40 for 40 Episode 1
On the fateful day of Monday November 23rd 1981 my mother Ilene Zimmer forced me into this world, and now some nearly 40 years later I am beginning to ponder my mortality and why I haven’t published an article since March. So, hey, here’s a fun list that only makes sense to me, Tommy, Rode, Dave and Dave’s dad! Enjoy my fellow followers of Fredbird!
*after number 10 all players are listed in the order I remembered that I liked them
1. Ray Lankford CF #16
Other than being the greatest Cardinals CF that ever walked the earth, Ray Ray has been my favorite ball player since I was old enough to know what baseball was all about. The man did it all, from leading the league in triples in 1991, to going 20-20 five times, driving in 100, and blasting 30 bombs twice, he also had the sweetest swing these eyes have ever seen, Jr. be damned!
2. Ozzie Smith SS #1
Ozzie…in this town he only needs one name and has a special place in every St. Louisan’s heart…young, old, or now…JESUS…middle aged like I am about to be. The face of 3 pennants, 1 WS, 13 Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, the backflip, the hands, the release, the smile, the stolen bases…The Wizard
3. Willie McGee CF #51
If this was my BFF Dave’s list Willie would be #1 with all others distant seconds. The 1985 MVP, 2 time batting champ, 3 time Gold Glove winner and 4 time all-star also recorded the greatest Cameo ever while laying flat on his back welcoming Emmett Birk to Cardinals Nation. That secured his place in my heart for a lifetime.
4. Chris Carpenter SP #29
I really just wanna watch clips of Carp striking out Nyjer Morgan all damn day.
5. Vince Coleman OF #29
Not gonna lie…I gotta make it through 40 of these so we are going to fly now…much like Coleman flew around the base paths! I once told Dave that Coleman would end up with more steals than Lou Brock…we were 10 and he looked at me with pity and sorrow for my pure lack of a brain.
6. Adam Wainwright SP #50
I met Waino once while giving away Vincent Van Doughnuts at the Pujols charity golf classic. He walked up to my table with that boot on for when he tore his achilles. He kept yelling for his daughters to come get a doughnut, and much like most children their ears weren’t working that particular day. He looked at me with a smile and a twinkle in his eye…”I guess these are all mine then.”
7. Yadier Molina C #4
I’m pretty sure he signed a deal that for every Gold Glove he had to get an accompanying neck tattoo.
8. Albert Pujols 1B #5
Despite feeling like a jilted lover from 2012-2015, I have forgiven Albert his trespasses and welcomed him back into my world.
9. Scott Rolen 3B #27
I still stand by the fact that the only reason Scott Rolen isn’t in the Hall of Fame is Hee-Seop Choi. Better glove…Rolen or Nolan???
10. Tyler O’Neil LF #29
The He-Man Doll come to life has finally shown us just what those plant based arms can do!
11. Fernando Vina 2B #4
The man could lean into an inside pitch with enough gusto to make Roger Dorn smile…plus, he could flat out pick it!
12. Nolan Arenado 3B #28
We’re only one year into this dalliance…but my heart is beginning to flutter…
13. John Tudor SP #30
He threw about as hard as a late afternoon spring breeze in Tower Grove park…but the man could paint the corners like a cubist on ritalin.
14. Mark McGwire 1B #25
IT WAS JUST ANDRO.
15. David Freese 3B #23
Do I have anything in common with a kid from the STL who enjoys too much of everything on the weekend? Maybe I did back in my 20’s…
16. Allen Craig LF/1B #21
The Turtle! How could an injured foot lead to such a downfall??
17. Skip Schumaker 2B/CF #55
The dude was just flat out solid and reminds me of STL born actor Gregory Sporleder. Renaissance Man is an underrated Danny DeVito vehicle.
18. Lance Lynn SP #31
Lance is a ballplayer, not an athlete…he’s like a non-alcoholic Hack Wilson
19. Reggie Sanders OF #16
If I could be built like any athlete in the history of the St. Louis Cardinals it would be Reggie Sanders.
20. Andy Benes SP #40
Despite having an ass as wide as a city bus the dude could deal at times. When ‘ol Chuck Finley taught him that splitter in his final season he was borderline unhittable. Here’s to you Andy Beans!!
21. Gregg Jefferies 1B #25
As I like to remind T$ Bartels, the second G is for Grit. He was an All-Star his only two seasons with the birds on bat and flat out raked the baseball. Plus, he’s basically the same size as me and Tommy…if his diet consisted of tortilla chips and shame like ours, he would be us and we would be him.
22. Brian Jordan OF #3
He was also a mid-level DB for the Falcons so that’s awesome.
23. Delino DeShields 2B #7
You’ll notice I really like super fast dudes that play 2B. Plus Delino had a 100% DGAF tude while in the STL. The folks outside the 270 loop probably had a few problems with him.
24. Matt Morris SP #35
A two time All-Star that won 101 Games for the Birds does not get the love he deserves from the faithful.
25. Gary Gaetti 3B #8
I feel like if there was a biopic on Gary Gaetti he’d be played by Matt Stairs.
26. Ryan Ludwick OF #47
The rankings at this point don’t matter. But, I just wish this dude could have stayed healthy. What a quick bat, and an underrated RF.
27. Jim Edmonds CF #15
I met Jimmy Ballgame once…he has a head the size of a weather balloon. By 2030 he will be in the HOF…if Larry Walker gets in…well…Jimmy was better.
28. Rick Ankiel SP #66
Good God…just look at this bender
29. Trevor Rosenthal RP #44
Perhaps the human arm can only take so much?
30. Jason Motte RP #30
Have you seen him lately? He’s built like a granite statue of Paul Bunyan .
31. Bob Forsch SP #31
Tragically underrated and insanely reliable.
32. J.D. Drew OF #7
The greatest sarcastic nickname ever bestowed upon a Major League Baseball player was given to J.D. by the great Mike Birk. He loathed Drew and would solely refer to him with pure disdain as “Mickey Musial.”
33. Preston Wilson OF #3
There is no particular reason I can point to, but I just always liked this guy. That’s some hot take stuff for ya right there.
34. Will Clark 1B #28
Clark resting a Bud Light on his gut while talking to the press in the locker room is a timeless image I shall never forget.
35. Matt Holliday OF #7
Look, not everyone is as good as Albert Pujols.. In fact, no one is. That was really the only criticism of Holliday…other than that fly ball to the nugs against the Dodgers in 2009.
36. Larry Walker OF #33
Peak Walker was as good as peak anyone from 1994-2005.
37. Tommy Pham OF #28
The definition of DGAF attitude towards the press. My ride or die ex Card still in the bigs.
38. Adam Kennedy 2B #8
Dave’s dad comes into play here yet again. Mr. Birk really liked to mess with Dave, Dave’s big brother Mike, and myself. For some reason he told us all that Adam Kennedy was dead. Literally, for no reason. Then one day some years later Dave sees Kennedy in a highlight on Sports Center or something and points it out to Mr. Birk. His reply?
“That guy’s dead.”
39. Dmitri Young 1B #24
That triple in the ‘96 playoffs is forever in my brain..as is that weird ass dyed facial hair thing he did when Marge Schott lifted the facial hair ban with the Reds.
40. Ron Gant OF #5
Remember when the BFIB were all up in arms because “FIVE MILLION DOLLARS IS TOO MUCH FOR A BASEBALL PLAYER!”? Well the Cards paid Jordan Walden 6.5 mil to throw 10.1 innings.
So that’s the list. I learned a little about myself today…that I really don’t care for Jack Clark. No particular reason. He just rubs me the wrong way…like this one checker at Dierbergs that wants to know a little too much about my day. It’s 5:30 PM on a Tuesday and I’m buying a rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad…how “GREAT” do you think my day is going, Gary?