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My top 5 Cardinals momentsPosted Friday, January 27, 2012, at 8:15 AM
As a new member of the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB), this will be my first group project.
For the month of January, leader Daniel Shoptaw has asked us all to share our personal Top 5 indelible Cardinals moments. At first, I didn't think this would be too hard, but I was wrong.
Before I could start I had to answer a question - how do I define it? I decided to share the Top 5 moments that had an effect on me. For this purpose, I am only going to include moments I lived through that had an effect on my life or love for the sport.
5. Darryl Kile's death - I know this isn't a happy moment, but this was the moment in life when baseball became real to me. I was traveling to Caruthersville with a friend as we listened to Mike Shannon. No one had yet announced what was wrong, only that if rumors were true it was tragic. Indeed, we stopped off at a small bar & grill to get near a television in time to catch Joe Girardi of the Chicago Cubs make the official announcement to the crowd. To see him walk out on the field, all rivalries aside, and weep while he told the crowd of what had happened really touched me. RIP Darryl.
4. No. 62 - Slugger Mark McGwire, regardless of his issues, effectively saved baseball with 70 swings of the bat in the glorious summer of 1998. A game still filled with bitter fans following an ugly strike that disrupted a season needed the moments that he and Sammy Sosa shared. It was only fitting that this race was between the Cardinals and Cubs. That's how it was meant to be. People who had never watched a game in their life were tuning in to television and radio broadcasts, reading stories in newspapers and talking baseball with others who never had either. That single season is responsible, in my opinion, for bringing the game to the amazing level it sits at today. Thank you, Mark. You're a hall of famer in my book.
3. Three homerun World Series game - I know almost everyone will likely avoid this given the events that followed but as fan I just couldn't ignore this accomplishment. When Albert Pujols hit his three homeruns in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series he thrust himself into the history books with the best offensive game in World Series history. The more I fought myself on this one the more I realized it needed to be included. As one of only three players in history to accomplish this feat of power, I think it was a fitting way to end the Albert Pujols era. By the time he came up to bat at the end of the game, I could just feel the third one coming. It was one of those baseball moments that engulfs you when it happens. No matter how much I'd like to, I can't ignore it. Thanks for the memories and for going to the American League.
2. Go Crazy! - Some of you will choke me for moving this to number 2, but I really feel that is where it belongs. The one call everyone Cardinals fan can recognize and relate to. When Ozzie Smith lofted that ball over the right field wall in Game 5 of the NLCS, he clobbered himself right into the memory of every fan. As if backflips and stellar defense weren't enough, that homerun is many, many fans favorite Cardinals moment ever. Not only is it everyone's favorite Ozzie moment, it is also the late Jack Buck at his all-time best. That's a winner!
1. We'll see you...tomorrow night! - By the time David Freese hit one of baseball's most memorable homeruns, everyone in my entire press box had been on their feet for a long time. When he smacked the game-tying triple in the bottom of the ninth to keep the team alive I watched guys like Jerry Crasnick stand to his feet with his hand over his mouth. The stadium roared, but you could hear a pin drop in the pressbox. At least 10 reporters had already gone downstairs to get in line to interview the world champion "Texas Rangers". In turn, they missed what may well be the greatest moment in World Series history. As a Cardinals fan trying to keep my cool on in the press box, I have to tell you it was difficult. I was ready to leap on top of my chair and scream my lungs out, but I kept a lid on it. The drama, the emotion, the fans all around literally teared up with joy was so much to take in. It was that moment we all joked...this team has to win. If the Cardinals don't win on Friday, it's all for nothing. It would have been remembered as a cool moment, but it would have been a footnote to a Rangers championship. It likely wouldn't be on this list (well, at least not at #1). As it is now, that homerun signaled the most dramatic moment in not just my memory, but Cardinals history. Thanks for the greatest sports moment I have ever had the pleasure to witness in person.
This list was so difficult. So many moments almost made the cut. I couldn't decide whether to combine the comeback with the Game 6 homer to cheat a 6th onto the list. This storied franchise has so, so many moments like this that it's hard to narrow it down.
No one will agree with all of these, but I thoroughly look forward to reading everyone else's favorites.
Thanks for reading-CN
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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.
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