The 3 greatest infields in St. Louis Cardinals history

Ozzie Smith #1 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws to second base from his knees against the New York Mets during a Major League baseball game circa 1989 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Smith played for the Cardinals from 1982-96. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Ozzie Smith #1 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws to second base from his knees against the New York Mets during a Major League baseball game circa 1989 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Smith played for the Cardinals from 1982-96. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats during a MLB game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Cardinals won 7-0. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats during a MLB game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Cardinals won 7-0. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /

Just how good was the Cardinals’ 2004 infield?

Pretty impressive group that was on the field  in 2004.

Let’s look at this group. Scott Rolen at third, Edgar Renteria at short, Tony Womack at second, Albert Pujols at first and Mike Matheny at catcher. Rolen, Renteria, Pujols, and Matheny won 16 Gold Gloves combined during their careers, while Rolen and Matheny earned Gold Gloves in 2004.

Rolen, as we all know, is one of the best at his position in baseball history. The 8-time Gold Glover was no less in 2004. Rolen led the NL among 3rd baseman in Assists, was second in Total Zone Runs, second in Range Factor and fourth in Fielding Percentage. More impressive, he led the NL in Defensive WAR at 3.3.

On top of winning a Gold Glove in 2004, Matheny led the NL in Fielding Percentage for catchers (.999) and was second in Total Zone Runs and third in Double Plays Turned.

2-time Gold Glove winner Edgar Renteria was fourth in Fielding Percentage among NL Shortstops, fourth in Assists and Putouts and fifth in Double Plays Turned.

Womack filled in at second base in 2004 and was second in Total Zone Runs among NL second basemen. He was also third in Assists and fourth in Double Plays Turned.

However, it was Pujols’ play at first base that helps distinguish this infield as possibly one of the best in Cardinal history. He led all National League first basemen in putouts (1,458) and  also led all NL 1st basemen in Double Plays Turned, Total Zone Runs, Range Factor, and was third in Assists.

Finally, Matheny’s backup at catcher in 2004 would eventually be 8-time Gold Glover Yadier Molina. Molina appeared in 51 games after being called up on June 4.

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