Countdown to Cardinals: 30

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Days until Opening Night, Cardinals vs. Cubs on ESPN: 30

First player/coach to wear #30: Syl Johnson (1933)

Last player/coach to wear #30: Jason Motte

Player/coach to wear #30 in the most seasons: Five with five

Number of players/coaches to wear #30: 43

Last time not worn: 2004

Other interesting names tied to #30: John Tudor (1985-88, 90), Mark Mulder (2005-08), Orlando Cepeda (1967-68)

(Information from Birdbats)

Sometimes it takes more than a coin flip in deciding which St. Louis great to use on our countdown. If there was ever going to be a co-winner, my money would be on #30. At the end of the day, however, the starting pitcher gets the nod as his best season was one for the Cardinals’ record books. Tudor was robbed in 1985 of becoming an even bigger star after the controversial World Series went the other way. In his first year under the Arch, the southpaw emerged from being an unknown to a star in one summer.

Even looking at the numbers now, it is hard to fathom one season with double-digit complete games coming from a single pitcher. Tudor didn’t just settle for that figure though as he finished with a whopping ten shutouts for the National League champs. The winning continued in St. Louis with Tudor a key member of the playoff rotation in 1987 as well. Another dramatic series brought out the best in the Cardinals and the big-game rep for the lefty.

He was dealt to the Dodgers and finally won a title before coming back and finishing a solid career wearing the Birds on the Bat. Seeing how much the game has changed, it wouldn’t shock me to see Motte and his beard do the same as Tudor and return home after checking out one or more spots along the way. As a great ambassador in addition to his championship pedigree, I will be paying extra attention to the Chicago bullpen. Motte is just one of those homegrown guys you can’t help but root for every series except when he is throwing against the Cards.

Crazy how fast time flies anymore, and this project is already 40 percent over. Spring training will be getting close to the finish line before you know it, which brings one more very important fact to the table. As our numbers get smaller, Daniel and I can’t wait to mix the new with the old and see who comes out on top. Because no matter which St. Louis era you prefer, we all win in the end!

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