And then there were sixteen…
We’re down to the last sixteen teams in the All-Time Cardinals Team Tourney, and the only lower seed to advance to the sweet sixteen was the 2005 bunch over in I-70 Baseball’s Buck Region. Get over there and vote for the teams to advance to the Buck Region Final!
As for our contests, only one team remains in the Musial Region that failed to win the World Series. Can they avenge their championship shortcoming in this tourney?
Not if the 1967 Cardinals have anything to say about it. Perhaps more accurately, not if Bob Gibson has anything to say about it. After all, Gibby pitched three complete games against the Boston Red Sox in the ’67 Series, posting three wins and an ERA of 1.00. Gibson and the rest of the Cardinal pitching staff (among the names on the ’67 squad – Steve Carlton, Dick Hughes, Nelson Briles) stymied the Red Sox and AL Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski.
Can Vince Coleman, Ozzie Smith, and Willie McGee run away with an upset here? The 1987 Cardinals were still a running bunch, with Coleman swiping 109 bases during the regular season. If they weren’t taking extra bases, cleanup hitter Jack Clark was swatting big flies and letting the speedsters catch their breath. The last hurrah of Whitey-ball, is this their last hurrah in the ATCTT?
And then we have a clash of juggernauts – two World Series winners – and two very different teams.
The 2006 Cardinals limped into the playoffs, getting an aging team healthy at the right time and getting timely contributions from unheralded pitchers and scrappy middle infielders alike. David Eckstein was the World Series MVP against Detroit, and Jeff Weaver pitched a gem in Game Five to get the win and clinch the series for the Cards.
On the other hand, the 1931 Cardinals are widely considered one of the top five or ten Cardinal teams in history (and if this tournament is any indication, they are at least top sixteen!). The ’31 Cards took the league standings lead on May 30th and never relinquished it, cruising to a thirteen game cushion to win the National League in their 50th season in St. Louis. Carrying a winning record against every other NL team through the regular season, including a scorching 20-2 against Cincinnati, the Cardinals went on to avenge their 1930 World Series defeat by besting the Philadelphia Athletics in seven games. Grandfathered spitballer Burleigh Grimes won two games for the Cards, including the clinching game seven. For their troubles, the Cardinal players received a winner’s share of $4,468. Not too shabby…
Voting in this round closes at 8pm-ish on Sunday night. Remember to vote in the other regions at I-70 Baseball, Aaron Miles’ Fastball, and C70 at the Bat. (Sweet Sixteen ballots will be posted at AMF and C70 tomorrow.)
Which teams get your votes in the Musial Region’s Sweet Sixteen? Perhaps as importantly, who do you think will win the tourney? Go check out the United Cardinal Bloggers’ website for your chance to win the 2011 World Series Champions Collectors Edition DVD Set by correctly guessing the tournament champion!