- 1996 St. Louis Cardinals season
MLB yearly infobox
name = St. Louis Cardinals
season = 1996
misc = NL Central Champions
current league = National League
y1 = 1892
division = Central Division
y2 = 1994
Busch Memorial Stadium
y4 = 1966
St. Louis, Missouri
y5 = 1882
William DeWitt, Jr.
Tony La Russa
television = KPLR
Prime Sports Midwest
Al Hrabosky, Bob Carpenter, Joe Buck)
Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Joe Buck)
espntn = stl
brtn = stlThe
St. Louis Cardinals1996 season was the team's 115th season in St. Louis, Missouriand the 105th season in the National League. During the first year of the William DeWitt, Jr.era, the Cardinals went 88-74 during the season and won the National League Centraldivision. They beat the San Diego Padresin the NLDS, but fell in 7 games to the Atlanta Bravesin the NLCS. DeWitt, along with Drew Bauerand Fred Hanserhad bought the Cardinals from Anheuser-Buschduring the 1995-96 offseason.
* December 15, 1995:
Willie McGeewas signed as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Cardinals. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/mcgeewi01.shtml Willie McGee Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com ] ]
* January 9, 1996:
Todd Stottlemyrewas traded by the Oakland Athletics to the St. Louis Cardinals for Allen Battle, Carl Dale, Jay Witasick, and Bret Wagner (minors).
* January 11, 1996:
Mike Gallegosigned as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Cardinals. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/gallemi01.shtml Mike Gallego Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com ] ]
* February 13, 1996:
Dennis Eckersleywas traded by the Oakland Athletics to the St. Louis Cardinals for Steve Montgomery.
The Makings of a 1996 Club
Ozzie Smith's Last Season
Legendary veteran shortstop
Ozzie Smith, announced during the season that it would be his last season in the Major Leagues, and veteran outfielder Willie McGee, brought back to the Cards as a free agent. Though the tension between Smith, and exciting youngster Royce Clayton, acquired in a trade, grew thick and troublesome at times as they shared time at shortstop, both players had good seasons, and McGee was absolutely playing off the bench and starting when needed.
The team needed time to get used to La Russa, and to each other.
La Russa took encouragement that in the team's five losses to that point of the road trip, the Cardinals had either led or been tied at some point. "What I'm worried about," he said, "is the guys getting discouraged and getting depressed and losing that little edge. We've got to make sure they keep their hear in the right place. it's okay to lose agame. It's not okay to lose your heart."
They showed soon enough they still had it. In
The Cards went into the
Astrodomedirectly from Denverand swept three games from Central Division rival Houston. Osborne pitched a complete-game 5-3 victory in the opener. He got offensive help from Luis Alicea's three hits. Lankford's key tie-breaking single in the seventh, Gaetti's three hits and Mabry's two-run homer.
Two days later, rookie Alan Benes-Andy's brother- completed the sweep with a 5-2 triumph. Jordan had atwo-run double and a homer and made two outstanding plays in the outfield. Mabry had another home run to give him a 10-game hitting streak, and the Cardinals were only one game behind the division-leading Astros.
The true turning point came on
Labor Dayat Busch Stadium, when the Astros arrived in St. Louis for the beginning of a three-game set. The Cardinals trailed 7-3 in the fourth inning, when presidential and vice presidential candidates Bob Doleand Jack Kemphad to leave the game.
Ozzie Smith, 41 years old, scored four runs-including a home run. Willie McGee, 37, had four hits and drove in three runs. The most biggest came in the bottom of the 10th, more than four hours after the game had started. Smith had singled earlier and seemed to have driven pinch-runner
Miguel Mejiahome, but Mejia's too-wide turn around third cost him and he was out at the plate. McGee followed with a chopped hit up the middle that drove Smith home from second for the win.
"I'm going out, hopefully, the way I Came in," Smith said. "I've always tried to respect this game. I've given my all each and every day... I think everybody should be juiced up in the pennant race. if you (aren't), then you shouldn't be here."
The Cardinals, who won 11 of 13 meetings with the Astros during the entire season (including all six played at Busch Stadium), swept the demoralized Houston club after that and took over first place for good. They won the Central title by six games and thus earned a match up against the
San Diego Padresin the first round of the postseason.
Opening Day Starters
October 10: Atlanta-Fulton County Stadiumin Atlanta, Georgia
October 14: Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri
Awards and Honors
* Tony La Russa, Associated Press Manager of the Year
* Ozzie Smith, All Star Game
* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/STL/1996.shtml 1996 St. Louis Cardinals]
* [http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/roster.php?y=1996&t=SLN 1996 St. Louis Cardinals team page at www.baseball-almanac.com] succession box
title = NL Central Championship Season
years = 1996
before =Cincinnati Reds
after = Houston Astros
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