I believe it was from Chris Lollis over at Cardinals Nation 24/7 on both Facebook and Twitter that I originally saw the "Who is on your Cardinals Mount Rushmore?" post just after Christmas this offseason. I saw the post via a reply by BotB's own, Chuck Brownson. I'll get to that in a moment. While this question isn't completely original, 1) it's a good way to pass the time in the offseason, and 2) I was kinda sick of the "Who were the best Cardinals of the decade?" Besides, I already answered that one on Facebook and Twitter.
Chuck's response basically said that the four had to be Rogers Hornsby, Bob Gibson, Albert Pujols, and (of course) Stan "The Man" Musial. I happen to be of the opinion that if you're going with any 4 players in the organization's history, that this is the only right answer. It could turn out that Yadier Molina or Adam Wainwright gets a place on there, but I highly doubt it. They could potentially crack the B-side.
However, while my response to (again, I believe) Chris' question has been these four players and I don't think it's really a discussion at all (sorry other greats!), I had two questions that intrigued me a bit.
Alternate Mount Rushmore Question #1
If there were both a 4-position player AND A 4-pitcher Mount Rushmore for the St. Louis Cardinals, who would you have on each?
Obviously, for my 4-position player Mount Rushmore, I have Stan, Rogers, and Albert - since they're on my overall one, but that leaves one position player to go. Oh my, there are so many ways to go with this. As a child of the 80s, it would please me greatly to just throw Ozzie Smith up there. As a baseball lover of the last 20+ years of Cardinals' domination in the NL Central, I would love to just throw Yadier Molina up there. As a fan of baseball in general and knowing the meaning behind his actions, I would love to just throw Curt Flood up there. As a fan of making things happen on the bases, I'd love to just throw Lou Brock up there. As a tribute to the recent Hall of Famer, it'd be nice to just throw Ted Simmons up there. As a fan of the late 90s, Mark McGwire was a reason to come to the ballpark, it'd be nice to just throw him up there.
My 4th player is none of them, however. I believe this player and manager and all-everything for the organization made a much bigger impact in his 50+ years of service here: Red Schoendienst. (I would also just like to proudly point out that I spelled that correctly without looking, for maybe the first time ever.)
For my 4-pitcher Mount Rushmore, I feel like it's a bit harder. Obviously, I only have one of them on my original - Bob Gibson. He's atop the list, far and away.
For my other three, I'd like to make a nod to different eras. The first is the current era, with Adam Wainwright. The second is a much earlier era - earlier than Gibson - by selecting Dizzy Dean. The fourth choice is much harder. There are many players that fit the bill. Harry Brecheen and Max Lanier and Mort Cooper and Chris Carpenter and Matt Morris...but I don't think any do moreso than Jesse Haines. The dude threw over 3,000 innings and in over 500 games for the Cardinals, the only other starter besides Bob Gibson to do so. For that, he's my fourth.
Alternate Mount Rushmore Question #2
What if you were only allowed to pick one position player, one pitcher, one manager, and one "other" - which could be anyone ever in the organization for anything other than on field performance? Who would you pick then?
Stan Musial and Bob Gibson are the only two that I am completely sure about. For my one manager, to me it comes down to several: Red Schoendienst, Tony LaRussa, Whitey Herzog, Charlie Comiskey, Billy Southworth, Frankie Frisch, and some others...none worth mentioning. I am going to choose Tony LaRussa of that group. There are several reasons for that, but truthfully it came down to the combination of longevity and my having seen him manage for all 16 of those seasons.
The last one, I would claim to be the hardest but for me it really wasn't, is Branch Rickey. I know that he's probably more well known around baseball circles in Brooklyn for bringing Jackie Robinson and African Americans formally into MLB. However, during his time in St. Louis, he basically created a larger version of today's minor league farm systems. It's quite possibly the biggest reason that the Cardinals are as well known, well regarded, and most successful organizations in the sport.
So, readers, what say you? To all three questions? Do you have a Mount Rushmore Question that I need to answer? Hit me up on Twitter here to do so!
Until next time and have a Happy New Year!
*thank you Nicholas Childress for the four Rushmores!