The talk about Jim Edmonds and Matt Morris being at the end of the line inspired me to think about my all-time favorite Cardinals. For what it's worth, here are the top 20.
My all-time favorite Cardinals (who I personally saw play):
1) Albert Pujols - best hitter I have seen in my lifetime.
2) Jim Edmonds - It's hard to think of a guy who is more clutch. And I LOVED watching him make great catches and throw people out at the plate. Like Ozzie, he made a lot of great plays seem routine. Even if he had a flair for the dramatic.
3) Bob Gibson - He was at the end of his career when I was becoming a baseball fan. But Gibson was the best pitcher to ever wear a Cardinals uniform.
4) Ozzie Smith - Greatest. Shortstop. Ever.
5) Willie McGee - The most underrated player of his era.
6) Scott Rolen - The most complete baseball player I ever saw. He had power, remarkable speed for a big guy, great range on defense, a great throwing arm, was tough as nails and wanted to play more than anything. Too bad he couldn't hold in his inner jerk.
7) Larry Walker - I wish we had this guy in his prime. He was to right fielders what Edmonds was to centerfielders and Rolen was to third basemen. It breaks my heart that he said if he knew what it was like to play in St. Louis when he was younger, he would have come here as a free agent years earlier.
8) Yadier Molina - What a great young player. I think he could end up being the next great leader of the Cardinals if he plays here his whole career.
9) Bruce Sutter - When Sutter came in, sometimes with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning, you knew the game was over.
10) Chris Carpenter - What a gutsy competitor with the talent to go along with it.
11) Mike Matheny - Supreme defensive catcher and tough as can be. Unfortunately, we got him on the back nine of his career. I wish we would have had him for all of it.
12) Adam Wainwright - He had a whole career worth of highlights and memories in the second half of 2006. He ought to be a top Cy Young candidate this season, but the bullpen blew three of his late inning leads. No wonder he wants to pitch entire games.
13) Edgar Renteria - Not quite Ozzie in the field. But if Ozzie had Edgar's bat, the combined player would have been the greatest weapon in the history of the game.
14) John Tudor - Have you ever see a guy who looked so much like an accountant who was so scary?
15) Matt Morris - He had a lot of injuries when he was here. But he was one bulldog of a competitor and he gave you every single thing that he had. Also a great mentor to younger players.
16) Mark McGwire - Boy he gave us some great times. But I still have a bitter taste in my mouth about what has happened since he retired. I hope he bothers to invest some time in the Cardinals in the future as a coach or at least to acknowledge the fans who supported him through his years here. It would do a lot to mend fences.
17) Will Clark - I know, he was with the Cardinals for a cup of coffee. But what a cup of coffee it was! I always admired him from afar when he was a hated Giant. It was nice to admire him from up close.
18) Vince Coleman - I loved it that everybody in the park knew he was going to steal second every time he got on base. And that there wasn't a darn thing that anybody could do to stop him.
19) Terry Pendleton - What a great third baseman. Too bad we let him get away.
20) Jose Oquendo - I was there when he deserved the win as a pitcher. How great would a guy who could play all nine positions be on the 2008 Cardinals roster?
Relief pitcher Brett Cecil showed up to spring training with the STL Cardinals in great physical shape, and that could improve the team’s bullpen during the MLB baseball season and get team back to playoffs.