Thursday, October 20, 2005

Not In The Cards...Again

For all the regular season success of the St. Louis Cardinals in the past decade -- 5 division titles, 6 playoff appearances (5 in the last 6 years) -- last night's loss to the Astros saw the Cards match a (for them) ignoble record. It has now been 23 years since the last of their 9 World Series titles -- matching the franchise-record drought of 23 years from the first series in 1903 to their first title in 1926.

This has apparently become the norm since the infamous Don Denkinger call in Game 6 of the 1985 Series. Since that call the Cards have consistently found a way to lose in the postseason, and typically against inferior competition.

  • 1985 - after the blown call the 101-win Cards completely disintegrated against the 91-win Royals, dropping Game 6 in the 9th and getting blown out in Game 7, 11-0.
  • 1987 - the 95-win Cards lost all four games in the HumpDome to drop the Series against the 85-win Twins.
  • 1996 - the Cards pushed the superior Braves to a Game 7 in Atlanta, but lost it 15-0!
  • 2000 - the Cards were swamped by the Mets in 5 games in the NLCS, dropping the finale 7-0.
  • 2001 - the Wild-Cards lost to the D-Backs in the first round, losing in the bottom of the 9th of the deciding 5th game.
  • 2002 - after dropping the first two at home, the Cards never came back to the Loo, losing the NLCS to the Giants in 5.
  • 2004 - a 105-win juggernaut was swept by the BoSox in the first trip to the Series since '87.
  • 2005 - baseball's winningest team (100) fell in the NLCS to a team they had beaten by 11 games in the regular season.
Obviously, the regular season is the hard part. Given that baseball is the toughest sport in which to make the playoffs, 5 appearances in 6 years is strong stuff. But given the recent failures to live up to the proud history of the franchise, when can we look forward to hearing about the Denkinger curse?


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