This post season for the fans of Cardinal baseball has seen the departure of two for sure future residents of Cooperstown. The loss of two future Hall of Famers will always bring up questions in even the most loyal hearts. The bottom line is there was really good Cardinal baseball before them and there will be really good Cardinal baseball after them. It is the nature of the business of baseball. People will come and they will go, even the great ones have to move on at some point. Whether it is by trade, choice or retirement no era lasts forever. That is why they are classified as eras. We are on the verge of the beginning of a new era in St. Louis.
There has been plenty of grumblings amongst the Redbird nation with the departure of that guy that used to play first base for us. I wish I could remember his name. He is not the first great or fan favorite that has moved on. We lost Joaquin Andujar, Bruce Sutter, Willie McGee, Ted Simmons, Jim Edmonds and even Keith Hernandez at some point. For those fans that don’t remember Hernandez was loved in St. Louis, that was just before he became as hated as any player by the Cardinal fans.
These players may not be Albert Pujols caliber. But, they aren’t too shabby. That list includes one Hall of Famer and arguably a few more that should be in the Hall. I will admit that the swallowing of the pill when AP left was a little more difficult than any of the others. That very well could be because he will be one of the greatest that has ever played the game. That does make it just a tad bit more bitter!
But, this is not the first time the Cardinals have let one of the best that the game has ever seen waltz out of St. Louis. That mindset brings me to this week’s edition of Who am I? Name that Cardinal. This former Cardinal was most definitely one of the best that had ever played the game at his position and makes a great argument for being the best. So what I am trying to say is this not the first time we have had a great one leave us. Here are the clues, see if you can guess this one.
I was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the amateur free agent draft in 1963.
I made my debut on April 12, 1965.
I would eventually play a total of 24 seasons, with 6 different teams.
In my 7 years with the Cardinals I compiled a record 77 wins and 62 losses.
In 1969, I had a lower ERA than Bob Gibson
In 1971, I had more wins than Bob Gibson
In 1971, was also the first year that I ever won 20 games. This was just a taste of what was yet to come. I would eventually win 20 or more games in 6 different seasons.
After the 1971 season I had a dispute with the Cardinals owner, Gussie Busch, and he ordered me to be traded. I was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Rick Wise.
During the 1971 season I would win 27 games and post a 1.97 ERA.
By the time that I retired, I would be a 10 time All Star, a 4 time Cy Young Award winner, a Gold Glove recipient, lead the NL in wins 4 times, lead the NL in complete games 3 times and in strikeouts 5 times.
I would strike out 4,136 batters and win 329 games in my career.
I was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994 with a 96% vote.
My nick name was Lefty. I am the original one that got away from the Cardinals.
Who am I? Click here for the answer.