Having read some of the other great lists posted at the other United Cardinal Blogger sites today, it’s both clear to me and worries me a bit that I’ve interpreted the assignment differently. Not convinced that’s a good or a bad thing, I’ve decided to press forward with my own interpretation and list.
As such, you’ll note that I’ve chosen not to list out five plays – and that’s not a criticism of those that did, again just my interpretation – but rather to pick five things that to me “stand for” the Cardinals. Events, traditions, and yes, some great plays that collectively, to me, represent what I think of when I think of the St. Louis Cardinals. Iconic Cardinal Moments.
5. Ozzie Smith flips
For a child of the Eighties, Ozzie WAS the Cardinals. Yeah, sure, they won a lot, and there was Whiteyball – but an eight-year old can only appreciate a World Series against the Minnesota Twins so much. I wanted to see Ozzie flip.
4. World Series Championships
Sometimes, and it’s become more frequent and easier living amongst many friends that are Cub fans, I have to stop myself from being frustrated with the Cardinals and their current performance and appreciate what good fortune I’ve had as a baseball fan. Eleven World Titles, three during my lifetime, and three more appearances in the Fall Classic during my years to boot.
Stop to think about that. Do the math. The Cardinals have appeared in more World Series during my lifetime than sixteen teams have in their respective franchise histories. The Cardinals have WON more World Series in my lifetime than seventeen teams have in their entire histories.
Brian Bartow, the Cardinals’ Director of Media Relations shared a great story with the group of us bloggers that covered the Winter Warm-Up, telling us that a sportswriter friend of his had called after the Cards won this last Series, and asked if the team’s parade route through downtown St. Louis was going to be “the usual?” The answer? “Yep.”
3. Enos Slaughter‘s Mad Dash and the Iconic Plays
That’s a kick-ass band name, eh?
I list Slaughter’s play specifically because it’s one of the most well-revered in Cardinal history.
But what others do we have? Mark McGwire‘s home run record chase in 1998. Adam Wainwright versus Carlos Beltran. Ozzie Smith‘s “Go crazy, folks!” home run in 1985. David Freese in pretty much the entire 2011 World Series. Glenn Brummer stealing home…
Bob Gibson‘s seventeen strikeouts in 1968. Albert Pujols in 2005, 2011 – well, just a lot of Albert. Jim Edmonds circus catches. Yadier Molina‘s home run in New York in 2006. Mark Whiten‘s four home runs. I digress, but you get the point.
And there have been a fair share of solemn memories too. Darryl Kile‘s death in 2002. Jack Buck passing in the same year. And who could forget Jack’s poem after 9/11:
Yeah, there’s a lot of history there.
2. Opening Day in St. Louis
The Clydesdales and “Here Comes the King”. The Hall of Famers in red sport jackets. Good luck finding a seat.
I was privileged enough to attend Opening Day (yes, it’s something to be capitalized) in 2006. Opening not only what turned into a championship season for the Cards, but also the new (and at the time, yet unfinished) Busch Stadium was truly a treat.
If you are a Cardinal fan and you have the means and/or opportunity, Opening Day is a must on the bucket list.
1. Meet at Musial
A long-held Cardinal tradition, and one that has had a little extra meaning for me since 2004, Cardinal fans have been meeting up at the Stan Musial statue by Busch Stadium for years.
Groups of fans, whether meeting up from different workplaces or different places on the map, routinely will decide to “Meet at Musial” before a game, collecting their group and heading into the stadium to watch that night’s contest.
One of my personal favorite Cardinal memories was driving in from my new place of residence to meet my Dad before a 2004 World Series game. We were on the phone with each other throughout the day, making arrangements, planning details, when finally it was obvious I wasn’t going to make it into St. Louis until just before first pitch. What to do? Meet at Musial, of course.
After years of having just driven from across the river with my family and friends to attend a game, I finally had reason to make use of this long-standing tradition. Dad and I met at Stan’s statue and went into Busch II and enjoyed perhaps my favorite Cardinal loss ever (it makes sense, trust me).
We’re very blessed, Cardinal fans. Think about these lists of moments on the various Cardinal blogs today, and they don’t even begin to scratch the surface.
Hopefully you enjoy this list. What are some of your “iconic” Cardinal moments?