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Creating the All-Time Cardinals roster that never played together - A Hunt and Peck

Not easy...

MLB: Cleveland Indians at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

These days coming up with fun article ideas is tough. So tough, I have taken to stealing them. Today’s post idea comes courtesy of our sister site for the New York Yankees, Pinstripe Alley. In that article the author attempts to assemble the greatest Yankees lineup, but there is a twist: none of the players time on the team can overlap.

The St. Louis Cardinals have a pretty storied history, much like the Yankees, with made this an intriguing idea. Let’s give it a whirl, shall we?

Attempt No. 1

To begin I think the easiest approach is to look at the top player for each position according to Fangraphs and just plug them in our roster and figure out our edits later.

Several minutes later...

Data via Fangraphs and Baseball Reference

Alright that is a pretty good lineup! Let’s see how many players overlap...

Aww nuts.

Attempt No. 2

Alright so we have some overlap. Bob Gibson, Ken Boyer, and Stan Musial may not be on the team together. Enos Slaughter and Musial may not be on the same team together. Meanwhile Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, and Jim Edmonds may not be on the team together.

Let’s assume we keep Albert Pujols, Rogers Hornsby, Ozzie Smith, and Stan Musial. There are other scenarios that could be explored, but let’s start here.

Let’s fill in the other spots! I think we have some clear choices for pitcher and catcher:

Alright, now all we need a thirdbaseman and two outfielders.

Several, several minutes later...

Okay, I officially hate this game. I finally found a third baseman I could use, though.

Even more minutes later...

I think I finally found two outfielders for my team. We are couting Jesse Burkett’s year as a Perfecto.

Attempt No. 3

After several hours of researching, I think I have assembled my team.

I am going to be honest with you, this was miserable work. If you want to try to assemble a better team, though, I would love to see what you come up with!

What did we learn?

  • Players with a lot of WAR for the Cardinals take up a lot of years, which makes compiling the list tougher. It would be interesting to try to come up with a list that does not use the top WAR-getters.
  • Yadier Molina has the most WAR among Cardinals catchers after Fangraphs added pitch-framing value to their catcher WAR metric.
  • Matt Carpenter has been the second-most valuable Cardinals third baseman
  • I couldn’t use Matt Carpenter though because he appeared in seven games in 2011, which was the most frustrated I have been in quite some time
  • 1899-1901, 1909-1913, 1915-1926, 1930-1937, 1941-1963, 1968-1980, 1982-1996, 2001-2011, 2017-2018 every decade is accounted for
  • Hey! We beat the Yankees!

The New York Yankees’ all-time lineup, with one maddening twist | Pinstripe Alley

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