As we move into our 5th weekly installment of the “St Louis Cardinals-All Time Players” series, this week I will be finishing up the infield by looking at the 3rd Base position
Next week, I will begin the first of the 3 outfield positions. From there, I will go to starting pitchers, then closers and finish up with managers.
Please remember, some of positions will have just a few players listed, other with have upwards of a dozen
Also just a reminder, I am going to limit this series to the 20th century. It doesn’t make all that much sense to me to start talking about people and events from over 100 years ago. Besides in my opinion at that time the game was still too neanderthal-ish.
Lastly, my opinions are based on what these players did purely as Cardinals. For instance 1B Orlando Cepeda was an outstanding ballplayer but he only spent 3 years in St. Louis, and in those 3 years he did not produce all that much, therefore I was forced to leave him off the All Time 1st basemen list.
St. Louis Cardinals Top 5 All Time 3rd Basemen
Honorable Mention– Terry Pendleton had perhaps one of the best nicknames I’ve ever heard. The media and local fans used called him “Houdini of the Hot Corner” and that name was could not have been more accurate.
Pendleton gets a mention here based more on his defensive skills than his offensive. He played in St Louis for 7 years and albeit his lifetime Cardinal batting average was just .259, he did win 2 Gold Gloves (in my opinion, it should have been more than)
His best year was in 1987 where he had 29 doubles, 12 HR’s, 96 RBI’s, 19 Stolen Bases and batted .296. Also that year, he batted .429 in the World Series in a losing cause.
#5) Milt Stock–
Stock played 5 seasons in St. Louis from 1919 thru 1923 and was married to Eddie Stanky’s daughter. Stock was not known for his power, he hit just 10 HR’s in those 5 seasons. Stock makes the list for his batting average and ability to hit in the clutch.
To me, RBI’s are the most important statistic to a hitter. That being said, Be sure and take note of his RBI’s in each season and remember this is man who averaged just 2 HR’s per season.
** In 1925, he had four hits in four consecutive games
** .305 lifetime Cardinal hitter, including 4 of 5 seasons over .300
** Averaged 77 RBI’s per seasons while averaging just 2 HR’s per season, including 84 RBI’s in 1921 and 96 RBI’s in 1923.
**Most Games Played in 1920 (all 155)
**Averaged 27 Doubles per season as a Cardinal.
4) Johnny “Pepper” Martin
Pepper Martin played all 13 seasons of his career in St. Louis. He was another in a long line of Cardinal players that was not known for hitting great power but more of a slasher type hitter.
He was also known for his fiery temper. In fact, when his playing career was over Martin tried managing in Florida but was suspended and fined for choking an umpire. Can you believe that?
Perhaps the most interesting statistic about Martin is that he ranks 6th all time in highest percentage of scoring after reaching base. (Joe DiMaggio was #1 in that category)
** In 1930, he batted .363 in the International League (which was basically the Minor Leagues)
** Won 1931 Male Athlete of the Year
** Stole four bases in a World Series Game in 1931, when the media asked him about it after the game he replied: ““I grew up in Oklahoma, and once you start runnin’ out there there ain’t nothin’ to stop you”.
** 1,227 Career Hits
** 270 Career Doubles (averaged 37 per season)
** .298 Lifetime Batting Average
** 4 Time All Star (1933-1935 and 1937)
** Won 2 World Championships (1931 and 1934) Batting .500 in one and .355 in the other.
3) Scott Rolen
Still active and a member of the rival Cincinnati Reds, the 6’ 5”and 250 lb Rolen spent 5 ½ turbulent years with the Redbirds. In fact, run ins with manager Tony LaRussa were quite often. That being said, there was no denying Rolen’s ability to play.
A master with the glove, a dangerous hitter, a fierce desire to win and 115 Stolen Bases, Rolen was or is a 4 headed monster that represents a problem for any team or manager that has to face him.
** 3 Gold Glove Awards with the Cardinals (and 8 overall in his career)
** 4 Time All Star with the Cardinals (and 6 overall in his career)
** Closing in on 2,000 Career Hits (1944 and counting)
** 480 Career Doubles (173 as a Cardinal)
** 303 Career HR’s (111 as a Cardinal)
** .286 Lifetime Hitter as a Cardinal
** Average Season: 41 Doubles, 26 HR’s, 104 RBI’s, .284 Batting Average and 10 Stolen Bases
** Hit an eye popping .423 in the Cardinals World Championship Year (2006)
** Finest Season was 2004:
157 Hits, 109 Runs Scored, 32 Doubles, 34 HR’s, 124 RBI’s and Batted .314
2) George “Whitey” Kurowski
Although Kurowski’s career was rather brief due to a forearm bone disease when he was a child, he made the most of his 9 year tenure in St. Louis.
Kurowski also overcame quite a bit of adversity. Aside from his problem with his right arm, which would later force his early retirement, He lost his brother in a mining accident and his dad passed from a heart attack right after his rookie year.
The courageous Kurowski never quiet and never gave up until his arm made it impossible to play any longer. Through it all, good arm or bad, Kurowski is ranks as the 2nd best Cardinals 3rd baseman ever…..but one wonders, what could this guy have done should he have had 2 good arms?
** 4 All Star Appearances
** If you take away 1941 (where he played in 5 games) and 1941 (where he played just 10 games) Average Season:
.286 Batting Average, 22 Doubles, 20 HR’s, 100 RBI’s,
** 3 Seasons of 20 HR’s or more.
** Finest Season was 1937:
27 Doubles, 27 HR’s, 104 RBI and Batted .310
** Won 3 World Championships in a 5 year period.
** Led the league 3 times in Putouts (1943, 1944 and 1946)
** Highest Fielding Percentage by a 3rd Baseman in 1944 (.965)
1) Ken Boyer
Ken Boyer was a fixture at 3rd Base in St. Louis for 11 years (1955-1965). As a Cardinal, he was consistent as the day is long and was versatile enough to play several different positions (including a little SS and OF).
He possessed decent speed (early in his career), has a good arm and defensive skills as well. All around, Boyer gets the nod for all around best 3rd Baseman in Cardinal history.
** 7 All Star Apperacnes
** 5 Gold Gloves
** 1 MVP Award (in 1964- 100 Runs Scored, 185 Hits, 30 Doubles, 10 Triples, 24 HR’s, 119 RBI’s and Batted .295)
** 1 World Championship (1964)
** Hit 20 HR’s or more 8 times, including 7 straight years from 1958-1964
** Average Season:
171 Hits, 25 Doubles, 5 Triples, 22 HR’s, 91 RBI’s and batted .287
The Other All Time Players List: