Top Pitchers of Saint Louis Cardinals

Baseball, MLB article at Knup Sports

The Saint Louis Cardinals are arguably one of the best Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. This article will cover the greatest Cardinals pitchers of all time and detail why they deserve this honor.

The Saint Louis Cardinals are arguably one of the best Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. The Cardinals, one of the most successful and longest-running professional baseball teams in the United States, have won 11 World Series titles. This is the most of any National League team and second most in Major League Baseball, following the New York Yankees. The Saint Louis Cardinals have earned 19 National League titles, good for third all-time.

The Cardinals’ success can be attributed partly to the team’s outstanding pitching staff, among other positions. This article will cover the greatest Cardinals pitchers of all time and detail why they deserve this honor.

Bob Gibson

When it comes to pitching, Bob Gibson could have been the most intimidating pitcher ever. A look at MLB odds confirms his utter supremacy. He undoubtedly ranked among the most successful. Batters feared Gibson’s high, inside fastballs because he was fiercely competitive and not hesitant to use them.

In retrospect, Gibson’s 1970 season may have been his best as a pitcher, despite being largely overlooked. Gibson played in and won 23 of the 34 games he started in 1970. He claimed his second Cy Young Award in 1970 after setting a personal record for the most strikeouts in a single season.

John Tudor

The achievement of ten or more shutouts in a season is impressive. Within the half-century spanning 1961-2010, six pitchers (Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Dean Chance, Bob Gibson, and Jim Palmer) achieved such mastery. John Tudor of the St. Louis Cardinals was the last to do so in 1985.

Tudor never had more than 13 victories in a season again before or after 1985, making that year his career high. He eventually had to withdraw from playing after 1990 due to some injuries that plagued the rest of his career. In 1987, he broke his leg when Mets catcher Barry Lyons slammed into the Cardinals’ dugout while attempting to catch a foul ball. He recovered to pitch well enough to win his only World Series ring in 1988, but he suffered a devastating elbow injury in the postseason.

Chris Carpenter

Although Chris Carpenter’s stint with the St. Louis Cardinals was relatively brief (nine of his 15 MLB seasons), his legacy is evident. Carpenter played for 15 seasons but was plagued by injuries that required surgery on his elbow and shoulders and even a rib removal. He kept pitching — and pitching excellently — despite everything.

Carpenter made his first All-Star team in 2005 after being chosen as the Opening Day starter and posting a 2.51 ERA with three complete games and 128 strikeouts before the All-Star break. He finished the year with a remarkable seven complete games across 241.2 innings. The Cy Young Award and a top-10 MVP finish were well deserved for the pitcher with a 2.83 ERA and 1.055 WHIP.

Dizzy Dean

Dean got the moniker “Dizzy” during his time in the military. At one of his blundering moments, a sergeant dubbed him “Dizzy.” To top it all off, the pace of his fastballs makes hitters dizzy. Dean is best remembered for his 30-game winning streak in 1934, which helped the “Gashouse Gang” Cardinals defeat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series and claim the National League title.

With a 30-7 record and a 2.66 earned run average in 1934, Dean won the National League MVP Award. A two-time runner-up for MVP, Dean won 28 matches in 1935 and 24 games in 1936. After being traded to the Cubs in 1938, Dean remained there for four years, during which time he participated in the Cubs’ 1938 World Series loss to the Yankees. In 1947, he returned to pitch four innings for the St. Louis Browns as a publicity gimmick before retiring from the game.

Mort Cooper

Mort Cooper was the anchor of the St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching staff during their three consecutive World Series runs in 1942–1944. Mort Cooper’s career was cut short due to recurring arm injuries that forced him into retirement before his peak.

In 1942, after recovering from elbow surgery, Cooper led the National League with 22 victories, ten shutouts, and a 1.78 earned run average, earning him the title of Most Valuable Player. He was transferred to the Boston Braves in 1945 after his third straight 20-win season and was involved in a contentious contract dispute. However, his elbow issues flared up again not long after, and he was never able to return to his original glory as a top baseball pitcher.

While he spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, his brother occasionally filled in as the team’s pitcher. His sibling, the legendary catcher Walker Cooper, was also a brilliant player.

Final Thoughts

As pitchers set the pace of play, experts and fans will agree that pitching is crucial to a baseball team’s success. Even though we can’t all agree on which Saint Louis Cardinals pitcher is the best, we can come to terms with the fact that these players are among the team’s most passionate and persistent members, even playing through injuries.

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