Where do St. Louis Cardinals come from? Everywhere, but California and Pennsylvania lead the way. What 20 states gave us the best Cardinals players?
Presumably, some current St. Louis Cardinals are living in their home states right now, be that Hawaii (Kolten Wong), New York (Harrison Bader), or California (Jack Flaherty, Tommy Edman). This is a reminder that most of the best Redbirds come somewhere other than Missouri — or even the U.S., for that matter (see Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, etc.).
Here’s a look at the U.S. states that have produced the most standout Redbirds. This is based on where a player grew up, not where he was born or where he went to college. Ozzie Smith was born in Mobile, Ala., but his family moved to the Watts section of Los Angeles when he was six and he attended L.A.’s Locke High — that makes him a Californian. Bader grew up in New York and went to high school in Riverdale, N.Y. He attended college at the University of Florida, but he still counts as a New Yorker.
So, with the ground rules established, here are the best states for producing Cardinals talent, with players listed in order of their St. Louis WAR:
No. 1 CALIFORNIA
SS Ozzie Smith (Los Angeles); CF Curt Flood (Oakland); CF Jim Edmonds (Diamond Bar); OF Ray Lankford (Modesto); 1B Keith Hernandez (San Bruno); CF Willie McGee (Richmond); IF Solly Hemus (San Diego); OF Chick Hafey (Berkeley); P Bob Forsch (Sacramento); P Ernie Broglio (El Cerrito); 1B Mark McGwire (Pomona); SS Garry Templeton (Santa Ana); OF George Hendrick (Los Angeles); 3B Terry Pendleton (Oxnard).
The Golden State has been very, very good to the St. Louis Cardinals, especially in terms of outfielders (Flood, Edmonds, Lankford, McGee, Hafey, Hendrick) and shortstops (Smith, Hemus, Templeton). You might be surprised to see the largely forgotten Hemus and Broglio on this list.
The former played for the Cards from 1949-56 and again in 1959, hitting .275 with an outstanding .390 OBP. Broglio is remembered as the guy St. Louis traded to the Cubs for Lou Brock, but he pitched well for the Birds from 1959-64, going 21-9 with a 2.74 ERA in 1960 and 18-8 with a 2.99 ERA in 1963.
No. 2 PENNSYLVANIA
OF-1B Stan Musial (Donora); P Bill Sherdel (Hanover); 3B Whitey Kurowski (Reading); P Bill Doak (Pittsburgh); 1B Ripper Collins (Johnstown); P Jack Stivetts (Ashland); P Curt Simmons (Whitehall).
Stan the Man’s insane 128.3 Cardinals WAR tips this in Pennsylvania’s favor, and the others weren’t bad, either. Sherdel won 153 wins games from 1919 to 1932, fifth-most in St. Louis history. Kurowski, who played for the Birds from 1941-49, was a four-time All-Star.
Doak won 144 games from 1913-1929. Collins drove in 128 runs with a 1.008 OPS for the 1934 World Champion Cardinals. Stivetts averaged 24 wins a year pitching for the old St. Louis Browns from 1889-91. Simmons, a longtime Phillie, won 69 games with a 3.25 ERA for the Cards from 1960-66.
No. 3 MISSOURI
3B Ken Boyer (Alba); P Theodore Breitenstein (St. Louis); P Silver King (St. Louis); P Mort Cooper (Independence); CF Terry Moore (St. Louis); C Walker Cooper (St. Louis).
Never heard of Breitenstein or King? Both pitched for the NL St. Louis Browns (not to be confused with the AL Browns who existed from 1902-53) in the 1800s, King from 1887-89 and Breitenstein from 1891-96 and again in 1901. Alfred H. Spink, founder of The Sporting News, said that “Theodore Breitenstein was at one time the greatest left-handed pitcher in America.”
Boyer, in 1964, and Mort Cooper, in 1942, won MVP awards. Cooper’s younger brother Walker caught for the Cardinals from 1940-45. Moore, born in Alabama, moved to St. Louis as a child and played for the Cardinals from 1935-42. Notable Missourians who didn’t crack this list: Mike Shannon from St. Louis’ Christian Brothers High, who played from 1962-70, and 2011 World Series hero David Freese from Lafayette High in Wildwood, a Cardinal from 2009-13.
No. 4 OHIO
P Jesse Haines (Phillipsburg); 1B Bill White (Warren); P Slim Sallee (Higginsport); 2B Miller Huggins (Cincinnati); P Harvey Haddix (South Vienna); C Del Rice (Portsmouth).
Haines spent his entire 19-year career (1918, 20-37) with St. Louis. White was a five-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove winner from 1959-65. Lefty Sallee (pronounced “sah-LEE”) won 106 games with the Cards from 1908-16.
Huggins, who started with the Reds, played with Cards from 1910-16, twice leading the league in walks and once in on-base percentage (.432, 1913). Haddix was a three-time Cardinal All-Star who won 53 games from 1952-56. Rice caught for the Cards from 1945-55 and briefly in 1960.
No. 5 ILLINOIS
2B Red Schoendienst (Germantown); 1B Jim Bottomley (Oglesby); P Bob Caruthers (Chicago); IF Ken Oberkfell (Collinsville); LF Ray Blades (Mount Vernon).
Schoendienst’s hometown of Germantown is just 40 miles east of St. Louis. Bottomley was born in Oglesby and briefly attended Nokomis High before playing for the Cards from 1922-32. Caruthers pitched for St. Louis from 1884-87 and 1892, winning a league-best 40 games with a league-best 2.07 ERA in ’85.
Oberkfell hit .292 for the Cards from 1977-84. Blades, just 5-7 and 163 pounds, hit .301 with a .395 OBA from 1922-32. Reliever Jason Isringhausen, from Brighton, pitched for the Cards from 2002-08 and is the team’s all-time leader with 217 saves. Current shortstop Paul DeJong is from Antioch, Ill.
No. 6 TEXAS
2B Rogers Hornsby (Fort Worth); IF Matt Carpenter (Missouri City); P Woody Williams (Cypress); P Jaime Garcia (Mission).
This is a case where one player carries most of the weight for his state. Hornsby hit .359 with three .400-plus seasons and a .995 OPS in 13 St. Louis seasons. His 91.4 Cardinals WAR is second only to Musial’s 128.3.
After several decades without a terrific Texan, the Birds received a flock of them in the 21st century, most notably Carpenter, a three-time All-Star over nine seasons who twice (2013, 2015) led the NL in doubles.
Acquired in a 2001 trade for Ray Lankford, Williams immediately went 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 11 St. Louis starts. Two years later, he finished 18-9 with a 3.87 ERA and made the All-Star team. Born in Mexico, Garcia attended high school in Texas before an effective, albeit injury-riddled, eight-year stay (2008, 10-16) in St. Louis.
Michael Wacha, from Pleasant Grove High in Texarkana, had a solid seven-year run with the Cardinals, highlighted by his 2013 MVP performance in the NLCS vs. the Dodgers (2-0, 0.00 ERA). Paul Goldschmidt from The Woodlands was a six-time All-Star with the Diamondbacks before joining St. Louis a year ago.
NO. 7 OKLAHOMA
P Harry Brecheen (Ada); OF Matt Holliday (Stillwater); P Al Brazle (Lone Mound Township); Pepper Martin (Oklahoma City); P Lindy McDaniel (Hollis).
Brecheen (pronounced “bruh-KEEN) is the Redbirds’ most productive Sooner State player, with a 128-79 record and a 2.91 ERA over 11 seasons. And talk about clutch! — in seven World Series starts over three different seasons (1943, ’44, ’46), the 5-10 lefty was 4-1 with a 0.83 ERA.
There’s a three-way logjam for the next-best Oklahoma-raised Cardinal. A four-time St. Louis Cardinals All-Star, Holliday hit .293 with an .874 OPS from 2009-16, generating a 23.1 WAR that just edges Brazle (21.4) and Martin (21.2).
The lefty Brazle was a steady starter who turned reliever late in a 10-year career, all with St. Louis, that began in 1943. In 1952, the 38-year-old lefty went 12-5 with a 2.72 ERA and a league-leading 16 saves.
The 5-foot-8-inch Martin spent his entire 13-year career (1928, 1930-40, ’44) with the Cardinals and dominated the 1931 World Series, batting .500 (12 for 24) with five steals and a 1.330 OPS as the Cards beat the Philadelphia A’s in seven games. McDaniel debuted with the Cardinals as a 19-year-old in 1955 and peaked as a 24-year-old in 1960, going 12-4 with a 2.09 ERA and league-leading 27 saves.
No. 8 GEORGIA
1B Johnny Mize (Demorest); P Adam Wainwright (Brunswick); SS Marty Marion (Atlanta); OF J.D. Drew (Valdosta).
Mize compiled a 1.018 OPS over six St. Louis seasons (1936-41) and twice finished second in MVP voting (1939, ’40). He led the league in slugging percentage four times in a five-year stretch (1938-42), yet never struck out more than 49 times in any of those seasons.
Wainwright, you know about. His 36.3 pitcher’s WAR is fourth in Cardinals history, trailing Gibson, Dean, and Brecheen. Wainwright was acquired from the Braves in a 2003 deal that sent Drew to Atlanta. Considered a mild disappointment in St. Louis, Drew did hit .282 over six seasons with a healthy .875 OPS.
No. 9 NEW YORK
2B Frankie Frisch (the Bronx); 3B Joe Torre (Brooklyn); P Matt Morris (Montgomery); P Bill Hallahan (Binghamton); P Ted Wilks (Fulton).
Frisch was the NL MVP in 1931, and Torre won the MVP in 1971. Both managed the St. Louis Cardinals and both skippered teams to World Series championships, with Frisch guiding the Cardinals to the 1934 title and Torre winning four crowns with the Yankees (1996, 1998-2000).
A two-time All-Star, Morris won 101 games with a 3.61 ERA from 1997-05, peaking with a 22-8 record and a 3.16 ERA in 2001. “Wild Bill” Hallahan, a 5-10 lefty, won 93 games with the Cards from 1925-36, leading the league in strikeouts in 1930 and ’31. Wilks went 17-4 with a 2.64 ERA and a league-leading 1.069 WHIP as a 28-year-old rookie in 1944 but was primarily a reliever from 1946-51.
No. 10 ARKANSAS
P Dizzy Dean (Spaulding); P Lon Warneke (Owley); P Paul Dean (Spaulding); OF Wally Moon (Lake City).
The Dean brothers did Arkansas proud in the 1930s. Dizzy won 134 games with a 2.99 ERA from 1930-37. He won the NL MVP in the World Championship year of 1934, going 30-7 with a 2.66 ERA, and finished runner-up for the award in ’35 (28-12, 3.04 ERA, league-leading 190 Ks) and ’36 (24-13, 3.17 ERA, 195 Ks, league-leading 11 saves).
Younger brother Paul had back-to-back 19-win seasons in 1934 and ’35. Between them, the Dean boys famously won four games vs. the Tigers in the 1934 World Series. Warneke (pronounced WARN-a-key), known as “The Arkansas Hummingbird,” won 83 games for St. Louis from 1937-42. Moon hit .286 with an .813 OPS for the Redbirds from 1954-58.
No. 11 NEBRASKA
P Bob Gibson (Omaha); P Pete Alexander (St. Paul); OF Billy Southworth (Harvard).
There haven’t been many Nebraskans on the Cardinals, but the ones they’ve had have been special. The Redbirds’ greatest pitcher, Gibson won 251 games from 1959-75 and was voted to the Hall of Fame in 1981, his first year of eligibility.
Alexander spent his best years with the Phillies and Cubs but won 55 games with a .308 ERA with the Cardinals from 1926-29 and was a hero of the team’s first World Series champion in 1926. Southworth was a Cardinal for three years in the late-1920s and a manager in 1929 and 1940-45, leading the team to World Championships in 1942 and ’44.
No. 12 NORTH CAROLINA
OF Enos Slaughter (Roxboro); P Max Lanier (Denton); IF Jimmy Brown (Jamesville).
A Hall of Famer, Slaughter debuted in 1938 and spent 13 seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .305 with a .384 OBP and making 10 All-Star teams. His numbers would have been considerably better if he hadn’t missed three seasons in his late 20s to World War II.
Like Slaughter, Lanier broke in with St. Louis in 1938. The lefty won 101 games with a 2.84 ERA in 12 years with the Cards. A teammate of Slaughter and Lanier, Brown hit .282 from 1936-43. Middle infielder Mike Tyson, from Rocky Mount, hit .241 with a .285 OBP from 1972-79.
No. 13 LOUISIANA
LF Lou Brock (Monroe; P Howie Pollet (New Orleans); P Lynn McGlothen (Simsboro); P Lee Smith (Castor).
Brock hit .545 and led Southern University ( Baton Rouge) to the 1959 NAIA championship. Traded from the Cubs in 1964, he spent 16 seasons with the Cardinals. A lefty, Pollet broke in with the 1941 Redbirds and spent nine seasons with St. Louis, winning 97 games with a 3.06 ERA. McGlothen, pitched for the Cardinals from 1974-76, winning 44 games with a 3.49 ERA. Smith relieved for St. Louis from 1990-93 and twice led the league in saves.
No. 14 NEW JERSEY
OF Joe Medwick (Carteret); 1B-OF Joe Cunningham (Lodi); IF Dots Miller (Kearny).
Nicknamed “Ducky” and “Muscles,” Medwick was the last player to win the NL Triple Crown. In 1937, he led the NL with a .374 average, 31 homers and 154 RBI — he also led in hits (237), runs (111), doubles (56) and OPS (1.056). Medwick had two other top-five MVP finishes and averaged .335 with a .917 OPS in 11 seasons with the Cardinals.
Cunningham, who debuted in 1954, hit .304 with a .413 OBP in seven St. Louis seasons. Miller was a versatile infielder who played with the Cards from 1914-19 and hit .290 with 88 RBIs in 1914. Reliever Barney Schultz, from Burlington, played an essential role for the 1964 World Champion team, saving 14 games with a 1.64 ERA.
No. 15 FLORIDA
P Steve Carlton (Miami); OF Vince Coleman (Jacksonville); OF Jon Jay (Miami); SS David Eckstein (Sanford).
If managers counted on this list, Tony La Russa from Tampa would push Florida much higher. The St. Louis Cardinals don’t keep their Florida players around too long: Carlton was traded after seven years, Coleman left as a free agent after six, and Eckstein lasted just three years in St. Louis.
Although he blossomed in Philadelphia, Carlton was a three-time Cardinals All-Star who won 20 games in 1971. Coleman led the NL in steals in each of his six seasons (1985-90) in St. Louis, although his .326 OBP was unimpressive for a leadoff hitter. Jay hit .287 with a .354 OBP from 2010-15. The MVP of the 2006 World Series, Eckstein hit .364 in the five-game triumph over the Tigers.
No. 16 INDIANA
3B Scott Rolen (Jasper); P Lance Lynn (Brownsburg); P Andy Benes (Evansville).
A four-time All-Star and Gold Glover with St. Louis, Rolen peaked as a 29-year-old in 2004, batting .314 with 34 homers, 124 RBIs and a 1.007 OPS. A steady starter, Lynn won 18, 15, 15, and 12 games from 2012-15 with a career-best 2.74 ERA in 2014. Benes won 52 games in five seasons with St. Louis and posted a career-best 2.78 ERA in 2002, his last year in the majors.
No. 17 MICHIGAN
C Ted Simmons (Southfield); 2B Ted Sizemore (Detroit); SS Doc Lavan (Grand Rapids).
A couple of Teds bolstered the lineup in the 1970s. A six-time All-Star in St. Louis, Simmons hit .298 over 13 seasons, driving in 90-plus runs on six occasions. Acquired in a 1970 trade for Dick Allen, ex-Dodger Sizemore was a sturdy second baseman who hit .260 with a .329 OB over five seasons. A 5-8 shortstop who played for Branch Rickey at the University of Michigan, Lavan hit .255 for the Cards from 1919-24.
No. 18 MARYLAND
OF Brian Jordan (Baltimore); OF-P Dave Foutz (Waverly); CF Homer Smoot (Galestown)
Jordan spent his first seven seasons with the Redbirds, batting .291 with an .813 OPS from 1992-98. Foutz played with the NL St. Louis Browns from 1884-87, batting .357 with 108 RBIs his last year in St. Louis. One year earlier, he won a league-high 41 games with a league-best 2.11 ERA. Smoot grew up in Maryland, attended high school in Dover, Del., then returned to his home state for further education at Washington College in Chestertown. He hit .292 for the Cards from 1902-06.
No. 19 NEW HAMPSHIRE
P Chris Carpenter (Manchester); P Bob Tewksbury (Penacook).
A three-time All-Star, Carpenter went 95-44, a .683 winning percentage, with a 3.07 ERA from 2004-12. He was even better in the postseason, going 10-4 with a 3.00 ERA overall and winning two games vs. the Rangers as the Cardinals took the 2011 World Series. Tewksbury pitched for the Cardinals from 1989-94, peaking with an All-Star season in 1992 in which he finished 16-5 with a 2.16 ERA and came in third in Cy Young voting.
No. 20 MASSACHUSETTS
P John Tudor (Danvers); 3B Arlie Latham (Stoneham).
If not for the Mets’ Dwight Gooden (24-4, 1.53 ERA), Tudor would’ve been a Cy Young winner in 1985, his first year with the St. Louis Cardinals. The soft-throwing lefty went 20-1 after a 1-7 start and finished with a 1.93 ERA and a league-high 10 shutouts.
In five seasons with St. Louis, Tudor was 62-25 (a .705 winning percentage) with a 2.52 ERA. A prankster known as “The Freshest Man on Earth,” Latham played for the NL Browns from 1883-89 and averaged 124 runs scored from ’84-89. He stole 129 bases in 1887 and 109 in ’88.
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Many other states can claim a quality Cardinal or two. Second basemen Tom Herr went to high school in Delaware, Tim McCarver arrived from Tennessee, Rip Repulski from Minnesota and Ed Konetchy from Wisconsin. But most of the best U.S.-raised Cardinals came from the 20 states mentioned above.