The Cardinals are 9-3. So what?

The Cardinals have one of the richest histories in baseball, right?

They’ve won more modern pennants and World Series titles than any other NL team, right? (18, 11)

They’re the only team ever to win 105+ games for three straight years, right? (1942-44)

So isn’t it a shock …… that this year’s 9-3 start ties their best since 1899, when they weren’t even called Cardinals?

Each of the other 15 original teams has had at least one start of 10-2 or better just since 1918 (the game-searchable era).

The only other teams that have never opened 10-2 or better are:

  • the Angels (born 1961, best start 9-3 in 1979 & ’82);
  • the Astros (born ’62, 9-3 in ’72);
  • the Mariners (born ’77, 9-3 in 2001-02); and
  • the two teams born in 1998, the Diamondbacks (9-3 in 2000 & ’08) and the Rays (9-3 in 2010).

The Marlins and Rockies (both born 1993) have done it.

Several franchises have done it in different cities: the Braves (Milwaukee & Atlanta), the Orioles/Browns, the Dodgers, the Giants, and even the Nationals/Expos.

Cleveland has won at least ten of their first dozen six times.

What’s up with that, Cardinals?!? Where’s your “original sixteen” pride?

__________

OK, butHere are the years that St. Louis started off 9-3:

1931:  Won WS

1941: 2nd place, 97-56

1944: Won WS

1946: Won WS

1967: Won WS

1981: Best season record in NL East, but missed playoffs due to split-season format

1982: Won WS

2008: 4th place, 86-76

2012: ???

Hunh. Of the 8 prior seasons that started 9-3, they notched 5 World Championships, got screwed out a playoff berth once, missed another pennant by 2.5 games, and in their worst year, finished 10 games over .500.

Were I a Cardinals fan, I’d be thinking: “Good thing we dropped that last game of the road trip in Cincy!”

And the moral of the story is: “It’s not how you start….”

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Hartvig
Hartvig
10 years ago

I don’t know what led you to search out this little factoid but it’s pretty darned interesting.

Evil Squirrel
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

I concur. They’re the hometown team, and I’d have never guessed that they never had a 10-2 start in a million years… especially given the fact that the Cardinals, historically, very rarely have really bad seasons. Since 1917, they have had only three 90+ loss seasons, and the worst of those was their 69-93 finish they put up in 1978….

Steven
Steven
10 years ago

…but they’ve never won consecutive World Series until…this year?

Mike L
Mike L
10 years ago
Reply to  Steven

Why not? The NL is weaker, the older class of “superpowers” (Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox) are old, I don’t think the Angels are that good (even with that Albert fellow they added), adding Prince and subtracting Martinez is a net positive for Detroit, but isn’t overwhelming (and who knows how the positional issues will play out?) That leaves resilient Tampa and resourceful Texas, but only one team can come out of the AL regardless.

Paul E
Paul E
10 years ago

They sure did a fantastic job resisting the temptation to re-up their greatest franchise icon since Stan Musial. If management can be that cold and objective, I believe they’re bound to succeed on the field. There might be fan backlash, but not in a place like St. Louis. And then to get Beltran for only two years after Berkman agreed to a one year extension, they seem to be fiscally conservative and sound (despite the Holliday signing).

Wainwright looks more than a little shaky, though.

Neil L.
Neil L.
10 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

But, Paul E, the St. Louis market is somewhat unique in that the fans will buy tickets regardless of who the players are on the field. I see St. Louis as a regional franchise in the midwest where people drive in to the game from out of town. My point is, the fans will come win or lose, because of the history of the franchise. A lot of similarities to the Toronto Maple Leafs in hockey in the Southern Ontario market. The Cardinals’ management doesn’t have to worry about ticking people off with their decisions ….. i.e. not resigning Pujols… Read more »

Paul E
Paul E
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil L.

Oh, NeilL.:

I agree wholeheartedly on the St Louis “Stepford Fans” phenomenon. However, I do believe while the Yankees can’t just dump a guy like Jeter coming off a mediocre year at this last contract expiration, I do believe fans will generally support a winner willing to let the veteran go who will be of no use.
Now that we’re back to 35 year olds pulling a 105 OPS+ at the conclusion/tail-end of Hall of Fame careers, maybe management will realize that it’s OK to bail on the veterans

Neil L.
Neil L.
10 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Paul E, I love the “Stepford Fans” reference for St. Louis market ticket-buyers.

May I patent that phrase for my monetary gain? 🙂

In all seriousness, does the phrase mean a marketplace where people and corporations will buy tickets regardless of whether there are on-field results?

Are the Chicago Cubs fans “Stepford Fans”?

Neil L.
Neil L.
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil L.

John Autin, @12.

You are implying that being present at Wrigley Field is merely an “in-thing” to do, not a qualification for being a knowledgeable baseball fan.

bstar
bstar
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil L.

Night baseball might have helped the Cubbies reach the 1984 World Series. After going up 2-0 on the Padres, the 96-win Cubs had to play games 3,4, and 5 at Jack Murphy Stadium against the 92-win Padres so the night-game TV ratings would be better. I’m still pissed at MLB for this awful decision. The Padres, with some Steve Garvey heroics, won their 3 home games and won the series. My only comfort is that the Cubs would probably have been eaten alive by the ’84 Tigers anyway.

Shping
Shping
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil L.

@15 — MLB really did that?!? For shame. Different times, i guess.

Say what you want about Selig, but that would never happen on his watch.

bstar
bstar
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil L.

That’s the amazing thing about it, that there wasn’t more of a backlash against it.

Neil L.
Neil L.
10 years ago

So are the St. Louis Cardinals a franchise that nevers bottoms out, never is really bad, like the Tampa Bay Rays or the Detroit Tigers?

How do you manage to be competitive, without really stinking, year after year?

BryanM
BryanM
10 years ago
Reply to  Neil L.

Neil; It’s called management. The Cardinals really stunk from 1901-1918, probably the worst team in Baseball during that era Branch Rickey was hired as their manager, turned the team around; moved into the front office and basically invented the farm system; and they’ve never looked back. As you point out, loyal fans isn’t the answer or the Cubs and Maple Leafs would win. As for vhe Cards , they hire good managers and Leave them in place for long periods so they can build a team that works . (exception 1975-1980 with some yo-yo years and a lot of turnover)

Shping
Shping
10 years ago

It still amazes me (and depresses me) that the ’87 Brewers started out 13-0 and then 20-3 but…. immed afterwards went 0-12 and 2-18, to wind up at 22-21 by May 30. That had to be some kind of historic hot-cold streak, esp. at start of season. They still won 91 games, 6 gms over their Pythag projection, but we had much higher hopes in Milw in late April that year.

BryanM
BryanM
10 years ago

It pains me to say it, But the Cards were very, very very lucky to win the WS last year .. maybe it’s payback for 1985 and Don Denklinger…

Michael
Michael
10 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

NOTHING will pay back for 1985. Nothing. About ten years ago…my then wife walked into the room while I was watching ESPN Classic, with Game 6 of the ’85 series on. She saw what it was and said… Her: Whatcha doing? Me: Game 6 of the ’85 Series. Her: But isn’t this the one where they loose it in the 9th on that awful call? Me: Yeah…but there’s no way it can happen again. Stupid videotape. I hate to admit, but the Cardinals only won the series last year because of Nelson Cruz’ groin. How else do you get a… Read more »

Steven
Steven
10 years ago
Reply to  Michael

With me, it’s 1968. I’m okay with Game Seven, until just before Northrup hits the triple. Kind of like watching the Zapruder Film. It was lunchtime. They should have made a detour to White Castle or Stuckey’s, anywhere but Dealey Plaza.