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Best Cardinals by uniform numbers: Part 2

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Part two involves some heavy hitters and some... not so heavy hitters.

Pittsburgh Pirates v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Monday, I went through numbers #00 to #36 and gave the best player at each position. That is exactly half of the number of numbers worn by Cardinals in the past, so today I’ll be writing about the other half. No need for a long intro, I’ll just get started.

#37 - 33.5 fWAR

The 776th pick of the 1971 MLB Draft, Keith Hernandez rather easily owns #37 in Cardinals history. He evidently had a different number for his first two unmemorable seasons, his number changed to #37 and the rest is history. In more recent memory, Jeff Suppan wore #37 while carrying the Cardinals on his back in the 2006 postseason.

#38 - 4.3 fWAR

Jose Martinez would have this beat, but he only had #38 for the last couple years. Also technically, Todd Worrell has 9.5 bWAR, which seems to be a better indicator of how he pitched at the time. There were not a whole lot of options here.

#39 - 28.9 fWAR

Some pretty good pitchers had this number. Bob Tewksbury and Red Munger both donned this number as Cardinals, as well as it being Miles Mikolas’ current number. Unless Mikolas’ career goes really, really well, this number will continue to belong to Larry Jackson though, the forgotten Cardinal great.

#40 - 9.9 fWAR

Poor Andy Benes and his horrendous 2001 season. Entirely because of that season, he places second place to Rick Wise, better known as the return for Steve Carlton. Wise had two fantastic seasons comprise this total, but obviously Carlton did a bit better.

#41 - 12.6 fWAR

Assuming that he keeps the number and is never traded, I hope Tyler O’Neill can beat this. Until then though, super reliever and occasional starter Lindy McDaniel tops this list of players.

#42 - 16.1 fWAR

Apologies to Bruce Sutter, who actually doesn’t come particularly close here. I didn’t realize how much of his Hall of Fame credentials were because of his work as a Cub, not a Cardinal. This belongs to Harvey Haddix, better known as a Pirate who pitched 12 perfect innings before losing in the 13th.

#43 - 5 fWAR

I’m going to be very disappointed if Dakota Hudson can’t beat this. Until he does though, Ken Hill gets the honors of having the #45 number, making this one of the weaker numbers.

#44 - 15.4 fWAR

Lately, #44 has belonged to relievers, but you pretty much have to be a Hall of Fame level reliever to beat a decent starting pitcher who pitched for parts of 9 seasons. Thus, Ray Washburn beats out Jason Isringhausen and Trevor Rosenthal easily.

#45 - 81 fWAR

I mean we all know who this is right? Bob Gibson had his number retired in 1975, which was also his last season as a Cardinal. He is one of only seven Cardinals to wear this number.

#46 9.8 fWAR

I said I’d be disappointed if Hudson didn’t beat 5 fWAR, but I don’t even think there’s a word in the English language to convey my disappointment if Paul Goldschmidt can’t beat this. Until he does, Pete Vuckovich was a pretty good pitcher for three seasons before Whitey came along.

#47 - 13.8 fWAR

Hard to believe that Lee Smith comes in a distant third here, but Ryan Ludwick was probably better than you thought when he was here. But this actually goes to Joaquin Andujar, who simply lasted as a Cardinal longer than Ludwick.

#48 - 14.7 fWAR

Harrison Bader actually has a pretty good shot at this number if he stays on the team. I thought I might end up giving it to John Tudor who wore this number for one season, a season where he had a 1.93 ERA over 275 IP. But it’s actually going to Jose DeLeon, who may have been a much better pitcher than you thought he was at the time.

#49 - 3.5 fWAR

Lot of current Cardinals have a chance to take over numbers apparently. Jordan Hicks currently has #49 and does not really have far to go to beat this. The extremely young, not quite yet ready version of Jerry Reuss barely beats out Ricky Horton. Hicks, save us from this number.

#50 - 40.3 fWAR

Nobody even kind of close comes close to Adam Wainwright for #50. Wainwright isn’t going to make the Hall so his number won’t be retired, so prepare to be weirded out when someone else takes his number in the future.

#51 - 20.9 fWAR

Just look at the total WAR for this number and look at the other numbers and see how many of those other numbers are greater than this who do not have their number retired. We will run out of numbers if this is the standard. (I know I know, if you didn’t see him play, you don’t get it. Heard it all before.). This is Willie McGee. I have to point that out for those born in 2005 or something.

#52 - 10.8 fWAR

Okay we’re now trending into numbers that have only started to be picked recently. The first guy to get #52 was in 1991. That’s how Michael Wacha rather easily is the leader for #52.

#53 - 3.7 fWAR

It’s pretty rare for the first player to wear a number to also be the guy who should be associated with that number, but that’s the case here. Greg Mathews with one T was a starter for a few seasons with only one good year, but that’s enough to beat everyone else.

#54 - 13 fWAR

I just want to say enthusiastically thank you Jaime Garcia for being so obviously the choice here. The other 15 choices all played one year and it would have been very annoying to compare Mike Crudale with Kelly Stinnett and so on.

#55 - 3.7 fWAR (Tie)

Oh wow. First tie. Most people reading this will remember all three players who bore #55 who came within 0.3 fWAR of each other. The last place member was Skip Schumaker, whose below replacement seasons really hurt him. Tying for first were Stephen Piscotty and Garrett Stephenson. Whoever wants to pick #55 now that Dominic Leone is gone will have a good shot at the lead.

#56 - 0.7 fWAR

Ryan Hesley, I hope you keep this number. He didn’t beat it this year though, with a barely above replacement season (though if you included playoffs, he’d be pretty close to this.). No, the glorious winner of #56 is Ray King. There has so far been no longevity to #56.

#57 - 9.6 fWAR

Aw hell. Here is a number that should be a lot higher than it is. Darry Kile, before he passed away, is fairly easily the leader. Nobody has touched his number since.

#58 - 1.9 fWAR

Jose Martinez might not have gotten #38, but he was #58 long enough to be the best with this number

#59 - 1.2 fWAR

A member of the 2011 World Series winning squad, Fernando Salas has had a longer career than expected, although he was DFA’d in the middle of 2019.

#60 - 2 fWAR

I thought I was going to be in the unusual position of awarding this to Tommy Pham, who is certainly not known for wearing #60. But current player John Brebbia has crafted a pretty good career as a middle reliever so far.

#61 - 1.3 fWAR

I don’t think anyone could seriously guess who this individual was with 100 guesses. The possibly mythical Alex Reyes wore #61 when he was last seen in 2016.

#62 - 1.8 fWAR

Congratulations to Luke Weaver for being the best with #62 even though you didn’t even have this number in your last season as a Cardinal.

#63 - 0.4 fWAR

This is a tough one. #63 is the call-up number who you don’t expect back. And if they come back, they get a different number. In 2007, both Brendan Ryan and Ryan Ludwick at one point had #63, although they wore their more familiar numbers as well. So I’m forced to go with Daniel Descalso, who only wore #63 in 2010.

#64 -0.2 fWAR

Remember Sam Tuivailala? Well he did not get this spot. He was replacement level as a Card. Boy was he disappointing. The winner is the debut half season of Trevor Rosenthal in 2012 before they gave him #44.

#65 - 1.6 fWAR

Giovanny Gallegos doesn’t seem to care at all what his number is, because he’s sticking with #65. Everyone else loses their 60 numbers as soon as possible.

#66 - 3.9 fWAR

Someone will need to stick with #66 a little bit longer than a callup to get first place here. This belongs to Rick Ankiel, the young phenom version, who wore #66 before changing his number multiple times in his comeback attempts.

#67 - 1.3 fWAR

Selected in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft, Matt Bowman was basically Seth Maness redux, right down to the very short window where he was actually good.

#68 - 0.8 fWAR

Before his 2019 went awry due to injuries, Austin Gomber had a solid debut season that lands him the vaunted leader of the #68 players.

#70 - 1.6 fWAR

A very capable replacement starter in the beginning, he struggled for a bit out of the bullpen before giving us one great season in the bullpen. Tyler Lyons, I hope you can stick in the Yankees bullpen somehow.

#71 - 0.1 fWAR

The backup catcher curse of the Cardinals strikes again here. Between Carson Kelly and Sam Freeman, Sam Freeman wins by virtue of being above replacement.

#73 — -0.2 fWAR

This low WAR total was brought to you in 3.1 total innings. Yes, congratulations to Ricardo Rincon for being spectacularly bad in such a short sample.

#77 — -0.1 fWAR

A hotly contested number for the wrong reasons. In last place was Pedro Feliz with -0.6 fWAR and in front of him was Jimmy Journell with -0.2 fWAR. “Winning” #77 is reliever Josh Lucas, who at least had a 3.68 ERA in 7.1 IP (with 4 BBs and 2 HRs included).

#80 — -0.1 fWAR

Baseball use to be run so much differently. I’m just laughing at the idea that the Cardinals thought they could get something out of a 32-year-old Dave Wainhouse, who had pitched in parts of six previous seasons and been below replacement in every single one of them, no matter how few innings he pitched. Truly remarkable this guy kept getting another shot.

#99 - 3.3 fWAR

You guys all know who this is. God I hope you all know who this is. Surely people born in 2005 still watch highlight videos of the 2006 postseason? Anyway, So Taguchi is the man.

And there you have it. We ran out of steam at the end there, but at least we ended on a strong note. So Taguchi is my Willie McGee I guess. One potentially cool thing this post did is give me some more ideas about forgotten Cardinals, so I’ll probably be posting one of those soon. In the meantime, stay stafe!