Celebrating Red Schoendienst’s 70 Years

It was 70 years ago today that Albert “Red” Schoendienst began his remarkable career in Major League Baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals are marking the milestone by honoring Red with a special pre-game ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the Reds.

RedIn addition, the team is launching a season-long campaign encouraging fans to demonstrate their affection for Red by sharing a video message via social media using the hashtag #LoveRed2.

“We want to mark this amazing milestone by letting Red know how much he means to the entire Cardinals family,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We encourage fans to join us in showing their affinity, affection and appreciation for No. 2 as he celebrates 70 years and counting in Major League Baseball.”

The team is asking fans to join Cardinals players, broadcasters and team officials in taping video messages where they say their name while announcing that they love Red too. Share your video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Vine using the hashtag #LoveRed2. More information is at cardinals.com/lovered2.

Tonight Red, who will be joined by his family, will be honored with a special ceremony at 7 p.m. He and fans will enjoy congratulatory video messages from players throughout the game and the team will wear a commemorative No. 2 “70 Years in Uniform and Counting” patch on their sleeves.

Red made his Major League Baseball debut on April 17, 1945, when the Cardinals played the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The young man from Germantown, Ill., joined the team to fill in for left fielder Stan Musial, who was serving in the U.S. Navy. That game, Red went 1 for 4 with a triple and run scored.

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An Appropriate Score For Jackie Robinson Day

There were pluses to the Cardinals win over the Brewers last night on Jackie Robinson Day. Just winning (duh) is one, and it was good to see the offense have 10 hits as well as cut back the number of runners left on base to 7 (an improvement over Monday’s 12) and go 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position (better than Monday’s 2 for 13).

Photo: Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo: Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Also a positive was that Lance Lynn only allowed 1 earned run while giving up 6 hits, walking 1 and striking out 4 even though he threw 99 pitches in just 5 innings.

And Mike Matheny’s new Tony La Russa-like rotation of relief pitchers into games paid off too — Seth Maness, Matt Belisle, Randy Choate (yay, actually being a LOOGY) and Jordan Walden combined for 3 scoreless innings and allowed 3 hits.

And while we never like to see Trevor Rosenthal allow a lead-off walk, it’s certainly not something we haven’t seen before. We’ve also experienced wild pitches on occasion and, unfortunately, Ryan Braun driving in runs.

Just this once, since the game was on April 15, we’ll be OK with it.

A final score of 4-2 on Jackie Robinson Day, when all the players are wearing No. 42 in honor of the Hall of Famer, is a nice tribute.

(Spin? Sure. Blame my full-time job. It’s what I do.)

There is a Cardinals connection to Robinson becoming the first African American player in MLB, since he was signed by Branch Rickey, who had a long history as Cardinals manager and general manager. Read more about it in this post from a few years ago.

It’s a quick turnaround for more baseball, as the Brewers and Cards close out this series this afternoon at 12:45 p.m. With a win, the Cardinals will tie the first-place Cubs (ugh, it’s true, in case no Cub fans have yet gloated to you about how they’re doing even before KRIS BRYANT!!! arrives) with a 5-3 record. Mike Fiers and John Lackey are the starters.

Mr. Lackey, please be better today than your first start. Mr. Fiers, you can just stay the same.

Say Hello To Our Old Friend, Jason Marquis

You might be surprised to see who the Cardinals will be facing tonight when they play the Cincinnati Reds for the first of their 19 games this season. Jason Marquis.

World Series: Red Sox v Cardinals Game 4Yes, he is returning to the majors after most recently pitching on July 19, 2013, for the Padres. He had Tommy John surgery later that season, and pitched in eight games for the Phillies Triple A team last year.

It seems like forever since he was on the Cardinals back in 2004-2006 but I certainly haven’t forgotten the frustration of watching him pitch. (Have you?) Actually, he was fairly good in 2004 with a 15-7 record (one of four Cards starters to win 15+ games that season) and a 3.71 ERA.

And then came 2005. He started out decently, but somewhere in that July/August period where he lost seven straight games and went from a 9-6 record and 3.78 ERA to a 9-13 record and 4.67 ERA that my friend Michael coined the phrase “Guaranteed Loss Night” for his starts. He finished the season with a 13-14 record, 4.13 ERA and gave up 29 homers in 33 games. One (the only?) bright spot: he was good at the plate, as Mark Tomasik reminds us at RetroSimba today, and won the Silver Slugger award that season.

Then there was 2006. Yes, obviously the Cardinals won the World Series. But remember that awful month of September leading up to the playoffs? Marquis’ 0-4 record in five starts and 7.25 ERA certainly played a role. For the year, he was 14-16 with a 6.02 ERA … and did not pitch in October.

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The Wait Is Over And Cardinals Baseball Is Back

2015_opening_night_400x203We still have all day to wait, but at last the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals regular season begins tonight.

It’s been 170 days since Oct. 16, when Game 5 of the NLCS and the 2014 Cards season ended. Much has happened since then — good, bad, tragic — but we made it.

And now the long journey of the baseball season begins in less than 12 hours. As die-hard fans, we understand the marathon that’s about to begin and the sometimes grueling six months that are ahead. We look forward with anticipation, even though we know the journey through April, May, June, July, August, September and hopefully late into October won’t be easy. So remember the big picture of your love for the Cardinals when things annoy you throughout the months ahead.

Because things are going to happen over this long season. The Cards are going to lose games — sometimes in terrible, frustrating and even unfair ways. Mike Matheny is going to make stupid moves. (Hopefully not tonight, though.) Every guy on the team is going to make an error. Every guy on the team is going to strike out, and probably look really bad doing so from time to time. Every pitcher is going to have a rough outing. Every pitcher is going to have at least an inning where nothing he throws is going to be a strike.

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One Day More …

It’s Saturday, which obviously means tomorrow is Sunday — and tomorrow is Cardinals baseball. Yes, we’re down to one day.

And everyone knows who No. 1 for the Cardinals is.

SMITH

Ozzie Smith, of course. The favorite player of many who began their Cards fandom back in the 1980s, like Daniel of C70 At The Bat. Known for his incredible defense at shortstop and an unlikely home run that prompted one of the most famous calls in Cardinals history.

Oh, and this …

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Yes, we’ll all be doing backflips (figuratively, at least) tomorrow when the Cardinals begin the 2015 season at long last.

One day more! (Of course I keep thinking of Les Miserables when I use those words.)

Just one day!

Countdown To Opening Night: Two

The Grapefruit League is finished, and the regular season is now only two days away. Yes, the day after tomorrow — or really the evening after tomorrow night — the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright will face the Cubs and Jon Lester on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

The No. 2 , obviously, signifies just one Cardinal: Red Schoendienst.

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Yes, the Hall of Famer and beloved Cardinal has been in baseball for 70-plus years now, with the great majority of those as a Cards player, coach, manager and special assistant to the general manager. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989, his No. 2 was retired in 1996 and he was part of the inaugural class in the Cardinals Hall of Fame last year.

He was, however, not exclusively a Cardinal. Red was traded to the New York Giants in June 1956, and then by the Giants to the Milwaukee Braves in June 1957. The Braves won the World Series that season, beating the Yankees, then lost the Series to the Yankees the following year.

Red Schoendienst  June 6, 1960 X 6662 credit:  John G. Zimmerman - staff

During the 1958-1959 off-season, Red was diagnosed with tuberculosis and underwent surgery to remove a portion of a lung in February 1959. He was told he would never play again, yet returned for five games late in 1959 and played in 1960 (making the cover of Sports Illustrated in June, in a truly awesome photo).

Next week, Red will be recognized for those contributions as a Brave when he becomes the 14th member of the Milwaukee Braves Honor Roll during a ceremony at Miller Park. The Brewers announced the news on Wednesday. Continue reading

Countdown Now At Three …

Regular season baseball is clearly in sight on this Thursday morning, as it’s only three days away now.

The Cardinals final game at Roger Dean Stadium is today before the team heads to Memphis to take on the Redbirds tomorrow. Wrigley Field now has its gigantic new video board installed in left field (see why the rooftop owners across Waveland Avenue were a little ticked? Never mind that they’ve been profiting from the Cubs for years anyway as the rooftops turned into a big-dollar industry).

And, speaking of the Cubs, there is a No. 3 connection in recent Cardinals history. Actually, there have been a lot of No. 3s in recent Cardinals history. The last player to wear the number for longer than two seasons? Edgar Renteria, from 1999 to 2004.

So, with 3 more days to go, here’s a look at the three latest No. 3s.

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Ah, Mark Ellis. Years ago I liked him when he was an Oakland A in the Big 3/Moneyball era. I was excited when the Cards signed him for 2014, thinking he could be a valuable bench addition. So it goes. Most fans have probably already forgotten his 73 games, 202 plate appearances and .180/.253/.213 line. Thanks for the 32 hits, Mark! And happy retirement.

APTOPIX NLCS Dodgers Cardinals Baseball

Better memories here, much better …

Carlos Beltran followed Lance Berkman in right field as a past enemy turned hero once he donned the Birds on the Bat. (Here’s to Jason Heyward continuing that tradition this year and beyond, although he was never quite the Card-killer Beltran and Berkman were.) Carlos hit .282/.343/.493 in his two-year Cardinal career, with 56 homers and 181 RBI during the regular season. And, for the first time in his then-16-year major league career, he made it to the World Series in 2013. Continue reading

Just Four More Days …

Ah, April at last! And while a year ago today, we already had an opening day win to savor, we now have 4 more days to wait for this year’s first regular season game. The current No. 4, however, certainly provides us with much to talk about, doesn’t he?

Then again, what is there to say about Yadier Molina that hasn’t been written here before? There’s been a love letter, there have been not just one, but two “Molina Monday” posts, he was our BAMF for the 2012 season (and, though unwritten, for 2013 and 2014 — and probably 2015 too), click the link in the first paragraph to read about his heroics last March 31 against the Reds … he’s likely the most written about Cardinal in AMF’s four-plus year history.

And why not? Yadi is the heart and soul of the Cardinals team, taking charge when he’s on the field and, just as likely, when he’s at the plate. What Cardinal fan doesn’t love him?

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He’s also rather svelte this spring too. (You can probably get a smaller size uniform pants now, Yadi …)

4-1We’ve watched him in action many times during games, taking that walk to the mound to calm and console a pitcher. It certainly appears to be a role he takes seriously — even during spring training, as the photo from this spring with now-fifth-starter Carlos Martinez shows. Continue reading

Continuing The Opening Night Countdown: 5

It’s the final day of March, with 5 days now until the regular season begins for the Cardinals on Sunday night.

The No. 5 brings only one person to mind, of course.

Philadelphia Phillies v St Louis Cardinals - Game 4

Yes, Albert Pujols, or That Guy Who Used to Play First Base. Although now, going into his fourth season with the Los Angeles, California, Angels of Anaheim in Orange County, USA, the bad feelings over his departure have waned (for me at least). And I’m still glad, as I was at the time, that John Mozeliak didn’t sign him to a ridiculously expensive contract.

Albert’s best years were as a Cardinal, as he was a three-time National League MVP during his 11 seasons and compiled numbers of .328/.420/.617. Plus he gave us some incredible memories in the postseason.

5-5

Such as in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS against the Astros … Continue reading

Counting Down To Opening Night: 6 Days

Sure, it’s a Monday — but there are only 6 days until the Cardinals begin the 2015 regular season against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

And, for all of us as Cardinals fans, 6 means only one person.

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Stan Musial, baseball’s perfect warrior and baseball’s perfect night.

We’ve written plenty about The Man here through the years, even a Cardinal Love Letter in honor of his 92nd birthday in November 2012. So, instead of more words to honor No. 6, just pictures instead. Six more, of course.

6-1

With President John F. Kennedy before the 1962 All-Star Game. Continue reading