I've written before that this is a pretty great era to be a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
The Redbirds have a rich history that dates back more than 120 years. So it would be easy to believe that those of us who are alive today might have missed the vast majority of the club's greatest exploits.
We're lucky that in the last 25 years Cardinals fans have witnessed:
• The tail end of the career of the greatest defensive shortstop to have ever played the game, Ozzie Smith
• The best all-around centerfielder in franchise history, Jim Edmonds. (I'm sorry if I have offended Willie McGee, Curt Flood and Terry Moore fans. I agree they were great. But Edmonds was equal to all of them in defensive ability and has the Gold Gloves to prove it, meanwhile, none of those guys can come close to matching Edmonds' offensive thump. McGee won a couple of batting titles, it's true. But Edmonds was a power hitter out-gunned by very few at his position: Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey, Jr.
• The best years of Albert Pujols when he set records for most consecutive years of .300 BA, 30 HR and 100 RBIs and helped the Redbirds to three World Series, winning two.
The list could go on and on. And, in fact, it was added two twice in the last week.
One of those seemingly forgotten Cardinals greats is Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby who was by far the greatest National League hitter in the 1920s. The Rajah three times hit better than .400 for an entire season and seven times won the senior circuit's batting crown. With a .358 average, Hornsby has the highest lifetime hitting mark of any right handed player, behind only Ty Cobb. And while Cobb hit eight points better at .366, he could only dream of Hornsby's power. In the decade, Hornsby averaged .382 with 25 homers and 115 batted in.
Cobb only twice hit as many as 12 homers and had 117 in a 24-year career. Hornsby hit 301 homers in roughly the same span including a league-leading 42 in 1922. The Rajah also was proficient at hitting doubles, cranking out 46 in 1922, a team record for second sackers which stood until Wednesday night.
That's when Matt Carpenter stroked his 46th double as a second baseman. Hornsby played in 154 games in 1922. Carpenter matched the mark in 134 games -- 110 of them actually at second base with the rest split between third, first and the outfield. He's still got three weeks to go to break the mark, although Carpenter has been spending quite a bit of time lately at the hot corner in the place of David Freese.
The other editor of the Redbirds history book is Adam Wainwright who in the first game of the Cincinnati series tied Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean for second on the club's career strikeouts list at 1,095. He passed his teammate Chris Carpenter, who has 1,085 career whiffs and who is now fourth on the list, three starts ago.