photo: Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Ted Simmons
After participating in a three-team draft of the top St. Louis Cardinals players of all-time, to say that I am delighted with my team is a colossal understatement.
After all, how could one top a roster led by the greatest Cardinal of all, Stan Musial – teamed up with Ozzie Smith, Ted Simmons and Red Schoendienst? Four of the best players and most respected names in team history, all together!
In fact, seven of my nine position players have been enshrined in Cooperstown, with Jim Bottomley, Ducky Medwick and Johnny Mize the others. And my other two hitters are Cardinals Team Hall of Famers and standouts from this century – Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds.
On the pitching side, as I mentioned in an earlier article, after the great Bob Gibson, there is little career bWAR differentiation among 20 other starters. As a result, I loaded up on hitting before filling my six pitching spots.
Jesse Haines leads my staff, joined by Bob Forsch, Max Lanier, Mort Cooper, Bob Caruthers and Trevor Rosenthal. Coming in, I planned to maximize my team WAR total, but the combination of my huge lead and the other two drafters taking relievers led me to join in and select Rosenthal with my final pick. Trevor holds the Cardinals single-season save record with 48, set in 2015.
I am not embarrassed by this staff one bit. Over 18 years, Hall of Famer “Pop” Haines appeared in more games than any pitcher in team history, 554, won 210 games and pitched in the team’s first four World Series, logging a 1.75 ERA. Forsch is the only man in team history to throw two no-hitters.
Like Forsch, Cooper is a Cardinals Hall of Famer. In the days before the Cy Young Award existed, Cooper was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1942, was a part of three World Series teams (3.00 ERA) and a four-time All-Star. Lanier won the 1943 ERA title, had a 1.71 ERA in three World Series, amassed 30 bWAR over 12 seasons and was an All-Star twice.
“Parisian” Bob Caruthers is a name not many know. The St. Louis segment of his career was just five years in duration (1884-1887, 1892), but during that time, he was the most dominant pitcher in the game, logging 26 WAR. In a much different era, the right-hander made 53 starts and threw 482 1/3 innings, going 40-13 in 1885. That is three seasons for many of today’s pitchers.
Now let’s get to the three teams. As you can see, in St. Louis career WAR, my team dominates those of fellow drafters Jeff Erickson and Todd Zola. Sorry, guys!
|Brian Walton||bWAR||Todd Zola||bWAR||Jeff Erickson||bWAR|
|C||Ted Simmons||45||Yadier Molina||40||Tim McCarver||21|
|1B||Jim Bottomley||34||Mark McGwire||19||Albert Pujols||87|
|2B||Red Schoendienst||35||Frankie Frisch||33||Rogers Hornsby||91|
|3B||Scott Rolen||26||Ken Boyer||58||Matt Carpenter||28|
|SS||Ozzie Smith||66||Marty Marion||31||Edgar Renteria||17|
|OF1||Stan Musial||128||Enos Slaughter||52||Lou Brock||42|
|OF2||Jim Edmonds||38||Ray Lankford||38||Curt Flood||42|
|OF3||Joe Medwick||40||Matt Holliday||23||Willie McGee||26|
|UT||Johnny Mize||39||Garry Templeton||19||Keith Hernandez||34|
|P1||Jesse Haines||36||Bob Gibson||82||Dizzy Dean||40|
|P2||Bob Forsch||21||Chris Carpenter||28||Adam Wainwright||36|
|P3||Max Lanier||30||Bruce Sutter||4||Steve Carlton||21|
|P4||Mort Cooper||29||John Tudor||20||Lee Smith||4|
|P5||Bob Caruthers||26||Mordecai Brown||3||Jason Isringhausen||5|
|P6||Trevor Rosenthal||6||Todd Worrell||5||Harry Brecheen||39|
Knowing I had selections 1, 6, 7, 12, and 13, I had pre-scripted how I thought the first 13 picks would go. After the obvious selection of Musial to start, I assumed I would get Ken Boyer and Simmons at 6 and 7.
However, Zola threw me a curve, taking the third baseman at no. 5 overall. That was fine, as that meant Ozzie Smith was mine at no. 6. I added Simmons per plan and waited for my next turns.
There were no real surprises as my no. 12 and 13 selections arrived. I wanted a second baseman and my choice was between Red Schoendienst and Frankie Frisch. The Fordham Flash had two more WAR in four fewer seasons, but Red meant much more to the Cardinals than just numbers, so he joined my team.
My fifth selection, no. 13 overall, was the next-best hitter available. We just don’t fully appreciate Jim Edmonds’ greatness. For example, he generated just four fewer WAR than Lou Brock in half as many seasons (eight vs. 16).
For my sixth and seventh round picks, I took first sacker Sunny Jim Bottomley, another Cardinals retired number Hall of Famer, and Haines. The next pair were Rolen and outfielder Ducky Medwick, the last National League Triple Crown winner, in 1937.
I was amazed that in the 10th round, Johnny Mize was still on the board. The Big Cat delivered 39 WAR in just six seasons with St. Louis and became my utility man. From there on, I finished out my roster with my final five hurlers.
All in all, my 15 players spanked the competition with 599 total WAR, or an average of 40 each. What a Cardinals team! And I offer my thanks to the readers of this site, who shared their advice in my draft preparation.
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