All Forums > SimLeague Baseball > MLB > Offcial StL Cards R More Intrstng Thn Your Tm Thrd
6/5/2013 9:23 AM





Recently, both Sports Illustrated (Ben Reiter) and USA Today Sports Weekly (Stan McNeal) published articles about St. Louis's unexpected success (most wins in the majors as this is written) with emphasis on the pitching staff.

  • Here's how McNeal started his piece: Their top starter from a year ago [Kyle Lohsedeparted as a free agent. Their top starter from the past decade [Chris Carpenter] was shut down in February, his career in jeopardly. One rotation mainstay [Jaime Garcia] had season-ending shoulder surgery last week; another[Jake Westbrook] remains on the disabled list with a bad elbow. [He could have added that the closer who tied for the NL lead in saves last year, Jason Motte, is also out for the season.] Yet, surprise, surprise, the St. Louis Cardinals' ro­tation has been the best in the major leagues. ... Cardinals starters began the week with a 2.62 ERA, giving St. Louis the majors' only rotation with a sub-3.00 ERA.

How has this happened?

  1. The farm system continues to feed strong young arms to replace the fallen.
    22-year-old Shelby Miller has gone from the organization doghouse as a know-it-all who wouldn't take coaching to #2 starter behind veteran Adam Wainwright.
    Lance Lynn has gone 8-1 with a 2.76 ERA. 
    23-year-old Trevor Rosenthal, who regularly fires in the high 90s with an occasional 3-digit gun reading, has pitched well in the setup role: 2.36 ERA, 65 K, 13 BB.
    Closer Edward Mujica has been perfect with 17-of-17 saves.

  2. Although longtime pitching coach Dave Duncan retired along with managerTony LaRussa after the 2011 World Series championship, Dave's pitching philosophy lives on throughout the organization and with the parent club through pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, who apprenticed under Duncan for several seasons, and manager Mike Matheny, who caught for Duncan andLaRussa from 2000-4.
    ReiterDuncan had come to believe that in a game gone power crazy - the eight homer-heaviest seasons in league history were played between '98 and 2006 - most pitchers only stood a chance by keeping their offerings down in the strike zone to induce grounders. "When a guy hits a ground ball, where does he have to hit it to get an extra-base hit?" the 67-year-old Duncan asks ... "Down the first base line, down the third base line. However, if the ball is hit in the air, you have all kinds of opportunities to get extra-base hits."
    The Cardinals staff has the lowest WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) in the majors while allowing the fewest HRs and inducing the most ground balls. St. Louis had led the NL in that last category every year since 2009.

  3. Another factor in the staff's effectiveness is C Yadier Molina. He and Mathenyhave won eight of the last ten NL Gold Gloves for catchers. Even veteran Red­bird moundsmen like Wainwright have learned to never shake off Molina, who not only has the best arm in the majors but calls a great game.

  4. Two winters ago, the Cardinals made the painful decision to part company with franchise icon Albert Pujols. They chose not to match the Angels' 10-year offer. Since the team didn't mortgage the future with the 32-year-old slugger, they were able to give 30-year-old Molina a five-year, $75M extension two months after Albert departed. Interestingly, Cardinals' first basemen last season - chiefly Allen Craig - combined to hit .293 with 21 HRS and 109 RBIs compared to Pujols's .285, 30, and 105 with the Angels. So the team didn't experience that much of a dropoff in production.

  5. Like the pitching staff, the entire roster embodies an excellent blend of young and old.
    SS Pete Kozma has done a good job replacing veteran Rafael Furcal (60-day DL and possibly out for the season). After a slow start, Pete has raised his average to .270 with 36 RBI.
    World Series hero David Freese is 30, and Craig is 29. 
    6'3" 260 lb 1B Matt Adams, age 24, had been stroking the ball solidly until he too fell victim to the injury bug. He has returned and is hitting .317. He'll prob­ably take over 1B full time next year, allowing Craig to move to the OF to re­place 36-year-old Carlos Beltran, whom the Cards undoubtedly won't resign when his contract expires in December.
    The team has done well despite a subpar start for veteran OF, Matt Holliday(.245), who is signed through 2016.
    Beltran and Holliday are the only two of the eight starters who did not come up through the Cardinals organization.

In conclusion, Branch Rickey, who changed baseball when he created the farm sys­tem as GM of the Cardinals (1919-42), would be extremely proud of this team.

By the Numbers
1
Times the Cardinals have had back-to-back losing seasons (1994-5) since 1960.
19
Players on the Cardinals' 25-man playoff roster last year who were not products of the team's farm system.
Congratulations, 
 


Stan Becomes the Man


Stan Musial as a rookie

 

 


Stan Musial

 


Dickie Kerr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Branch Rickey

Late September, 1941:
  • Stan Musial had been with the St. Louis Cardinals for all of four days after being called up from Rochester of the International League.
  • It was the ninth inning of the first game of a doubleheader with theChicago Cubs as the Cardinals chased the Brooklyn Dodgers for the NL pennant.
  • Stan already had three hits when he came to the plate with the score tied 5-5.

In those days, a rookie with three hits could expect to be decked, and that's what happened.

  • But Musial picked himself up from the dirt and lined a single to right center.
  • An infield out sent him to second. Then Coaker Triplett dribbled a roller in front of the plate. C Clyde McCullough pounced on the ball and fired to first.
  • As Musial streaked around third, he noticed that McCullough, torn between admiration for his own throw and indignation that the umpire had ruled Triplett safe, was neglecting to cover the plate. So Stan kept going and slid in with what turned out to be the winning run.
Afterwards, manager Billy Southworth said of his rookie: "That kid was born to play baseball." St. Louis didn't overhaul the Dodgers. But Stan hit .426 in 12 games to become a Redbird fixture until his retirement 22 years later.

To add to his story, he had begun the 1941 campaign at class C Springfield. Furthermore, he had been a pitcher in previous seasons.

Stan Musial was born of Polish immigrants in Donora PA in 1920.

  • In high school, he starred not only in baseball but also in basketball, being picked as a forward on the All-Western Pennslvania high school team. Several colleges offered scholarships that Lukasz Musialconsidered his son's ticket to escape working in the steel mills.
  • Andrew French, owner of the Monessen team in the Pennsylvania State Association, saw southpaw Stan strike out batter after batter for theDonora Zinc Works. So French visited the Musials to sign Stan to a pro contract. However, Lukasz didn't want his son to give up a college scholarship. When 16-year-old Stan started to cry, the old man relented.

Stanley's work at Williamson WV in the Mountain State League in 1938 and 1939 did not offer convincing evidence that he had made the right decision.

  • He went 6-6 his first year.
  • While he was 9-2 the next, he appeared in only 13 games.

Then in 1940 came the turning point in his pro career.

  • He was assigned to Daytona Beach in the Class D Florida State League.
  • The manager was Dickie Kerr, the White Sox hurler who won two games in the 1919 Fall Classic despite efforts by his teammates to throw the Series.
  • Musial won 15 and lost only 5 as a pitcher.
  • But, more importantly, Kerr appreciated his value as a hitter and employed him as a fly chaser when he wasn't pitching, a la the Red Soxwith Babe Ruth.

However, on August 11, 1940, Stan's career received a jolt.

  • Playing CF, he made a shoe string catch but fell heavily on his left shoulder.
  • When a big knot formed, his career as a P ended, although he did try the mound twice more.
  • He won the first game 5-4 on luck and guts but then was pounded by Orlando.

Recently married to his high school sweetheart, Lillian Labash, Stan found it difficult to support her on his $100 monthly salary, especially with a baby on the way.

  • He took his troubles to his manager, asking if he should quit baseball and get a year-round job in the steel mill back home.
  • Kerr urged Stan not to quit, assuring him that he would make it to the majors as an outfielder.
  • Kerr and his wife also rented a larger home and took in Stan and his bride. When the baby was born, he was christened Richard Stanley Musial after Dickie Kerr.

Stan reported to the Cardinals' tryout camp at Columbus GA in the spring of 1941. Managers of six St. Louis farm clubs were looking for talent.

  • Although they all could see that Stan could hit, they were reluctant because of his "dead" arm.
  • Finally, Ollie Vanek, skipper of the Class C Springfield (MO) club, with a shortage of OFs, took a chance. Stan opened in RF and proceeded to tear up the league, batting .369 in 87 games with 24 doubles, nine triples, and 26 HRs.
  • Also, his arm proved to be stronger than anticipated as he threw out many runners who tried to take advantage of his supposed lame wing.
  • Manager Tony Kaufmann of Rochester of the International League, needing an OF, received approval from Branch Rickey, Cardinal GM who had masterminded the club's extensive farm system, to jump Musial from C to AA.
  • In his first at-bat with his new club, Stan walloped a homer. By September, he had hit .327 in 51 games, prompting manager Billy Southworth to complete Stan's rise from Class C to the National League in one season.
The rest, as they say, is history. Stan amassed over 3,000 hits and 400 HRs and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968 as soon as the mandatory five-year wait after retirement ended. Thank you, Dickie Kerr, for saving my favorite all-time player's career.
 
Reference: "Rookie of the Year," J. Roy Stockton, The Saturday Evening Post, September 12, 1942
reprinted in the St. Louis Cardinals Yearbook 1962


                       
from Cardinals Clubhouse - I
 
 





 
8/22/2013 1:10 AM (edited)
Central W L PCT GB E# WCGB L10 STRK HOME ROAD     vs E vs C vs W vs AL/NL vs R vs L XTRA 1-RUN RS RA X_WL        
Pittsburgh 74 52 .587 - - - 4-6 L1 42-22 32-30     20-14 31-20 11-13 12-5 62-40 12-12 9-8 23-19 490 440 69-57        
St. Louis 73 53 .579 1.0 36 +1.5 7-3 W1 36-23 37-30     17-9 32-22 16-13 8-9 59-34 14-19 3-5 15-14 614 472 78-48        
Cincinnati 72 55 .567 2.5 34 - 7-3 W1 39-21 33-34     19-11 31-23 14-12 8-9 50-34 22-21 9-8 19-19 550 461 74-53
8/22/2013 1:11 AM
Looking at run differential, the playoff push may favor the Cards or Reds better than the Pirates. It is really nice to see the Pirates doing well though finally. I'd like to see them play Cincinnati in the WC game.
8/22/2013 4:25 PM
This thread really took off.
8/23/2013 3:57 PM
I think the Cardinal fans took off....took off.... off.... off...off. Is there an echo in here...here...here...here?
8/23/2013 5:11 PM
All three of them? 
8/23/2013 10:42 PM
37,400 showed up last night to watch them put the whoop on the Braves!
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