St. Louis Cardinals’ Top 20 Hitters

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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

The St. Louis Cardinals have had some really great hitters play for this team, who ranks among the best?

In the St. Louis Cardinals storied history, there have been many great players. In our historical series we’ve covered the top free agents, best roster, and top ten starting pitchers. In this edition of our historical series, we will be determining the best hitter.

Determining the best position player isn’t too hard, as Stan Musial stands head and shoulders above the rest, and Bob Gibson is pretty clearly the best Cardinal pitcher ever, but what if you want to break it down a little more?

What if you threw out defense, threw out base running, and looked solely at who was the best when they were standing in the batter’s box? Today, that’s exactly what we’re going to do — finding out who the St. Louis Cardinals’ best pure hitters have been throughout history.

Before we begin, let’s set some ground rules. First, we’re going to use weighted runs created plus (wRC+) to do most of the ranking for us. Given that it adjusts so that 100 is league average in any given year, wRC+ will help us avoid any potential pitfalls and allow us to compare each player to the league that they played in. This is going to be a collaborative effort between two of us here at Redbird Rants, with Co-Editor Steven McNeil and Staff Writer Chris Greene both weighing in on this great list.

We’ll limit our scope to players with at least 2,000 career plate appearances and at least five seasons in a Cardinals uniform. Primarily, we will be looking at what the players accomplished in their career as a St. Louis Cardinals’ player, although some weight will be given to the player’s overall career as well. Now, let’s get started!

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