If the Cardinals are fortunate enough to wade their way through the playoffs they'll face a foe they've battled before for baseball's highest honor before, no matter who wins in the Junior Circuit.
The five AL entrants are Baltimore, Detroit, New York, Oakland and Texas.
Baltimore is the most heavily disguised former Cardinals World Series but probably the most contentious rival. The Rebirds were their tenants at Sportsmans Park in 1944 when the Orioles were still known as the St. Louis Browns. Fans in St. Louis were deeply divided in their loyalties back then. So there was a lot of motivation on both sides to win. The Cardinals took four games and the Brownies managed two. After that enthusiasm waned for the American Leaguers and after the 1953 season they packed up for crab cake territory.
Detroit was most recently matched against the Cardinals in 2006 when the Redbirds prevailed in a shocker and moved ahead in the All-time Fall Classic scorecard 3 to 2. The Birds beat Motown in 1934 when Dizzy Sean pitched the Gashouse Gang past Schoolboy Rowe then lost to Detroit in 1968, blowing a huge lead.
The Yankees have won more World Series than anybody else. But the Cardinals have beaten the Yankees more times in the Fall Classic than anyone else: three. The Redbirds claimed their first World Series championship against Babe Ruth and the Yanks in 1926. The Bronx Bombers evened things up in 1928 with a sweep. In 1942 the Cards surprised New York as a youn Stan Musial won His first championship. Again the Yankees got revenge in 1943. The Birds completed the hat trick in 1964 when Bob Gibson and Ken Boyer guided St. Louis to a win over Mickey Mantle's last World Series team.
When the Cardinals last played the Athletics they resided in Philadelphia. St. Louis list to the A's in 1930 then won in 1931 behind the power arm of Dizzy Dean.
And, of course, the Cardinals battled the Rangers just last season in a World Series some believe was the most exciting ever played. I'm sure the Rangers, who seemed to think the Redbirds weren't fit to share the same field with them, would love a second shot.