Back in January of last year, we made a “mashup” of the Cardinal teams of 2000 and 2010 – choosing the best player seasons of each year and combining them to form one lineup/roster.
In anticipation of NLCS Game Three, here is a similar exercise for the 1982 World Series and 2011 National League Championship Series Cardinal and Brewer teams. Some liberties have been taken in order to fill out a bench, and players with partial seasons were perhaps unfairly punished, but the premise to keep in mind is that you’re choosing the specific season from a player, and not his career.
Here’s what I came up with (and please understand this is just for fun, especially since I was just a wee lad in ’82):
|1982/2011 Cardinals||1982/2011 Brewers|
|Catcher||Yadier Molina||Ted Simmons|
|First Base||Albert Pujols||Cecil Cooper|
|Second Base||Tom Herr||Rickie Weeks|
|Third Base||Ken Oberkfell||Paul Molitor|
|Shortstop||Ozzie Smith||Robin Yount|
|Left Field||Lonnie Smith||Ryan Braun|
|Center Field||Jon Jay||Gorman Thomas|
|Right Field||Lance Berkman||Corey Hart|
|Catcher||Darrell Porter||Jonathan Lucroy|
|Infield||Keith Hernandez||Prince Fielder|
|Infield||Nick Punto||Jim Gantner|
|Infield||David Freese||Jerry Hairston, Jr.|
|Outfield||Matt Holliday||Ben Oglivie|
|Outfield||Allen Craig||Nyjer Morgan|
|Hitter||Gene Tenace||Don Money|
So who wins this matchup?
Catcher – Homer vote. Molina wins on defense and probably the best offensive season of his career. Cards
First Base – Call this a push? Cooper’s ’82 was really, really good. Pujols’ every year is really, really good. Again, this is a case where comparing the individual seasons makes the decision not as academic as one might expect. Even
Second Base – This is one place where I’ll allow a shortened season to influence my decision. Weeks, and that bat. Brewers
Third Base – Sorry, Kenny – the Hall of Famer’s got you here. Brewers
Shortstop – This isn’t even a contest, Yount running away. Brewers
Right Field – Hey, finally – something we can give to the Cardinals! Berkman is enjoying a renaissance season in 2011. Corey Hart‘s beard and mullet give Lance’s a run for the money, but Berkman’s bat is doing the talking here. Cards
2.5 positions to the Cards, 5.5 to the Brew Crew. Yipes.
Let’s dig into that bench.
Second Catcher – Porter wins running away, and Tenace could fill in in a pinch. Cards
Infield – My goodness, these teams would have some incredible designated hitters in the American League park, eh? Hernandez, Fielder, and Holliday later. Sheesh. The ’82/’11 Brewers’ infield bench is superior, if not as flexible as the Cards’. Advantage Milwaukee. Brewers
Outfield – Holliday and Craig hands down. Pains me to even include Plush on this list, but the ’82 Brewers seemingly didn’t offer much in the outfield depth department. Cardinals
So the Cards “win” the bench 2.5 to 1.5.
Notable omissions: Willie McGee (IMO, Jay just barely edged him out, but certainly argument could be made for either); George Hendrick (lots of good outfielders, Craig had to be included for his ’11 bat); Rafael Furcal (not enough time with team to reasonably include him, IMO); Daniel Descalso; David Green; Carlos Gomez; George Kottaras.
All told, the ’82/’11 Brewers look stronger in the daily lineup, but the ’82/’11 Cards are a bit deeper to fill in for injuries or otherwise – but goodness, those ’82 Brewers were pretty good.
Good thing they play the games on the field and not in my world of make-believe?
What say you Cardinals and Brewers fans? Agree or disagree with my list (and please keep in mind, this is all in good fun)? Post your thoughts in the comments below!