I really don't mind the Cardinals.
As a Cubs fan, I feel odd for saying that. Aren't the Cards and Cubs supposed to be a rivalry and all that stuff?
Perhaps. But it's frankly not much of a rivalry these days. Especially with the Cardinals being perennial division champs and the Cubs, well...not.
With names like Musial, Brock, and Gibson, the Cards were home to lot of my all-time favorites. And not to mention that St. Louis is one heck of a city.
I've been browsing through my binders for the last couple days in preparation for this post. And I have to say, the Cardinals have one of the better "Short Term Stops" rosters I've seen yet.
Let's get to it.
1959 Topps #309 Sal Maglie
Sal Maglie (1958 Cardinals, 10 games, half-year stint, sunset season)
We start things off with the oldest member of this roster.
Sal Maglie, not-so-affectionately known as "The Barber", was making his last shaves as the 1958 season rolled around. He started the year off with the Yankees, pitching in seven games for them before being purchased by the Cardinals in June.
He went 2-6 with a 4.75 ERA in ten starts in St. Louis, the last games he'd ever pitch in the big leagues. That makes Maglie's beautiful 1959 Topps issue his "sunset" card.
I don't think I ever realized how much I enjoyed the all-lowercase nameplates until right now.
1998 Upper Deck #204 Fernando Valenzuela
Fernando Valenzuela (1997 Cardinals, 5 games, half-year stint, sunset season)
This is easily one of my favorite "Short Term Stops" cards ever.
I mean, Fernando Valenzuela on the Cardinals? This is a joke, right?
Nope. The man behind Fernando-mania ended his career with a whimper in 1997, splitting the season between the Padres and Cardinals. He was acquired by St. Louis in June of that year and released just over a month later, going 0-4 with a 5.56 ERA in five starts for the Cards.
Upper Deck didn't have much time to get a shot of Valenzuela in Cardinals gear, but, by golly, they did it. They even included that awesome Final Tribute decal that I think would look great on Topps cards these days.
Now, if only someone would get around to making a card of him with the Angels...
2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers #507 John Smoltz
John Smoltz (2009 Cardinals, 7 games, half-year stint, sunset season)
As hard as it might be to believe, John Smoltz was a Cardinal at one point.
You have to believe me.
Jamie Moyer (1991 Cardinals, 8 games)
Rick Sutcliffe (1994 Cardinals, 16 games, sunset season)
Octavio Dotel (2011 Cardinals, 29 games, half-year stint)
2003 Topps Total #649 Joe Girardi
Joe Girardi (2003 Cardinals, 16 games, sunset season)
Joe Girardi has had success at every stop during his career.
He was a fine catcher during two different tours of duty with the Cubs. He was the first backstop in Rockies history. He won Manager of the Year honors during his lone season as skipper of the 2006 Marlins. (I haven't done the research, but that can't be a common feat.)
And, of course, he already has one World Series under his belt with the Yankees.
Wait. That's right.
Girardi was also a Cardinal for a brief time in 2003. He hit a microscopic .130 during his final 16 games in the bigs as a player.
Joe Girardi has had success at almost every stop.
Chris Widger (2004 Cardinals, 44 games)
Gerald Laird (2011 Cardinals, 37 games)
1970 Topps #40 Dick Allen
Dick Allen (1970 Cardinals, 122 games)
Dick Allen had the reputation of being a hard player to manage.
That's how he wound up playing for four teams in a four-year stretch between 1969-72. Tired of his antics, the Phillies shipped him to St. Louis after the 1969. (It was the same trade that would send Curt Flood to Philly, triggering the demise of the reserve clause.)
Allen was an All-Star during his lone season with the Cards, putting up an impressive .279-34-101 line (along with a .377 OBP) in 122 games.
While his stats may have been sparkling, Allen's card that year most certainly wasn't. Topps lazily went with a profile shot of him with Phillies (with some slight hat airbrushing) that would be reused a couple years later.
Topps could make it up to me by printing a card of him with the A's.
Andres Galarraga (1992 Cardinals, 95 games)
Will Clark (2000 Cardinals, 51 games, half-year stint, sunset season)
2004 Topps Traded #T2 Tony Womack
Tony Womack (2004 Cardinals, 145 games)
It looked like Tony Womack had revitalized his career with the Cardinals.
After playing with three teams the season before, he hit .307 in 145 games for the 2004 Cards. Topps granted Womack a nice "double dip" card in their Traded set that year.
Sadly, it was not to be. He lasted just two more unspectacular seasons in the bigs before calling it a career in 2006.
At least Cardinals fans can look back on him with fond memories.
Cookie Rojas (1970 Cardinals, 23 games, half-year stint)
Mark Grudzielanek (2005 Cardinals, 137 games)
Ronnie Belliard (2006 Cardinals, 54 games, half-year stint)
2009 Upper Deck #871 Khalil Greene
Khalil Greene (2009 Cardinals, 77 games, sunset season)
Khalil Greene was a hot prospect in the Padres' organization at one point.
He was runner-up in the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year voting. He pretty much fell off the face of the Earth after that, eventually winding up with the Cardinals after several mediocre seasons in San Diego.
In what would turn out to be his "sunset" season, Greene hit just .200 in 77 games with the 2009 Cards. I remember him missing a lot of time when he was in St. Louis with what I later found out was a bout with social anxiety disorder.
Khalil Greene, we hardly knew ye.
Cesar Izturis (2008 Cardinals, 135 games)
Julio Lugo (2009 Cardinals, 51 games, half-year stint)
Ryan Theriot (2011 Cardinals, 132 games)
2010 Topps #280 Mark DeRosa
Mark DeRosa (2009 Cardinals, 68 games, half-year stint)
I remember being up in arms when the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians after the 2008 season.
I figured they'd crumble without a versatile player like him on the roster. As it turns out, though, the Cubs were a lot smarter than I thought.
DeRosa would be plagued by injuries for the remainder of his career, and the Cubs got now-star pitcher Chris Archer in that trade with the Indians. (They'd later swap Archer to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, but that's another topic for another post...)
After 71 average games with the Indians, DeRosa was dealt to the Cardinals for the stretch run. He hit just .228 in 68 games in St. Louis. He's now an analyst on the MLB Network.
Seems like every former player is these days.
Ty Wigginton (2013 Cardinals, 47 games, sunset season)
1963 Topps #190 Minnie Minoso
Minnie Minoso (1962 Cardinals, 39 games)
Minnie Minoso is, and always will be, a member of the White Sox to me.
Before I found this card, however, I had no idea he was ever a St. Louis Cardinal. Minoso missed a large chunk of his lone season with the Cards after suffering a fractured skull in a violent collision with an outfield wall.
He return to the White Sox in 1964 after a season with the Senators. Minoso made various publicity comebacks after that, even collecting a base hit at the age of 50 in 1976.
He's one of Chicago's most beloved baseball figures.
2003 Flair Greats #78 Roger Maris
Roger Maris (1967-68 Cardinals, 225 games, sunset season in '68)
Most "Short Term Stops" nominees have to have played a year or less with a particular club in order for me to consider adding them to the team's roster.
Roger Maris is one of the rare exceptions. He played for the Cardinals during his final two seasons in 1967 and '68, making it to the Fall Classic both years. (They defeated the Red Sox in '67, but lost to the Tigers in '68.)
He hit just 14 homers in his two seasons in St. Louis, a far cry from the record-breaking 61 he hit in 1961. I identify Maris so much with the Yankees that I sometimes forget he played for the Cardinals later in his career.
It's one of those things that will never, ever look right to me.
1988 Donruss #31 Lance Johnson RC
Lance Johnson (1987 Cardinals, 33 games)
This is one of the extreme few 1988 Donruss cards that is cemented in my memory.
For some reason, finding a card of Lance Johnson as a Cardinal was a big deal to my pre-teen self. I'd only recently found out he started his career in St. Louis before being traded to the White Sox at the time.
My wish came true during a family trip to Wisconsin Dells, of all places. I remember it like it was yesterday. Going to that little card shop up there that my dad had found and finally finding the coveted Lance Johnson in Cardinal red. (I'd later pick up his 1988 Fleer issue.)
It instantly became one of the centerpieces of my collection. You can see the wear and tear of my grubby little adolescent hands on it.
I never thought I'd be so attached to anything from 1988 Donruss, but I am.
Bobby Bonds (1980 Cardinals, 86 games)
Cesar Cedeno (1985 Cardinals, 28 games, half-year stint)
Bobby Bonilla (2001 Cardinals, 93 games, sunset season)
That closes the book on this "Short Term Stops" roster.
I hope you enjoyed the ride.