Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Venerable Old Card Part 11

It has been a long week of baseball in my world.  The Durham Bulls had a rough week and the Cardinals did not fair much better.  While both teams have had a great run of success in recent years this season has not started as expected.  Honestly, I think that the Durham Bulls will turn it around at some point.  There are a few players off to a slow start who will eventually turn it around and the team will be fine.  The Cardinals are a different story......

There have not been many lean years of late as a Cardinals fan.  In fact, over the last 20 years the Cardinals have finished below .500 a grand total of three times: 2007, 1999, and 1997.  The 1997 team was easily the worst of those three teams finishing with just 73 wins.  That team still had McGwire for half of season and Ray Lankford hit 31 home runs.  The top three starting pitchers, Matt Morris and the two Benes brothers, won a total of 31 games with ERA+ all over 130.  They didn't lack talent, they just did not win.

The worst Cardinals team I remember was actually the 1995 team.  The outfielders were good with Ray Lankford, Brian Jordan, and Bernard Gilkey all putting up good splits with a good blend of power and speed.  Lankford and Jordan both hit more than 20 home runs and stole more than 20 bases.  However, the rest of the position players and pitchers were a complete disaster.  The only regular position player, outside of the outfielders, with an OPS+ above 100 was John Mabry.  He was at exactly 100.  Pitching?

The team employed six different starting pitchers.  Allen Watson lead the group with seven wins.  No, he did not get screwed out of a bunch of wins, he wasn't really that good.  In fact, Rich DeLucia lead the team in wins that season with 8.  In summation, the 1995 Cardinals had three position players and a relief pitcher.

The relief pitcher was the best part of watching the Cardinals that summer.  Well, Lankford.  Name player from the 1980s and 1990s, but I am not sure many people remember playing for the Cardinals....



"The Terminator" spent his last season playing for the Cardinals in order to be closer to his hometown of Jefferson City, Missouri.  Henke ended his final season with 36 saves, an ERA+ of 229, and 2.3 WAR.  A great last season and one of the few highlights of some of the Cardinals team sets from the 1995 and 1996 seasons.  Well, Lankford.  Anyway, if you are a Cardinals collector and looking for some sort of positive from the mid 1990s Tom Henke, don't forget Ray Lankford, is a great choice.

5 comments:

  1. Completely missed that Henke was a Cardinal - you learn something new everyday!

    ReplyDelete
  2. For lousy Cardinals teams, I go back to the '70s. But I really liked those Cardinals. Lou Brock, Bake McBride, Ken Reitz, Al Hrabosky, Keith Hernandez, Ted Sizemore. Loved those guys as a kid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 1970s Cardinals were entertaining for a team that did not win. I'd have to include Ted Simmons and Garry Templeton on that list.

      Delete
  3. I think the Cardinals will be fine over the long haul this year, but it will be hard to keep pace with the Cubs. Holy smokes are they good. It is just a weird transition year for the Cardinals as the main core is aging to the point where they can't be relied on to carry the team. With guys like Grichuk and Piscotty struggling it created a perfect storm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think the Cardinals finish above .500 this year. Just throwing it out there. Maybe Matheny will go away.

      Delete