St. Louis Cardinals: My Secret “2nd Favorite Team” Growing Up
Most of us who follow sports have a favorite team. In baseball, my favorite team was always the Yankees. Having grown up only about 20 miles from the “House That Ruth Built,” it’s only natural that I would root for the Yankees.
But I don’t think I’m too far out-of-line when I say that many of us also have a second favorite team or a team that we secretly root for. For me, that team was the St.Louis Cardinals.
Why Did I Love The Cardinals?
Why the Cardinals? Well, I guess the main reason is that they had a lot of players I liked. I was always a big fan of pitcher Bob Gibson and left-fielder Lou Brock. They also had the versatile Joe Torre, who could play third base, first base, and catcher. Years later, Joe would lead my Yankees to six American League Pennants and four World Series trophies.
The Cardinals had many great players throughout the years, dating back to the 1920s when infielder Rogers Hornsby won the Triple Crown and the MVP in 1922, and he repeated that feat in 1925.
In 1934 pitcher Dizzy Dean won the MVP.
During the 1940s, outfielder Stan Musial won the league MVP three times, 1943,1946, and again in 1948.
First baseman Orlando Cepeda won the MVP in 1967, and pitcher Bob Gibson had one of the most dominating seasons in MLB history the following year. He won 22 games and had an ERA of 1.12. For his efforts, he earned the Cy Young award and the MVP. He was also voted MVP in the World Series even though his team lost four games to three.
The 1970s saw two more St. Louis players gain MVP honors. In 1971, Joe Torre won the award, and in 1979 first baseman Keith Hernandez shared the award with Willie Stargell of the Pirates.
Six years later, in 1985, outfielder Willie McGee won the MVP.
From 2001 to 2009, first baseman Albert Pujols won the MVP award four times, 2001, 2005, 2008, and 2009. Pitcher Chris Carpenter won the Cy Young award in 2005.
And that’s just a partial list of the awards won by Cardinals players.
The St. Louis Cardinals Uniform
Another reason I liked the Cardinals was their uniform. I always had a little fascination with birds, and the Cardinal was always my favorite bird. I always thought the jersey with the two cardinals sitting on opposite ends of the baseball bat was the best-looking in the Major Leagues.
A third reason I liked the Cardinals was that it was the name of the first Little League team I played on.
Most baseball fans know that no team has won as many pennants and World Series as the New York Yankees. But what many fans might not know is that the Cardinals have won the second most pennants with 23 and World Series victories with 11.
The Cardinals have played the Yankees five times in the World Series (1926,1928,1942,1943, and 1964) and have won three of those five Series.
The Cardinals dominated between 1926 and 1934, winning five pennants and three World Series.
That’s even better than the Yankees, who won four pennants and three World Series during that same period.
From 1925 to 1953, St. Louis suffered only two losing seasons and won nine pennants and six World Series.
Then, after a 17-year drought, the Cardinals won the World Series in 1964 and again in 1967. They lost a hard-fought World Series to the Detroit Tigers, four games to three in 1968.
After another 13-year drought, St. Louis won another World Series trophy in 1982. They made it to the World Series again in 1985 and 1987 but lost both of those Series four games to three.
Between 1988 and 2003, the Cardinals made four playoff appearances but did not reach the World Series again until 2004, when they were swept in four games by the Boston Red Sox.
But two years later, they won their 10th World Series trophy, and in 2011 they won their eleventh. Although they lost the Series in 2013, they did win their 23rd National League pennant.
From 2014 to 2021, the Cardinals reached the playoffs five times and have not had a losing season since 2007. It’s only a matter of time before the second most successful franchise in MLB history wins another World Series trophy to add to their collection.