The 2012 St. Louis Cardinals are not the Running Redbirds of the 1980’s. But they are definitely swiping bases on a more regular basis than they have as a team for many of years. The Cards are ranked 3rd in the National League for team stolen bases. They are only two bases off of the league lead. Manager Mike Matheny said the Birds would be more aggressive on the base paths this. He is holding true to his word. The stolen base is a huge part of Cardinal baseball.
Stolen bases and the Cardinals are things that have always been intertwined with each other for many of decades. The fleet footed-ness of Lou Brock and the blazing speed of Vince Coleman are two names that jump at you when you talk stolen bases and the Cardinals. The 1980’s ushered in an era of small ball in St. Louis mixed with a lot of speed. It was the design of the White Rat, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog. It became known as Whitey Ball. It is term that you can still hear sounding through Cardinal Nation.
The teams of the 1980’s were blessed with more speed assembled on any one given team that I can remember. It was not an era of the long ball. But, an era of how fast you got to the base and how many could you steal. It was exciting to watch. The bravado of the Birds led to them using the song “Catch Me if You Can” as the team theme song in commercials. The speed of those teams is something we probably will never see again. It was a different time. The game has changed.
The speedsters of the 1980’s bring me to this week’s “Who am I? Name that Cardinal”. As a teen in the 1980’s and a Cardinal fan, you couldn’t wait to see these guys run. They added such an element to the game. This week we will focus on one of those Running Redbirds. Here are the clues:
I was born December 22, 1955 in Chicago, Il
I moved to California with my family and attended Centennial High School in Compton
I was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 1974 amateur draft
I made my major league debut with the Phillies, September 2, 1978
On November 20, 1981: I was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Philadelphia Phillies to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cleveland Indians sent Bo Diaz to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Philadelphia Phillies sent a player to be named later to the Cleveland Indians. The St. Louis Cardinals sent Silvio Martinez and Lary Sorensen to theCleveland Indians. The Philadelphia Phillies sent Scott Munninghoff (December 9, 1981) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.
1982 proved to be my career best year. I had a batting average of .307, and on-base percentage of .381. I led the National League with 120 runs scored, which was the only time that I scored 100+ runs in a season during his baseball career. I also set career highs in 1982 with 592 at-bats, 182 hits, 35 doubles, and 257 total bases during the regular season. I also ranked second in the National league with a career-high 68 stolen bases
It was also the only year that I made the All Star team and I finished 2nd in the MVP voting
I was off to a great start in 1983. I batted .321, but I missed over a month due to a rehab stint for illicit drug use. I would continue to battle a drug problem throughout my career.
During the decade of the 1980’s, I played on three World Series Champion teams, 1980, 1982 and 1985.
In 1989, I was the NL Comeback Player of the Year
I retired in 1994
My nickname was Skates.
Who am I? Click here for the answer.