Counting Down To Opening Day: 19

The number is getting smaller as the countdown rolls on toward the Cardinals facing¬†the Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 5 — and we’re down to the teens, with only 19 days to wait now.

And while there are more obvious choices for this number, like the current No. 19 in Jon Jay or even Tom Pagnozzi, I’m going a different route — back to the early 2000s-era Cardinals.

19

Ah, yes, Gregory Scott “Woody” Williams. The Cardinals acquired him from the Padres for Ray Lankford on Aug. 2, 2001, as a special birthday gift for both Daniel Shoptaw and me. And even though I didn’t know much about Woody at the time, I was excited when the Cards did acquire him — he was my age. (Yes, by my mid-30s, I developed a special fondness for those players as the number of them began dwindling. I was able to falsely feel young when my birth date twin, Tim Wakefield, pitched until he was/we were 45. Now I find myself alarmed at all the managers — including Mike Matheny — who are younger than me. But enough of my mid-life crisis …)

Woody was days from his 35th birthday when he joined the Cardinals that August and went on to have the best years of his 15-year big league career wearing the Birds on the Bat through 2004.  Continue reading