Some Cardinals Alternatives To Watching This Year’s World Series

Even though the 2016 World Series gets underway tonight, you might not be in the mood to watch it. Want to look back on some better days instead? Here, and all available on YouTube, are some alternatives that will make for more pleasant viewing.

The videos are the complete games, so watching these should keep you busy … and able to avoid whatever might be happening in this year’s World Series.

Game One – 1968 World Series

Starting off with an absolute classic in a year that didn’t result in a Cardinals World Series championship, but began with an incredible performance by that year’s NL Cy Young Winner and Most Valuable Player, Bob Gibson. His 17 strikeouts in the game are a record that still stands.

Game Seven – 1982 World Series 

Ah, nothing like a Game Seven — especially when it’s a Game Seven win! Watch the Cardinals win their ninth World Series championship, and first since the days of Bob Gibson in 1967, when they beat the Brewers 6-3 behind Joaquin Andujar and Bruce Sutter.

Game Six – 2004 NLCS

The 2004 National League Championship Series between the Astros and Cardinals was an incredible one, yet mostly overlooked by the national media due to the ALCS that was going on at the same time. We remember, though, these hard-fought seven games in which the home team was victorious in each — and the MV3 was in their prime and all making big contributions. Jim Edmonds was the walk-off hero in this one, as you no doubt remember. (Also, in case you forgot, Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman were the enemy.)

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Flashback Friday: Bob Gibson’s 17 Strikeouts

We’ve heard Bob Gibson’s name a lot in the past couple of days, leading up to the announcement of the National League MVP yesterday. Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers became the first  NL pitcher named the Most Valuable Player since Gibson in 1968, with each winning the Cy Young Award also.

bob-gibsonIt’s always amazing to look back at Gibson’s stats from that year. The most incredible, and likely most well known, is the 1.12 ERA. Looking at his game log from 1968, the highest ERA he had at any point was 2.35 — on April 20, after his third start of the season. It was 0.96 after starts on July 25 and July 30, and was 0.99 on Sept. 2 after his 10th shutout of the year.

In that 10th shutout, a 10-inning 1-0 win over the Reds, he pitched all 10 innings and allowed just four hits.

Speaking of shutouts, he had five straight complete game shutouts from June 6 to June 26, allowing 21 total hits in those games and striking out 35. He walked five, but none in two of the games.

Let that sink in for a moment. Five straight complete game shutouts.

His record, which probably also is familiar, was 22-9 — and it’s the number of losses that’s so surprising. But two were by scores of 1-0, one was 2-0 and two were 3-2. He won 15 consecutive games between June 2 and Aug. 24. There were only three games all season in which he had no decision, including his first two starts of the year. Continue reading

Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Basketball Stars Bob Gibson and Dick Groat

Ah, March Madness … If you’re a college basketball fan, or even if you just fill out one of the vast array of bracket options available, you’re no doubt aware that it begins today. With that in mind, here’s a Throwback Thursday look at two Cardinals who excelled on the hardwood as well — and both at colleges who are part of this year’s tournament.

collage320Bob Gibson’s basketball past is something I’ve written about previously, and you might be familiar with his accomplishments. He earned a basketball scholarship to Creighton University, which is the No. 3 seed in the West Region and takes on Louisiana – Layfayette on Friday at 2:10 p.m. Central Time.

White and Blue Review, a website about Creighton sports, has an amazingly researched and detailed account of Gibson’s career at the school as part of its “What’s in a Number” series. As with the Cardinals, Gibson wore No. 45 at Creighton. Also as with the Cardinals, the number was retired — though his 45 at Creighton is one of only three numbers that have been retired by the men’s basketball team.

Gibson majored in sociology and played basketball his entire time at Creighton. During his junior season, he averaged 22 points per game. During the spring of 1957, Gibson attracted attention for both his basketball and baseball skills. He received a $3,000 bonus to sign with the Cardinals and made his minor league debut that season. During baseball’s off-season, he signed with the Harlem Globetrotters. He roomed with famed Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon and became known for his backhanded dunks. Check out more about his Globetrotters days in this post Dayn Perry wrote last summer at CBS Sports.

Gibson only played for the Globetrotters one season. Cardinals general manager Bing Devine offered him $4,000 to stop playing basketball, which he accepted and reported to spring training in 1958. Gibson made his major league debut in 1959. And we know what he did from there …

Dick Groat was a shortstop for the Cardinals from 1963 to 1965 who played college basketball at Duke University and was an All-American in 1951 and 1952. Duke, like Creighton a No. 3 seed but in the Midwest Region, plays Mercer on Friday at 11:15 a.m. Central Time.

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Catching Up With The Cardinals: Saturday Edition

Welcome back, Jake Westbrook. Welcome to the 10-win club, Adam Wainwright, and congratulations on strikeout number 1,000 (and numbers 1,001 through 1,005).

And the performances by Westbrook and Wainwright — and Friday night’s and Thursday afternoon’s games — proved that great pitching and pitchers’ duels are a lot more fun, and a lot less frustrating, to watch.

Westbrook-WainwrightYet both games are just part of baseball. It’s trite but true — can’t win ’em all. Sometimes the worst team in baseball beats the best team.

Which is exactly what happened Friday as the Marlins beat the Cardinals 5-4. Westbrook allowed all 5 runs, though only 3 were earned, and 8 hits in his return from the disabled list while the Cardinals struck out 13 times on their way to scoring those 4 runs. Ouch.

And sometimes expected pitchers’ duels — like Wainwright vs. the Mets only good pitcher this season, Matt Harvey — actually live up to expectations. The Cardinals prevailed 2-1, Waino won his major league leading 10th game and Edward Mujica earned a shaky-yet-successful 19th save.

Ah, well, both of those games are now baseball past. Today is a new game — and today is also the 30th anniversary of a trade that Chris Jaffe describes at The Hardball Times as “one of the most incredible and obviously one-sided trades of the 1980s occurred” — the Cardinals trade of Keith Hernandez to the Mets for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey.

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Catching Up With The Cardinals: Joe Kelly Birthday Edition

Seems like every St. Louis Cardinals fan around (well, the know-it-alls on Twitter anyway) knew going into last night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds they would lose.

They did, 4-2.

Plus Thom Brennaman was just as annoying and Reds-slanted as every Cards fan — Twitter know-it-all or not — predicted. (And I even missed the first three innings.)

Always nice when there are such unbiased broadcasters on network Cardinals games (as I think back to Brewers broadcaster Brian Anderson being the play-by-play guy for the 2011 NLCS on TBS …) Yes, I almost miss Dan McLaughlin. Almost.

SONY DSCAnyway, with that, time to catch up on some other Cardinals-related news.

Such as today is Joe Kelly’s birthday. Happy 25th, Little Giraffe — we miss seeing those awesome base-running skills, but at least we still get to see that personality of yours shine through regularly.

It was a year ago tomorrow that Joe made his major league debut, back when kid pitchers being promoted to the Cardinals starting rotation was highly unusual and not the weekly occurrence that it has become this year.

One of those pitchers, Michael Wacha, was featured in the Iowa City Press-Citizen earlier in the week — he was born in Iowa City before his family moved to Texas. The article includes a look at his major league debut from his family’s perspective.

Here’s another hometown look at one of the Cards rookie pitchers, Seth Maness, from The Pilot in Southern Pines, N.C.

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