Countdown To Opening Night: 22

As the days slowly pass by, we’re now just 22 days from the Cardinals Opening Night against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Several notable names to mention, including the newest No. 22 Jason Heyward, as well as the most recent one to wear the number, Mike Matheny, in his playing days and managerial career (who was the spotlight over at the Cards Conclave this morning). Also on the list: Edwin Jackson for his months-long Cards tenure (did I really write this? Or perhaps the better question is how long did that 2011 World Series hangover last?), Jack Clark and this scrappy little World Series MVP.

22

Just in case you need a reminder of how inherently gritty Eck was, these photos will certainly remind you.

22-1

The way he choked up on the bat!

22-2

That way he huffed and puffed as he ran the bases!

22-3

That perfect just-like-he-learned-in-Little-League way of fielding grounders with two hands!

22-4

That way of heaving the ball across the field!

(And can anyone explain to me why this photo appears on a Google Image search for David Eckstein?)

Anyway, David Eckstein is someone I wrote about before, with one of his amazingly inexplicable greatest moments as a Cardinal. The moment was Aug. 7, 2005. Here’s what I wrote for a Throwback Thursday post:

The Cardinals were trailing 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. Singles by Nunez, So Taguchi and Hector Luna loaded the bases and, with two outs, David Eckstein stepped to the plate and … Well, the Braves analyst — it’s the Braves broadcast below — says “there’s a pretty good chance he’s not going to hit the ball over anyone’s head.” Oops, sorry, he does. Everyone’s head, for a game-winning grand slam. Remember? And Chip Caray (shockingly) got pretty excited about it. Check out the entire inning.

Also, could it any more Eckstein-like to still have his helmet on as he was heading back to the dugout, though with it practically covering his eyes, while Tony La Russa picks him up as he hugs him?

Ah, David Eckstein … we will never forget you, nor that scrappiness that — given this blog’s name — is obviously much appreciated.

And now just 22 days until Opening Night!

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