I’m starting a series where I look into who had the best season EVER as a St. Louis Cardinal by position (playoff’s don’t count). This may seem obvious for some, but I think you may be surprised at some positions. I’m going to go in order from 1-9, by baseball positions. This series will start with Cardinals pitchers (1) and end with Cardinals Right Fielders (9). I’m going to present each player, but it’s up to YOU to vote for who you think had the best Cardinals season EVER at that position. Let’s get started!
Chris Carpenter – 2005 Season – Chris went 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA. He had 7 Complete Games, and 4 Shutouts during the season. He finished the year with a WHIP of 1.055, won the Cy Young, was an All Star, and finished 8th in the MVP vote. He had a WAR of 5.9. From June 14 to July 17 Carp went 6-0 over 50 2/3 IP with 54K. During that stretch he allowed only 2 runs, and just 27 baserunners reached base for an ERA of 0.35.
Mort Cooper – 1942 Season – 79 years ago Mort went 22-7 with a 1.78 ERA. He had 22 Complete Games, and 10 Shutouts during the season. There wasn’t a Cy Young award yet (1967) as he had finished pitching just 31 years prior, however I think he would have won the award. He finished the year with a WHIP of .987, was an All Star, and the MVP of the NL, edging out teammate Enos Slaughter. He had a WAR of 8.4 that season, and as he searched for win number 14 changed his uniform number from 13 to 14. He continued this uniform changing number habit through his 20th win of the season; going 9-1 with 9 CG, 4 Shutouts, and a 1.13 ERA over his last 10 starts.
Dizzy Dean – 1934 Season – Eight years before Mort Cooper won MVP, Dizzy Dean did the same thing. Dizzy went 30-7 with a 2.66 ERA, and even saved 7 games. He had 24 Complete Games, and 7 Shutouts during the season. He finished the year with a 1.165 WHIP, was an All Star and the MVP of the NL beating Paul Waner of Pittsburgh who. hit .362. He threw over 311 innings, had a WAR of 9.5 and struck out 195 batters, tops in baseball. Two more unbelievable stats, on July 1st Dizzy pitched 17 innings of an 18 inning 8-6 Cardinal win at Cincinnati, Dizzy pitched 3CG over the Cardinals last 6 games – winning all of them.
Bob Gibson – 1968 Season – The reason why the mound was lowered 5 inches, and the strike zone was shrunk to what it is today. Gibby went 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA. Bob finished the year with a WHIP of .853, had 28 Complete Games, struck out 268 batters, and had 13 Shutouts during the season. He was an All Star, won the Gold Glove, the MVP, and the Cy Young award. Bob Gibson had a 11.9 WAR, and was never taken off the mound, as he made 34 starts, finishing 28 of them, and was pinch hit for in the other 6. In his 9 losses he had an ERA of 2.14. If the 1.12 ERA wasn’t enough, from June 2 – July 30th he pitched 99 innings, had 11 CG, a 0.27 ERA and allowed two runs – one one a wild pitch (that most historians say should have been caught) and a bloop double.
Bruce Sutter – 1984 Season – Bruce didn’t necessarily have a great record, going 5-7 for the 84′ Cardinals, however he pitched 122 innings and had a low ERA of 1.54 and 45 Saves. He led the NL with 45 saves, had a 1.076 WHIP, finished 3rd in the Cy Young, 6th in the MVP, and was an All Star. In his contract year, and final year in St. Louis he pitched in 71 games, finishing 63 of them while compiling a WAR of 4.3.
Lee Smith – 1991 Season – Another reliever on the list of best Cardinals pitching seasons ever, Lee Smith went 6-3 with a 2.34 ERA and 47 Saves for the 91′ Cardinals, who were led by Joe Torre after taking over in 1990. Lee pitched 73 innings, was an All Star, 2nd in the Cy Young to Tom Glavine, and 8th in MVP. He had a WAR of 2.3 and finished 61 of the 67 games he pitched in.
John Tudor – 1985 – The year after Bruce Sutter left for Atlanta, John Tudor turned in his finest in the big leagues. John went 21-8 with a 1.93 ERA. He had 14 Complete Games, and 10 Shutouts and a .938 WHIP which both led the NL. He finished 2nd in the Cy Young to Dwight Gooden (he would have won the award in almost any other year of the 80s), and 8th in MVP voting. He was worth 8.2 WAR, and had quite the turnaround to his season. Through May he was 1-7 with a 3.74 ERA. Over his last 25 starts to finish the 85′ season he went 19-1 with a 1.32 ERA and 13 CG.
Who in your opinion had the best season EVER as a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals? VOTE ON FACEBOOK THROUGH MY PAGE – CARDINALS OFF THE CUFF. PLEASE LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE! Thanks for reading!