When writing about the history of the St. Louis Cardinals, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Fans of the team have many different choices of great Cardinals moments. We recently picked 5 great moments in St. Louis Cardinals history, knowing we were barely scratching the surface.
Thanks to Jim Terry, who commented on the original article, we immediately got ideas for some more (by the way, we counted winning two 21st century championships as a “great moment” in that article – admittedly, a loose interpretation of that phrase!).
Here’s some more details on the ideas he sent. You can find more great baseball conversation on the Diamond Mind message boards, available to those who sign up for an account.
Ken Boyer’s Grand Slam
In the 1964 World Series against the New York Yankees, the Cardinals won Game 1 but then lost games 2 and 3. In Game 4, they stood on the brink of disaster, trailing 3-0 after five innings. Making matters worse, the Yankees had the great Al Downing on the mound.
However, the top of the sixth changed the game and the series. Cardinals pinch hitter Carl Warwick singled. Curt Flood followed with another single, putting runners at first and second. Lou Brock flew out. Then came the first of two critical moments. Yankees shortstop Bobby Richardson bobbled a slow roller off the bat of Dick Groat and Groat reached first safely. That loaded the bases and led to the second crucial moment, which was Boyer hitting a changeup from Downing out of the park.
His grand slam, one of the most dramatic in World Series history, gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead that held up the rest of the game. The win evened the series 2-2. The Cardinals eventually won the series in seven games. The hit also provided a great cap to a terrific season for Boyer, a 33-year-old third baseman at the time who won MVP in 1964 after leading the league with 119 RBI.
Another thing about this series: it ended the Yankees dominant run of 14 World Series appearances between 1949 and 1964. They did not return to the Fall Classic until 1977.
Albert Pujols 3 Home Run Game
In the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers, David Freese had the game of a lifetime, tying the game in the 9th with a triple and winning the game in the 11th with a home run. But in Game 3, the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols already had created a great moment – three of them, to be exact. Pujols hit a 3-run home run in the sixth, a 2-run home run in the seventh and a solo home run in the 9th. Although the Cardinals were ahead during each of the home runs, it’s still a stellar accomplishment. Pujols joined an elite club of three players who have hit three home runs in one World Series game. Reggie Jackson did it in 1977 and Babe Ruth did it in 1926 and 1928.
Jack Clark Home Run
In the 1985 National League Championship Series, the Cardinals faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in a close, hard-fought series that many fans consider one of the best playoff series ever. Jack Clark ended it in Game 6.
After losing the first two games in Los Angeles, the Cardinals came back to win three straight in St. Louis, including an electrifying Game 5 victory when Ozzie Smith hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning. The series moved back to Los Angeles for Game 6.
After eight innings, the Cardinals trailed 5-4. They faced Tom Niedenfuer, one of the best relief pitchers in baseball at the time. He struck out Cesar Cedeno, but Willie McGee reached on a single and then stole second. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda had Niedenfuer intentionally walk Smith. Tommy Herr then ground out. With two outs and two on, trailing by a run in the 9th, Clark came through in the ultimate pressure cooker (what data analysts call a “high leverage situation”), hitting a fastball from Niedenfuer into the left field stands, winning the game and the National League pennant for the Cardinals.
Thanks to Jim Terry for reminding us of these great baseball moments from St. Louis Cardinals history!