St. Louis Cardinals History: All-Time Best Bullpen Based on WAR

St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates
St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates / George Gojkovich/GettyImages
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4. Ted Wilks (7.8 WAR from 1946-1951)

Not a household name, but when it comes to being one of the pioneers of late-inning relief in Cardinals history, Wilks was one of those pitchers.

Wilks was mostly a starter in his first two major league seasons, going 21-11 with a 2.74 ERA, including leading the league in win percentage (17-4) and WHIP (1.07) in 1944. He moved to the bullpen full-time in 1946 due to arm troubles going a perfect 8-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 95 innings pitched, helping the Cardinals win the World Series for the second time in three years. Former Cardinal catcher and legendary broadcaster Joe Garagiola is credited for giving the Wilks the nickname "the cork" for being the stopper late in games.

After a down year in 1947 (5.01 ERA in 37 appearances) he had a 2.62 ERA and recorded 13 saves in 1948. Then in '49, he led the leagues in games pitched (59) all in relief and in saves (9). He also led the league in saves in 1951 with 13 in split time with the Cardinals and the Pirates.