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My top 5 Cardinals moments

Posted 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

To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either email cnoles@dailystatesman.com , call (573)624-4545 or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/


Comments
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pretty good list. as a lifelong cardinal fan, i've got a multitude of great redbird memories. i'll just list some others of mine, in no particular order.

*the passing of jack buck. no one will ever be the voice of cardinal baseball and an ambassador for the city of st. louis like buck. i attended the ceremony for him on a hot june day in stl.

*bruce sutter's strikeout to clinch the 82 world series for the cards. it was the first title i could remember as i was 16.

*glenn brummer stealing home. i may be showing my age with this one, but it was a cards classic!

*pujols' homer off lidge in houston to send the series back to stl.

*seat cushion night!!

*lou brock's 3,000th hit off the leg of a cubs pitcher.

*bob gibson's 3,000th strikeout. the victim.....cesar cedeno of the reds.

*mike laga's foul ball that left old busch stadium, the only ball ever to do so.

*not really a cardinal moment, but i was at the game in the late 80's when kevin mitchell of the giants made a barehand catch of a foul ball down the left field line.

*not a specific moment, but just listening to cardinal baseball on an old transistor radio with an earplug while lying in bed after my actual bedtime. back then, cardinals games were rarely televised and the radio was how we "watched" them.

-- Posted by myershallred on Fri, Jan 27, 2012, at 3:29 PM
Corey Noles
Seat cushion night was actually my first baseball game! It wasn't until years later when I dug out a ticket that I realized the significance of the night!

I'm pretty young, but I still to this day spend a lot of time "watching" on the radio. As much as I love watching in high definition, I've always had a soft spot for radio baseball.

In 1987 during the World Series my grandfather and I sat at Mazzio's Pizza in Sikeston and listened to a game, I can't recall one, on his old silver radio. He even gave our waitress the hush finger when she talked during a play. One of my favorite memories of grandpa.

Lots of great moments in cardinal history. It would be extremly tough to narrow down to 5.

But a few u have said are my favorites but to add to the list.

Edmonds walk off in game 6 of the 04 nlcs then the catch n game 7

Waino's K of now cards cf beltran in 06

Mark Witton's 4hr game

Not really a Cards moment but Jake Buck's speech after baseball resumed after 9/11

-- Posted by buck on Fri, Jan 27, 2012, at 5:35 PM
Corey Noles
Good list! I was at the game where Jack Buck gave his speech. That was a very moving moment.

Albert Pujols leaving the St. Louis Cardinals deprived Tony LaRussa's retirement the credit it deserved. LaRussa is the Cardinals' greatest loss heading into this season. It may take a few years to see the impact, but it is only a matter of time.

A good manager can win with almost any staff.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Jan 29, 2012, at 3:15 AM
Corey Noles
I agree about LaRussa. I know there are a lot of haters out there, but TLR knew what he was doing. If it didn't work out, he said so. He will be missed, but I'm anxious about the future at the same time.

Several years ago when Jack Buck was still calling the games, a friend of mine worked for a local radio station and got some tickets. I quess KMOX was doing something for their affiliates and for the first inning me, my wife and my friend got to sit about 5 feet behind Jack Buck in the KMOX booth. I went to the last game at the old Busch Stadium, Ozzies last game and watched many good games on TV but nothing was better than sitting behind Jack Buck for that one inning.

-- Posted by Fatboy1972 on Sun, Jan 29, 2012, at 5:03 AM
Corey Noles
Great story! It's hard to beat memories like that.


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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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