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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Left Field: Stan Musial, 126.6 WAR

Though Musial played most of his games at 1B, 1016, Pujols played more. Therefore he starts in LF in this lineup where he played 929.

"Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight." That is what it reads on his statue outside of the third base gate at Busch Stadium. Words of former commissioner Ford C. Frick upon Stans's eventual retirement in 1963. If you're familiar with Cardinals baseball, you're familiar with Stan Musial. Truly if you're familiar with baseball in general, you should be familiar with "The Man". It's no surprise to find Stan Musial at the top of this list of All-time WAR leaders for the Cardinals. After all, he did play his entire 22-year MLB career, from 1941-1962, with the Birds across his chest.

1969 Hall of Fame inductee, Stan Musial was a 24x all-star, 7x batting champion, 3x MVP, and most importantly a 3x World Series champion. In his 22-year MLB career, he hit over .300 in 18 of those seasons. Of his 3,630 career hits, he had 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 hits on the road. Stan's highest single-season WAR was in 1948 (11.3) and it was truly something remarkable. His slash line was a ridiculous .376/.450/.702 to go along with 39 HRs and leading in a number of other categories: Runs, hits, doubles, triples, and RBIs.

Though he was one home run off from securing the Triple Crown, he did win the NL MVP that season. With Musial, the Cardinals won 105+ games every year from 1942-1944 and didn't finish below 2nd once in the 1940's capturing three World Series Championships in 1942, 1944, and 1946 claiming four pennants in total.

Not only was his on-the-field play something to behold, but he was regarded as a fan favorite off the field too due to his scandal-free character. For one he missed the entire 1945 season serving in the military. He would often be seen doing magic tricks for the kids or playing his harmonica for fans. Later in life Musial also received the presidential medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country, signifying as President Obama called "the best of those we aspire to be.". Stan sadly passed in January 2013.

Stan Musial stands 1st in many Cardinals all-time records still to this day. Hits (3630), home runs (475), Doubles (725), Triples (177), Runs (1949), RBIs (1951), BB (1599), and games played (3026). Many people wonder what it would have been like if Albert would have stayed and played his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals and if he would have been able to catch and surpass Stan on some or many of these records. Though we will never know that, one thing is for sure, Stan Musial did stay, and the things he did helped make the St. Louis franchise what it is today.

Next: A center field flooding.