Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Aaron Miles’ Walk-Off Grand Slam

With the 2014 regular season just four (Yadi!) days away, this will be the final Cardinals Throwback Thursday post for a while. What better way to make an impact than with a career highlight from the blog’s namesake — the only walk-off homer of his career, which just happened to be a grand slam?

AMslamThe date was July 20, 2008. It was, believe it or not, Jaime Garcia’s first major league start and second big-league appearance, and the Cards starting lineup that day included Skip Schumaker, Aaron batting second, Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, Chris Duncan, Jason LaRue and Adam Kennedy. Oh, and Jaime hit eighth.

It was a Sunday afternoon just after the All-Star break, the conclusion of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres. The Cardinals had taken the first three games, plus won their final game before the All-Star break, so they had a nice streak going. According to Matthew Leach’s article at, it was “a definitively miserable St. Louis summer day.”

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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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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).

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Throwback Thursday: Jack Clark Played Baseball Angry

You know, kids, Jack Clark didn’t used to be the rotund, angry guy bellowing about Albert Pujols and steroids, and suspicions and all of that stuff. He wasn’t the guy who got fired from talk radio for that. He didn’t used to be a sad guy who bankrupted himself buying all manner of sports cars, losing his home in the process.

jack-clarkJack Clark used to be a tight, sinewy, coiled cobra. An angry cobra, whipping his bat around like a snake’s tail, ready to swat baseballs great distances and with great anger. Jack Clark didn’t play baseball like a game, you never heard him say “Let’s Play Two,” or “The umpire doesn’t say ‘Work Ball.'” He was at his best when he played with a snarl.

Jack Clark played baseball with a barely controlled fury, like was once said of Baltimore Colts’ linebacker Mike Curtis. Jack Clark’s rage playing baseball was like a part of his anatomy, like a muscle, he flexed it and built it up. And when the game was on the line, he was by far the most dangerous hitter at the plate, the one guy pitchers absolutely did not want to see on deck in the late innings.

And I loved him.

I imitated his swing, that twitching, coiling anticipation, that furious whip through the zone. He played for the San Francisco Giants then, and I envied Giants fans for having him on their side.

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Throwback Thursday: Vince Coleman’s First Home Run

When you think of Vince Coleman, you likely think of stolen bases. Or maybe the word “tarp” comes to mind.

Vince ColemanRegardless, home runs are certainly not something you associate with the man who as a rookie for the Cardinals in 1985 stole more than twice as many bases as the entire 2013 team total (110 vs. 45).

Yet Coleman did occasionally hit home runs. Very occasionally, anyway — he had 15 during his six years as a Redbird. But his first was during his Rookie of the Year season, on May 21, 1985.

It was his only homer that year (and his next wouldn’t come until Aug. 26, 1987).

The Cardinals were hosting the Braves at Busch Stadium on May 21. They were up 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Vince stepped to the plate with one out. He hit the first pitch from Len Barker deep to right field and … watch for yourself from this TBS broadcast.

Yes, of course his first career homer would be an inside-the-parker. And a stand-up one at that.

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Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Mark Mulder’s 10-Inning Shutout

In case you haven’t heard, Mark Mulder could be joining That Guy Who Used to Play First Base and David Freese in Anaheim this season. Mulder signed a minor league contract with the Angels as he attempts to return to the majors.

capt.989e77d27a48436d88daa5bbc7b3c83fNow, chances are when you think of Mark Mulder’s career with the Cardinals, you’re some combination of disappointed or angry since Walt Jocketty traded Danny Haren, Kiko Calero and Daric Barton to obtain him on Dec. 18, 2004. Mulder’s four-year career as a Cardinal only included 55 appearances due to shoulder injuries that forced him into retirement after the 2008 season. And you don’t even want to look up the numbers for his very limited 2007 and 2008 seasons — some things are best left in the past.

However, Mulder’s first season as a Card in 2005 was very good — he was 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 32 starts. The best of those was on April 23, just his fourth start as a Cardinal, when he threw a 10-inning, 101-pitch, five-hit shutout as St. Louis beat the Houston Astros 1-0.

Roger Clemens started for the Astros and lasted seven obviously scoreless innings. The winning run scored when Larry Walker drove in Reggie Sanders, who’d singled to start the inning and advanced to second on a groundout by (who else but) David Eckstein.

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Throwback Thursday: So Taguchi’s 2006 NLCS Moment

When you think back to the 2006 NLCS between the Cardinals and the Mets, chances are you recall Game Seven. Which makes sense, as it was a tremendous and intense game — to stroll down memory lane: the Mets took a 1-0 first inning lead, the Cardinals tied it in the second, the score remained 1-1 until the ninth inning although the Cards would have taken the lead if not for Endy Chavez catching Scott Rolen’s homer. The ninth inning was epic just in itself as Yadi homered after Rolen singled to definitely put the Cards on top 3-1, then rookie closer Adam Wainwright gave up two singles and a two-out walk to load the bases before Carlos Beltran stepped to the plate and Waiwright threw just three more pitches

so taguchiGame Seven’s majesty wouldn’t have happened, however, without So Taguchi’s heroics six days earlier in Game Two at Shea Stadium.

After winning Game One, the Mets took a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to a rough night from Chris Carpenter — he gave up five earned runs and walked four in five innings pitched. The Mets led 6-4 in the seventh inning and David Eckstein and Chris Duncan quickly grounded out and flied out to start the inning. That Guy Who Used to Play First Base then singled and Jim Edmonds walked, bringing up Scott Spiezio and his little red facial hair thing — starting at third base for the game instead of Scott Rolen. The Speez launched it very deep to right, off the top of the wall, and ended up at third with a game-tying triple.

The game remained tied 6-6 until Taguchi, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Duncan in the eighth, stepped to the plate. He was facing Mets closer Billy Wagner, who had 40 saves during the 2006 regular season. And Taguchi had two homers during 2006 (although he hit one in Game Three of the 2006 NLDS, his only at-bat of that postseason thus far). The count went full. And then …

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Throwback Thursday: Two Walk-Off Wins From 2005

Continuing our stroll back in recent Cardinals history from last Thursday, the 2005 St. Louis Cardinals followed up their 105-win-National-League-pennant-winning season by winning 100 games, the NL Central and making it to Game Six of the NLCS against the Houston Astros.


That’s a walk-off winner on Aug. 19, 2005 – thanks to Jim Edmonds.

There were new faces: Mark Grudzielanek at second, David Eckstein at shortstop, Abraham Nunez at third, Mark Mulder on the mound. (Speaking of the latter, did you see he’s making a comeback attempt?)

It was the year the Yankees came to town, and Mariano Rivera and his bullpen pals had some fun. It also was the final year of Busch Stadium II.

And it was the year of a couple of very cool August walk-off wins.

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Throwback Thursday: A Better Cardinals-Red Sox World Series

Once upon a time (actually, twice up a time) the St. Louis Cardinals met the Boston Red Sox in the World Series and the right team won. The first of those match-ups was in 1946.


Whitey Kurowski, Enos Slaughter, Marty Marion and — of course — Stan the Man

That season was Stan Musial’s first back following his military service in 1945, and all he did in 1946 was hit .365/.434/.587 with 228 hits including 50 doubles, 20 triples and 16 home runs to be named National League MVP and lead the Cardinals to their fourth pennant in five years.

The 1946 World Series is famous for Enos Slaughter’s “mad dash” to score what was the winning run for the Cardinals in Game Seven.You can read complete details about it here (Wikipedia is wonderful, isn’t it?)

And, since seeing is always better, check out this 1946 World Series highlight video, including Harry Walker describing his double that drove in Slaughter.

Yes, there was an obstruction call then too — along with a much happier Series ending, just like there was in 1967 as well.

Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Rogers Hornsby And The 1926 World Series

According to the calendar, it is now officially spring — despite the fact the temperatures in the Midwest are stuck in winter mode and snow is forecast for this weekend.

RogersHornsby-featuredSo as time continues to crawl toward Opening Day at a frustratingly slow pace (especially with the Cardinals having another day off yesterday), that famous Rogers Hornsby quote comes to mind.

You know the one — you’ve seen it posted on Twitter and Facebook and elsewhere hundreds of times: “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Plenty of staring still to do as we wait for real spring, right? You can pass the time looking at other quotes from Rajah — there’s an entire YouTube video of them, complete with music by Al Jolson — or you can see him and his Cardinals teammates take on Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Yankees in this tremendous video about the 1926 World Series.

The music, the announcer, the footage — all just terrific. My favorite line: “This is the game in which Ruth got three homers and the Cards got a headache.” Those Cards got the last laugh in the end.

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