St. Louis Cardinals

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Great moments in St. Louis Sports history: Cardinals win 2011 World Series

When the 2011 Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in seven games to win the World Series, it highlighted again what a great sports city St. Louis is.
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When the 2011 Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers in seven games to win the World Series, it highlighted again what a great sports city St. Louis is.

Do you remember where you were when St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols homered off Houston closer Brad Lidge in the 2005 National League Championship Series?

Paul Goldschmidt does: He was in Minute Maid Park that night, a Texas High School senior watching from the center field upper deck stands.

That’s just one of many fun, fascinating facts you’ll find in the Cardinals 2019 media guide, a 550-page compendium of all-things-Redbird.

It’s fun to just page through the book — something I do every year as the season gets underway — looking for news large and small about Cardinals old and new.

Such as:

Remember when Oakland’s Jose Canseco let a flyball bounce off his head and over the wall for a home run, one of the great blooper highlights in baseball history? The ball was hit by Cleveland’s Carlos “Café” Martinez, the father of Cardinals outfielder-first baseman-fun fellow Jose Martinez.

Did you know Adam Wainwright was an All-Region wide receiver and All-State placekicker for his high school football team, Glynn Academy in Georgia? (As a baseball writer, I get in baseball games for free, but I’d pay money to watch the 6-foot-7 Waino kick a field goal.)

Wainwright and his wife, Jenny, formed Waino’s World, Inc. in 2013, a non-profit fantasy football league that was renamed Big League Impact in 2014. It has raised more than $1 million in support of Operation Food Search and Water Missions International.

Dexter Fowler is an Olympic medalist, winning a bronze for Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Before becoming principal owner of the Cardinals, William DeWitt Jr. was part of the ownership groups with the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers. He also was a part owner of the Cincinnati Bengals in the National Football League.

Yadier Molina has raised more than $800,000 for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. But he didn’t just throw dollars at the problem; for nearly two weeks after the 2017 season, he went door-to-door with supplies, helped remove debris, moved fallen trees, cleared roads and replaced roofs on the stricken island.

The muscular Tyler O’Neill hails from a town called Burnaby, near Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. His father, Terry O’Neill, is a former Mr. Canada, winning the nation’s body-building title in 1975.

Michael Wacha won All-State honors in both baseball and basketball playing for his Pleasant Grove, Texas high school team. The hoops honor recognized his academic accomplishments.

Marcell Ozuna’s cousin, Pablo Ozuna, was drafted by the Cardinals and was part of the 1998 trade that brought Edgar Renteria to St. Louis from Miami. Pablo Ozuna played seven seasons in the majors with four teams.

How young is Jack Flaherty? He was born on Oct. 15, 1995, just nine days before Tony La Russa was named Cardinals manager that month.

Sixteen seasons later, La Russa retired with 1,408 victories — the most in franchise history, with Red Schoendienst in second with 1,042. Tony’s St. Louis teams won two World Series, three National League pennants, and eight division titles.

First base coach Stubby Clapp, who played 23 games for the Cardinals in 2001, is named Richard Keith Clapp. He is the third member of his family to be given the nickname “Stubby,” along with his father and grandfather, but it doesn’t end there: His son Cooper is known as Stubby IV.

Bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in 1994, also spending time with Montreal and Texas before returning to the Redbirds for his final major-league outings in 1998. He hails from Carlyle and lives in Hoffman.

Shortstop Paul DeJong has strong Illinois ties, too: He graduated from Antioch High School and played college baseball at Illinois State. Oh yeah, and this: He was an Academic All-American majoring in biochemistry and pre-medicine.

Eversgerd is one of many former Cardinals players now working in the organization, including the beloved Willie McGee, a league MVP, batting champion and now a coach with the club; Ryan Franklin, special assistant to the general manager, and scout Kerry Robinson.

Members of Cardinals Core — a program that teaches character building and leadership skills to the organization’s minor-leaguers — include Bernard Gilkey, Jason Isringhausen, Braden Looper, Ryan Ludwick, and Orlando Palmeiro.

Special minor-league instructors include Jose Oquendo, Tony Cruz, Isringhausen, and Ludwick.

Manager Mike Shildt never played pro ball, but managed for eight seasons in the Cardinals organization — at the rookie level, in Double A and Triple A — before joining Mike Matheny’s staff in 2017.

Shildt is the 50th manager in team history; his 41 wins after his appointment last July 15 tied the Redbirds with Milwaukee and Colorado for the best record in the National League in that span.

The Cardinals won their 10,000th game in franchise history on June 15 last year, becoming the sixth NL club to reach that win total. The others: The Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Pirates.

St. Louis, of course, tops all those teams with their 11 World Series championships and 19 pennants, most in the NL.

Joe Ostermeier, chairman of the St. Louis chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, has been writing about the Cardinals for the News-Democrat since 1985.