As 2013 comes to an end, it is that time of year in which members of the United Cardinal Bloggers pick out the top stories of the year. As is usually the case, there are many to choose from but a select few stand out in my mind.
I present these in no particular order.
1. The passing of Stan Musial during the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up weekend. With Musial’s passing, we lost The Greatest Cardinal That Ever Lived. In the hours after his death, I proposed naming the field at Busch Stadium after Stan the Man.
2. The MLB Debut of Michael Wacha, who I interviewed in early February, was one not to be forgotten. Less than a year after he was drafted by the Cards, the former Texas A&M Aggies pitcher made an impressive debut following some Spring Training appearances that were just as impressive. By the end of the season, Wacha would have not one but two no-hit bids–one of which was spoiled in the final inning of the game.
3. The Cards won the 19th National League Pennant in franchise history and tied the San Francisco Giants with their 19th World Series appearance as they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in 6 on games on the heels of strong pitching by Michael Wacha, who was named as the NLCS MVP.
4. In what put an exclamation point on the Cardinals NL Central run from 1996-2011, manager Tony LaRussa was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era Committee. LaRussa was joined by former Cardinals player-turned-manager Joe Torre and Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox. Granted, Torre is being inducted for his time spent as the New York Yankees manager.
5. Matt Carpenter had a breakout season in his first year as the Cardinals second baseman. Redbird Rants had a feature story on Marp back in June. Carpenter finished the season 4th in NL MVP voting behind teammate Yadier Molina. Selected to play in his first All-Star game, Carpenter finished the season with a line of .318/.392/.481 and led the league with 126 runs, 199 hits, and 55 doubles. His 55 doubles are the third-best performance for a Cardinals player, sitting behind Joe Medwick‘s 64 and 56 from the 1936 and 1967 seasons, respectively. Carpenter passed up Stan Musial’s 53 doubles for a left-handed Cardinal hitter.