The St. Louis Cardinals All-Time All-Star team

by Rob Downey | Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2014
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Lou Brock

Since much of the country is currently in the grasp of a major winter freeze this seemed to be the ideal opportunity to inject a little “spring fever” into the collective Redbirds Nation mindset by naming my All-Time All-Star team for the St. Louis Cardinals. Obviously, any endeavor to name such a team requires that some criteria must be established prior to selecting the players. The criteria I settled on was the following: 1) the player must have completed at least 8 years with the Cardinals, 2) the player can be either retired or currently playing, 3) the player must have played the majority of their games at the position for which they were selected, and 4) the evaluation of each player is based on statistics compiled while they played for St. Louis. This piece is meant to be strictly fun, and the reader may disagree and have selections of their own which are completely valid. So without further ado, here goes.

Catcher: This was the toughest selection by far as the selection came down to either Yadier Molina or Ted Simmons. Yadi just completed his ninth full season with the Cardinals, and he has compiled a .284 batting average with 89 home runs and 546 RBI’s. Molina has gotten progressively better with the stick and has hit better than .300 during each of the past three seasons. Overall, he has surpassed .300 four times in his career. He has hit 20+ home runs once during his career so far, and his career best in runs batted in was 80 which he reached in the 2013 season. Molina has been named to the National League All-Star team five times during his career.

A switch-hitter, Simmons hit .298 during his 10+ seasons with the Cardinals. He also blasted 172 home runs and knocked in 929 runs during that time. He exceeded .300 in six different seasons during his stay with St. Louis while also topping 20 home runs in five of his campaigns with the Redbirds. Simmons drove in 100+ runs twice and he also knocked in better than 90 runs on four other occasions. He was a six-time All-Star during his career with the Cardinals.

Molina is clearly superior to Simmons when it comes to defense and has been a six-time Gold Glove catcher. However, it must be noted that Simmons career overlapped that of Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench, who is widely regarded as the best defensive catcher of all time. The presence of Bench made it all but impossible for any catcher during the 1970’s to be recognized for their defensive abilities.

In a close decision, I chose Simmons because of his vastly superior offensive numbers. Obviously, Molina’s career is not over so he could ultimately be the choice when he hangs up his spikes.

First Base: The singular greatness of Stan Musial makes this a no-brainer in spite of the incredible numbers Albert Pujols compiled during his 11 seasons with the Cardinals. Musial spent his entire 22-year career with the Rebdirds and he racked up a .331 career batting average with 475 home runs and 1951 rbis. He finished with 3630 hits during his career, which ranks fourth on the All-Time Major League list. He was named to the National League All-Star time 24 times (twice their were two All-Star games contested in the same season) and he was named National League Most Valuable Player on three occasions. Musial was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.

Second Base: Rogers Hornsby played 13 of his 23 seasons with the Cardinals and he still holds the Major League record for the highest single-season batting average for his .424 norm which he compiled in 1924. He also topped .400 on two other seasons and he was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 1925 while he was with St. Louis. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942.

Shortstop: Ozzie Smith is widely regarded as the best fielding shortstop in baseball history. He won 12 of his 13 Gold Gloves while with the Cardinals, but he also developed into a solid contributor with the bat during his career. Smith compiled a .272 batting average during his 15 years with the Cardinals and he stole 433 bases while with the Redbirds. He was named to the National League All-Star team 14 times during his St. Louis career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.

Third Base: Ken Boyer was a seven-time All-Star during his 11 seasons with the Cardinals and he was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 1964. Boyer hit .293 during his St. Louis career with 255 home runs and 1001 runs batted in. He was also a Gold Glove winner five times during his St. Louis career.

Outfield: Lou Brock was the greatest base stealer in St. Louis Cardinals history, having pilfered 888 bases during his 16 years with the Redbirds. Brock hit .297 while with the Cardinals and he was a six-time National League All-Star. He was the offensive catalyst for a St. Louis team that reached the World Series three times in a five-year span during the 1960’s. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Outfield: Curt Flood is probably best known for being the first player to challenge the baseball reserve clause which ultimately resulted in the creation of free agency. However, Flood was a standout for St. Louis throughout the 12 years he spent in a Cardinals uniform. He was named to the National League All-Star team three times and he was a seven-time Gold Glove winner. He hit over .300 six times while with the Cardinals and was a career .293 hitter for the Redbirds.

Outfield: Joe Medwick spent 11 years in a St. Louis uniform and he compiled a .335 batting average during that time. He also smashed 152 home runs and knocked in 923 runs in his Cardinals career. Medwick was selected to the National League All-Star team seven times while with the Cardinals and was named the National League Most Valuable Player for the 1937 season while he was with the Redbirds. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.

Pitcher: Bob Gibson was one of the fiercest competitors to ever toe the rubber at the Major League level. Gibson won 251 games during his 17-year St. Louis career and he also struck out 3117 batters. He holds the Major League record for the lowest single-season earned run average for the 1.12 number he compiled during the 1968 season. Gibson twice was named the National League Cy Young Award winner and was also named the National League Most Valuable Player for the 1968 season. He was a nine-time Gold Glove winner and was named to the National League All-Star team eight times. Gibson won 20+ games on five separate occasions and his career earned run average is a sparkling 2.91. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

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Rob Downey
About the Author

Rob is a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan having attended the 1967, 1968, 1982, 1987, and 2006 World Series. Rob played basketball at Ball State University in the mid-1970's and enjoys watching and coaching baseball at all levels. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobSbcglobal50.

  • DM

    Why not have Musial in the OF? He played significantly more games there. That way, Pujols could be the 1B? Otherwise, I think those are solid choices.

    • Rob Downey

      I could definitely see a case for placing Musial in the outfield so that Pujols could be the first baseman. I actually contemplated that, but I think most of us remember Stan as a first baseman. I also thought about placing Albert in the outfield since he began his career as an outfielder. However, Pujols is also mostly remembered as a first baseman and I just could not see him ahead of Stan the Man. I think Albert would agree.

  • Pingback: Baseball Hot Corner: Opinion: Rob Downey: The St. Louis Cardinals All-Time Starting Lineup | The New Democrat()

  • Tony

    OF: Lou Brock, Joe Medwick, Jim Edmonds (far better with the bat than Curt Flood)
    1B: Albert Pujols
    2B: Rajah
    SS: Ozzie
    3B: Scott Rolen or Ken Boyer
    C: Simba
    P: Bob Gibson, Dizzy Dean, Mort Cooper, Jesse Haines, Harry Brecheen
    RRP: Bruce Sutter
    LRP: Al Hrabosky
    M: Billy Southworth
    C: Tony La Russa, Whitey Herzog, Bill McKechnie, Red Schoendienst

    • Rob Downey

      I could definitely see a case for Jim Edmonds; for that matter I could see an even better case for Willie McGee. Frankly, I would be fine with Edmonds, Flood, or McGee. If I had to reconsider I think I would go with McGee because he was the 1985 batting champ and NL MVP. Rolen did not meet my criteria of playing 8 years with the Cardinals…the same goes for Sutter. I would go with Lindy McDaniel for a right-handed relief pitcher. The starting pitchers you listed after Gibby all deserve mention, but I wanted to settle on only one hurler to limit the team to a starting nine players.

  • Dwain

    My lineup would include:
    C – Yadier Molina
    1B – Albert Pujols
    2B – Roger Hornsby
    3B – Kenny Boyer
    SS – Ozzie Smith
    LF – Lou Brock
    CF – Jimmy Edmonds
    RF – Stan Musial

    SP – (RH) Bob Gibson, Chris Carpenter, Dizzy Dean (LH) Steve Carlton, John Tudor
    RP – (RH) Bruce Sutter (LH) Joe Hoerner

    Most of mine come from modern, post WWII, Cardinals baseball because I have trouble comparing the two eras. If I stuck with the post WW II baseball, then Tommy Herr and Julian Javier would have to battle it out for 2B and Adam Wainwright would replace Dizzy Dean.

    It was also close in CF. I consider Curt Flood to be the best defensive CFer of all time and he could hit, while Willie McGee was also very good on both O and D, but Jimmy had it all with his power and average along with his D.







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