The St. Louis Cardinals have possibly one of the best All Time Lineups in this entire series. While they won’t be able to match up against the highly favored New York Yankees in name, they still boast a very high caliber starting lineup with a mix of speed, power, average, and defense. They’re led by one of the best managers of all time in Tony La Russa and Bob Gibson is likely a top 10 to 15 pitcher all time.
1. Lou Brock, LF (L)
2. Roger Hornsby, 2B (R)
3. Albert Pujols, 1B (R)
4. Stan Musial, CF (L)
5. Ken Boyer, 3B (R)
6. Enos Slaughter, RF (L)
7. Yadier Molina, C (R)
8. Ozzie Smith, SS (S)
9. Bob Gibson, P (R)
Manager: Tony La Russa
2010-16: 346 Runs, 79 HR, 387 RBI, 29 SB, .284 BA/.342 OBP/.436 SLG
While he’s regarded as a strictly defensive catcher, Yadier Molina has a pretty impressive resume as a hitter for the Cardinals too. In his prime, Molina hit for averages above .300 and had double digit home runs numbers at a position where offense production is a huge plus. While we can’t count on him replicating those numbers on a regular basis, Molina does provide a good contact tool and potential to be a 70-80 RBI hitter in a given season. Defensively, he’s one of the best backstops the game has seen and that makes him the clear choice for the position.
Honorable Mentions: Ted Simmons, Joe Torre
2001-11: 1,291 Runs, 445 HR, 1,329 RBI, 84 SB, .328 BA/.420 OBP/.617 SLG
While his career has gone downhill since leaving St. Louis, Albert Pujols was once the best hitter in baseball and essentially a lock to make the Hall of Fame upon retirement. The Machine has a trio of MVP trophies, six Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, 10 All Star appearances and 2 World Series rings under his name. He likely won’t get any more awards during his time with the Angels but that doesn’t take away from his accomplishments as a Cardinal. In St. Louis, he scored almost 100 runs, hit at least 32 home runs, and knocked in at least 103 RBI every season. He was an unstoppable force and will take his rightful place in the #3 spot of the lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Mize, Keith Hernandez, Jim Bottomley
1973-83: 596 Runs, 134 HR, 529 RBI, 66 SB, .270 BA/.338 OBP/.421 SLG
The second Hall of Famer to take the infield for the Cardinals is second baseman, Roger Hornsby. While he only has one ring, Hornsby did capture a pair of MVP awards in 1925 and 1929, won 2 Triple Crowns, and seven batting titles over his 23 year career. In the 13 seasons he spent in St. Louis, Hornsby established himself as a prolific scoring machine and one of the best hitters in the league. He had some stealing ability but it’s the hitting stats that will make him successful hitting in front of the greatest two sluggers in Cardinals history.
Honorable Mentions: Red Schoendienst, Frankie Frisch
1981-96: 991 Runs, 27 HR, 664 RBI, 433 SB, .272 BA/.350 OBP/.344 SLG
Taking the field at the six position is possibly the best defensive shortstop the league has ever seen. Ozzie Smith dazzled fans with his spectacular catches and his famous backflips. The Wizard was a great defender who earned 13 Gold Gloves and was a fairly efficient offensive threat. While he didn’t hit for much average or power, he was an efficient scorer during his prime and consistently used his speed as his biggest offensive skill. He stole 433 bags in the Cardinals uniform and 580 all time, placing him 22nd all time.
Honorable Mentions: Marty Marion
1955-65: 988 Runs, 255 HR, 1,001 RBI, 97 SB, .293 BA/.356 OBP/.475 SLG
Playing eleven years for the Cardinals, Ken Boyer originally looked to be a steals threat as he led the club with 22 steals, though he was caught 17 times. However, that number would stand to be Boyer’s career high in a season as his next ten years in the bigs would evolve into him becoming a power hitting third baseman. He hit for a solid average and became an integral part of the middle of the St. Louis lineup. The defense was good, though never great, as Boyer simply continued hitting and would earn himself eleven All Star appearances. However, he only should’ve gotten seven bids as Major League Baseball decided to play two All Star Games instead of just one from 1959 to 1962.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Carpenter, Scott Rolen, Whitey Kurowski
1998-08: 661 Runs, 212 HR, 733 RBI, 32 SB, .277 BA/.344 OBP/.490 SLG
While Ozzie Smith was a great base stealer and likely candidate to hit atop the St. Louis lineup, Lou Brock did him one better. He spent 16 seasons wearing the Cardinals uniform and stole 888 bags during that time. Add in four seasons with the Cubs and he would finish with 938 career steals, placing second all time. Brock also provides some power at the leadoff spot and averaged 100 runs per season over his entire career. Defensively, he’s nowhere near Smith’s skill set but offensively, he’ll get a leg up and secure himself the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Honorable Mentions: Joe Medwick, Bill White, Tip O’Neill
1941-63: 1,949 Runs, 475 HR, 1,951 RBI, 78 SB, .331 BA/.417 OBP/.559 SLG
The greatest Cardinal in team history will have to play a position he’s not exactly used to in this lineup. A first baseman by trait, Stan Musial saw time at the outfield positions, though mainly the corners, during his career. He’ll be relegated to center simply to fit some additional bats into the lineup. The three time MVP was a great scorer and had amazing power from the left side. His great batting average and RBI skills make him an ideal bat in the lineup that can hit essentially anywhere in the upper half of the order. He was close to a few milestones though military service during his age 24 seasons left him a bit short in the record books.
Honorable Mentions: Curt Flood, Jim Edmonds, Ray Lankford
1938-53: 1,071 Runs, 146 HR, 1,148 RBI, 64 SB, .305 BA/.384 OBP/.463 SLG
Rounding out the Hall of Fame outfield is Enos Slaughter was a great contact hitter during his career. While he doesn’t have to power of the other top of the order bats, Slaughter was an RBI machine for many years and unfortunately missed the prime of his career serving his country. However, after returning to the game after three years away, he continued his excellence and was selected to eight straight All Star appearances, making it ten for his career. The lefty will make for a reliable bat in the #6 spot of the lineup and figures to receive plenty of chances to produce for St. Louis.
Honorable Mentions: N/A
1959-75: 251-174 Record, 2.91 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9
Throughout his 17 year career with the Cardinals, Bob Gibson cemented himself as a top pitcher in the league and was the ace for St. Louis for many years. He struggled with command issues early in his career but balanced out the walks with well over 200 strikeouts per season. By age 29, Gibson had established his legacy and was beginning what would be a six year run of All Star game appearances. He would go on to win the Cy Young twice in 1968 and 1970 while also capturing the MVP award in the 1968 season.
Honorable Mentions: Dizzy Dean, Adam Wainwright, Harry Brecheen
Tony La Russa
After leading the Cardinals to their two most recent World Series titles, Tony La Russa is the pick for manager. He doesn’t have the best winning percentage in the franchise but does have the most wins at 1,408. His career 2,728 managerial wins places him third all time and just 36 short of second. La Russa earned Hall of Fame honors in 2014 and after he took over the managerial position in 1996, La Russa transformed the team into an instant contender as they reached the playoffs in his first year at the helm. After a 2011 season when the Cardinals went 90-72, he retired with 70 career postseason wins.
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