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Cardinals news and notes: One-man teams, Pujols, Carlos, defense

Celebrating Milt Thompson’s birthday (plus news and notes)

St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Yesterday was former Cardinal Milt Thompson’s 58th birthday. Now coaching in the Astros’ farm system, Thompson was a semi-regular left fielder for the Cardinals from 1989 to 1992, coming over by way of trade from Philadelphia for Curt Ford and Steve Lake. Thompson played for six different organizations (including the Phillies twice), yet spent his entire career in the National League, and had his most productive season in St. Louis in 1991 when he hit .307/.368/.442 in 361 plate appearances.

There was nothing remarkable about his career but he was skilled enough to stick around in the bigs for 13 seasons. Have that tenure on a resume and you can fool around long enough on Baseball-Reference’s Play Index to find some exclusive company. For Thompson, it’s this: He retired with 1,029 hits, 214 stolen bases, and only 635 strike outs. Since 1901, only 31 other players in the NL can equal or outpace Thompson in all three stats. When ranking by WAR, Ozzie Smith is at the top of this list. Tony Gwynn is also a proud member. Other former Cardinals include Frankie Frisch, Miller Huggins, Bob Bescher, Red Murray, Jack Smith, and Tony Womack.

So there you go. Happy birthday, Milt.

Here’s what you may have missed yesterday at VEB:

One-Man Gangs

Here’s a fun read. John Fleming went back and looked at Cardinals teams in which most of the weight was carried by one player.

Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols hit a lot of big home runs with the Cardinals, and I examined a few that happened in visiting ballparks and the crushed souls of the poor fans who had to witness it.

Carlos Martinez

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Carlos Martinez’s Vitilla tournament for his Tsunami Waves foundation.

Cardinals Defense

Ben Markham was kind enough to give a primer on advanced defensive metrics and how the Cardinals may have improved in that regard from last year to 2017.

That’s all. Have a great weekend, everyone.