There is a short answer as to how to build the perfect Cardinal. And that answer is Stan Musial. That’s it, that’s all you need. But, that doesn’t make for a very fun or in-depth article to help you toil away this weird week where time doesn’t exist and the nexus of the universe seems to be collapsing in on itself like the Las Vegas Raiders.
So, what to do? Let’s work together here and build the perfect Cardinal, minus the Man from Donora. Blasphemous I know, but, nevertheless we shall trudge on like this dirge that is 2020…slowly slouching towards its final destination of a refuse bin in a dark corner of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
We shall create one perfect Cardinal position player and one perfect Cardinal hurler.
Like Keanu and Sandra we need speed. Not just regular, “Hey that guy’s pretty fast” speed, but, “holy heck how in the h e double hell did he do that” speed. We only need two fellas in this cauldron, Lou Brock and Vince Coleman. Between them they had 14 stolen base titles and a total of 1690 thefts. Cool Papa Bell is nodding in agreement up on that big diamond in the sky.
Now, as Fiona stated, what we need is a good defense. Start in the outfield shall we? The history of the franchise is loaded with Gold Gloves from left to right field. We need a bit of Jim Edmonds’ anticipation, Willie McGee’s speed and athleticism, the grace and class of Curt Flood, and the alpha male here’s my seven straight Gold Gloves of Bill White. You will not build a better outfielder from any other franchise in the history of the sport.
Around the bags the skill level is richer than Thurston Howell III covered in chocolate ganache. Behind the dish we mix up Tom Pagnozzi, Mike Matheny, and Yadier Molina, toss them in with a 3B combo platter of Ken Boyer, Ken Reitz, Terry Pendleton, and Scott Rolen. Over at first all we need is Keith Hernandez and his glorious stache. Moving to 2B, all I wanna watch is a simple two ingredient soup of Fernando Vina and Kolton Wong (all apologies to Tom Bartels for omitting Tommy Herr). On the mound, how about a vat of Bob Gibson with a dash of Adam Wainwright? In the 6 hole? Who we kiddin’? A pinch of Marty Marion and Edgar Renteria and about 1000 gallons of Ozzie Smith.
No frozen rope, dying quail, ground ball with eyes, or comebacker will create a solitary baserunner.
At the Dish
Your St. Louis Cardinals have what I would argue are three of the ten greatest hitters to ever walk god’s green earth; Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, and Albert Pujols….but damn…we have to omit baseball’s perfect knight! Alright we gotta build without ‘em! Like Kevin McCallister said, “I’ll give ’em a whirl.”
We have to start back before TV’s, the internet, and the realization that life is simply an experiment being conducted by some mad scientist who is a combination of Dr. Frankenstein, Professor Pye, and Dr. Julius No. (Yes, you’ll need to Ask Jeeves about those last two)
We begin with the only triple crown winners in franchise history, Rogers Hornsby and Joe Medwick. That kind of all around plate work is undeniable…but the recipe is incomplete! We need some pure raw power…I’ll take an order of Mark McGwire, with a side of Ray Lankford and Jim Edmonds.
But, ahh…we need to drive some gaps to keep those rallys serving up double and triple cheeseburgers all 9 innings long! Paging Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, Jim Bottemly, Pepper Martin, Lou Brock, and Ed Konetchy!
We need some clutch hits as well! Let’s dial Roger Maris, David Freese and Yadier Molina!
And if all of these fellas listed above are indisposed…just gimme Albert Pujols and call it a night.
Let’s drop the almonds and head to the mound
For the perfect Redbird hurler, the answer to all your questions is Bob Gibson. But, as we did without Mr. Musial, we shall attempt to build the perfect Cardinals hurler without using 45. For my money the perfect pitcher consists of three things; Power, Finesse, and Moxie.
Power…give me Jordan Hicks, Chris Carpenter and throw ‘em in a blender with Trevor Rosenthal. Perhaps a pinch of Jose DeLeon and Danny Cox mixed with a dash of peak Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha? That’s about 27 k’s per 9.
As a quick aside…in my research just now I found that the Cardinals once had a pitcher named Icebox Chamberlain who in 1889 went 32-15 with a 2.96 ERA over 421.2 innings. Do with that information what you will.
Ok, on to finesse. I’ll build a monster that paints corners and buckles knees from the arms of Jesse Haines, Mort Cooper, and the king of the devastating 85mph fastball, John Tudor. Game 7 shouldn’t have even happened John.
Moxie! I need guys with Footsteps Shane Falco levels of moxie! I want guys that just know how to get an out no matter the condition of their stuff or the pain in their shoulders. I want to fill that Baby Bullet my daughter just got for Christmas with a mix of Cy Young, Bob Forsch, Steve Carlton, and 38 year old Adam Wainwright!
So…do we have the perfect Cardinal? What’s that you say? Ahh yes! We forgot the one thing that a Cardinals fan loves more than anything in the whole wide world…SCRAP.
Scrappy Dappy Doo
Now this is a delicate souffle to bake. It’s a recipe that starts and ends with who I have previously dubbed “Scrap Jesus,” David Eckstein. But, as painful as it is to write, like his throws from the hole to 1st…we need a little more on this. I know what you all want…yeah…you know it too! You want a little bit of Rex Hudler! A little bit of Aaron Miles! A whole heap of Skip Schumacher! And last, but in no way least, a dash of So Taguchi!
Now we have without a doubt built the perfect Cardinal! Hell, the perfect baseball player period! It’s a recipe with no rules and far too many random nonsensical references to characters real and fake…but hell…what a ball player.
Good god I cannot wait till opening day….until then…long live Fiona Apple