The St. Louis Cardinals all-time best starting lineup based on WAR

Compiling the Cardinals' all-time best starting lineup based on WAR created some surprising lineup choices
Albert Pujols sits at 88.8 WAR for his career as a Cardinal, but where does that rank him all-time?
Albert Pujols sits at 88.8 WAR for his career as a Cardinal, but where does that rank him all-time? / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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Designated Hitter: Yadier Molina, 42.3 WAR

So, how do we determine who bats as a DH in your all-time WAR lineup? Well, here we decided to give it to the next highest-ranking WAR leader that didn't crack the starting lineup. Just a few ticks below Simmons's career 45 WAR with the Cardinals, and tied with Curt Flood for 8th highest at 42.3, Yadier Molina.

Ted Simmons may have had the bat and the peak that Yadi did not, Molina had the longevity and the career. Yadi spent his entire 19-year career in a St. Louis Cardinals Uniform from 2004-2022. He was even drafted in the 4th round of the 2000 amateur players draft by the Cards and spent the third most games for the Cardinals in franchise history at 2,224 right behind Lou Brock at 2,289, and Musial's impressive 3,026. He endeared the hearts of millions and defined what it meant to be a Cardinal for the early part of this century.

Molina wasn't known for his bat early on batting a putrid .216 for the entirety of the 2006 season, he did have one of the biggest home runs in Cardinals postseason history and his career in Game 7 of the NLCS. This helped lead the Cardinals to their first World Series victory since 1982.
Molina once again helped lead the improbable 2011 Cardinals to their most recent 2011 World Series Championship as well. He was a leader and a winner. He did find success and consistency with his offense as his career went on. He eventually captured his one and only Silver Slugger award in 2013 as he hit .319 for the year in a season where he finished 3rd in the MVP voting while also winning a Gold Glove and being named to one of his 10 all-star teams. He also hit more than 20 home runs twice, once in 2012, and another in 2018.

He was known for his glove, and arm, winning nine Gold Gloves and arguably deserved to win a few more. Even before he made his major league debut there are stories of then Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny spotting Molina on a backfield in spring training and realizing immediately that Molina would soon take his job. Molina would often make the difficult plays routine and was universally cited as being a calming presence behind the plate and very few runners ever dared to run on him.

In the end, the future Hall-of-Famer Molina ranks 1st in games caught, 1st in home runs by a catcher, and 1st in our hearts. A leader like him is why he will be DHing in our All-time WAR team

Next: What would our line-up look like?