Countdown to Cardinals: 43

sugar

Days until Opening Night, Cardinals vs. Cubs on ESPN: 43

First player/coach to wear #43: Eddie Yuhas (1952-53)

Last player/coach to wear #43: Shane Robinson (2014)

Player/coach to wear #43 in the most seasons: Three-way tie with 4

Number of players/coaches to wear #43: 32

Last time not worn: 2008

Other interesting names tied to #43: Dennis Eckersley (1996-97), Juan Encarnacion (2006-07), Ken Hill (1988-91), Joe Hoerner (1966-69)

(Information from Birdbats)

More than a few good choices to go with here. After all the pitchers in the early going, however, it was time to give a position player some time in the spotlight. Robinson was always on the clock so to speak as far as when his time wearing the Birds on the Bat would be over. His career with the Cardinals actually dates back to the 2009 campaign, but injuries derailed any chance of getting more than a token look in St. Louis.

The reason Sugar Shane stood taller than his listed 5’9″ was the same trait that enabled him to return from the gruesome collision that knocked him out for most of 2011. His determination made him a positive contributor in two postseason runs with one giant home run that still brings a smile to my face.

Robinson had to see the writing on the wall after last year’s trade for two right-handed hitting outfielders but played the Memphis shuffle for one more summer. He was the good soldier who did all the little things but had his Cardinal career end without any further postseason heroics. The Twins picked up a good one who is sure to do anything to play the game he loves.

Unfortunately St. Louis has had to see more than one player wearing the 43 lose more than just playing time due to an injury. Encarnacion will forever go down as suffering the worst baseball accident ever, and it kept him from finishing out the contract on his terms. Speaking of players leaving the game a certain way, the first long-term inhabitant of #43 was a part of the most infamous deal in baseball history.

Hoerner became an All-Star for the Phillies in 1970 but was also a World Champion for the Cardinals before that as a lefty closing option. He was traded after the 1969 season, but not everyone was on board. Curt Flood refused to report and forever changed baseball as we know it.

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