Ever since I’ve been a Cardinal fan, they’ve always had some good pitching, and many times they’ve had power arms. The template was set long ago, but when I started watching, Bob Gibson was still an intimidating force. Back in the 70s, they traded for guys like hard-throwing lefty Pete Falcone from the Giants in 1976 and fireballing righthander John D’Acquisto from San Francisco in 1977. They joined closer Al Hrabosky, who was a hard thrower for his time, and John Denny. In the 80s, during the Whiteyball era, Joaquin Andujar could throw hard, Danny Cox had a pretty good fastball, and Todd Worrell came up in 1985 throwing 95 mph.
While the best guys of the 90s were pitchers like Bob Tewksbury and Andy Benes (who wasn’t as hard a thrower as he was in his younger days when he joined the Cardinals), Matt Morris came up throwing in the mid-90s and guys like Manny Aybar just couldn’t control their stuff.
I make a list of hard throwers like that, and there were a few more, to illustrate just how ridiculous it is that the Cardinals have what they have now. To have three rookies blow away the Red Sox like Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal did in Game 2 of the World Series is phenomenal. Wacha was in the mid-to-high 90s, and Martinez and Rosenthal are consistently in the high 90s.
And they’re just the tip of the spear. When you consider that the Cardinals traded Mitchell Boggs, who throws 97, and don’t have Jason Motte, who throws 100, and still have a stable of young power arms like they do, it’s remarkable. Add in a lefty like Kevin Siegrist, starters like Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller, and this is the hardest-throwing crop of young pitching that the Cardinals have ever had.
I asked Joe Buck to ask Tim McCarver, who’s been around Major League Baseball for 54 years, if he’s ever seen a crop of power arms on one team like this, and the response was no. Think about that for a minute. The 1969 New York Mets had Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, John Matlack and Jerry Koosman, and McCarver played against them, and he says the Cardinal crop throws harder. He was broadcasting the Mets when they brought up Dwight Gooden to join Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and Ed Lynch. Not that team, either.
The Cardinals have done an absolutely amazing job, and have had some luck, in putting this group together. They have a great chance to win a World Series, and some of these guys might be around and effective for quite a while. They’re fun to watch.
It’s something, if we are to listen to McCarver, that we might not see again in our lifetime. This is a Cardinal staff to enjoy and appreciate. I’m going to.