I have no idea what historical perspective fan bases other than the St. Louis Cardinals have for their franchise history beyond what they remember. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure before this bracket started what perspective Cardinals fans had. But the results of the Viva El Birdos All-Time Cardinals Bracket have been overwhelmingly in line with what the statistics would tell us.
Sure, there was some recency bias on the margins, but at the end of the day, the Final Four were the top four players in franchise history by Wins Above Replacement, each representing a different era in franchise history. There was Rogers Hornsby, the Babe Ruth contemporary who may be the greatest second baseman who ever lived. Stan Musial, a player long overshadowed nationally by fellow World War II era outfielder Ted Williams (and truth be told, Ted might be better, but if a player merits a second look compared to Teddy Freaking Ballgame, he was amaaaaaazing), is appropriately dubbed “The Man.” Bob Gibson, a legendarily intimidating pitcher, put up some of the most truly stunning statistics in baseball history, ones which will almost certainly never be touched again. And Albert Pujols, the only player many VEB readers actually watched play, was a titanic offensive force absolutely worthy of a spot in the Final Four.
And here were the results.
Bracket Semifinal #1:
#1 Stan Musial over #1 Albert Pujols, 88.5%
Bracket Semifinal #2:
#1 Bob Gibson over #1 Rogers Hornsby, 76%
And there we have it, the greatest hitter and the greatest pitcher in franchise history. There is no wrong way to vote. Stan Musial was the highest ranked player by WAR and feasted against a National League with only eight teams; Bob Gibson was dominant at his peak and was so against a more diverse player field than Musial. Honestly, I don’t care who wins. I hope it’s super close. Though preferably not a tie so I won’t have to cast the tiebreaking vote. So please, everybody vote so I can sleep at night.
Results will be posted on Saturday. Get your votes in before 12:00 a.m. Saturday (so Friday night, for those of you who also get confused on what day 12:00 a.m. is referencing, for some reason).