Pendleton first appeared for the Cardinals in 1984 and spent the first seven seasons of his career in St. Louis. He was a great defensive third baseman and had some good moments at the plate too. During the 1985 Postseason, Pendleton had some pretty big moments driving in 7 runs against the Dodgers and Royals.....
One of his biggest moments as a Cardinal came against the Mets in a game late during the 1987 season. The Mets were leading the game with two outs in the ninth and on the verge of getting into first place. Pendleton hit a game tying home run......
and the Cardinals won the game in extra innings. The Mets did not come close the rest of the way and the Cardinals won the National League East.
Seemingly half of the Cardinals roster were potential free agents entering the 1990 season and the wheels fell of the bus early in the season. The team finished last in the National League East, manager Whitey Herzog quit in the middle of the season, and there were numerous players who failed to play up to their expectations.
Pendleton was one of them.
Every statistic was a career low/worst for Pendleton in 1990. He hit .230/.277/.324 with 6 home runs, and 20 doubles. Pendleton did have a solid year in the field, but even some of his defensive stats were lower than his normal highs. Sadly, the Cardinals closed out the season with a long east coast road trip that resulted in the team losing their last seven games of the year.
Pendleton's role during the last road trip?
Sitting on the bench. New Cardinals manager Joe Torre decided to move Todd Zeile to third base in hopes of finding Pendleton's replacement. It also allowed Tom Pagnozzi, who was a great defensive catcher, to actually see the field. During September of 1990 the Cardinals only played Pendleton 8 times with a total of 21 at bats.
Probably not the ending that Pendleton probably wanted in St. Louis. Let me quickly show off my three favorite Pendleton cards from the 1990s.
His Score card is easily my favorite. Pendleton was a good defensive player and I like this action shot of him fielding. Bonus that the picture is in Busch Stadium. Not sure what the result of this play was, but if it was on the ground around Pendleton and Ozzie, there is a really good chance the batter was out.
Without narrowing it down to a year, or two, this is still a really good Pendleton card.
My second favorite is his 1991 Topps card. Last base Topps card featuring Pendleton in a Cardinals uniform. I cannot remember which set Topps has put him in recently, but I am pretty sure that he has a few newer Cardinals cards floating around. I like the batting cage/batting practice look of this card. I cannot quite decide if this card is somehow staged, the background is in Candlestick Park, but something looks off about it.
His 1990 Bowman. I know it's a generic staged card that was made off of a Spring Training photo. I really like that hat that Pendleton is wearing. Is that regulation? It looks like he forgot his hat and picked one up a gas station. Is there writing inside of the hat, or is that sweat?
In the end, Pendleton left the Cardinals for the Braves, won a batting title and an MVP Award in 1991, and had a pretty nice second half of his career. He was still a great fielder, just seemed to find his bat in Atlanta.
Pendleton has also had a nice career as a coach post-retirement with the Braves. He has been the bench and hitting coach and learned how to get tossed out of games from Bobby Cox.