April 13, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; St. Louis Cardinals hall of famer Stan Musial waves to the crowd during an opening day ceremony before a game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Chicago defeated St. Louis 9-5. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Robert W. Cohen attempts the impossible in ranking the The 50 Greatest Players in St. Louis Cardinals History (Scarecrow Press, 2013). It’s a hard task to do but someone has to do it, right?
In doing his rankings of the 50 greatest Cardinals, Cohen goes back to the start of the Cardinals franchise in 1892. In doing any such rankings, there have to be criteria and Cohen has that. They are
*The extent to which each player added to the Cardinals legacy.
*The degree to which he affected the fortunes of his team.
*The level of dominance he attained while wearing the Redbird uniform.
Cohen recaps the notable achievements for each player, their most memorable performances, summaries of their best season, and quotes from opposing players and former teammates.
No book on the 50 greatest Cardinals would be complete without Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Rogers Hornsby, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Dizzy Dean, and arguably Mark McGwire for bringing fans back to baseball with the home run chase of 1998.
However, players like Steve Carlton and Orlando Cepeda are ranked lower than they should be because of their best years being with other teams. In Carlton’s case, that would be the Philadelphia Phillies.
At the end of the book, Cohen comes up with the all-time Cardinals teams. There’s not just a first-team but also a second team because there’s that many great players that have played for the franchise.
All in all, it’s a good read and sure to fuel debate.
It’s available on Amazon Kindle for half the cost as the printed book.