As you may have heard, this site, along with The Intrepid STL, Redbird Rants, and Cardsblog, are doing a tournament to determine the greatest moment of the last 125 years of Cardinal history. That tournament kicks off today with the first matchup in the Branch Rickey Regional. If you are following along with the bracket, the Rickey Regional is the bottom left group of 16. We’re opening up the tournament with our top seed going against a 16 seed with some memories attached.
#1 Bob Gibson strikes out 17 in World Series Game 1 (1968)
Let’s talk about our top seed first. While the top seeds in the other divisions are more recent, Gibby’s achievement is one of those moments that every Cardinal fan has heard about, even if they weren’t able to experience it in their lifetimes. Thankfully, it is recent enough that we have some video. You can watch the entire game here, but if you don’t have the two hours for that, let’s boil it down for you.
It’s the greatest pitcher in Cardinal history at the very peak of his game. By definition, especially since this was before expanded playoffs, he’s facing the best the other league has to offer and just methodically mows them down like no other pitcher had done to that time, nor has any pitcher done so since. Given the expanded use of bullpens, especially in the playoffs, it seems quite unlikely that this record would be broken any time soon. The Cardinals might have lost the Series, but they gave us one of the great moments in their history.
Our challenger is something many of us remember vividly. If we didn’t, FOX Sports Midwest often reminded us when the Reds and Cardinals got together, though with Phillips now gone and the incident almost seven years in the past, it feels like it’s finally faded. For those that don’t remember, Phillips went on the radio the night before and took some shots at the Redbirds. The next day, as what I guess is a typical greeting, when he came up to bat he tapped Molina on the shin guards. That didn’t go over well.
When the dust had settled, Molina was person non grata in Cincinnati, Phillips and Johnny Cueto were the same in St. Louis, and Jason LaRue‘s career was over due to a concussion. While this looked to be a rallying point, pushing the Cardinals past the Reds and into first place, it didn’t last. St. Louis faltered down the stretch and missed the playoffs while Cincinnati wound up winning the division. There’s no doubt, though, that this brawl is still seared into the memory of most of the Cardinal faithful.
So which one is the greatest Cardinal moment? Do you go with a Hall of Famer in one of his finest moments or do you go with the underdog brawl that many of us were around for? You make the call! The voting will be open for three days, with the winner moving on to face the winner of the 8/9 matchup. Make your pick below! Also, if you are on Twitter, be sure to talk about this matchup and others using the hashtag #BestCardsMoments!