The St. Louis Cardinals are off today, but starting tomorrow, they will have a three-game series against the New York Mets, a baseball squadron which came into existence in 1962. The franchise has had its highs and lows, and they’ve had some notable interactions with the Cardinals over the years: the two teams alternated NL East titles in the mid-1980s and Carlos Beltran was a noted observer of Adam Wainwright’s curveball in 2006. Also, there have been several notable players who played for both teams.
My friend Ben Province, whom you can follow on Twitter and who hosts a terrific music interview show, enjoys compiling all-time teams of players who each played for multiple franchises. He created a Cardinals/Mets list in December and (with his permission) I’m going to run through that lineup.
C—Eli Marrero: A rare catcher/outfielder, Marrero spent most of his career in St. Louis before being sent to the Atlanta Braves in the Adam Wainwright trade, Marrero briefly played for the Mets in 2006. Fun fact: Marrero had the best baserunning season among catchers in baseball history according to FanGraphs.
1B—Keith Hernandez: Although his iconography lies primarily with the Mets (thanks a lot, Seinfeld), Hernandez was a co-MVP with the Cardinals in 1979 and was a key part of the 1982 World Series champions.
2B—Fernando Vina: Although eventually a gold glove winner in St. Louis, Vina was a Met in the lost 1994 season before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers to complete an earlier trade for Doug Henry.
SS—Garry Templeton: Cardinals fans tend to underestimate Templeton since he is mostly known for being traded for a better shortstop, but Templeton had a nice career as well, mostly with the San Diego Padres before being traded to the Mets in 1991, where he closed out his career.
3B—Ken Boyer: Probably the best third baseman in Cardinals history, the man whose #14 is now retired by the club was traded to the New York Mets after the 1965 season for Al Jackson and Charley Smith.
LF—Bobby Bonilla: Once the highest-paid player in baseball with the Mets, Bonilla’s Cardinals tenure is most famous for a Spring Training injury which opened the door for Albert Pujols to make the team and for that one time he pitched. Inflation and time value of money make the fact that the Mets are still paying Bonilla decades after he last played for them reasonable financially but also undeniably hilarious.
CF—Carlos Beltran: He was really good on both teams and is a borderline Hall of Famer. I already linked to the Wainwright strikeout, so here’s my other favorite highlight involving him.
RF—Bernard Gilkey: Gilkey, the pride of University City High School, had his two longest stretches of employment with these two teams, and also was in Men in Black and has a hilarious IMDb page.
SP—Braden Looper: The highest draft pick in franchise history, Looper was traded to the Marlins for Edgar Renteria but following two seasons in New York from 2004-2005, Looper rejoined the Cardinals from 2006-2008. Note: Looper was only a starter for the Cardinals and not the Mets but this is a Cardinals blog and thus I support this pick.
RP—Jason Isringhausen: Izzy was a starter during his initial time with the Mets but when he returned in 2011, following a long career as a reliever (including with the Cardinals), he was back in the bullpen.
Here’s the weekend at VEB.
Ben Markham decided to be a real buzzkill by (correctly) observing that Jhonny Peralta has struggled quite a bit since returning from injury. Unfortunately, he’s not wrong.
The future payroll
The red baron theorizes that if the Cardinals were to decide to considerably cut payroll, it might not actually hurt the team that much. While I would rather not give anyone any wild ideas, it is pretty nice to remember that the Cardinals are getting considerable production from very cheap players.
An additional note!
For those who did not see, Lil Scooter and I recorded Episode 51 of the Viva El Birdos podcast, and Episode 52 will be coming soon enough (with a very special super surprise guest!). Depending on quality/quantity, we hope to field some listener e-mail questions, so if you want your question answered, contact me at johnjf125 at gmail dot com.