#23 Mort Cooper SP
While I did not list Cooper on my top ten starting pitchers of all time piece, Cooper was without a doubt one of the best pitchers to ever pitch for the Cardinals. For his Cardinals’ career, Cooper was 105-50, with a ERA of 2.77 (3.10 FIP) from 1938-1945 with the Cardinals, posting a fWAR of 28.5 during that time. Really good numbers for a guy who only pitched in six full seasons with the club.
Cooper’s best season without a doubt came in 1942, when he went 22-7, with a 1.78 ERA (2.53 FIP), posting a fWAR of 6.7. That season was good enough to win Cooper the NL MVP, giving the Cardinals their first of three straight MVP awards and first of five overall MVP awards in the 1940s.
Cooper went on to finish with an fWAR total over 5.0 the next two seasons, as well as posting ERA totals under 2.50. Giving him three straight seasons with an ERA under 2.50 and fWAR above 5.0, and a total fWAR of 17.9 in those three seasons, one of the best stretches in Cardinals’ history.
Cooper was traded in 1945 due to a contract dispute. He would go on to pitch for the Braves and Cubs from 1945-1949, struggling to replicate his numbers as a Cardinal due to injuries totaling a fWAR of 5.0.