Decade after decade, the St. Louis Cardinals manage to field great teams. While they haven’t amassed quite as many World Series championships as the New York Yankees, no other National League team has as many titles as the Redbirds.
The Cardinals have had an amazing collection of stars over the years, chief among them in my lifetime Stan “the man” Musial (at left), the incomparable Bob Gibson and present day standout Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals first came into my consciousness, as best I can recall, in the World Series of 1964. They came into full view in the back-to-back series of 1967 and 1968, when Gibson (at right) was at the peak of his superb career. That was an era in which pitching was so dominant that Major League Baseball eventually lowered the mound to give batters a better chance.
In those years, National League teams like the Cardinals were foreign exotics to an American League kid like me. Without today’s round-the-clock coverage, I got to know the NL players mainly through their photos and stats on Topps baseball cards. Occasionally, if atmospheric conditions were right, I’d catch Harry Caray doing a Cardinals broadcast late at night on KMOX radio from St. Louis.
I had a head-on encounter with the Cardinals in the 1982 World Series, when they came to Milwaukee to play the Brewers. Both teams were loaded with talent, and the Cards — with Willie McGee and Vince Coleman and Ozzie Smith — to my dismay won in seven games.
Powered by Pujols (at left), the Cardinals easily won the NL Central title this season, and many oddsmakers list them as the favorite to win the NL playoffs and perhaps take the Series as well. I’m not going to risk any predictions here, but I will salute the Cardinals cap.
The interwoven “St.” and “L” is a classic logo. It has remained an enduring symbol of the team through the years as the colors on the cap have meandered from red to blue and back with many combinations in between. The cap in all its iterations represents one of the few franchises that can lay claim to consistent success over the years.