Position players will report on February 16, with first workout on February 17.

The first spring training game will be played on February 22 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The full spring training schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

Over the weekend a new documentary celebrating the St. Louis Cardinals teams of the 1980s was shown to Cardinals fans at Ballpark Village on Saturday.  The film, entitled “Birds of a Different Game:  The ‘80s Cardinals” showcases the era of “Whiteyball” a decade during which the Cardinals appeared in three World Series and won one.

Bob Forsch

This week’s Blast from the Past remembers one pitcher who was instrumental in the success of that decade.  His name was Bob Forsch and were he still alive, he would have celebrated his 70th birthday this past week.

Robert Herbert Forsch was born January 13, 1950 in Sacramento, California.  He attended Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento and went on to attend Sacramento City College. Forsch was selected by the Cardinals in the 26th round of the 1968 draft.  He was drafted as a third baseman but was converted to a pitcher while in the minor leagues.

Forsch made his major league debut on July 7, 1974.  His most memorable performance of his rookie season was in a game against the Montreal Expos on September 30, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

Forsch pitched his only 20-win season in 1977, in which he went 20-7 with a 3.48 ERA.

Forsch reached the postseason for the first time in 1982.  He started Game 1 of the NLCS against the Braves, striking out six and limiting the Braves to three hits.  Forsch pitched two games in the World Series but lost both.  The Cardinals nevertheless won the Series in seven games over the Milwaukee Brewers.  Forsch pitched in the postseason two more times in that decade, in both 1985 and 1987.

One notable postseason event for Forsch was in the 1987 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.  In Game 3, Forsch hit Giants outfielder Jeffrey Leonard in the back with a fastball.  Leonard was nicknamed “One Flap Down” for his habit of trotting around the bases after a home run with one arm down at his side.  This stunt enraged Cardinals fans, and after Forsch plunked Leonard, the St. Louis media began calling Leonard “Both Flaps Down”.  Forsch was unrepentant, insisting that he was “only trying to come inside”.

In 16 seasons with the Cardinals, Forsch posted a record of 168-136 with an ERA of 3.76.  Forsch had two career no-hitters, both at Busch Stadium.  He also won two Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher.  Forsch was one of the better hitting pitchers in the league, with 12 career home runs on his resume.

Bob Forsch (Getty Images)

Forsch was the author of a book entitled Bob Forsch’s Tales from the Cardinals Dugout.  Forsch passed away on November 3, 2011 from an aortic aneurysm, less than a week after he threw out the first pitch in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series at Busch Stadium. He was named to the Cardinals team Hall of Fame in 2015.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Instructional Camp News – January 16, 2020


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© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 6-12

photo: John Gant (Michael McLoone/Imagn)

This past week, the St. Louis Cardinals signed two players and made one trade amid rumors of a bigger one still ahead. With spring training approaching, our history feature highlights prior Cardinals Grapefruit League locales.


Trade with Tampa Bay Rays

On Thursday, January 9, a trade between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays was announced.  The Cardinals received left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, minor league catcher Edgardo Rodriguez, and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick from the Rays.  In exchange, the Rays received outfielders Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, plus a Competitive Balance Round A draft pick.

St. Louis had a glut of outfielders on the major league roster and in the minor leagues, a position of considerable depth in the system.  The Cardinals traded from this depth to obtain left handed pitching, an area of lesser depth in the system.

The 20 year old Liberatore was a first round draft pick by the Rays in 2018 and a top prospect in their system.  Liberatore is a close friend of the Cardinals’ 2018 first round pick, Nolan Gorman.  The two have been friends since the age of five and often played baseball together growing up.  In 2019, Liberatore pitched for the Rays’ Class A affiliate in Bowling Green, posting an ERA of 3.10 in 16 appearances with a record of 6-2.  The left hander is ranked by The Cardinal Nation as the Cardinals No. 3 prospect.

Comparing and Ranking Cardinals Lefties Liberatore and Thompson

Rodriguez, 19, was a 2017 international signing by the Rays out of Venezuela. He played 10 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2019, and prior to that he logged 51 games in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .330 with six home runs.

Martinez was acquired by the Cardinals from the Royals for cash considerations in May 2016.  He made his major league debut that September.  In four seasons with the Cardinals, Martinez slashed .298/.363/.453 in over 1,200 plate appearances.  Martinez was a below average defensive player, which hampered him from being a regular in the starting lineup.  Martinez’ profile is more suited as a designated hitter in the American League.

The 24 year old Arozarena was the Cardinals’ no. 7 prospect according to The Cardinal Nation and debuted with St. Louis last season.  The outfielder put up excellent offensive numbers with the Cardinals’ Double-A and Triple-A clubs in 2019 and was TCN’s system-wide Player of the Year. However, he had a challenging road ahead for playing time with St. Louis due to the glut of outfielders.

The possibility of a return of Marcell Ozuna to the outfield mix, in addition to the possible 2020 debut of outfield prospect Dylan Carlson may have also figured into the reasoning behind the trade.

The trade reduced the Cardinals 40-man roster to 38 players, giving them flexibility for additional roster tweaking for 2020.


Gant avoids arbitration hearing

Pitcher John Gant reached an agreement on a one-year contract and avoid arbitration with the Cardinals prior to the deadline to submit salary numbers on Friday, January 10.  Gant was the Cardinals’ only arbitration eligible player following the release of pitcher Dominic Leone in November.

Gant will make $1.3 million in 2020, his first of three arbitration-eligible years.

John Gant

Gant spent the entirety of the 2019 season in the Cardinals bullpen after losing the competition for the fifth rotation spot in Spring Training. Gant was acquired by the Cardinals in the December 2016 trade of Jaime Garcia to the Braves.  Gant went 11-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 66 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2019.  He struggled in the second half, posting a 6.55 ERA during that period and was left off the postseason roster.

The settlement with Gant leaves no player on the 40-man roster unsigned for the 2020 season.


Backup catcher still uncertain

As of this writing, the identity of the backup for catcher Yadier Molina in 2020 remains uncertain.  The Cardinals have prospect Andrew Knizner on the roster as a possibility, and the Cardinals have stated an interest in a reunion with the 2019 reserve Matt Wieters.

Matt Wieters

Wieters is a free agent, but it has been reported for the last month that both the Cardinals and the Oakland Athletics have interest in signing the veteran backstop.  After Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic recently reiterated the interest by both teams, St. Louis beat writer Derrick Goold confirmed that not only are the Cardinals hoping for a return of Wieters, but they are keeping a locker open for him.

The veteran catcher is no doubt holding out for a full time gig and as much money as possible, but should that not pan out, the position as Molina’s backup, with the limited playing time that comes with it, remains an option.  Wieters logged 67 games with the Cardinals in 2019, much of that due to Molina’s month long stint on the injured list with a groin injury.

In addition to Knizner, the Cardinals added some insurance by signing catcher Oscar Hernandez to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.  Hernandez, 26, spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Boston Red Sox, but hasn’t played in major league game since 2016.  The catcher will be assigned to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.  Hernandez is known more for his defensive ability than for offense.

Cardinals Sign Catcher Oscar Hernandez


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Nolan Arenado (Allan Henry/Imagn)

Matt Spiegel, columnist for Chicago AM radio’s 670 The Score, tweeted on Saturday that the station’s baseball analyst Bruce Levine heard the Cardinals made a trade offer for Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado. This offer allegedly included Dakota Hudson, Carlos Martinez, Tyler O’Neill, and newly acquired pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore.

Later that day, Rockies beat writer Patrick Saunders from the Denver Post tweeted that trade rumors concerning Arenado are dart throws and should be taken with a grain of salt.  Additionally, Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak stated in an interview with KMOX on Sunday morning that the rumors are “90% to 95% untrue”.

On Saturday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted about the Cardinals’ continued interest in free agent catcher Matt Wieters, who spent the 2019 season as the Cardinals’ backup to Yadier Molina.  Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch confirmed the Cardinals’ interest in Wieters in a subsequent tweet.

The Cardinals have been linked all offseason to free agent and former Cardinals left fielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna declined the qualifying offer from the Cardinals and thus comes with the loss of a draft pick attached.  While the Cardinals maintain an interest in Ozuna, he remains a free agent for now.    Ozuna recently told a Dominican television reporter that his decision is down to either the Cardinals or the Texas Rangers.  Ozuna stated that if the Cardinals “step up” he would prefer to return to St. Louis.   The exact definition of “step up” is unclear, but it has been reported the Cardinals are not interested in a long-term deal for the outfielder.


Transactions 

  • 1/7 The Cardinals signed C Oscar Hernandez to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
  • 1/9 The Cardinals traded RF Jose Martinez, LF Randy Arozarena, and a Round A Competitive Balance draft pick to the Tampa Bay Rays for LHP Matthew Liberatore, C Edgardo Rodriguez, and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The annual Winter Warm-Up fan festival is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets are currently on sale at mlb.com/cardinals/fans/winter-warm-up .

In conjunction with the Winter Warm-Up, the annual Cardinals Caravan takes place the same weekend, with groups of players and former players making 20 stops in towns across the Midwest.  The full slate of dates, times, places, and players participating are available here.

Spring Training is a month away.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 11, with the first workout to begin on February 12.  Position players will report on February 16, with first workout on February 17.

The first spring training game will be played on February 22 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The full spring training schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

Spring Training is just around the corner, and as Cardinals players prepare for a return to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter Florida, this week’s Blast from the Past recalls prior Spring Training venues in St. Louis Cardinals history.

The Cardinals have had their spring training home in Jupiter since 1998.  Roger Dean Stadium was built that year and has a capacity of around 7,000. The Cardinals share the facility with the Miami Marlins.  In addition to the Cardinals, the Roger Dean complex is host to four minor league teams:  the Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins Class A-Advanced), the Palm Beach Cardinals (Cardinals Class A-Advanced), the Gulf Coast Cardinals, and the Gulf Coast Marlins.

From 1947 to 1997, the Cardinals held spring training in Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, with a capacity of 7,500.  It was built primarily for baseball but has hosted other sports in its history.  The Cardinals shared Al Lang Stadium with various other MLB teams throughout their history there, including the New York Yankees, the New York Giants, the New York Mets, and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Tampa Bay Rays took over the facility for its spring training in 1998 and remained there through 2008.  The stadium is currently the host of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team.

Exterior of Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, FL (National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Cardinals spring training in St. Petersburg, FL (National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Jim Konstanty, Vern Rapp, Shelden Bender and George Kissell

The Cardinals made their spring training home at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida from 1930-1936.  LECOM Park was known as Florida’s version of Fenway Park.  This was the spring training era of the Cardinals “Gashouse Gang”.  The stadium had a capacity of 2,000. Future Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean liked Bradenton so much he bought a local gas station there and had a home there.  It was said the Cardinals sent Dean to Bradenton weeks before spring training to keep him out of trouble and sent a local sportswriter to keep an eye on him.

Other spring training facilities used by the Cardinals include Ban Johnson Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas (1900), Herald Park in Houston (1904), and West End Park in Houston (1906-08).

The Cardinals held spring training in other cities at various times, including St. Louis (1901-02), Dallas (1903), Marlins Springs, TX (1905), Little Rock, Arkansas (1909-1910), West Baden, Indiana (1911), Jackson, Mississippi (1912), Columbus, Georgia (1913), St. Augustine, Florida (1914), Hot Wells, Texas (1915-17), San Antonio, Texas (1918), St Louis, again (1919), Brownsville Texas (1920), Orange, Texas (1921-22), Bradenton, Florida (1923-24), Stockton, California (1925), San Antonio, again (1926), Avon Park, Florida (1927-29), Daytona Beach, Florida (1937), St. Petersburg’s Waterfront Park (1938-42), Cairo, Illinois (1943-45), and St. Petersburg Athletic Park (1946).


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 16-22

photo: Kwang-Hyun Kim and John Mozeliak (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals added a new left-handed pitcher from Korea while saying goodbye to a Cuban-born outfielder. Our history feature highlights five other Cardinals, current and former, with Asian roots.


Korean lefty signs two-year deal

The Cardinals announced on Tuesday, December 17 that Korean left hander Kwang-Hyun Kim has agreed to terms on a two-year contract.  Kim pitched for the Korean Baseball Organization for the past 12 years, and sought a move to MLB for the 2020 season.  The deal is worth $8 million plus incentives with 20% percent additional ($1.6 million) going to his former team as a posting fee.

Kwang-Hyun Kim

The 31-year old left hander, nicknamed “KK”, posted an ERA of 3.27 with 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings in his KBO career.  Kim had Tommy John surgery in 2017, but returned healthy for the 2018 season, posting an ERA of 2.98.  The lefty throws a mid-90s fastball and a slider that is his best pitch.

Kim’s role in the KBO was as a starter, but his role in St. Louis is yet to be determined.  The health and effectiveness of Carlos Martinez may be the determining factor of whether Kim heads to the rotation or the bullpen.

To make room on the 40-man roster, Memphis outfielder Adolis Garcia was designated for assignment, then traded to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations.  Garcia was one of a plethora of outfielders in the upper levels of Cardinals system and spent the entire 2019 season at Memphis.

Adolis Garcia


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak told reporters this past week that the team was still in the mix for free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna.  Ozuna has reportedly fielded interest from several other teams, including the Cincinnati Reds, and is thought to be seeking a multi-year deal.

Mark Saxon of The Athletic recently tweeted that it appeared unlikely the Cardinals will sign their former left fielder, given their preference for a left handed bat, but in a later chat, pegged Ozuna’s odds of returning to St. Louis at 50 percent.  The length of contract the outfielder is seeking may be a hindrance to the Cardinals re-signing him.

Marcell Ozuna


Transactions 

  • 12/17 The Cardinals signed free agent LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim.
  • 12/18 The Cardinals designated OF Adolis Garcia for assignment.
  • 12/21 The Cardinals traded OF Adolis Garcia to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is the date when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts for arbitration.  The Cardinals have only one arbitration eligible player, John Gant.

Should the Cardinals not reach agreement with Gant on a 2020 salary, an arbitration hearing to determine his salary will be held some time in February.

The annual Winter Warm-Up fan festival is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets are currently on sale at mlb.com/cardinals/fans/winter-warm-up .


Blast from the Past

This past week the Cardinals signed Korean left handed pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim to a two-year major league contract.  Kim is one of three Asian players signed as international free agents by the Cardinals in franchise history, and one of six Cardinals players of Asian descent. This week’s Blast from the Past briefly looks at the history of Asian players for the Cardinals.

So Taguchi (Getty Images)

The Cardinals have signed three Asian players as international free agents over the recent past. So Taguchi was the first Asian player signed by the Cardinals. Taguchi, born and raised in Japan, joined the Cardinals in January 2002 as a free agent. Prior to that, Taguchi played for the Orix Blue Wave from 1992-2001 and was a teammate of Ichiro Suzuki.

Taguchi played the first half of 2002 for the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds.  He made his major league debut with St. Louis on June 10, 2002 at the age of 32. Taguchi was re-signed in free agency on December 22, 2004 and remained with the Cardinals through the 2007 season. The Cardinals declined Taguchi’s 2008 option and released him on December 5, 2007. Taguchi signed a one-year deal with the Phillies on December 23, 2007.

In his six seasons with the Cardinals, Taguchi slashed .283/.336/.391 with 19 home runs and 154 RBI. Taguchi played one year with the Phillies and one year with the Chicago Cubs. He then returned to Japan and concluded his career with his old team, the Orix Blue Wave. Taguchi announced his retirement from baseball on July 31, 2012.

Seung-Hwan Oh (USA TODAY Sports)

On January 11, 2016, the Cardinals signed Korean RHP Seung-Hwan Oh to a two year contract. Prior to that, Oh played for the Samsung Lions of the KBO from 2005-2013, and then pitched two seasons for the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan.

In two seasons with the Cardinals, Oh worked out of the bullpen and posted an ERA of 2.85, saving 39 games.  He pitched 139 innings with a strikeout rate of 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.  Oh became a free agent at the end of the 2017 season and signed for 2018 with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Toronto traded him mid-season to the Colorado Rockies, where he remained until his release in July 2019.  Oh returned to Korea in August 2019 and signed with the Samsung Lions.

In addition to Taguchi, Oh, and now Kim, the Cardinals have drafted three players of Asian descent who have made the major leagues.  Kolten Wong, whose father is of Chinese descent, was drafted by the Cardinals in 2011 and currently plays second base for the team.  Wong is a native of Hawaii.

Tommy Pham was drafted by the Cardinals in 2006 and made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2014. Pham’s father is Vietnamese.  Pham was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018 and dealt again to the San Diego Padres earlier this month.

Tommy Edman was drafted by the Cardinals in 2016.  He made his major league debut on June 8, 2019 and remained on the team through the regular season and postseason.  Edman was drafted as an infielder and played the infield in the minor leagues but also appeared in the outfield for St. Louis.  Edman’s mother is Korean.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 9-15

photo: Rob Kaminsky (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Welcome to The Cardinal Nation’s quick but complete recap of the prior week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, posted each Monday morning and soon heading into its fifth consecutive year.


News and Notes

  • The Cardinals announced the promotion of Patrick “Packy” Elkins from the position of professional scout to the Cardinals major league staff. Elkins will take on a newly created position of Major League Internal Player Strategist.  Elkins was formerly an infielder in the Cardinals minor league system from 2010-2012, reaching the High A level in Palm Beach.  The duties of the newly created position are to synthesize video and statistical data for the use of players and coaches.

More details can be found here.

  • The Cardinals have signed one of their former pitching prospects, Rob Kaminsky, to a minor league deal. Kaminsky first joined the Cardinals in the first round of the 2013 draft as a high schooler and was traded in 2015 to the Cleveland Indians for Brandon Moss. Kaminsky, whose career was slowed by injury, is expected to provide bullpen depth from the left side at Memphis.

Rob Kaminsky

  • The Rule 5 draft was held on Thursday, December 12 in San Diego. The Cardinals lost no players in the major league phase of the draft, and could not make a pick in that phase, as the major league roster is full.  The Cardinals did choose three players in the minor league phase of the draft, all right handed pitchers.  From Milwaukee the Cardinals drafted RHP Jordan Brink, a 26 year old hard thrower who has been clocked from 97-99 mph.  Also drafted were right handed pitchers Enrique Saldana and Jacob Bosiokovic from Colorado.  The Cardinals lost two players in the minor league phase, catcher Brian O’Keefe and first baseman Dariel Gomez.

More details on Kaminsky and the Rule 5 draft for TCN members here.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted during the Winter Meetings that the Cardinals are interested in left handed free agent pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.  The 32 year old former Dodgers starter has been reported to be seeking a three- to four-year deal.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that the Cardinals are among several teams that may have had trade discussions with the Red Sox about pitcher David Price.  The left-handed pitcher has three years and $96 million remaining on his contract, which had been the largest in MLB history for a pitcher until this off-season.  The Cardinals offered Price a seven-year deal in 2015, before the Red Sox topped the Cardinals bid, but now the Sox are looking to shed salary.

Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals have “heavily scouted” free agent Shogu Akiyama and could be suitors for the Japanese center fielder and leadoff candidate.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals are “intrigued” by left handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel.  Keuchel and Ryu are among the top left handed starters available on the free agent market.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is the date when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts for a one-year contract.  The Cardinals have only one arbitration eligible player, John Gant. Should the two sides not reach agreement, a hearing to determine his 2020 salary will be held some time in February.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets are currently on sale at mlb.com/cardinals/fans/winter-warm-up. More details here.


Blast from the Past

The Winter Meetings took place this past week in San Diego.  The Cardinals left without making any additions to the roster, though the team was the subject of several rumors during the meetings.  This week’s Blast from the Past looks at memorable trades in franchise history during this mid-December time period.

On December 9, 1980, the Cardinals acquired future Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter from the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Leon Durham and infielder Ken Reitz. Sutter spent four seasons with the Cardinals and was the NL saves leader in 1984 with 45 saves.

Garry Templeton and Ozzie Smith (Getty Images)

On December 10, 1981, the Cardinals acquired shortstop Ozzie Smith from the San Diego Padres for Garry Templeton, Sexto Lezcano, and Al Olmstead. Future Hall of Famer Smith played his final 15 seasons with St. Louis, amassing 14 All Star appearances, 11 Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger award.

Ted Simmons (Getty Images)

On December 12, 1980, the Cardinals traded Ted Simmons, Rollie Fingers, and Pete Vuckovich to the Milwaukee Brewers for David Green, Dave LaPoint, Sixto Lezcano and Lary Sorensen. This Whitey Herzog-driven trade was widely considered one of the worst made by the Cardinals.  Both Fingers and Vuckovich won Cy Young Awards with the Brewers and Simmons was one of the best catchers in franchise history, recently selected as part the 2020 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Simmons was previously inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Adam Wainwright and Busch Stadium fans (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

On December 13, 2003, the Cardinals acquired Adam Wainwright, Ray King, and Jason Marquis from the Atlanta Braves for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. Wainwright was the centerpiece of the trade and has had a long and distinguished career as a Cardinal, which continues to the present day.

David Freese (USA TODAY Sports Images)

On December 14, 2007, the Cardinals traded outfielder Jim Edmonds to the San Diego Padres for third baseman David Freese. Freese went on spend five seasons in St. Louis and is of course best known as the hero of the 2011 World Series.  Freese was the MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series.  Edmonds had played for eight seasons with the Cardinals and won six Gold Glove awards in center field, but finished his illustrious career as a journeyman.  Edmonds is currently a color analyst for Fox Sports Midwest and was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 2-8

photo: Ted Simmons (Getty Images)

Welcome to The Cardinal Nation’s quick but complete recap of the prior week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, posted each Monday morning and soon heading into its fifth consecutive year.


Ted Simmons

Simmons elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

On Sunday, the Modern Era Baseball Committee, meeting in San Diego on the first day of the Winter Meetings, selected former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2020 class.

Candidates before the Modern Era Committee needed 75 percent of the vote to be selected.  Simmons received 13 votes, 81.3% of the total.  Simmons is joined by the late Marvin Miller, Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association from 1966 to 1982, who garnered 12 votes.

The catcher played 13 seasons with the Cardinals, after making his major league debut on September 21, 1968 at the age of 19.  Simmons’ career slash line with the Cardinals was .298/.366/.459 with 172 home runs and 929 RBI.  Simmons, aka “Simba”, was an eight time All-Star, six with St. Louis.  Simmons was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on December 12, 1980.  He finished his career with the Atlanta Braves, retiring after the 1988 season.

Simmons was voted by fans into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2015 and will become the 50th inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame with ties to the St. Louis Cardinals.


Cardinals tender contract to Gant

The non-tender deadline came and went last Monday, December 2.  The Cardinals had one arbitration eligible player for whom they had to make a decision.  Gant was tendered a contract for 2020, as was announced prior to the deadline.

The 27 year old right handed pitcher entered his first year of arbitration and was the team’s sole arbitration eligible player after RHP Dominic Leone was designated for assignment on November 20 and subsequently released.

The Cardinals and Gant will submit salary figures on or before January 10, 2020 unless both parties reach agreement prior to that date on a 2020 salary.  Gant’s salary in 2019 was $571,300 and he could double that. Arbitration hearings begin in February, but the parties can agree on a salary any time prior to then.

The Cardinals also tendered contracts to the remaining players on the team’s 40-man roster who did not have contracts for the 2020 season.  The salaries for those remaining players typically are set at or close to the Major League minimum when they are renewed in the spring.

John Gant


Cardinals receive Competitive Balance draft pick

The Competitive Balance picks and selection order have been set for the 2020 First-Year Player Draft.  The Cardinals will receive one of eight Competitive Balance picks in Round A, which is tentatively overall pick No. 38.  The draft order after the first round is subject to change depending on what happens to the six free agents who declined a qualifying offer and have not yet signed with a team for 2020.

The Cardinals will also receive a compensation pick after Competitive Balance Round B should free agent Marcell Ozuna sign with another team prior to the June Draft.  Ozuna declined the qualifying offer from the Cardinals in November.

The Cardinals have pick No. 21 in the first round of the draft, which is scheduled for June 8-10 2020.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have had discussions about starting pitching options on the free agent market.  They have explored what left-hander Madison Bumgarner is seeking as a free agent and considered Dallas Keuchel and Wade Miley as well.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The Winter Meetings officially begin on Monday, December 9.  Transactions such as trades and the signing of free agents are often accomplished at these meetings.  The last day, December 12, is highlighted by the annual Rule 5 draft.  The Cardinals now have a full 40-man roster, so will not make a pick in the major league phase of the draft unless subtractions from the roster occur before that date.

Following the Winter Meetings, the next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts.  The Cardinals have only one applicable player, John Gant.


Blast from the Past

The Competitive Balance Picks and tentative draft order for the 2020 June draft have been announced.  The June draft includes both Competitive Balance Rounds and Supplemental Rounds which occur between the first and second rounds of the draft.  Competitive Balance picks are a recent phenomenon, first introduced in the 2012-2016 Major League Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  Compensatory Picks, however, have been a part of the draft since 1988.  This week’s blast from the past looks at some of the history of Cardinals’ compensatory draft picks.

Prior to 2013, free agents were categorized as either Type A or Type B players.  Type A free agents were players ranked in the top 20 percent of players at their positions.  Type B free agents were ranked between the top 20 and 40 percent of players at their positions.  Teams received two picks for Type A players, a pick from the team that signed them, and a supplemental pick for the loss of the player.  For Type B free agents teams received only a supplemental pick for losing the player.

Brian Jordan

This system changed in the 2012-2016 CBA, with the Type A or B classification removed beginning with the 2013 draft and replaced with a system in which teams make departing free agents qualifying offers, and if such offer is declined, the team receives a compensation pick if the departing free agent signs with another team prior to the next June draft.

In the first year of compensation picks in 1988, the Cardinals received two draft picks for the loss of first baseman Jack Clark.  Clark signed with the New York Yankees and the Cardinals received a compensation pick from the Yankees.  The Cardinals drafted pitcher John Ericks with that pick in the first round of the 1988 draft, the 22nd overall pick.  St. Louis also received a supplemental pick for the loss of Clark, which was used on outfielder Brian Jordan in the first round, the 30th overall pick.

Colby Rasmus (Getty Images)

Other notable compensatory picks since 1988 include Colby Rasmus, a first-round pick in the 2005 draft, 28th overall.  The Rasmus pick was a pick from the Red Sox as compensation for Edgar Renteria.  Lance Lynn was a supplemental pick in the 2008 draft for the loss of Troy Percival.  Patrick Wisdom, Stephen Piscotty, and Michael Wacha were all compensatory picks in the 2012 draft.  Wisdom was a supplemental pick for the loss of Octavio Dotel.  Piscotty was a supplemental pick for the loss of Albert Pujols, and Wacha was a pick from the Angels for Pujols.

Rob Kaminsky was the last compensatory pick from a team that signed a Cardinals free agent.  Teams that sign free agents no longer forfeit draft picks.  Kaminsky’s pick was received from the Milwaukee Brewers, after they signed free agent Kyle Lohse.

Other compensatory draft picks currently in the Cardinals system include Jack Flaherty, Jake Woodford, Jordan Hicks, Dylan Carlson and Dakota Hudson, so the team has made good use of these extra choices in recent years.

Teams currently receive a draft pick when qualifying offers are rejected by a player and the player signs with another team before the next June draft.  The Cardinals have one such player, Marcell Ozuna, for whom they will receive a 2020 draft pick if he signs elsewhere.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #23 – Griffin Roberts


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 25-December 1

photo: Jack Flaherty (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Tickets for the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up and Baseball Writers’ Dinner are now on sale, where Jack Flaherty will be among honorees. The subject of our history feature is the legal troubles of former team owner Fred Saigh.


Flaherty among many honorees at BBWAA dinner

The annual St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner is set for January 19, 2020 at Marriott Grand Hotel in St. Louis.  Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty is among those to be honored.

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Flaherty will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is for the St. Louis baseball Man of the Year.  Also to be honored at the event are Kolten Wong, who will receive his Gold Glove Award, and manager Mike Shildt, who will be given his National League Manager of the Year award.  Pitchers Dakota Hudson and Giovanny Gallegos, and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt are other Cardinals to be honored at the dinner.

Former Cardinal Ted Simmons will be awarded the Red Medal for invaluable service to baseball. The medal is named for the late Red Schoendienst.  Will Clark will receive the Burnes Nostalgia award.

Tickets for the dinner can be bought through Metro Tix, or by calling 314-534-1111.  Those who wish to attend the event can also send a check or money order to St. Louis BBWAA, 2721 South Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO 63139.  Tickets are priced at $150 or $250 for individuals.  Tables of 10 are available for $1,500 and $2,500.

Cardinals radio announcer John Rooney will be the Master of Ceremonies.


Tickets on sale for Winter Warm-Up

The annual Cardinals Winter Warm- Up is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis.  Admission tickets went on sale on Friday, November 29.  Tickets may be purchased online here at a price of $40 for an adult and $10 for children.

Autograph tickets will go on sale on Monday, December 9 at 12 pm CT.  The tickets are available online only on December 9.  Tickets will be made available for sale at the Busch Stadium Box Office beginning Tuesday, December 10.

All proceeds from the Winter Warm-Up benefit the Cardinals Care charity.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

11/25 The Cardinals released RHP Dominic Leone. Leone had been designated for assignment on November 20.


Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The non-tender deadline is December 2.  The Cardinals now have only one player, John Gant, who is arbitration eligible.  The likelihood of Gant being non-tendered is low but remains a possibility should the Cardinals feel a roster spot opening is necessary.  Other players on the 40-man roster could also be removed at any time for this purpose.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego.  Transactions such as trades and the signing of free agents are often accomplished at these meetings.  The last day of the meetings, December 12, is when the Rule 5 Draft takes place.  Because the Cardinals have a full 40-man roster, they cannot make a pick in the major league phase of the draft unless further subtractions from the roster occur before that date.

Also occurring during the Winter Meetings is the meeting of the Modern Baseball Era Committee, to be held of December 8. The group will consider 10 veteran candidates for Hall of Fame election for the Class of 2020 – Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker.

Following the Winter Meetings, the next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is the date when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts for arbitration. Again, the Cardinals have only one arbitration eligible player, John Gant.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past tells the tale of the sale of the St. Louis Cardinals on November 25, 1947 to an owner whose shady dealings to obtain the team came back to haunt him.

Sam Breadon

The owner of the Cardinals at the time of the 1947 sale was Sam Breadon, who had owned the team since 1920.  Breadon, who was sick with prostate cancer, made it known he was ready to sell.  Breadon had been trying to buy land on which to build a new ballpark but was unsuccessful in his attempts.  Breadon had been renting Sportman’s Park from the St. Louis Browns since he purchased the team in 1920.

Robert Hannegan

St. Louis attorney and investor Fred Saigh let Breadon know he was interested.  Breadon had set aside $5 million dollars to build the new ball park but the deadline to build the park before taxes became due on the $5 million was nearing.  Saigh persuaded Breadon to sell the team to him by assuring him he would not have to pay the taxes.  Saigh brought in St. Louis businessman Robert Hannegan as a minority partner to facilitate the sale.  Hannegan was a former US Postmaster General and friend of President Harry Truman.  Breadon agreed to sell the team to Saigh and Hannegan for $4 million dollars.

In January of 1949, Hannegan sold his share to Saigh.  Hannegan suffered from heart disease and died in October of that year.  Saigh became the sole owner of the Cardinals.

Fred Saigh

Saigh’s tax dodge on the sale of the team was soon revealed, and in April of 1952 he was indicted on federal tax evasion charges.  He was charged with evading $49,260 in taxes between 1946 and 1949.  Saigh pleaded no contest to two federal tax evasion charges in January 1953 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.  Saigh served five months in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana and was paroled in November 1953.

Saigh was pressured by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick to sell the team after his indictment.  In February 1953 he put the Cardinals up for sale.  No credible offer from any St. Louis interest was put forth for some time, so it appeared the team would have to be sold and moved from St. Louis.  A consortium of businessmen from Houston made an offer.

Just before a final agreement was reached with the Houston group, an offer came from the St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch brewery, an offer that was substantially less than the Houston offer.  Saigh agreed to sell the team to the brewery.  Saigh had reportedly wanted the team to remain in St. Louis and willingly accepted the lesser offer.

Shortly after Anheuser-Busch took control of the team, they bought Sportsman’s Park from the St. Louis Browns.  With their leverage now gone, and with the knowledge that they couldn’t compete with the resources of Anheuser-Busch, the Browns left St. Louis and moved to Baltimore to become the Orioles.

Thus ends the saga of how the St. Louis Cardinals almost moved to Houston and how the Baltimore Orioles came to be.  All because an owner made a shady deal and went to prison for his efforts.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #31 – Seth Elledge


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 18-24

photo: Larry Walker and Scott Rolen (Ford-Mobley.com)

The St. Louis Cardinals prepared for the Rule 5 draft by making four roster moves. Four former Cardinals are on the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, including the subject of our history feature, Cardinals Hall of Famer Scott Rolen.


Cardinals add three to roster, remove one

The deadline for finalizing rosters ahead of the December Rule 5 draft came and went on Wednesday, November 20.  The Cardinals added three players to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft – pitchers Jake Woodford and Alvaro Seijas, and third baseman Elehuris Montero.

Dominic Leone (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

To make room for the final spot on the roster, reliever Dominic Leone was designated for assignment.  During a seven-day window that began last Thursday, the Cardinals can either trade, release, or assign Leone to the minor leagues.  Release or assignment require waivers to be requested on Leone.  Leone has three years of service time, and per the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement he has the option of electing free agency in lieu of an assignment to the minor leagues.  The right hander was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in a January 2018 trade of Randal Grichuk to Toronto.  In 40 2/3 innings out of the St. Louis bullpen in 2019, Leone had an ERA of 5.53.  Leone struggled during much of the season, and was optioned to the minor leagues on two occasions. The 28-year old was left off the team’s playoff roster.

Right hander Woodford was the Cardinals No. 11 prospect according to The Cardinal Nation’s August rankings. Pitching a full season at Memphis in 2019, Woodford made 26 starts and logged an ERA of 4.15.  The 23-year old was the 39th overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Montero, 21, spent most of 2019 on the roster of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, but played in only 59 games due to a broken hamate bone in his left hand.  In 2018, with the Class A Peoria Chiefs, he led the Midwest League in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS and was the League MVP. He is TCN’s third-ranked prospect.

The 21-year old Seijas split time with Class A Peoria and Class A-Advanced Palm Beach in 2019, and finished the season with an ERA of 2.81. His ranking in the Cardinals system is no. 26.

For more information:

Cardinals Add Montero, Seijas and Woodford to 40-Man Roster, Remove Leone


Four ex-Cardinals on Hall of Fame ballot

The ballot for the 2020 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was released this past Monday.  It includes four former Cardinals, including two who appear for the first time and one for the final time.  Shortstop Rafael Furcal and pitcher Brad Penny are first timers.  Appearing for the 10th and final year is outfielder Larry Walker.  The final Cardinals representative is third baseman Scott Rolen, back for a third time on the ballot.

Rolen received 17.2 percent of last year’s vote, up from 10.2 percent the previous year.  Rolen played for the Cardinals from 2002-2007 and was a contributor to the Cardinals 2006 World Championship season.  During his time in St. Louis, Rolen was named to four All-Star teams and won three Gold Glove Awards at third base.

Larry Walker (USA TODAY Sports Images)

St. Louis acquired Walker from the Colorado Rockies in a mid-season trade in 2004. With the team, he posted a slash line of .286/.387/.520 in 144 games over the 2004-2005 seasons.  Walker ended his 17-year MLB career with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals acquired Furcal from the Dodgers in 2011 in a mid-season deal.  The shortstop played in 50 regular season games in 2011 and won his first and only World Series Championship with St. Louis that October.  Furcal returned to the Cardinals for 2012 and was an All-Star.

Penny signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in the 2009-2010 offseason.  The right hander pitched in only nine games for the Cardinals in 2010, before suffering an oblique injury during a May at bat in which he hit his first career grand slam.  The injury ended his 2010 season and his time with St. Louis.

The voting by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will conclude on December 31, 2019.  The 2020 Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 21, 2020.  Players must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall.

Full Hall of Fame ballot:

https://baseballhall.org/discover/2020-hall-of-fame-bbwaa-ballot


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 11/20 The Cardinals designated RHP Dominic Leone for assignment.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of 3B Elehuris Montero from the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Jake Woodford from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Alvaro Seijas from the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

Rosters have been finalized in preparation for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.  The Draft is scheduled for December 12, the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego.  The Cardinals added three players to the roster, RHP Jake Woodford, RHP Alvaro Seijas, and 3B Elehuris Montero.  The Cardinals designated RHP Dominic Leone for assignment to make room on the roster.  The roster is now full at 40 players.

It is possible further subtractions from the roster may occur prior to the Winter Meetings.  The non-tender deadline is December 2.  The Cardinals now have only one player, John Gant, who is arbitration eligible.  The likelihood of Gant being non-tendered is low but remains a possibility should the Cardinals feel a roster spot opening is necessary.  Other players on the 40 man roster could also be removed for this purpose.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego.


Blast from the Past

It is Baseball Hall of Fame season, the time of the year when the annual ballot is announced, and voting commences to choose the inductees for the 2020 class.  This week’s Blast from the Past takes a look at the career of former Cardinal third baseman Scott Rolen, who is making his third appearance on the ballot.

Scott Rolen (Getty Images)

Rolen was born on April 4, 1975 in Evansville, Indiana and was a three-sport athlete in high school.  Rolen excelled in baseball, basketball, and tennis, but committed to play basketball for the Georgia Bulldogs after high school.  Rolen was persuaded to abandon college basketball by a large bonus offer by the Philadelphia Phillies, the club that selected him in the second round of the 1993 draft.

Rolen made his major league debut with the Phillies on August 1, 1996.  He was named the National League Rookie of the Year the following season.  Despite six strong seasons with Philadelphia, including three Gold Glove Awards, Rolen did not get along with manager Larry Bowa and demanded a trade.  The Phillies obliged and sent Rolen to the Cardinals on July 29, 2002.  The Phillies received Doug Nickle, Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith in the trade.

The Cardinals signed Rolen to an eight-year, $90 million dollar contract later that year.  During Rolen’s time with St. Louis, he won three more Gold Gloves and was named to four All-Star teams.  His best season as a Cardinal was in 2004, where he posted a slash line of .314/.409/.598.

Rolen missed most of 2005 with a shoulder injury incurred in a collision with Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi on May 10.  Shoulder surgery ended his season. Rolen returned to the Cardinals in 2006 and contributed to that World Series Championship season.

His shoulder issues continued, however.  He went on the disabled list in August 2007 and had season ending surgery on September 11.  After a disagreement with manager Tony La Russa, he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for Troy Glaus on January 14, 2008.

Rolen continued to have injury issues during his time in Toronto.  On July 31, 2009 he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds.  Rolen played his final major league baseball season in Cincinnati in 2012.

Rolen continues to reside in Indiana, and on July 18, 2018 he was hired as Director of Player Development for Indiana University baseball.  He was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in August 2019.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Increase 2019-2020 International Class to 32


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Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

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© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 11-17

photo: Mike Maddux and Mike Shildt (Brett Davis/Imagn)

In free agent moves by the St. Louis Cardinals, Marcell Ozuna may be gone, but Adam Wainwright is back. Yadier Molina wants to stay longer, too. Mike Shildt is the NL’s top manager, with our history feature looking back at prior Cardinals skippers.


Ozuna declines qualifying offer

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Major League Baseball’s deadline for accepting or declining qualifying offers extended to free agents came and went this past week.  The Cardinals had one free agent, Marcell Ozuna, to whom the team tendered the qualifying offer for a one-year contract for 2020 at $17.8 million.  The left fielder did not accept.  Ozuna is now available to all 30 teams to be signed for the upcoming season and beyond.

The Cardinals will receive a compensation selection in the 2020 June draft if Ozuna signs with another team before the draft.  It is still possible for the Cardinals to negotiate a new contract with Ozuna, should the team desire to do so.

Ozuna was acquired in trade from the Miami Marlins in the 2016-2017 offseason.  The outfielder posted a slash line of .262/.327/.451 in his two seasons as a Cardinal with 52 home runs and 177 RBI.

The Cardinals have other outfielders in the system vying for playing time including Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, and Randy Arozarena.  Top prospect Dylan Carlson is expected to be MLB ready soon as well.  In other words, the Cardinals are not without options to replace Ozuna in the outfield should he move on to another team.


Wainwright returns for 2020

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

This past Tuesday, the Cardinals announced a contract agreement with veteran right-handed starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.  Wainwright had announced his desire to return for another season, and this new deal formalizes it.  The terms are one year with a base salary of $5 million plus another $5 million in appearance incentives.

The 38-year old signed a one-year deal last offseason for $2 million plus incentives.  Wainwright pitched well during 2019, posting a record of 14-10 with an ERA of 4.19 in 31 starts.  He met all of his $8 million in games-started incentives.

The return of Wainwright for 2020 brings the number of players on the 40-man roster to 38.  The starting rotation still has a spot open to fill, as free agent Michael Wacha will not be returning to the Cardinals.  Carlos Martinez is a possible candidate to fill that spot should he be healthy enough to start.  Martinez’ ongoing shoulder issues kept him in the bullpen in 2019.  Treatment to his shoulder in the offseason may enable him to return to the rotation.  Other possible candidates include Daniel Ponce de Leon, Ryan Helsley and Austin Gomber. John Gant and Genesis Cabrera could also join the starting scrum.

For more:

Cardinals, Wainwright Agree to 2020 Contract


Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Molina wants an extension

Wainwirght’s battery mate from the start, Yadier Molina, has expressed a desire to the Cardinals through his agent to continue to play beyond 2020, for one to two more seasons. The conversation between Melvin Roman and Cardinals front office personnel occurred during last week’s General Managers Meetings. The two sides plan to meet again in the spring.

Molina, 37, has been with the club since his 2004 debut and 2020 will be the final season of his current three-year, $60 million contract. The highly-decorated catcher has been his team’s highest-paid player.

For more:

Why Yadier Molina Should Not Receive an Early Contract Extension


Shildt is NL Manager of the Year

Mike Shildt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The National League Manager of the Year was announced this past Tuesday night and Cardinal Mike Shildt is the recipient, as voted upon by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.  Shildt was previously disclosed to be a top three vote-getter, aka “finalist”, along with Brewers manager Craig Counsell and Braves skipper Brian Snitker.

Shildt became the first Manager of the Year recipient who did not play professional baseball and it was only the second time a winner did not receive the most first place votes.  Counsell, who came in second overall, received the most first place votes, 13, to 10 for Shildt.

Shildt led the Cardinals to a 91-71 season and into the postseason.  The Cardinals won the NL Central title and defeated Snitker’s Braves in the NLDS before being swept by the Nationals in the NLCS.

Shildt, along with most of his coaching staff, were in Jupiter, FL, the site of the Cardinals’ Spring Training facility, at the time the award winners were announced.  They were reviewing the 2019 season and making plans for the upcoming season.  Shildt, appearing on MLB Network after the award winner was announced, said, “This is an award for having a good team and having a bunch of players do what they do.  No award gets accomplished in this regard without having a good team”.

The Cardinals have had two previous Manager of the Year winners.  Whitey Herzog took home the prize in 1985, and Tony La Russa was the recipient of the award in 2002.

Other BBWAA awards for both leagues given out during the week included the Rookie of the Year, the Cy Young, and the Most Valuable Player.  Though no Cardinals were finalists for these awards, pitcher Dakota Hudson finished in fifth place for the Rookie of the Year, and pitcher Jack Flaherty came in fourth in the Cy Young Award voting.

For more:

Mike Shildt is the 2019 National League Manager of the Year


Cardinals to remain on KMOX

Last Friday,  the Cardinals announced a five-year extension to their current radio rights agreement. With the extension, News Radio 1120 KMOX will continue as the flagship station for the Cardinals Radio Network through 2024, broadcasting all 162 regular-season games, any post-season contests, as well as select spring training games. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

11/12: The Cardinals signed free agent RHP Adam Wainwright to a one-year contract.


Injury Report

  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

The deadline for finalizing rosters prior to the December Rule 5 draft is November 20.  Following the re-signing of Wainwright, the roster stands at 38 players.  Should the Cardinals wish to protect more than two players from the Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40 man roster, subtractions from the roster will need to occur.  Possible subtractions may include non-tendering one or more arbitration eligible players, John Gant and Dominic Leone.  The Cardinals could also remove current 40-man roster players through outright waivers.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego with the Rule 5 draft the final day.


Blast from the Past

Mike Shildt became the third Cardinals manager to win the BBWAA Manager of the Year award.  It has been in existence since 1983 and is given annually to one manager in each league.  Though Shildt is only the third Cardinal to receive this honor, he is the 64th manager in the history of the franchise.  The 64 is the most of any major league franchise.  This week’s Blast from the Past takes a brief look at the history of Cardinals’ managers.

Though the current St. Louis Cardinals organization recognizes the beginning of the franchise as 1892 (the year the Cardinals moved to the National League) the franchise has actually existed as a professional baseball organization since 1882.  From 1882 through 1891 the Cardinals were part of the American Association.  The team was then known as the St. Louis Browns.

The first manager of the St. Louis Browns, in 1882, was a man named Ned Cuthbert. Cuthbert was born in Philadelphia PA in 1845 and began his baseball career there, first with the Keystone Club of Philadelphia in 1865, then two years later with the Philadelphia Athletics.  Cuthbert began playing with the St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1875, but the team folded two years later, and Cuthbert and several former Brown Stockings continued to play as a semi-professional reorganized team.  Cuthbert convinced St. Louis saloon owner Chris von der Ahe to invest in the Brown Stockings in 1880.  Von der Ahe changed the team name to the St. Louis Browns and they returned to professional status in 1882.  Cuthbert was the player/manager of the Browns in 1882 but relinquished that role the following season to another player/manager, Ted Sullivan.

Charlie Comiskey (Getty Images)

Charles Comiskey took over the managing duties in 1884 through 1889.  Comiskey is best known as the long-time owner of the Chicago White Sox, notably during the 1919 “Black Sox” game-fixing scandal.  The White Sox ballpark built in 1910 was named after him.

Many of the managers during the 19th Century and up through the first half of the 20th Century were player/managers.  Often the managerial position changed hands multiple times during a single season.  For instance, five player/managers were used during the 1890 season and five more in 1892.  This practice was phased out over time, and beginning in the early 20th Century, most player/managers maintained the dual role through at least a full season and many times multiple seasons.

Rogers Hornsby

Some notable managers of the Cardinals include Branch Rickey, Rogers Hornsby and Joe Torre.  Five managers have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as Cardinals.  They are Hornsby, Billy Southworth, Frankie Frisch, Red Schoendienst, and Whitey Herzog.  Tony La Russa was inducted into the Hall without a team designation and Hornsby and Frisch were primarily known as standout players.

The longest tenured Cardinal manager is La Russa (16 seasons), with Schoendienst (14 seasons) next.  Nine managers have Cardinals World Series titles on their resumes – Hornsby, Frisch, Gabby Street, Eddie Dyer, Southworth, Johnny Keane, Schoendienst, Herzog and La Russa.  Southworth and La Russa have two World Series titles each.  La Russa leads all Cardinals managers in wins (1,408) and losses (1,182) and also has the most playoff appearances as manager (nine).


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

The Cardinal Nation’s 2019 Rule 5 Protection Picks


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© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 4-10

photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Front office, field manager and coach contract extensions were the first off-season business for the St. Louis Cardinals. Kolten Wong captures another defensive award and Ted Simmons again has a Hall of Fame opportunity. Our history feature looks back at prior Cardinals BBWAA Award winners.


Contract extensions for Mozeliak, Girsch and Shildt

In an end of season press conference at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, November 5, Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. announced that President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt were given new contracts and GM Michael Girsch’s contract option was exercised and two years were added on to his existing contract.

Mozeliak’s contract was set to expire after the 2020 season and the Cardinals gave him a new contract that added three additional years past 2020.  Mozeliak has led the Baseball Operations Department since 2007, first as the General Manager, and since 2017 as the President of Baseball Operations.

Michael Girsch was made the GM in 2017 following the promotion of Mozeliak.  His option for 2020 was exercised and two more years were added on to his contract to take him through 2022.  Girsch has been part of the Cardinals organization since 2006.

Mike Shildt was given a brand new contract for three years, through the 2022 season, as his prior 2020 deal was voided. Shildt became interim manager in July of 2018 following the dismissal of Mike Matheny and then signed a two-year contract at the end of the 2018 season. Shildt is a top three finisher for the National League Manager of the Year Award, which will be given out on November 12.

Michael Girsch, Bill DeWitt Jr., Mike Shildt, John Mozeliak (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

It was also announced in the press conference that the entire coaching staff at the major league level will return for the 2020 season.  The coaching staff consists of bench coach Oliver Marmol, hitting coach Jeff Albert, assistant hitting coach Jobel Jimenez, pitching coach Mike Maddux, first base coach Stubby Clapp, third base coach Pop Warner, assistant coach Wille McGee, and bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd.

Also, at the press conference, Mozeliak informed the media that veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright wants to return for the 2020 season and that discussions for a new contract for Wainwright will begin in the coming days and weeks.


Wong adds another defensive award

On Wednesday, November 6, the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year Awards for 2019 were announced, and Cardinals second sacker Kolten Wong was named the winner of the award at second base. This award is given for the top defensive player at each position in MLB.

Wong is a first time winner of the Wilson Award and adds this honor to a growing list, which includes the 2019 NL Gold Glove Award at second base, and the Fielding Bible Award for the top defender at second base in MLB.  Wong is a first-time winner of the Gold Glove as well, but the Fielding Bible Award was Wong’s second consecutive such honor.


Simmons a finalist on Hall ballot

Ted Simmons, 1972 (Getty Images)

Ted Simmons, catcher for the Cardinals from 1968-1980, was named as one of 10 finalists for the Modern Baseball Era ballot for the Hall of Fame.  The announcement was made on Monday, November 4 and the vote will take place on December 8 at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

This will be the third time Simmons is considered for election to the Hall of Fame.  Simmons first appeared on the BBWAA ballot in 1994 but he fell off after receiving only 3.7 percent of the writers’ vote that year.  Players must receive at least five percent of the vote to be retained on the ballot for the following year.

Simmons was considered by the Modern Baseball Era Committee the last time it convened but fell one shy of the 12 of 16 votes needed for election.  The case for his election may be stronger given how close he came in 2018, though nothing is certain because there is new competition on the ballot.

Simmons has the second most RBI among all catchers behind only Yogi Berra.  That means he has more RBI than other current HOF catchers such as Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

Simmons amassed a WAR (wins above replacement) of 50.3 in his career.  He is one of nine catchers with 50 or more career WAR in all of baseball.  All of the other eight are in the HOF.  His 50.3 WAR puts him ahead of six other catchers who are in the Hall.

The fact that Simmons was not considered a good defensive catcher may work against him.  He also lags behind many of his catching peers in other offensive categories during the era in which he played, which is also a negative mark on his HOF case.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak told the media in the organization’s end of season press conference on Tuesday, November 5, that the team is attempting to negotiate a new contract with veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.  Wainwright has expressed the desire to return for another season, and Mozeliak stated discussions will take place over the next couple of weeks to try to work out a mutually acceptable deal for the right hander’s return.

MLB Network’s John Heyman reports that it is extremely unlikely free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna will accept the $17.8 MM qualifying offer tendered to Ozuna by the Cardinals. Nevertheless, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the 29 year old left fielder will return to the Cardinals on a new deal.  It has been reported that the Cardinals and Ozuna are expected to at least hold discussions on a multi-year contract.  Ozuna has until 4 pm CT on November 14 to either accept or reject the qualifying offer, the first step in the process.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

The General Manager Meetings are scheduled to begin on Monday, November 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona and run through November 14.  The GM Meetings are held annually in November to kick off the MLB offseason.

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

November 14 is the deadline for free agents to either accept or reject qualifying offers made to them by their former teams.  The Cardinals made the QO to free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who is one of 10 free agents across MLB to have been tendered an offer.  The decision must be made by 4 pm CT on that day.

The deadline for finalizing rosters prior to the December Rule 5 draft is November 20.  The Cardinals have already begun making moves by returning three players to the roster who ended the season on the 60-day injured list.  Those players are pitchers Jordan Hicks and Brett Cecil, and outfielder Lane Thomas.  More moves on or off the roster are expected before the deadline, including the additions of any minor leaguers the Cardinals wish to protect from the Rule 5 Draft.  As of this writing, the 40-man roster has 37 players.

Several offseason awards remain on the MLB calendar in November.  These include the Rookies of the Year Award to be disclosed on November 11, followed by the Managers of the Year on November 12, the Cy Young Awards on November 13, and the Most Valuable Players on November 14.

The Winter Meetings, which include the Rule 5 Draft, are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego.


Blast from the Past

Winners of the annual BBWAA awards for the 2019 season will all be announced this coming week.  These awards are the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young Award, and Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.  Manager Mike Shildt is the only Cardinal top three finisher “finalist” for any of these awards.

This week’s Blast from the Past looks back at previous winners in these categories who won while they were Cardinals.

Vince Coleman (Getty Images)

In the category of Rookie of the Year, past Cardinal winners were Wally Moon (1954), Bill Virdon (1955), Bake McBride (1974), Vince Coleman (1985), Todd Worrell (1986), and Albert Pujols (2001).  Moon was an outfielder who played for the Cardinals from 1954-1958.  Virdon was also an outfielder who was with the team for two seasons, 1955 and 1956.  McBride played in the Cardinals outfield from 1973-1977 and was a native of Missouri, born in Fulton, Missouri in 1949.  Most current fans know Coleman, who played left field for the Cardinals during the Whitey Herzog years and may be most notable for his stolen base ability and also for breaking his leg during the 1985 NLCS when the tarp rolled over his leg.  Coleman is now in the Cardinals Hall of Fame. Worrell was a relief pitcher for the Cardinals during the late 1980s and early ‘90s, and Pujols, of course, is known as one of the greatest Cardinals of all time.

Past Cardinals Manager of the Year recipients are Whitey Herzog, who won in 1985, and Tony La Russa, who received the honor in 2002.

Bob Gibson receives 1970 Cy Young Award (AP photo)

The Cardinals have two prior Cy Young Award winners.  Bob Gibson won two Cy Young Awards, one in 1968, and one in 1970.  The last Cardinal Cy Young winner was Chris Carpenter, who was honored in 2005.

The Cardinals have had an MVP 17 times in the past.  Two Cardinals won the MVP award three times.  Stan Musial was the MVP in 1943, 1946, and 1948.  Albert Pujols won MVP in 2005, and in back to back seasons in 2008 and 2009.

Additional MVP winners are Frankie Frisch (1931), Dizzy Dean (1934), Joe “Ducky” Medwick (1937), Mort Cooper (1942), Marty Marion (1944), Ken Boyer (1964), Orlando Cepeda (1967), Bob Gibson (1968), Joe Torre (1971), Keith Hernandez (1979) and Willie McGee (1985).

Prior to 1931, the National League gave out The League Award, which was the precursor to the MVP.  Three Cardinals won this award:  Rogers Hornsby (1925), Bob O’Farrell (1926), and Jim Bottomley (1928).

Only one Cardinal, Bob Gibson, won multiple BBWAA awards in the same year. Gibson received both the Cy Young and the MVP in 1968.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Kramer Robertson Learned in AFL Even When Not Playing


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 28-November 3

photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

As MLB’s award season begins, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong won two prestigious defensive honors. Our history feature looks back at prior St. Louis Gold Glove Award winners, starting with The Wizard.


First changes to 40-man roster

November is the first full month of Major League Baseball’s offseason and is the time when teams must finalize their 40-man rosters for the Rule 5 draft, which occurs in December.  Each year, teams have until November 20 to make necessary additions and subtractions to the roster to add non-roster players who the organization wishes to protect from the draft.  Teams must also make additions in the form of players who ended the season on the 60-day injured list and who must be returned to the roster.

The first wave of changes were made by the Cardinals this past week when Jordan Hicks, Brett Cecil, and Lane Thomas were returned to the roster after finishing the season on the injured list.  Pitcher Tony Cingrani had also been on the 60-day injured list, but he was not added back because he had elected free agency.

Four other Cardinals also elected free agency – Marcell Ozuna, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Matt Wieters.  Two other players came off the roster as well.  Catcher Joe Hudson and reliever Mike Mayers were placed on outright waivers.  Hudson cleared waivers and was assigned to Memphis, and Mayers was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.  Hudson will likely elect minor league free agency rather than return in 2020.

Following the subtraction of the four free agents plus Hudson and Mayers, the roster contained 34 players.  The return of Hicks, Cecil, and Thomas brought the number up to 37.

Additional changes to the roster will occur prior to November 20.  The Cardinals are likely to add several non-roster minor league players to the roster for Rule 5 protection purposes.  Prime candidates are pitcher Jake Woodford and infielder Elehuris Montero.  Should the Cardinals decide to re-sign any of the free agents (Wainwright and Wieters may be the more likely players to return) then further subtractions from the roster may be required.

For more information

Mayers Leaves Cards via Waivers, C Hudson Dropped from 40-Man


Wong honored with two defensive awards

Kolten Wong (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

This past week, Kolten Wong was announced as the winner of the Fielding Bible Award as MLB’s best defender at second base for 2019.  The Fielding Bible Award began in 2006 and recognizes the best defensive player at each of the nine positions for that season based on statistical analysis.  The award is given out regardless of league.  A panel of voters, consisting of baseball analysts and writers, make the selection and the winners are announced on the website, which is located at www.fieldingbible.com.

Wong also won last season, making this his second Fielding Bible award.  The choice of Wong was unanimous among the voters on the panel.

Wong is also the recipient of the 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award for second base in the National League.  The winners were announced on Sunday night, with Wong the only winner among six Cardinals finalists.  Wong led all of MLB and the NL in both Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 14 and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) with a rating of 5.2.

Wong is a first time Gold Glove Award winner.  He was a finalist last season but lost out to D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies, who is now with the Yankees.

For more information

SDI Shows Why Only One Cardinal Won a 2019 Gold Glove


Shannon named Ford C. Frick Award finalist

Mike Shannon (AP)

Former Cardinals player and long-time radio broadcaster Mike Shannon is among eight finalists for the annual Ford C. Frick Award.  The award is presented by the Baseball Hall of Fame and recognizes a broadcaster for his or her “major contributions to baseball”.  The award is named after the Commissioner of Baseball from 1951 through 1955.

Though the award is given out by the Hall of Fame, winners are not inducted into the Hall.  Each annual winner gives a speech at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in July of each year, and their names are added to a plaque located in the library of the Hall.

Shannon, 80, has been one of the voices of the Cardinals on St. Louis radio for 48 years.  He worked with the legendary Jack Buck, and currently mans the booth alongside colleagues John Rooney, and former Cardinal Rick Horton. The latter covers road games during the season in place of Shannon, who no longer travels with the team.  Shannon played for the Cardinals for nine seasons back in the 1960s.

The other finalists for the award are Boston broadcasters Joe Castiglione and the late Ned Martin, Cubs radio announcer Pat Hughes, former White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, Cleveland Indians play by play radio announcer Tom Hamilton, and former Montreal, and current Toronto Blue Jays French radio announcer Jacques Doucet.

The Frick Award winner will be announced on December 11 during Baseball’s Winter Meetings.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 10/31 LF Marcell Ozuna, C Matt Wieters, RHP Adam Wainwright, RHP Michael Wacha, and LHP Tony Cingrani all elected free agency.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals activated RHP Jordan Hicks, LHP Brett Cecil, and OF Lane Thomas from the 60-day injured list.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals sent C Joe Hudson outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/1 RHP Mike Mayers was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.

Injury Report

  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

Five 2019 Cardinals became free agents this past week – Marcell Ozuna, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Matt Wieters, and Tony Cingrani.  The team’s exclusive window for negotiating with free agents ends at 4 pm CT on Monday.  Any qualifying offers the Cardinals wish to tender to free agents must be made at that time.  It is likely only Marcell Ozuna will be offered the qualifying offer for a one-year contract from among the five free agents.  Qualifying offers must be accepted or declined by 4 pm CT on November 14.

The Cardinals have begun making moves to the 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft.  The roster must be finalized by November 20.  The five free agents are no longer on the roster, and the Cardinals have added three players from the 60-day injured list back on to the roster – Jordan Hicks, Brett Cecil, and Lane Thomas.  The Cardinals outrighted C Joe Hudson from the roster, and RHP Mike Mayers was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.  The roster now stands at 37.

Further roster moves are almost certain to be made prior to the November 20 deadline.  Any non-roster players the Cardinals wish to protect from the Rule 5 draft must be added by then.

Notable events occurring in November also include the General Manager Meetings on November 11-14, and the Owners Meeting on November 19-21.  Offseason awards will be announced during the period November 3-14, beginning with the Gold Glove Awards on November 3.  The finalists for all BBWAA awards will be announced on November 4.  The first of the BBWAA awards, the Silver Slugger, will be awarded to a finalist at each position in each league on November 7.


Blast from the Past

The annual Gold Glove Award winners were announced on Sunday night, November 3 on ESPN.  The Cardinals had six finalists – catcher Yadier Molina, pitcher Jack Flaherty, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, second baseman Kolten Wong, shortstop Paul DeJong, and center fielder Harrison Bader.  Wong was the only winner.  This week’s Blast from the Past takes a look at some former Cardinal winners of the award.

The Cardinals have had 22 players win Gold Gloves over the history of the award, which was first given out in 1957.  The first year, the award was given to the top fielder at each position regardless of league.  Beginning in 1958, the award was given to the top fielder at each position in both leagues.

From 1957 to 1960, separate awards were given for each of the three outfield positions.  In 1961 through 2010, the award was given to three outfielders in each league irrespective of position (so it could be three right fielders or three left fielders, and so on).  In 2011, the original method of one award for each outfield position in each league returned.

Ozzie Smith

The player with the most Gold Glove Awards as a Cardinal is shortstop Ozzie Smith, with 11.  Smith won 13 Gold Gloves overall, with the first two coming when he was with the San Diego Padres.

First Baseman Keith Hernandez has won 11 Gold Gloves overall, six of which he received while playing first base for St. Louis.  The next highest number of awards while playing for the Cardinals is nine by current catcher Yadier Molina.  Molina was a finalist for this year’s Gold Glove but did not win.  Other Cardinal catchers with Gold Gloves are Tom Pagnozzi and Mike Matheny, each with three.

(Billy Hurst/USA TODAY Sports)

Current first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has three Gold Gloves received while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He was a finalist this year but lost out to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Current second baseman Kolten Wong won his first Gold Glove this season after losing out to Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu in 2018.  The only other Cardinal second sacker to win a Gold Glove was Fernando Vina, winner in 2001 and 2002.

Pitcher Jack Flaherty, shortstop Paul DeJong, and center fielder Harrison Bader were first time finalists.  Former Cardinal pitchers to win the award are Bobby Shantz with three, from 1962-64, Bob Gibson, who has nine Gold Gloves, Joaquin Andujar, who won in 1984, and Adam Wainwright, who has two Gold Gloves, one in 2009 and the other in 2013.

Along with Smith, shortstop Dal Maxvill won the award in 1968, and shortstop Edgar Renteria was selected in both 2002 and 2003.  Former St. Louis outfield winners are Curt Flood, with seven Gold Gloves, Willie McGee with three, Jim Edmonds with six, and Jason Heyward, who won in right field in 2015.  Flood and Edmonds were exclusively center fielders, while McGee played both center field and right field.

St. Louis did not have a third base finalist this season, but former Cardinals Ken Boyer, Ken Reitz, Terry Pendleton, and Scott Rolen have each won the award.  Reitz won only once, while Boyer has five Gold Gloves, Pendleton has two, and Rolen earned four Gold Gloves as a Cardinal.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Comeback Pitcher of the Year


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 21-27

photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

As the St. Louis Cardinals move into off-season mode, free agency approaches for five players and six others are competing for Gold Gloves. Our history feature looks back at St. Louis’ 2013 World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.


Cardinals garner six Gold Glove finalists

The finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Thursday, October 24, and six St. Louis Cardinals made the list of top three finishers in the National League at their positions. The awards honor one player at each position in each league for their defense during the season.  The Cardinals led the NL in the number of top three finishers.

The Cardinals’ six finalists:

  • C Yadier Molina
  • P Jack Flaherty
  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt
  • 2B Kolten Wong
  • SS Paul DeJong
  • CF Harrison Bader

Molina is a nine-time winner while Goldschmidt has received three Gold Gloves over his career.  Wong was a 2018 finalist but lost to D.J. LeMahieu.  DeJong, Flaherty, and Bader are first-time finalists.

The SABR Defensive Index rankings, courtesy of SABR.org, which are 25% of the final score in choosing the winners, are unavailable until the winners are announced.  However, other defensive stats, such as Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), can give insight into player defensive performance.  Kolten Wong led the NL in DRS with 14.  His competition, Ozzie Albies and Adam Frazier, had eight and six respectively.  Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is another such stat, and DeJong as well as Bader led the NL in UZR.

The winner from each set of finalists will be announced on Sunday, November 3 at 7 pm ET in a live show on ESPN.


Free Agency looming for five Cardinals

As the World Series nears its conclusion, the official start of the offseason and free agency is set to begin at 9 am ET on the day following the end of the World Series.  All potential MLB free agents will become official at that time.

The Cardinals have five 40-man roster players set to become free agents: Marcell Ozuna, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Matt Wieters, and Tony Cingrani.  All teams will have an exclusive window for negotiating with their free agents that ends at 5 pm ET on the fifth day following the end of the World Series.

Marcell Ozuna came to the Cardinals in a 2017 offseason trade with the Miami Marlins.  The Cardinals sent Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Magneuris Sierra and Daniel Castano to Miami in exchange for the outfielder.  In his two seasons in St. Louis, Ozuna posted a slash line of .262/.327/.451 with 52 home runs and 177 RBI.  The left fielder had a sluggish 2018 season for the Cardinals but bounced back in 2019 with better numbers.

Ozuna will turn 29 years old in a couple of weeks, and the Cardinals have a surfeit of young outfielders in the organization.  The likelihood that the Cardinals will attempt to re-sign Ozuna is low.  It is probable that Ozuna will be offered the $17.8 million dollar qualifying offer which the outfielder will likely not accept.  Should he decline the offer and sign elsewhere, the Cardinals will receive a draft pick in compensation.

Marcell Ozuna

Adam Wainwright, 38, has been with the Cardinals since they acquired him in 2003 from the Atlanta Braves minor league system.  The pitcher made his MLB debut in September 2005 and played his first full MLB season in 2006 as a reliever.  Wainwright was signed to a one-year deal plus incentives in the 2018-2019 offseason.  Wainwright pitched very well and earned every one of his contractual incentives for a final 2019 salary of $10 million.

Wainwright has a decision to make as to whether he wants to pitch another year or retire.  Should he decide to continue to pitch, the Cardinals will more than likely work out a mutually acceptable deal with him.

Adam Wainwright

Michael Wacha, 28, was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 draft and made his MLB debut on May 30, 2013. Wacha was an integral part of the Cardinals World Series run that season.  The right hander posted a regular season ERA of 2.78 in 15 games, including nine starts.  Wacha was named the NLCS MVP in that postseason run.  In his seven seasons as a Cardinal, he has a record of 59-39 and an ERA of 3.91.

Wacha’s last several seasons were marred by recurring injuries including a stress reaction in his right shoulder.  It is unlikely the Cardinals will attempt to re-sign Wacha or issue him a qualifying, making him available to be signed without penalty by another team for 2020.

Michael Wacha

In February, the Cardinals signed Matt Wieters, 33, to a one-year free agent contract to serve as the back-up catcher to Yadier Molina.  A 10-year veteran, Wieters spent eight seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and moved to the Washington Nationals as a free agent in 2017.  He played two seasons in Washington and was granted free agency again in October 2018.  This season, Wieters posted a slash line of .214/.268/.435 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 67 games.  There has been no indication from the Cardinals as to whether a reunion with Wieters for 2020 is a possibility.

Matt Wieters

Finally, Tony Cingrani was acquired in a mid-season trade that sent Jedd Gyorko to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Cingrani came to the Cardinals along with minor league pitcher Jeffry Abreu in a trade widely considered a salary dump manuever.  Both Cingrani and Abreu were injured when they were acquired; Cingrani is recovering from Tommy John surgery and was immediately placed on the 60-day injured list.  Abreu was also placed on the minor league injured list.  Neither has thrown a pitch for the Cardinals.  It is not expected the Cardinals will make an attempt to retain Cingrani.

Tony Cingrani


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

All players on the injured list at the end of the season (minus any free agents) must be returned to the 40-man roster by November 20 if they are to be retained by the team.

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and did not return to the roster.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out until mid-season 2020.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60-day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) was shut down from throwing for a week following an early exit from a game on September 25. Wacha was unavailable to participate in the NLDS and was not included on the NLCS roster.  He becomes a free agent after the end of the World Series and will likely not be returning to the Cardinals.
  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

Looming free agency for several Cardinals is next on the Calendar for the offseason.  The Cardinals have the following players set to become free agents:  Marcell Ozuna, Matt Wieters, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Tony Cingrani.  (See details above.)

In addition to making decisions on free agency, the Cardinals must return all injured players they intend to retain to the 40 man roster on or before November 20.  Any non-roster minor league players the Cardinals want to protect from the Rule 5 draft in December must be added to the 40-man roster by the 20th as well.

Notable events occurring in November also include the General Manager Meetings on November 11-14, and the Owners Meeting on November 19-21.  Individual awards will be announced during the period November 3-14, beginning with the Gold Gloves on November 3.


Blast from the Past

As the 2019 World Series nears its conclusion, this week’s Blast from the Past reminisces about the last time the Cardinals played in the World Series.

The Cardinals’ run to the 2013 World Series began with a NL Central Division championship, then continued with a 4-1 defeat of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS and a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The Cardinals met the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic, which began on October 23, 2013 at Fenway Park.

The Cardinals lost Game 1 by a score of 8-1.  Starters were Adam Wainwright or the Cardinals and Jon Lester for the Red Sox.  Wainwright pitched five innings and gave up five runs, three earned, on six hits. Two errors by shortstop Pete Kozma and one by David Freese, plus a misplayed popup that fell between Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, added to the Cardinals’ woes.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was the Cardinals’ only score.

St. Louis fared better in Game 2, defeating Boston 4-2.  Michael Wacha opposed future Cardinal John Lackey for Boston.  St. Louis scored first on a ground out by Molina.  A sac fly by Matt Carpenter and a Boston error led to two runs scoring and that was immediately followed by an RBI single by Carlos Beltran.  Wacha earned the win and closer Trevor Rosenthal got the save.

The series moved to St. Louis for Game 3.  The Cardinals edged the Red Sox 5-4 to take a 2-1 series lead.  Starters were Joe Kelly for the Cardinals and Jake Peavy for the Red Sox.  Kelly went 5 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on two hits.  The Cardinals scored two runs in the first inning on singles by Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina.  Holliday drove in two additional runs in the seventh inning on a double to left field.

In the ninth, an unusual play happened.  Molina singled, then Allen Craig doubled.  With Molina on third and Craig on second, Jon Jay hit a grounder to second and Molina was thrown out at home.  The Red Sox catcher then threw to third base to try to get the running Craig out. Craig slid into third as Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks lay on the ground in his path after attempting to grab a wide throw from the catcher.  Craig got up and attempted to run for home but made contact with the prone Middlebrooks, slowing him down.  The umpire called interference after Craig was initially tagged out at home, and the run was counted as the umpires ruled Craig would have scored safely but for the contact with Middlebrooks, who was obstructing his path.

Game 4 was a 4-2 loss for the Cardinals, tying the series 2-2.  St. Louis’ Lance Lynn faced Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.  Lynn pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on three hits.  The Cardinals scored first on a third inning RBI single by Carlos Beltran.  The Cardinals plated their second run on a single by Matt Carpenter in the seventh inning.  The game ended in the ninth when pinch runner Kolten Wong, running for Allen Craig, was picked off first base.  Wong wore the scorn of this pickoff for several years after, as it was the first time in MLB postseason history that a game ended on a pickoff.

The last game in St. Louis was also a loss for the Redbirds, as they went down 3-1 to give Boston a 3-2 Series lead.  The losing pitcher was Adam Wainwright, who also took the Game 1 defeat.  It was not a good World Series for Wainwright.  Wainwright went seven innings and gave up three runs on eight hits.  Jon Lester again pitched for Boston.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was again the only score for St. Louis.  Game 5 was basically the mirror image of Game 1 without the errors.

The teams went back to Boston for Game 6.  Once again it was Michael Wacha against John Lackey.  The Cardinals lost the game 6-1 and the Series.  Wacha pitched only 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on five hits.  The Cardinals intentionally walked Sox slugger David Ortiz four times, twice by Wacha and twice by Trevor Rosenthal.  The Cardinals’ only run came on a single by Carlos Beltran in the seventh inning.

The Cardinals were outscored by the Red Sox 27-14 in the Series.  The Cardinals would reach the postseason again in 2014 and 2015 but fell in the NLCS to the Giants in 2014 and in the NLDS to the Cubs in 2015.  They did not reach the postseason again until 2019, when they were swept in four games in the NLCS by the Washington Nationals.


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TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 26, 2019

photo: Roel Ramirez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Outfielder Conner Capel, infielder Kramer Robertson and pitcher Roel Ramirez were in the starting lineup for Glendale in Friday’s AFL finale. Capel went 1-for-3, a single, and Robertson went 2-for-2, both singles, plus a walk, and scored. In three innings, Ramirez gave up one run on two hits to earn the win.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 25.


Glendale Desert Dogs 5 at Surprise Saguaros 3

Kramer Robertson (Arizona Fall League)

St. Louis Cardinals position players Conner Capel and Kramer Robertson and pitcher Roel Ramirez started Friday’s game for Glendale against Surprise.  This was the finale of the regular AFL season.

Capel played in left field and hit seventh in the lineup, going 1-for-3.  Capel flied out to center in his first at bat, then struck out swinging, and hit an infield single to first base.  He posted a slash line of .266/.330/.418 in 22 AFL games.

Kramer Robertson was the second sacker and batted ninth.  He went 2-for-2 with a walk and run scored.  Robertson singled to center in his first at bat, walked, and hit an infield single to short. The infielder posted a slash line of .269/.424/.385 in eight AFL games.

Roel Ramirez (Arizona Fall League)

Roel Ramirez was the starting pitcher for Glendale.  The right-hander went three innings and gave up one run on two hits while fanning three and walking one to earn the win.  One of the hits was a solo home run and he also had a wild pitch.  Ramirez threw 43 pitches, 32 for strikes.  He posted an AFL record of 2-0 with an ERA of 2.03 in nine AFL appearances, including three starts.

The Desert Dogs scored twice in the first and held a 2-1 lead into the fifth, when they pulled away with three runs.

No other Cardinals saw action.

By going 8-2 over their last 10 contests, Glendale ended with a 14-15 record for the AFL season and crawled out of last place, tying Peoria for second place in the AFL West.

The AFL Championship game between the winners of the AFL East (Salt River) and AFL West (Surprise) will take place on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s game:  No game scheduled.  End of AFL season for Glendale.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Montero Making Up for Lost Injury Time in the AFL


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 25, 2019

photo: Ivan Herrera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Catcher Ivan Herrera and second baseman Kramer Robertson played in Glendale’s 2-1 AFL win over Peoria on Thursday night. Herrera went 2-for-4 with two singles and an RBI, but Robertson was 0-for-4, including two strikeouts.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Thursday, October 24.


Glendale Desert Dogs 2, Peoria Javelinas 1

Two St. Louis Cardinals position players were in the starting lineup for the Glendale Desert Dogs in their 2-1 home win over the Peoria Javelinas on Thursday night.

Ivan Herrera (Arizona Fall League)

Kramer Robertson was the second baseman and hit second for Glendale.  He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.  The second baseman lined out to right field in his first at bat, then struck out looking, struck out swinging and grounded into a double play.

Ivan Herrera was the starting catcher for Glendale and hit sixth in the lineup.  The backstop went 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Herrera grounded out to second in his first at bat, lined out to left field, and singled to center field twice.  He drove in the first of Glendale’s two runs in the seventh inning, when all three of the game’s tallies occurred.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 12-15 on the AFL season and is in last place in the AFL West, four games back of Surprise.

Friday’s game:  at Surprise, seven-inning regular season finale, Roel Ramirez (1-0, 1.74) 2:30 CT.


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Ivan Herrera is both Very Young and Very Good


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 14-20

photo: Harrison Bader (Brad Mills/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals fell to the Washington Nationals in four straight in the Championship Series as the offense struggled. At least four Cards may have played their last game with the team. Our history feature looks back at key moments in past St. Louis playoff contests.


Postseason recaps

NLCS Game 3 – Monday, October 14 – Cardinals 1 at Nationals 8

Jose Martinez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The National League Championship Series moved to Washington, DC for Game 3, following two Cardinals losses to the Nationals in St. Louis.  The offense-deficient Cardinals once again were the losers, falling behind 3-0 in the series.

The offense pushed its lone run across the plate in the seventh inning on a single by Paul DeJong that plated Jose Martinez.  The inning started with singles by both Martinez and Yadier Molina.  The offense managed seven hits against Nats starter Stephen Strasburg, with only one going for extra bases, a double by Marcell Ozuna.  Ozuna and Martinez were both 2-for-4.  DeJong was 2-for 3.

Jack Flaherty pitched four innings and gave up four runs on five hits.  The right hander fanned six and walked two.  The starter was not helped by a crucial missed catch in left by Marcell Ozuna and a wild pitch that Yadier Molina would stop most times, both of which occurred with two out in the fateful four-run third inning.

Tyler Webb and John Brebbia each pitched 2/3 of an inning, with Webb surrendering one run and Brebbia giving up two.  Genesis Cabrera followed, collecting two outs.  Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched the final two frames, yielding the final Nats run on two hits.


NLCS Game 4 – Tuesday, October 15 – Cardinals 4 at Nationals 7

Kolten Wong (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals entered Game 4 with a slightly different lineup, but the result was the same.  The Redbirds lost 7-4, despite scoring more runs than in the previous three combined.

After falling behind 7-0 in the first inning, the Cardinals got on the board in the fourth on a solo home run by Yadier Molina.  Three more runs were added in the fifth inning.  Harrison Bader, in his first NLCS start, drew a walk and Kolten Wong singled to right, moving Bader to third.  Dexter Fowler walked, and Tommy Edman grounded out to plate Bader.  Jose Martinez doubled to score Wong and Fowler.  Wong was 2-for-4 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Starter Dakota Hudson lasted only 1/3 of an inning, and gave up seven runs, four earned, on five hits.  The right handler issued one walk.  Following Hudson’s exit, Adam Wainwright, Ryan Helsleyy, Giovanny Gallegos, and Andrew Miller combined to pitch the remainder of the game in scoreless fashion.

Wong made a fielding error.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals’ season ended on Wednesday, October 15, the result of a four-game sweep by the Nationals in the NLCS.

The lack of offense was the predominant issue in the poor showing, a weakness all season.  The Nationals pitchers completely shut down the offense, as the Cardinals scored only six runs over four games.

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Only Jose Martinez, who did not start every game, had an OPS above .800 during the NLCS.  The next highest OPS was .702 from Yadier Molina.  Middle of the order bats Marcell Ozuna and Paul Goldschmidt had OPS’s of .438 and .125 respectively in the NLCS after leading the way in the Division Series win.

Starting pitching faltered somewhat. Dakota Hudson had a disastrous start in Game 4.  Jack Flaherty gave up four runs in Game 3, hurt by defensive lapses.  Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright were fine, as was the bullpen.

The major issue was the offense.  With the season now over, the Cardinals have decisions to make about next year’s roster.  Marcell Ozuna is likely leaving in free agency, so a middle of the order bat may once again be the Cardinals’ offseason goal.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals will not be making an offer to re-sign Marcell Ozuna prior to his reaching free agency.

All potential free agents officially become free agents as of 9 a.m. ET the day following the end of the World Series.  The Cardinals will have exclusive rights to negotiate with Ozuna until 5 p.m. ET on the fifth day following the end of the World Series.

Saxon further writes that the Cardinals are likely to make Ozuna a qualifying offer, which is $17.8 million. If Ozuna turns down the one-year deal to return, St. Louis will receive a compensatory 2020 draft pick when the outfielder signs elsewhere.

According to MLB.com’s Adam Berry, following the NLCS Game 4 loss to the Nationals, Adam Wainwright said that he hasn’t been thinking about his future plans for the 2020 season, but stated that he and the Cardinals will talk about it over the next couple of weeks.  Wainwright is set to become a free agent on the day following the World Series.

Last year, the Cardinals signed Wainwright to a one year contract with incentives, which the 38-year old right hander met with his 2019 performance.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

Carlos Martinez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

RHP Carlos Martinez had a platelet-rich injection in his pitching shoulder this past week and is expected to have a normal off-season. St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak shared the details with KMOX Radio.

All injured players on the injured list at the end of the season (minus any free agents) must be returned to the 40-man roster by November 20 if they are to be retained by the team.

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and did not return to the roster.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 missed the rest of the season.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60-day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) was shut down from throwing for a week following an early exit from a game on September 25. Wacha was unavailable to participate in the NLDS and was not included on the NLCS roster.  He becomes a free agent after the end of the World Series and will likely not be returning to the Cardinals.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals 2019 season ended with the four-game sweep by the Nationals in the NLCS.  All potential free agents become official on the day following the World Series, including Marcell Ozuna, Matt Wieters, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Tony Cingrani.  Cingrani was part of a trade of Jedd Gyorko to the Los Angeles Dodgers and was injured and unable to play when he was acquired.  It is likely the Cardinals will not make a move to retain him.  Marcell Ozuna and Michael Wacha will also likely not be retained, though Ozuna may be given a qualifying offer.  Adam Wainwright has not yet announced his plans for 2020 and it possible the 38-year old pitcher will choose to retire.  Whether the Cardinals will re-sign Wieters is unknown, but prospect Andrew Knizner is ready in the wings.

In addition to making decisions on free agency, the Cardinals must return all injured players they intend to retain to the 40-man roster on or before November 20.  Any non-roster minor league players the Cardinals want to protect from the Rule 5 draft in December must be added to the 40-man roster by the 20th as well. Prime candidates include pitcher Jake Woodford and third baseman Elehuris Montero.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past looks at notable events from Cardinals postseasons past.

    • October 14, 1985 – Ozzie Smith hits the first left-handed home run of his career in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Broadcaster Jack Buck gave his famous “Go crazy folks” call about this home run.
Enos Slaughter’s Mad Dash
  • October 15, 1946 – Enos Slaughter streaked home from first base on a Harry Walker single in Game 7 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. This event is known as the “Mad Dash”
  • October 15, 1964 – in Game 7 of the World Series against the New York Yankees, the Cardinals won 7-5 and became the first team with a losing record at the All-Star Break to go on to win the World Series. Bob Gibson was selected as the MVP, having struck out 31 hitters in three games.  Also, in this game, the Boyer brothers, Ken and Clete, hit home runs, Ken for the Cardinals, and Clete for the Yankees.  Both long balls were hit in their last at bats of the game.
  • October 15, 1982 – Willie McGee became the first rookie to hit two home runs in the same World Series game. The long balls were hit in the fifth and seventh innings off Brewers starter Pete Vuckovich.
  • October 16, 1985 – St. Louis first baseman Jack Clark hit a three-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning for the comeback win in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. Via that win, the Cardinals were crowned National League Champions.
  • October 17, 2005 – Albert Pujols accomplished the same feat as Clark in 1985 by hitting a ninth inning, two out, three-run home run in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Astros’ pitcher Brad Lidge. The celebration was short lived, however, as the Astros won Game 6 and moved ahead on to the World Series.
  • October 19, 2006 – NLCS Game 7 against the Mets included several notable events. First was a catch by Mets outfielder Endy Chavez that robbed Scott Rolen of a two-run home run.  Then, in the ninth inning, Yadier Molina hit a two-run home run to make up for the robbed home run.  Finally, the famous curve ball from rookie reliever Adam Wainwright that froze Met Carlos Beltran to strike him out for the last out of the NLCS.  The Cardinals went on to win the World Series over the Detroit Tigers.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 20, 2019

photo: Elehuris Montero (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three St. Louis Cardinals saw action in Glendale’s 5-2 victory over Scottsdale on Saturday.  Elehuris Montero went 1-for-4, a double, and an RBI.  Roel Ramirez pitched the first two innings and gave up two runs. Kodi Whitley tossed the final two scoreless frames for his third AFL save.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 19.


Glendale Desert Dogs 5 at Scottsdale Scorpions 2

Elehuris Montero (Arizona Fall League)

One St. Louis Cardinals position player and two pitchers saw action in Saturday night’s game between Glendale and Scottsdale.  Glendale was the winner in the road contest by the score of 5-2.

Elehuris Montero played third base and hit sixth in the Glendale starting lineup and went 1-for-4, a double, and an RBI.  Montero reached on a throwing error in his first at bat in the second inning, then doubled to right in the fourth plating teammate Devin Mann. He popped out to first in the sixth and struck out swinging in the seventh.  Montero is hitting .214/.353/.333 in 13 AFL games.

Kodi Whitley (Arizona Fall League)

Swingman Roel Ramirez got the start and pitched two innings, gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits, struck out two and walked one.  Ramirez also made a throwing error.  The right hander threw 45 pitches, 31 for strikes.  Ramirez has appeared in eight AFL games, including two starts, and has an ERA of 1.74.

Kodi Whitley pitched the eighth and ninth innings in scoreless fashion, striking out three to earn his third save.  He threw 25 pitches, 18 for strikes.   Whitley has appeared in eight AFL games and has an ERA of 0.90.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 10-14 on the AFL season and is in last place in the AFL West, six games back of Surprise. The Desert Dogs are the first team to have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Scottsdale, Bernardo Flores (CWS) (1-3, 6.62) 2:30 CT.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 19, 2019

photo: Ivan Herrera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Four St. Louis Cardinals position players and one pitcher saw action in Glendale’s 3-1 loss to Surprise on Friday night. Elehuris Montero and Ivan Herrera were hitless, but Herrera walked and scored his team’s only run. Conner Capel and Kramer Robertson each singled. Reliever Seth Elledge took the loss, allowing all three Surprise runs in the eighth inning.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 18.


Glendale Desert Dogs 1 at Surprise Saguaros 3

Four St. Louis Cardinals position players and one pitcher saw action in Friday’s contest between Glendale and Surprise.  The Desert Dogs lost to the Saguaros 3-1.

Elehuris Montero was the designated hitter and hit fifth.  Montero went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.  He struck out on a foul tip in his first at bat, then popped out to first base, struck out looking, and grounded out to the shortstop.  Montero is hitting .211/.362/.316 in 12 AFL games.

Ivan Herrera (Arizona Fall League)

Ivan Herrera hit sixth in the lineup.  The backstop was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.  Herrera grounded out to short in his first at bat, walked and scored in the fifth inning, grounded out to third in the seventh, and was hit by a pitch in the ninth.  Herrera is hitting .269/.424/.346 in 8 AFL games.

Conner Capel hit seventh and played left field, going 1-for-4 with a strikeout.  The outfielder struck out looking, singled to center, grounded out to second, and popped out to short.  Capel is batting .234/.306/.266 in 18 AFL games.

Kramer Robertson played at second base and hit eighth, going 1-for-3.  Robertson grounded out to second, flied out to center, and singled on a ground ball to center.  Robertson has posted a slash line of .235/.381/.353 in five AFL games.

Capel and Robertson had two of Glendale’s three team hits.

Seth Elledge pitched the eighth inning and had his worst AFL effort, yielding all three Surprise runs on four hits. The reliever walked two and was tagged with a blown save and the loss.  Elledge threw 27 pitches, 12 for strikes, and also had a wild pitch.  The three earned runs charged to Elledge were the first earned runs he has allowed in the AFL season.  The right hander has appeared in seven AFL games and now has an ERA of 3.38.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 9-14 on the AFL season and is in last place in the AFL West, seven games back of Surprise.

Saturday’s game:  at Scottsdale, Jordan Johnson (0-2, 3.86) 8:30 p.m. CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Seth Elledge Increases Prospect Stock in AFL


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