What Happened to the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals? Matt Holliday Edition

Aug 27, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday celebrates with members of the Cardinals Red Jacket Club after he was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday celebrates with members of the Cardinals Red Jacket Club after he was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cardinals Matt Holliday
Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals crosses home plate after hitting a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 30, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Post-2011 Career

Signed through 2016 and starting to move deeper into his 30s, Holliday continued to be a top contributor to a surging Cardinals team. From 2012-2015, spurring St. Louis to a great deal of playoff success coupled with three seasons of MVP votes and a couple of All-Star appearances helped solidify Holliday as a face of the franchise.

The signs of regression were starting to rear their ugly head, however, and Matt Holliday’s elite production was gradually dwindling as the years went on. A major setback occurred during the 2015 campaign, when Holliday missed the majority of the season, including what would have been his seventh All-Star game, due to multiple injuries to his right quad.

By 2016, Holliday’s time with St. Louis was nearing its end. Having turned 36 before the season, Holliday’s OPS sunk to a career-low, though still respectable .782, slashing .246/.322/.461. He still posted an impressive 20 home runs, the last coming in the final series of the year in what was an equally emotional moment for both him and the 43,000 fans there to see him.

On September 30 in an evening match against the visiting Pirates, Holliday fought back tears as he came to the plate in what very well could have been his last at-bat as a St. Louis Cardinal. The crowd recognized the moment and showered him with the adoration his incredible 8-year run in St. Louis deserved. Quickly falling behind in an 0-2 count, Holliday took the next pitch deep into the right field bullpen, prompting a full-blown eruption from the crowd.

A swarm of hugs from long-time teammates ensued, and for a brief moment, Holliday stepped up for a well-earned curtain call. Though this wouldn’t be his very last appearance, it still sat and sits well as a fitting end to a cherished era in Cardinals’ history.

Though his time in St. Louis had come to its end, Holliday still wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, and the 2016 offseason would see him wearing pinstripes once more. This time, however, they would be black instead of purple. Signing a 1-year, $13 million dollar deal through the 2017 season, Matt Holliday was headed east as the newest, and ironically oldest member of the New York Yankees.

The 2017 season featured a pair of incredible milestones for Holliday, helping solidify him as one of the greatest players in baseball history. On April 8 in a mid-afternoon match against the Baltimore Orioles, Holliday recorded his 2,000th hit with a clean single to right field. Just less than a month later, Holliday crushed his 300th career home run, becoming just the 93rd player in major league history to be able to boast both milestones. Holliday finished the 2017 campaign with a nearly identical, albeit slightly inferior stat line to the one he posted in 2016, hitting 19 home runs and slashing .231/.316/.432.

Putting up by far his worst numbers in two consecutive years, the 38-year-old slugger was left unsigned as the MLB kicked off its 2018 season.  Holliday’s status as a free agent continued until July when he was finally picked up on a minor league deal by his old team, the Colorado Rockies. Despite playing just 25 games in the majors that year, he nevertheless finished what wound up being the final games of his career just as he started it—fighting hard to be a contributor. The Rockies went on to beat the Cubs in a Wild-Card thriller, but their dreams were quickly shattered in the next round with a sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers.

With the conclusion of the Rockies’ 2018 season, so too did the storied saga of Matt Holliday come to an end. That is, for his time as a player.

For his service as a longtime Cardinal, Holliday was awarded the prestigious and widely coveted honor of being inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame on August 27, 2022.

To the great delight of Cardinals Twitter, Matt Holliday was officially announced as the team’s new bench coach just two months later, reuniting him with longtime teammate and friend Adam Wainwright. The reunion isn’t set to be all fun and games, however:

From all appearances, Holliday is about, if not the best guy you could possibly pick up to be the Cardinals’ new bench coach. He brings over a decade of experience as a star and as a winner, and the insight he’ll be able to bring to the table will be invaluable for a team trying to usher in a new age of players. Nothing is for certain, of course, and time will tell, but hopes are certainly high for 2023.

Next. What happened to the 2011 Cardinals? Part 1. dark