clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

i'll have seconds

most seasons in the all-star game as a cardinal:

  1. musial 20
  2. ozzie 14
  3. slaughter 10
  4. schoendienst 9
  5. gibson 8
    marion 8
  6. boyer 7
  7. pujols 6
    simmons 6
    brock 6
    medwick 6
  8. bill white 5
  9. mcgee 4
    torre 4
    rolen 4
    mize 4
musial actually appeared in 24 games, as they held two annual all-star games from 1959 - 1962. pujols' figure includes this year; he missed the game in his sophomore season. edmonds only made it 3 times. i may have missed a player or two; if i did, add the correction in the comments.

i use david pinto's day-by-day database a lot; it's an incredible tool, for which we should all be grateful. today i used it to troll around for the best 2d-half performances in cardinal history. the database only goes back to 1957, and i'll be honest --- i didn't check every year. but i checked a lot of them, and i'm about 90 percent certain that i haven't misstated anything in the list below. again, i'll rely on the community to correct any oversights.

most rbi (non-enhanced): bill white 1964 and joe torre 1971, 72
overall line: white .338 / .393 / .545, 14 HR, 72 RBI; torre .368 / .431 / .574, 10 HR, 72 RBI
white, a perennial all-star coming off two consecutive 100-rbi seasons, redeemed a terrible first half in which he slugged just .394 and knocked in 30 runs. he was the nl's second-half leader in rbi and ranked 2d in doubles, 3d in batting average, and 6th in slugging; finished 3d in the mvp voting (which his teammate ken boyer won). torre led the league in 2d-half rbi, batting average, and of all things triples --- he hit 6. this is slightly --- but only slightly --- less likely than having yadi molina lead the league in triples for a half-season. the leader in the "enhanced" category, obviously, is mark mcgwire, who knocked in 75 runs in the 2d-half of 1999. surprisingly he only drove in 60 in the 2d half of 1998, despite hitting 33 hrs.

most runs: lou brock 1964, 70
overall line: .350 / .392 / .540, 11 HR, 70 R, 25 SB
when the cardinals acquired brock, 3 weeks before the all-star break, he was hitting .251 / .300 / .340; his career batting average was .250something in about 1200 at-bats. something about the water in st louis agreed with him, i guess; he batted .360 in his first week with the cards and slugged almost .700. in the second half of the year he trailed only hank aaron in batting average and only willie davis in stolen bases; he tied dick allen for the major-league lead in runs scored. to give you an idea of how baseball has changed over the years, brock had nearly as many sacrifice hits in the second half (10) as homers (11); only chico ruiz had more sac bunts in the 2d half.

most homers / best slugging average (non-enhanced): albert pujols 2004, 24 and .721
overall line: .361 / .433 / .721, 24 HR, 63 RBI, 61 R
at least, we presume non-enhanced . . . . pujols led the league in batting in the 2d half of 2004 and finished 2d in everything else. barry bonds outslugged and out-obp'd him; adrian beltre bested him in homers and rbi; jimmy rollins scored a few more runs. this came after a first half that vaguely resembles what albert has done so far this season:

2004 312 72 95 26 0 22 60 49 | .304 .399 .599 160
2004 310 50 96 16 0 16 52 53 | .310 .411 .516 146

if you put albert's great 2004 2d half together with his transcendent first half from 2006 --- during which albert spent 21 days on the dl --- here's what you get:

536 124 182 30 2 53 139 87 | .340 .432 .700

mcgwire's 2d-half hr totals for 1998 and 1999 were 33 and 37, respectively; his slugging averages were .734 and .810.

second-best batting average: keith hernandez 1979 and willie mcgee 1985, .367
overall lines: hernandez .367 / .440 / .525, 4 HR, 48 RBI, mcgee .367 / .399 / .534, 7 HR, 43 RBI, 20 SB
these guys were outpointed by joe torre 1971 (.368); all three players won the mvp award in their respective years. hernandez led the league in 2d-half batting average, doubles (24), and runs (57) and finished 2d in obp; mcgee also led the loop in batting and runs (59), as well as triples (8).

best obp (non-enhanced): jim edmonds 2004, .452
overall line: .323 / .452 / .705, 21 HR, 55 RBI
again, "non-enhanced" is assumed. jimmy only ranked 4th in the league in this category, behind bonds, jt snow, and todd helton; in slugging he trailed bonds and pujols. mcgwire had a .455 obp in the 2d half of 1998.

most wins: bob gibson 1968 and john tudor 1985, 11
overall lines: gibson 11-4, 1.19, 14 CG, 7 SHO; tudor 11-1, 1.59, 8 CG, 6 SHO
plenty has been said and written about gibson, but tudor's performance was nearly as good; his 2d-half era+ was 222, compared to gibson's 244. two other pitchers were nearly as dominant as tudor in 1985 --- orel hershiser and dwight gooden both beat him in era (1.34 each) and equaled him in wins (hershiser was 11-0, gooden 11-1). for good measure, bob welch went 11-3 with a 2.37 era in the second half. but the cgs and shos are what tell the tale of tudor's second half --- he went the distance nearly half his 2d-half starts and held the opposition scoreless in more than a third of them.

second-best era: ray washburn 1968, 1.34
overall line: 8-5, 1.34 ERA, 6 CG, 3 SHO
obviously gibson holds this record, but washburn made the contest a lot closer than i ever suspected. his 2d-half era led all big league pitchers in 1968 except gibson; he threw a no-hitter during this stretch too. came outta nowhere --- prior to this washburn's career era was in the high 3.00s, right around league average in those days; his first-half era of 3.58 was well above the league average in 1968. washburn got mashed in the world series, lasting only 7.1 innings in 2 starts; he went 3-8 in 1969, had a 6.92 era in 1970, and never pitched again. his 2d half thus has to rank as one of the most freakish performances in recent franchise history.