1. The death of Stan Musial. Stan was baseball’s perfect knight and an era ended with his death. It’s rare that a player spends his entire career with a team like Stan did. Much is made of the “face of the franchise” tag these days, but Stan was the epitome of the Cardinal Way. You can read my blog posts about Stan’s passing here and here.
2. Chris Carpenter’s retirement. Chris’ pitching led the Cards to two World Series championships. He not only contributed with his arm, he worked with other pitchers and his larger than life personality lit up the bench. He will hopefully accept a position with the Cardinals’ front office. You can read my blog post about Chris’ retirement here.
3. Winning the National League pennant. It was a grueling road to the pennant. It took all 5 games for the Cardinals to knock off Pittsburgh. The Cards then took 6 out of 7 games to finish off the Dodgers. The momentum, however, wasn’t enough to beat the Red Sox in the World Series. But we Cards fans can still be proud of the NL pennant.
4. Mo’s wheeling and dealing during the off season. During the last couple of years, Cards GM John Mozeliak didn’t make many moves during the off season. This year was an exception, however. David Freese and Fernando Salas were traded for Angels CF’s Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. Free agent SS Jhonny Peralta was signed to a four year contract. Mo finished up by picking up veteran Mark Ellis from the Dodgers to mentor and back up Kolten Wong at 2B. And Mo did all this without having to give up any of our rookie pitchers. Mo is a genius.
5. The rise of Michael Wacha. What a season it was for young Michael Wacha, one of the best of the Cards’ rookie pitchers. After being called up, Wacha had a 4-1 record during the regular season, but he had 4 wins in the playoffs, and won the MVP award in the NLCS. Only the loss in Game 6 of the World Series dimmed his bright rising. It will be interesting to see how Wacha pitches next season.
The UCB mourned the loss of one of its writers last week. Jerome “J.D.” Norton, who wrote the Bleed Cardinal Red With Me blog and later on Cards Conclave, sadly took his own life on December 22 at the young age of 38. Our prayers and condolences are with his wife and family. His online obituary is here, should you wish to express your condolences. Folks, if you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or any other kind of mental illness, please get help! The life you save may be your own.
Thanks for reading! Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014!