It wouldn’t be 101ESPN Flashback Week without talking about the 2011 World Series Champion Cardinals team. Skip Schumaker was a key cog on the squad and can speak to how special the group was on and off the field.
Skip recently joined The Kevin Wheeler Show to discuss that special year and what made the team unique compared to others he’s played for. The former center fielder especially praised former ace, Chris Carpenter as being especially valuable to that season’s historic run.
On entering the 2011 Season:
“Coming out of 2010 was tough because I thought that year was our best team and we didn’t even make the playoffs. So in 2011 we felt like we had something to prove…The addition of Lance Berkman was huge so I had a really good feeling about the 2011 season. We had kind of a chip on our shoulder from the 2010 season.”
On that team’s key players:
“Not enough credit is given to Chris Carpenter. I know David Freese obviously had the heroics with the walk-offs…But Chris Carpenter had us believing from day one of that season all the way through to when we were scuffling in August.”
“When we were nine games back at the beginning of September, Chris Carpenter was the reason, in my opinion, that we even got to the playoffs, let alone win that World Series. I feel like he changed the face of that franchise when they signed him back in ’04.”
“I think everybody looked to Chris, whether an offensive guy or a pitcher, he was the leader.”
On key acquisitions that made the 2011 team fun and unique:
“All 25 guys have to buy in and I’ve only been a few teams that that’s actually happened to where it hasn’t been about themselves…The addition of (Raphael) Furcal made it a lot of fun. Octavio Dotel was a lot of fun. They made it fun and kept it loose, but they were also as prepared as anybody.”
“Furcal was as prepared as anybody. He was one of the best teammates I ever had. And then you complement those guys with Yadi and Pujols and it was a recipe for success…It took a little bit of time to get to know each other and the personalities after you make those trades, but once everybody figured each other out we went on a role and ended up World Series champs.”
On the 2011 NLDS Game Five vs. Philadelphia with Chris Carpenter and Roy Halliday both starting:
“That was the best pitched game I’ve ever seen and luckily we came out on top…We knew going in that it was going to be a war. I think three or four guys got on second base total through the whole game. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Actually, I have a few of the young guys with the Reds…I had them watch that game…Being out in center field, I’ve never seen the ball move like Chris Carpenter’s and the will to win from both those guys.”
“If you look back on it, their careers ended after that game. It was just pretty amazing to see.”