The 2020 season wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the St. Louis Cardinals, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t special moments to be thankful for.
At the end of the day, fans were lucky to have baseball at all in 2020. For all their warts and shortcomings, the St. Louis Cardinals still made the playoffs and finished the season above .500.
The biggest thing that I think most fans took from the season was that 60 games (or 58 in the Cardinals case) just wasn’t enough baseball to scratch the itch. In a terribly weird year, a terribly weird spring without baseball wasn’t very fun. Even when the season did get going, it was frequently overshadowed by positive COVID-19 tests and the persistent wondering of when it was all going to come crashing down.
However, the league did it. They got through the season just in time and crowned the Dodgers as champions. On this beautiful Thanksgiving, I want to look back at those moments that did make 2020 feel a lot less bad for Cardinals fans.
No. 1: Dylan Carlson’s first MLB home run
There was no bigger storyline for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020 than Dylan Carlson and when he would make his long-awaited debut. After the team’s 17-day COVID break, the call was made and the 21-year-old was thrown straight into the MLB fire.
Even though Carlson ended up hitting just .200 by season’s end, his second stint up with the club brought a much better version of Carlson. During his first stint though, he did notch his first major league home run at Busch Stadium on August 23.
Sadly, there was an issue with MLB Film Room causing that highlight to not be available, but the link to the homer through Baseball Savant is right here.
While the reaction would’ve surely been much more memorable with fans in the stands, that is a moment a lot of fans have been waiting for for a long time.
No. 2: Brad Miller hitting the longest homer of the season
While I would argue that the most memorable long blast of the season was this one hit at Wrigley Field by Paul Goldschmidt, that 443 ft blast fell three feet short of the longest homer hit of the season.
At 446 ft, Brad Miller put this ball deeeeeep onto Freese’s lawn in center.
Off the bat, it did not seem like this ball was going to go this far, but a projected 446 ft is no easy feat.
No. 3: Adam Wainwright’s 9-inning complete game
One of the biggest questions about the offseason is whether or not the Cardinals will bring back Adam Wainwright and Adam Wainwright. Over the past two seasons, Waino has reinvigorated his career, proving he still has some in the tank at the ages of 38 and 39.
In a season where we saw plenty of pitchers throw seven-inning complete games, Waino proved he could still throw a nine-inning complete game too.
On his 39th birthday, he allowed just four hits and two runs while striking out nine over nine innings against the Indians.
Waino turned back the clock and threw his first complete game since 2016. Whether or not he ends up coming back, this performance from 2020 is a great thing to be thankful for.
No. 4: Yadier Molina’s 2,000th hit
2020 saw Yadier Molina add a huge mark to his Hall of Fame resume with his 2,000th hit. Though his on-field production has continued to decline, Molina has continued to be the most clutch Cardinal by a good amount.
This single in the seventh inning of a game in the final weekend of the season was another long-awaited moment.
Molina and Waino have both been pillars of the franchise for the past 15 seasons and these final two moments could be a ceremonious ending to their careers here if that is the case. Right now, their futures with the team are still up in the air, but these moments will join all the other great moments the two have had in their careers here.
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The 2020 season may not have gone how any fans or players wanted, but these moments should hopefully give fans something to smile and be thankful for on this happy Thanksgiving.