Carlos Beltran will always be remembered by St. Louis Cardinals fans for the two years he spent wearing the birds on the bat and the final pitch in the 2006 NLCS. Let’s remember those two years and that pitch on his 42nd birthday.
As a member of the New York Mets, Carlos Beltran was up to bat with bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning during the seventh game of the 2006 NLCS. In one of the most famous scenes in St. Louis Cardinals history, Carlos Beltran struck out looking on a wicked Adam Wainwright curveball that propelled the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series.
You know the rest of the story, the St. Louis Cardinals went on to win their 10th World Championship against the Detroit Tigers. But the pitch from Adam Wainwright to Beltran is the most memorable scene in the 2006 season.
However, on his 42nd birthday today, we should not forget the two seasons Carlos Beltran spent with the Cardinals. Nor should we forget the impact he had on the Cardinals during those two years.
Beltran becomes a Cardinal
Carlos Beltran agreed to a two-year deal worth $26 million and a full no-trade clause with the Cardinals on December 22, 2011. The Cardinals had just watched their franchise player, Albert Pujols, bolt to the California Angels and needed another bat in their lineup to compensate for the loss. The then 34-year-old Beltran help fill the void left by Pujols’ departure.
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Beltran came to the Cardinals with a Rookie of the Year Award, two Silver Slugger Awards, three Gold Gloves, and six All-Star appearances. The switch-hitting outfielder had stops in Kansas City, Houston, and New York before landing in St. Louis. Some thought Beltran’s best days were behind him, but he was an important contributor to the St. Louis Cardinals in his two-year stint.
Upon his arrival, Beltran proceeded to hit a slash line of .269/.346/.495 with 32 HR and 97 RBI in 151 games in the Cardinals drive to the 2012 NCLS. Although these numbers are not ‘Pujols’ type numbers, Beltran was an important contributor in 2012.
Earning his sixth All-Star appearance in 2012, Beltran hit a slash line of .444/.542/.944 in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals with two home runs and four RBIs. In the NLCS vs the San Francisco Giants, he hit a slash line of .300/.364/.600 in the Cardinals losing effort in six games.
Beltran didn’t slow down much in 2013 either. During the Cardinals drive to the 2012 World Series, he hit a slash line of .296/.339/.491 with 24 HR and 84 RBI in 145 games, then in the NLCS victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Beltran hit an OPS of .899 with six RBI.
Playing with injured RBI’s during the 2013 World Series vs the Boston Red Sox, the Puerto Rican native still managed to hit .294 in six games with five hits and three RBIs.
Carlos Beltran became a free agent after the 2013 season and signed with the New York Yankees.
The Roberto Clemente Award
Carlos Beltran made a positive impact on the St. Louis Cardinals, not only on the field but also off as a Cardinal. In 2013, Beltran was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award. The Award is given annually to the one MLB player “who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and individual contribution to his team.”
Carlos Beltran not only a good player while in St. Louis, but also a class act. Happy 42nd Birthday to you, Carlos.