A week and a half ago on Episode 52 of the Viva El Birdos podcast (plug!), there was a brief discussion of segments of St. Louis Cardinals fans who want the #51 of Willie McGee or the #15 of Jim Edmonds retired. While these are two fairly famous examples, any relatively tenured Cardinal is going to have his superfans vouching for his number retirement. #29 for Chris Carpenter, #50 for Adam Wainwright, #4 for Yadier Molina, #5 for Albert Pujols (the only one of the half-dozen players mentioned above that I believe will eventually have his number retired by the Cardinals).
I generally dislike number retirements and find that the much more effective tribute is reissuing numbers to worthy players, such as when Carlos Martinez took the number 18 previously donned by Oscar Taveras. But working under the assumption that number retirements are a thing, the number I would most want to retire for the Cardinals is #21. And it’s not for Allen Craig.
Curt Flood is the most important player to ever wear a Cardinals uniform. He’s not the best player to ever wear a Cardinals uniform (though one could certainly make an argument that he’s in the top ten or twenty), but while Stan Musial was a greater player, and an unimpeachable part of Cardinals lore, his legacy ultimately comes down to his stats. Which is great and all, but Flood goes beyond this.
Off the top of your head, how many baseball players can you think of who are more important than Flood? Jackie Robinson, probably. Babe Ruth, maybe. Perhaps Roberto Clemente. The list is short.
If you are unfamiliar with Curt Flood’s legacy, here’s an abridged version. And on Labor Day weekend, it is worthwhile to remember the man who meant more not only to baseball’s Players Association than any other, but meant more to the negotiating rights of players in all sports.
There will always be an element of jealousy among fans about how much professional athletes earn. And I’m not immune from that sentiment myself. But a world in which employees are able to earn what they are worth, which is much closer to being the case under the free agency model which came as a result of Curt Flood’s willingness to take a stand, is a better world, simply as a matter of fairness.
Modern baseball is influenced by the work of Curt Flood in ways that we can barely grasp. And looking at news while viewing it through the scope of Curt Flood has me thinking a lot. So, consider Curt Flood or not while mulling over September 2 on VEB.
Randal Grichuk as the new Jon Jay
I wrote about Randal Grichuk and Jon Jay and how they are complete opposites and yet somehow also the exact same. It’s admittedly a weird comparison but I think it ultimately makes sense.
The Cardinals and destroying the Reds
Craig Edwards wrote about how the Cardinals should destroy the Reds. I’m more into the “Craig says the Cardinals should destroy a team they shouldn’t actually destroy” post but as always, this is a good primer for the weekend set.
VEB Podcast Episode 53
I had a blast recording Episode 53 of the VEB Podcast and if you have even a sliver of the fun listening as I had recording, this is well worth your time.
Carlos Martinez doing awesome things
Speaking of the VEB podcast, my co-host Lil Scooter wrote about Carlos Martinez being awesome and doing awesome things. As she does.
The prospect report
Ebo wrote about Cardinals prospects, with a notable being Harrison Bader, who hit a home run.
Alex Reyes got the start but ultimately did not get the decision, as the Cardinals lost 3-2 in walkoff fashion, in a game recapped by mister_manager.
Should be a fun extended weekend. Hopefully everybody enjoys it.