The Cardinals are letting the fans decide on a 2017 bobblehead giveaway for the following nominees: Jack Clark, Jason Isringhausen, Lee Smith, Orlando Cepeda, Ray Lankford, Scott Rolen, and Tom Herr. That’s a pretty lofty list.
I suppose by association alone I should have voted for Cepeda, who coined “El Birdos” but I had to punch my ballot for Lankford. Since the league integrated, the Cardinals have employed several great centerfielders and Lankford’s 40.4 fWAR with the team is second only to Jim Edmonds (42.4), and eclipses Curt Flood (36.3) and Willie McGee (20.8). Lankford is too often forgotten because he was the best player on some mediocre teams and had some of his best seasons while playing in Mark McGwire’s shadow.
Edmonds was more exciting, Flood more important (you can probably say that about any player not named Jackie Robinson), and McGee more beloved. The best I can say about Lankford is that he was the most under-appreciated Cardinal of my lifetime. I don’t think that quite gives his career justice, but I think the Baseball Prospectus 2005 Annual captures him nicely:
In all likelihood, the curtain has dropped on a highly underrated career. He was the best center fielder in the National League in 1997 and '98, and he gave his employers a decade of strong plate production and capable defense. Heck, he even hit like a house afire this past April when no one expected anything thing from him. Lankford merited better from the St. Louis front office during the latter part of his career, and he deserves to be remembered as one of the best of the "has no prayer at the Hall of Fame" sub-stratum of greatness.
So give him a vote and let’s get Ray Lankford his bobblehead.
Here’s what you may have missed yesterday at VEB:
I wondered aloud whether Cardinals fan support could stagnate after a few more disappointing seasons. Don’t bother reading the comments, they’re unanimous in agreement with my point of view.
Joe Schwarz broke down Brett Cecil’s repertoire of pitches. If all goes according to plan, having a lefty who can reliably get lefties out is pretty exciting even if a four-year contract sounds like a long time.
Josey Curtis has the rundown on what the affiliates are up to.
Lil Scooter’s battle of the uniforms has come to a close and the winner is 1969 with a special appearance from the current home alternates. I enjoyed this each week even if we all know in our heart of hearts that the 80s pullover uniforms should have won.
That’s it, that’s all. Have a great Tuesday, everyone.