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On this date in Cardinals history: Jan. 6, 1988

It was one of my saddest days as a Cardinals fan on this date when the Yankees announced they had signed St. Louis slugger Jack Clark to a free agent contract.

Not only was The Ripper the middle of the Cardinals line-up, his loss was the symbolic end of the Redbirds' competitive will.

The team had been to the World Series three times in the previous five years, winning one and getting robbed of another. But by 1988 Anheuser-Busch had lost interest in investing in the Cardinals and, one-by-one the team's stars disappeared. Clark... Terry Pendleton... Willie McGee... before manager Whitey Herzog followed them out the door mid-season in 1990.

After that we were lucky to land Bryn Smith, Milt Thompson and Mark Petkovsek as the core of the team until the brewery finally sold the Birds in 1995 to its present ownership group.