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

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Winter Warm-Up virtual events announced

The St. Louis Cardinals issued a lineup of virtual experiences for fans to take part in during the 2021 Winter Warm-Up.  The annual event will be virtual this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The list of activities include a 2011 World Series reunion that features former team members including Allen Craig, Lance Berkman and David Freese.  That event is scheduled for January 15.

Additional sessions include a talk with prospects Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore, and a topic called “Best Dressed Birds”.  This event features current Cardinals Harrison Bader, Jack Flaherty, and Dexter Fowler sharing their off-field wardrobes.

A full list of sessions with dates, prices and instructions on how to participate can be found at cardinals.com/wwu.

Martinez scratched from key winter ball outing

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez is in the news again, but not for results on the field.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Sometimes rumors are non-rumors.

Senger Peralta, 2016 (Johnson City Cardinals)

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch, in response to a question during his weekly chat, threw out the name of Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta as an example of a potential trade target for the Cardinals.  The discussion surrounding Peralta was not couched as a current rumor, but more of a “what kind of player could the Cardinals potentially get” if they were inclined to pursue an additional outfielder.  Goold apparently chose Peralta based on the idea that he was once a part of the Cardinals organization (in his prior life as pitcher Senger Peralta) and was rumored to have been a subject of interest in the past.

However, to be clear, there have been no credible reports of any current interest in trading for Peralta on the part of the Cardinals.  It should also be stressed that there have been no reports that the Diamondbacks are shopping Peralta, either. Despite this, several online sources have represented Goold’s reference as a current rumor, which it clealy is not.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

Dates for key offseason events:

  • 1/15/21 Deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to submit salary figures. The Cardinals have five arbitration eligible players – CF Harrison Bader and RHPs Jack Flaherty, John Gant, Jordan Hicks, and Alex Reyes.  All but Gant are first-time arbitration eligible.  Gant, who is in his second year of eligibility, has already reached agreement with the Cardinals on a 2021 contract, avoiding arbitration.  John Brebbia was originally in this group as well, but was instead non-tendered and has since signed with San Francisco.  Hearings will occur in February for players who have not yet come to terms with their employer.
  • The annual Winter Warm-Up is going virtual for 2021. Details on the events and opportunities for autographed merchandise can be found at cardinals.com/wwu. The events will take place January 16-18.

Blast from the Past – Ozzie Smith: The Early Years.

This week, we begin a multi-part history installment on the life and career of Hall of Fame Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith.  This first segment covers Smith’s early years and the beginning of his professional baseball career.

Osborne Earl Smith was born on December 26, 1954 in Mobile, Alabama.  Smith was the second of six children born to Marvella and Clovi Smith.  The family moved from Alabama to the Watts section of Los Angeles, California when Ozzie was six years old.  Smith’s father was a delivery driver for Safeway Stores and his mother was a nursing home aide.

Ozzie was an athletic child who practiced back flips in a sawdust pile at a local lumber yard, and who bounced a rubber ball off concrete steps to see how fast he could catch it.  Like many children of poor families, Smith did not have a baseball glove, but would fashion a “glove” out of a paper bag wrapped around his hand.

Ozzie Smith (Cal Poly Athletics)

Smith attended Locke High School in Los Angeles, where he played both baseball and basketball.  His sports activities did not attract college recruiters, but Smith attended college at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo on a partial academic scholarship.  Ozzie made the college baseball team as a walk-on and was taught how to switch hit.  Smith became the starting shortstop after the regular broke his leg.  Smith took this opportunity and ran with it to become a star.

Smith was spotted by scouts playing semipro ball in Clarinda, Iowa in 1976.  The Detroit Tigers picked Ozzie in the seventh round of the amateur draft but he did not sign, instead returning to complete his senior year at Cal Poly.

After graduation, Ozzie was drafted a second time, by the San Diego Padres in the fourth round in 1977.  He began his professional baseball career with the Padres Class-A team in Walla Walla, Washington, and hit .303/.391/.362 in 68 games that season.

Smith spent only that one season in the minor leagues.  In 1978, Ozzie made his major league debut with the Padres.

Next week we take a look at Ozzie’s first years in a major league uniform.


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