What Happened to the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals? Part 1: Infielders
As the Cardinals’ magical run of 2022 has come to its end, St. Louis must bid farewell to the last two active members of the championship squad of 2011, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. But what happened to the rest of the 2011 roster?
As the curtain falls on the Cardinals’ 2022 season, so too has an era come to its end—simply to be but a beloved memory in the annals of the historic franchise. Cherished icons of the city of St. Louis, catcher Yadier Molina and first baseman/DH Albert Pujols, who have collectively posted nearly 40 years of service time in their illustrious careers, announced their retirements at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign. As the last bastion of the 2011 championship squad, their collective retirement marks the end of that roster’s tenure in the big leagues.
With the Cardinals eliminated at the hands of the Phillies, that dreaded day has finally arrived, and their longtime teammate and friend Adam Wainwright, whether it be this year or in the next couple of seasons, will follow in their footsteps. In the trio’s absence, the team will be forced to find a new identity in the upcoming years.
But what about the rest of that storied 2011 roster? While a few incredible careers sputtered out within just a few seasons, a great number of them bounced around the league and only concluded within the last few years.
In this series, we’ll go extensively through each part of the team, leading off with the Cardinals infield. Without further ado, here is what happened to the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals:
2B Skip Schumaker
Coming into the 2011 season, Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker was entering his seventh year in the bigs, as well as with the franchise. While the 31-year-old wasn’t known for his power, hitting just 28 home runs in his career, he consistently found ways to get on base, hitting over .300 from 2007-2009.
Schumaker remained consistent to his prior performance in 2011, hitting 19 doubles and two home runs for an OPS of .685, slashing .283/.333/.351.
However, Schumaker’s major contribution to the championship run would come later in the year, when he came up big in Game 5 of the NLDS against the powerhouse Philadelphia Phillies. After shortstop Rafael Furcal kicked off the rubber match with a leadoff triple, Schumaker battled through a tough, 10 pitch at-bat against ace Roy Halladay, ultimately bringing him in with a double to deep right field. This was all the offense the Cardinals would need, as the normally dominant Phillies offense went silent at the hands of Chris Carpenter.
This ended the last appearance the Phillies made in the postseason. That is, until this year, when they ironically faced the Cardinals once again—this time with a very different conclusion.
This came after a fascinating oddity that happened just two days before when St. Louis hosted Game 4 of the divisional series. In a fifth-inning matchup against pitcher Roy Oswalt (who, funny enough, came second in 2001 rookie of the year voting behind Albert Pujols), a squirrel ran right across home plate, brushing past Schumaker’s pant leg before making a quick getaway into the stands. Oswalt shared none of the crowd’s enthusiasm for the spectacle, as well as Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who in an interview professed that the squirrel would have been toast if he had a firearm at his disposal.
After 2011, Schumaker played just one more season with the Cardinals, where, once again, he put up a year of consistent production, similar to prior years. Interestingly, he hit four triples during his 2012 campaign, which was more than he posted in his last three years combined.
A trade at the end of 2012 saw the veteran second baseman don a new uniform for the first time in his career. Schumaker would be playing the 2013 season with the Dodgers. In the midst of two blowouts during the regular season, he notably pitched two innings on two separate occasions. He escaped both innings without allowing an earned run, and capped off his second appearance with a strikeout of Humberto Quintero. He slashed .263/.332/.332 through 356 plate appearances.
Schumaker went on to sign a two-year, $5 million dollar contract with the Cincinnati Reds. This reunited him with an old acquaintance in Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who had also been GM of the Cardinals when Schumaker was drafted in 2001. His time with the Reds, however, saw a steep decline in his production, slashing .238/.297/.322 over the 2014-2015 seasons.
By the time 2016 came around, the 36-year-old Schumaker, then a member of the Padres on a minor league deal, was ready to hang it up and call it a career.
Though he wouldn’t be playing on the diamond, Schumaker continued to take an active part in the sport, joining the Padres as their first-base coach in 2017 and later becoming an associate manager in 2020. Following the end of the 2021 season, he made a return to St. Louis as the Cardinals’ bench coach, which is where he stands today.