Cardinal World Championships – Tri State Sports Landmarks
Despite a few renegade Cub fans and others, this part of the world predominantly roots for the St. Louis Cardinals. Very few major league baseball teams have such a rich and colorful history as the Cardinals.
St. Louis dominated the baseball landscape in the 40's, winning four pennants and three world titles. After 1946, it would be 18 years before the Cardinals advanced into the postseason.
In 1964, a combination of a red hot stretch run by the Cardinals, and the September collapse of the Phillies, the Cardinals took the National League pennant on the last day of the season. That set up a World Series between the two most successful franchises, in terms of Fall Classic appearances, in MLB history, as Johnny Keane's Cardinals squared off against Yogi Berra's Yankees.
The first storyline of the series focused on brothers Clete and Ken Boyer, the third basemen for the Yankees and Cardinals, respectively. Ken wound up with the decisive blow in the series, a grand slam in game four that resulted in a Redbird win. The Cards would go on to knock off the Yanks, 4 games to 3.
St. Louis returned to the post season in 1967, taking on the Carl Yastrzemski-led Boston Red Sox. Between Bob Gibson's pitching arm and Lou Brock's exploits at bat and on the bases, the Cardinals again prevailed 4-3.
After losing the '68 Series to Mickey Lolich and the Detroit Tigers, Manager Whitey Herzog led the Cardinals to the Fall Classic again in 1982. It was another seven-game series win for St. Louis, with Bruce Sutter striking the Milwaukee Brewers' Gorman Thomas for the final out.
Whitey's Cards lost to the Royals in the '85 Series and to the Twins in '87. Then, with Tony LaRussa at the helm, it would be a rematch between the Cardinals and Red Sox in 2004. The Cards were swept by the Sox in four games.
Two of the Cardinals' unlikeliest world champs came in 2006 and 2011. The Cardinals finished the '06 season only five games over .500. But, it was good enough to win the National League Central Division. In the series, they took advantage of key defensive lapses by the Tigers to win it in five games.
Then, there was 2011. The Cardinals were left for dead at the end of August, put together a sizzling stretch run and, coupled with a collapse by the Atlanta Braves, became the wild card entry in the post season on the last day. The Cardinals were underdogs throughout October, but, thanks to the heroics of Chris Carpenter, David Freese and Lance Berkman, among others, the Cardinals, as broadcaster Mike Shannon put it, "came from nowhere to astound the baseball world."