We are on the brink of the 2023 World Series, but unfortunately, this year's cast of characters will not feature the Cardinals, who are having one of their most disappointing seasons in franchise history.
The Cardinals haven't missed the postseason since 2018, but are slowly approaching that mark and are also going to finish under .500 for the first time since 2007, barring an unlikely 18-game winning streak.
But even with the Cardinals out of contention, it's important to remember that the postseason has often been where they shine the brightest. They won't get that opportunity this year, but they may have a chance to add some more memorable moments in 2024 if they play their cards right and improve their roster.
We'll focus more on that when the season comes to an end. But dating back to 2011, the last time the Cardinals won the World Series, there have been some truly memorable and remarkable moments that have taken place in the postseason for the team and the City of St. Louis.
Cardinals fans have been blessed to have a team that with the exception of this year, is usually right in the thick of the postseason chase. We can only hope that 2023 is a rare outlier and that the Cardinals are back in the race in 2024.
In this piece, we will be looking back at the many years the Cardinals have been able to compete in the postseason and recall three of the most memorable postseason moments in franchise history.
David Freese's walk-off home run
It's hard to believe it's already been almost 12 years since this happened.
Game 6 of the 2011 World Series was full of spectacular moments that will live on in Cardinals' history. But the one that stands out the most came in the bottom of the 11th inning.
The Cardinals had rallied from two runs down twice leading up to this moment and were even one strike away from elimination each time. Freese tied the game with a triple in the ninth before the Cardinals were saved again by Lance Berkman the next inning.
The game was tied at nine runs apiece in the 11th, and Freese led off the bottom half of the inning.
The count ran full, but Freese came through, taking a 3-2 pitch from Rangers reliever Mark Lowe and crushing it out to deep center field. The ball cleared the wall, and Joe Buck exclaimed, "We will see you tomorrow night!"
Today, the patch of grass where the ball landed is known as "Freese's Landing."
2012 NLDS comeback against the Nationals
Less than a year later, the Cardinals found themselves in familiar territory in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals.
After trailing 6-0, the Cardinals came to within 6-5 before allowing an insurance run to make it 7-5.
In the top of the ninth, the Nationals came to within one strike of ending the Cardinals' title defense. But walks to Yadier Molina and David Freese set up the tying run for Daniel Descalso, who lined one up the middle to drive in two runs to even the score.
A couple of pitches later, Pete Kozma drove in the go-ahead runs. Jason Motte proceeded to shut the door and send the Cardinals to the NLCS.
2014 NLDS comeback against the Dodgers
The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead in Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS against the Dodgers. The team had historically had a lot of postseason success against Clayton Kershaw.
However, it was Adam Wainwright who ultimately turned in a clunker, allowing six runs and exiting the game early. Meanwhile, Kershaw settled into a groove, but the cracks in the armor began to reveal themselves late in the game.
St. Louis inched to within 6-4 and loaded the bases with two outs for Matt Carpenter, who worked the count full against the reigning Cy Young. Finally, Carpenter got the upper hand and hit a liner into the gap in right-center. Three runs scored and the Cardinals took a 7-6 lead. They ultimately held on to win Game 1 by a final of 10-9.