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Cardinals Nation Keeping Hope Alive

Posted By Chaz Ingram On Aug 24 2011 @ 10:55 am In St. Louis Cardinals | 4 Comments

My intentions for this article were to make a bold prediction and suggest that the Cardinals would mount a Goliath-like comeback to win the NL Central division despite being 10 games back in the current standings. The Redbirds lost 2 of 3  games to the Pittsburgh Pirates and 2 of 3 to their arch rivals the Chicago Cubs (digging a deeper hole)  – and other recent performances. I have backed off on making any such predictions publicly for fear of one, being forced to eat crow and two  being labeled a “homer” at season’s end.              
 

[1]

Stan Musial led the Cardinals to the World Series title in his first full year in 1942.

However, while I will back off on making any predictions that the Cardinals will win out over the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 I will predict that they will not quit, which in retrospect gives hope to die hard Cardinals fans. It’s hope that the Brewers will become victims of an oversized ego and fall prey to the self-absorbed notion that they have things wrapped up already. Hope that they lull themselves into a deep sense of contentment and as a result lose the division in the end to a revived Cardinals team. Of course all of this is contingent upon the Redbirds going on a serious winning spree soon. Now would be a good time.

 

Now, for all of you naysayers out there who consider the idea utter nonsense I urge you to consider this.  The Cardinals have faced similar deficits in the past and have come back to win their division on more than a few occasions.  Two occasions in particular come to mind.

 

In 1942 the Cardinals were burdened with a 10 game deficit on August 5 with a 62-39 record. They lost only 9 of their remaining 53 games to overtake the Dodgers and win the NL pennant.

 
 
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Bob Gibson was named MVP in the 1964 World Series as The Cadinals defeted the NY Yankees in 5 games.

The Cardinals historic comeback to win the 1964 pennant is considered one of the greatest in baseball. The Redbirds found themselves in an 11 game hole on August 24 with a 65-58 mark. The Phillies were 76-48 at the time and coasting.  The tides turned and Philadelphia went 16-23 in their final 39 games while the Cardinals went 28-11 to capture the NL pennant.

 

 That’s the kind of comeback needed now.  And if Cardinals Nation is to be witnesses to such a comeback in the 2011 season a daily dosage of some key elements must be applied immediatley.

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Jack Clark and Ozzie Smith provided the Cardinals with clutch hitting that helped them to capture the NLCS against the LA Dodgers.

One key element is clutch hitting. And I’m not just talking about ocassional clutch hitting. We’re talking about  the consistent type of hitting that is reminiscent of the 1985 season when Jack Clark and the Cardinals  terrorized the entire league with timely hitting. In the National League Championship series against the LA Dodgers clutch hitting would continue. Who can forget  Ozzie Smith’s game winning homerun from the leftside of the plate in the top of the ninth inning to beat Tom Niedenfuer and the Dodgers in game 5?  The homerun, Smith’s first from the left side of the plate prompted Jack Buck’s now famous reaction to the heroic feat “go crazy folks,  go crazy”.  Jack Clark followed that up with a dramatic 3 run homer of his own in game 6 to beat Niedenfuer again and win the series against the Dodgers.

 

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Bruce Sutter saved 2 games in the in the 1982 World Series to help the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Milwaukee Brewers.

Another key elelment to the Cards’ success for the remainder of the 2011 season is relief pitching.  Fernando Salas is currently 5-5 with 22 saves.  Those are not exactly herculaneum like numbers but to Salas’ credit the team has not been in very many save situations either.  The Cardinals will need a Bruce Sutter type of effort coming out of the bullpen to give themselves a chance.  If these two elements were to come together  it is very likely that the Cardinals could make the playoffs and possibly the World Series. So, in the words of former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano, “never give up, don’t ever give up”.

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