The 7 biggest issues that led to the demise of the St. Louis Cardinals

Over a decade ago, the Cardinals were the class of Major League Baseball. Oh how the mighty have fallen, and these 7 issues are at the core of their demise.
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Harvey Dent had a point, and the St. Louis Cardinals seem to have embodied that quote in the eyes of their own fanbase in recent years.

While Bill DeWitt III may think it's the "casual" fans who have seen enough of the club's decline to take it much longer, just looking at the empty seats in Busch Stadium as of late, fan surveys like the one done by The Athletic before the season, and the general vibes on social media tell you that even the most passionate and optimistic fans struggle to see the light anymore.

Frankly, ownership will have to see it sooner or later as well. The frustration fans have in 2024 is not just boil over from the failure of a year that 2023 was, it's been the compounding issues that fans, media, and industry insiders have seen for years that are finally rearing their ugly heads in St. Louis.

Look, a losing season is not the end of the world. It's virtually impossible for an organization to maintain the level of success the Cardinals did during John Mozeliak's tenure. Yes, fans want more World Series championships, and rightfully so, but the accolades are there.

  • The club set a franchise record with five straight postseason trips from 2011-2015, including a World Series title in 2011, four straight NLCS appearances from 2011-2014, and another World Series appearance in 2013. In fact, during that stretch of NLCS appearances, the Cardinals either won the World Series or lost to the eventual champion every year.
  • The Cardinals are tied for the fourth most World Series championships since 2007, with only three clubs winning multiple titles in that time period.
  • 15 consecutive winning seasons from 2008-2022
  • Six National League Central titles.
  • The third most winnings of any Major League Baseball team during John Mozeliak's tenure.

I'm not trying to kiss the front office's ring here, I'm just pointing out that it's been a successful era, but it's clear that in recent years, things have fallen off, and now it feels like the wheels are completely off the tracks.

Since 2015, things have taken a noticeable shift. Let's break up the John Mozeliak tenure into two time periods: 2008-2015 and 2016-2024.

Mozeliak's tenure


Postseason appearances

NL Central Titles

NLCS Appearances

WS Titles


728-568 (.562 win%)






647-583 (.526 win%)





Have they still been competitive since 2016? Sure. But they haven't been one of the premier contenders like the Dodgers, Braves, or Astors since 2015. And while their culture was able to help them rebound from a difficult three-year stretch from 2016-2018, they have truly slipped into mediocrity since Game 2 of the 2022 Wild Card Series.

As we sit on what I believe to be the beginning of the end of the John Mozeliak era, I think it's time that we take a look back at what led to the demise of the St. Louis Cardinals. Again, this is not some hit piece on Mozeliak, as the issues don't all fall on his shoulders, but it is clear that it's time for major changes in St. Louis, and these six issues contributed to their downfall.