Countdown To Opening Night: Now 24

The days are just flying by now, aren’t they?

Yeah, I know. They’re not. But we’re only 24 days until the beginning of the regular season on April 5 at Wrigley Field. And, since it’s Thursday, here are four quick Throwback Thursday looks at past 24s to get us through another day.

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No. 24 was retired by the Cardinals in 2010, when Whitey Herzog was elected to the Hall of Fame. Herzog led the Cards to one official World Series championship in 1982, what should have been another championship in 1985 and to another National League pennant in 1987.

I know many long-time Cards fans speak glowingly of Herzog and “Whiteyball” and his success during the 1980s. But, hey, I was a Cubs fan in the ’80s. My favorite Herzog moment was him leaving Bruce Sutter in during a particular game on a Saturday afternoon in June 1984 …

Moving on, the final player to wear No. 24 before it was retired was Rick Ankiel, who wore the number during his return to the Cardinals as an outfielder in 2007 to 2009.

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For more on Ankiel, check out this Throwback Thursday post from a year ago when he officially announced his retirement as a player. It includes video of his home run during his return to the majors as an outfielder, plus clips of those amazing throws he made to third base when the Cards played the Rockies at Coors Field on May 6, 2008.  Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: The Best of Rick Ankiel

It seems pretty safe to say that Rick Ankiel will always be a favorite of many Cardinals fans, just based on the reactions to yesterday’s announcement that he’s officially retiring.

AnkielFor me, 2000 was my first season as a Cardinals fan so seeing his pitching success throughout the regular season of his rookie year was so impressive. The high socks, the curveball — how could anyone not love it all?

Then, of course, came Game One of the NLDS. I’d taken the day off work and was watching on ESPN. From the great high of the Cardinals scoring six runs off Greg Maddux in the first to the oh-my-God-what-is-happening five wild pitches in the third, it was an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything else, wasn’t it? My uncle called me partway through the third inning, because we were both in disbelief over what we were watching.

Anyway, we know how things went from there and we all exulted in his return to the big leagues as an outfielder in August 2007. What a career — one of such highs and lows and resilience. So. on the occasion of his retirement, a video look at some of the highs (because, personally, the lows will always be too depressing).

Continue reading