Another week, and yes, another edition of “The Cooperstown case”!
This week, we will be taking a look at the career of Edgar Renteria, a key piece of the Cardinals teams of the early to mid-2000’s. He had a blend of speed, power, and the ability to give clutch performances. Let’s see if it’s Hall of Fame worthy.
After being drafted in 1992 by the Gulf Coast League Marlins, his big league debut finally arrived on May 10, 1996 for the Florida Marlins. However, he did not step up to the plate in that game, due to being part of a ninth-inning double switch.
On May 19th, Renteria earned his first hit in the majors as the Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs by a score of 3-2.
While with the Marlins, his best performance came in the biggest of moments: the World Series. During Game 7 of the 1997 World Series against the Cleveland Indians, Renteria stepped up to the plate in the 11th inning. Facing off against pitcher Charles Nagy, Renteria hit an RBI single to make it a 3-2 game, and help the team win their first ever World Series.
After a successful career with Florida, he was traded the Gateway City in 1999 to join a team that had a lackluster decade… the St. Louis Cardinals.
And for the next six seasons, the fortunes in St. Louis changed. While they did not win a World Series, they once again became a perrinial force to be reckoned with in baseball.
“He was just a solid, solid guy at short for us,” said then catcher Mike Matheny, who has been the Cardinals manager since 2012. “He was a good all-around player. He was a good teammate. He came in and never had any issues and understood what his role was on that club. He was a part of some good teams here.”
The Cardinals made the postseason four times and advanced to the National League Championship Series three times, reaching the World Series in 2004 during his six seasons with the team.
During that time, Renteria hit .290/.347/.420 with 71 homers, 451 RBIs and 148 stolen bases in 903 games, earning two Gold Glove Awards, three Silver Slugger Awards and three All-Star nods. One of his top seasons came in 2003, when he hit .330 and set career highs for RBIs (100), walks (65), hits (194), on-base percentage (.394), slugging (.480) and doubles (47).
His stats are not flashy, but there was no denying the hard-working and talented athlete he was.
“There’s some guys who maybe at times had better stats, but they wouldn’t be as clutch,” Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa said. “In big situations, against the best pitchers, he would get a big hit. He had a real talent for that.”
In addition to his clutch performance in the 1997 World Series, he also came up big in the 2010 World Series with the San Francisco Giants. After minor stints with teams including the Cincinnati Reds, Renteria retired in 2013.
His stats aren’t flashy, with less than 2,300 MLB hits, only 140 home runs (the Hall of Fame has placed emphasis on home runs over the years), and 923 RBI’s. However, his .286 batting average is impressive, and his roles in winning two World Series championships are etched in baseball history.
Do you think Renteria has a good case for enshrinement into Cooperstown? Feel free to discuss below, and tune in next week for another edition of “The Cooperstown case”.