Home College Baseball Greatest Baseball Players Ever to Wear the Birds on the Bat

Greatest Baseball Players Ever to Wear the Birds on the Bat


“I don’t like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the pitcher.”  – Rogers Hornsby, STL Cardinals

Birds on a Bat

St. Louis Cardinals (Est. 1882) are one of the most successful franchises in baseball history with 11 World Series championships (2nd to the NY Yankees’ 27, most in the NL), 19 NL pennants (2nd to SF Giants’ 20), and 13 division titles.  St. Louis is described as “the best baseball town in America” and has a great winning tradition with many star players.  Cardinal achievements that have impacted MLB and sports include Branch Rickey’s pioneering the farm system, Hornsby’s 2 batting Triple Crowns, Dizzy Dean’s 30 win season in 1934, Musial’s 17 MLB & 29 NL records, Gibson’s 1.12 ERA in 1968, Herzog’s Whiteyball in the 1980’s, McGuire breaking the single-season HR record at 70 in 1998, and the 2011 championship team’s great comebacks.  The Redbirds have won 105 or more games in 4 different seasons and won 100 or more a total of 9 times.  Cardinal players have won 20 league MVP’s, 4 batting Triple Crowns, and 3 Cy Young Awards.  Baseball Hall of Fame inductees include Dean, Gibson, Hornsby, Medwick, Musial, Rickey, Herzog, Schoendienst, Brock, Smith, and Sutter.  The Cards are known for strong fan support despite being in a mid-level market and they normally see attendance among the league’s highest and are consistently among the top 3 in MLB TV ratings.  The Cardinals have retired 12 total jersey numbers (2nd to Yankees’ 20) including (no number on uniforms before 1920) Rogers Hornsby 2B 1937, #1 Ozzie Smith SS 1996, #2 Red Schoendienst 2B, Manager, Coach 1996, #6 Stan Musial OF, 1B, GM 1963, #9 Enos Slaughter RF 1996, #10 Tony LaRussa Manager 2012, #14 Ken Boyer 3B, Manager, Coach 1984, #17 Dizzy Dean SP 1974, #20 Lou Brock LF, Coach 1979, #24 Whitey Herzog, Manager, GM 2010, #42 Jackie Robinson 2B 1997/Bruce Sutter RP 2006, #45 Bob Gibson, SP, Coach 1975, #85 Gussie Busch Owner 1984, and Jack Buck Broadcaster 2002.  The Cardinals had many great players at each position in their rich history.  In future Sport Digest articles, I will attempt to rank the best St. Louis Cardinals at each position including players and managers.  This is not a complete list and players are not ranked in order but the list does include many great St. Louis Cardinal baseball players from their past, storied history.

The Best All-time St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Players by Position:

  • 1B = Johnny Mize, Albert Pujols, Orlando Sapeda, Jim Bottomely, Bill White, Keith Hernandez, Jack Clark, Pedro Guerrero, Andrés Galarraga, Mark McGuire, Lance Berkman
  • 2B = Rogers Hornsby, Frankie Frisch, Eddie Stanky, Red Schoendienst, Tommy Herr, Fernando Vina
  • SS = Marty Marion, Ozzie Smith, Gary Templeton, Edgar Renteria, Jhonny Peralta
  • 3B = Ken Boyer, Joe Torre, Scott Rolen, Pepper Martin, Terry Pendleton, David Freese, Whitey Kurowski, Mike Shannon, Ken Reitz (Best defensively – “The Zamboni”)
  • RF = Stan Musial, Roger Maris, Enos Slaughter, Reggie Smith, George Hendrick, Brian Jordan, Larry Walker, Carlos Beltran
  • CF = Curt Flood, Willie McGee, Jim Edmonds, Ray Langford, Andy Van Slyke, Harry Walker, Terry Moore, Bake McBride
  • LF = Joe Medwick, Lou Brock, Vince Coleman, Chick Hafey, Lonnie Smith, Matt Holliday
  • C = Ted Simmons, Yadier Molina, Tim McCarver, Darrell Porter, Mike Matheny
  • SP = Jesse Haines, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, John Tudor, Chris Carpenter, Cy Young, Charles ‘Silver’ King, Bill Doak, Mort Cooper, Harry Brecheen, Max Lanier, Howie Pollet, Steve Carlton, Bob Forsch, Joaquin Andujar, Matt Morris, Adam Wainwright
  • RP = Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, Dennis Eckersley, Jason Isringhausen, Todd Worrell, Lindy McDaniel, Al Hrabosky, Tom Henke, Trevor Rosenthal
  • Managers = Whitey Herzog, Tony LaRussa, Red Schoendienst, Mike Matheny  GM’s = Branch Rickey, Walt Jocketty, Bing Devine, Dal Maxvill
  • Broadcasters = Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Joe Garagiola, Mike Shannon, Tim McCarver, Joe Buck

Dr.  Michael Fredrick is Associate Professor, Chair of Sport Studies at USSA and a native of St.  Louis, Missouri.

March 21, 2016, Michael J. Fredrick, PhD



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