There is no debate that Stan Musial is the greatest Cardinal of all time. But who is the second best? Despite being a mid-market team, some of the biggest names in baseball have worn the birds on the bat. Picking the wingman for Stan is hardly a gimme.
In a poll on the BaseballStL mobile app, users were asked to choose from a list of ten Cardinal greats, who is second best. You can still check out the poll and cast your vote. Here is how the list stands at the moment after more than 7,400 votes by BaseballStL users.
1. Bob Gibson: Hard to argue with Gibby. In 17 years with the Cardinals (’59-’75) he racked up 251 wins, 3,117 K’s and a career 2.91 ERA. His two Cy Young Awards, two World Series Championships and two World Series MVPs (both in ’64 and ’67), one NL MVP (’68), nine time All-Star and first ballot Hall of Famer … Bob Gibson is a stud and one of the brightest stars in the Cardinals galaxy. Besides, who wants to be the guy to tell him he doesn’t top this list.
2. Ozzie Smith: Who doesn’t love the Wizard? If this list was for nice guys, Ozzie would top this list – no question. Ozzie played 14 magical years for the Cardinals starting in 1982. A Gold Glove winner for 13 consecutive seasons, 15 time All-Star and first ballot Hall of Famer. What a talent, what a guy. Go crazy folks!
3. Dizzy Dean: You have to hand it to Cardinals Nation to reach back 80+ years to the Gas House Gang and show Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean some love. In 1934 Dizz was the league MVP, won 30 games, notched a 2.66 ERA and started and won two games in the Cards’ World Series win. His play, his attitude and his later broadcasting career endeared him to baseball fans across the country.
4. Lou Brock: Hall of Famer, stolen base king, six-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion Lou Brock came to St. Louis in one of the best trades of all time. Loooouuuu is beloved by Cardinals fans and he has returned the favor giving back to the team, community and fans with his time, experience and Brockabrellas.
5. Albert Pujols: Maybe time heals all wounds … or maybe it was the Cards run in the post-season and Albert’s tough start, it appears Cardinals fans are putting hard feelings aside an giving #5 his due. Bobby Bonilla’s injury opened the door for one amazing career start by Albert. A future Hall of Famer his three NL MVPs, 9 All Star games just scratch the surface. He may have passed Stan in some team hitting stats, but he gets credit for always showing deference to The Man.
6. Red Schoendienst: The pride of Germantown, Illinois – Red has done it all. 19 years with the Cardinals and an eleven year run as manager that included two World Series Championships. A Hall of Famer in his own right, Schoendienst is adored by Cardinals fans and will always and only be the guy wearing #2.
7. Willie McGee: Number 51 may not have his number retired, yet, and he may not be a Hall of Famer – but Cardinals fans will always remember Willie. As a rookie he helped the Cards beat the Brewers in the ’82 World Series with a dramatic catch. A four-time All Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, he had a unique batting stance and an aw-shucks attitude that was so cool. I will never forget interviewing Willie at the airport the day he was traded to Oakland… I was sad, he cried.
8. Mark McGwire: What do you say about Big Mac? From a hero on the field to a disaster on Capitol Hill and then on to rebuilding his rep by coming clean and coaching. No one who witnessed it will ever forget the energy and excitement of the ’98 season or his subsequent fall from grace. His legacy is a work in progress.
9. Enos Slaughter: Enos Slaughter will always be a fixture in Cardinals’ lore for his “Mad Dash” from first to score the winning run in Game Seven of the 1946 World Series. He may not have been the greatest hitter or even the greatest player – but Slaughter is a Hall of Famer and was always available and around when the Cardinals greats gathered for special events at the ballpark.
10. Mike Shannon: Mike Shannon rounds out our list. To most fans he is better known as a broadcaster than a third baseman. He was a career .255 hitter and two-time World Series champion in a career that was cut short by health reasons. Shannon has friends in every city, admirers here at home and a restaurant that has become the un-official diner for Cardinals Nation. Get up Baby!