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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Third Base: Ken Boyer, 58 WAR

Did you know that Ken Boyer was originally signed as a pitcher? Yep! In 1949 the St. Louis Cardinals signed the Missouri native as a pitcher and in only his second season in the minors the third baseman at the time got injured and Boyer took over, showed he could hit, and that was the last time he saw the mound for the Cardinals.

He earned himself the nickname "The Capitan" by being a cornerstone, and a key contributor to the Cardinals throughout the late 1950s and the better part of the 1960s as well (1955-1965). Ken Boyer was an 11x All-star, five-time gold glover, and the 1964 NL MVP and World Series Champion. Boyer had double-digit home runs in every one of the 11 seasons he played with the Cardinals, including eight with 20+, and eclipsed 90+ RBIs in 8 of the 11 seasons as well, including two with 100+.

The late Mike Shannon had this to say about Boyer when asked by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2009. "He wasn't flashy. Everything he did, he did smoothly. He just did the job. And if you look up his stats, those are pretty good stats. He was like the Clydesdale of third basemen. He was a great big, strong guy who had a lot of grace. He was the prototype third baseman."

Speaking of the 1964 World Series the Cardinals were trailing 3-0 against the Yankees in game 4 when Boyer smacked a go-ahead sixth-inning grand slam to prevent his team from going 3 games to 1 down. He was a leader and a true Cardinal. After he was traded to the Mets after the 1965 season, Boyer spent time with the Mets, White Sox, and Dodgers before eventually retiring in 1969. He later returned to coach and manage in the Cardinals minor league system in the 1970s before taking over the big league club from 1978 to 1980.

Sadly he passed of lung cancer in '82 at the young age of 51. He's the only non-Hall-of-Famer to have his number retired on the Busch stadium wall.

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