The history between the Cardinals and Rangers is more quirky than it is rich.
Since the Washington Senators relocated to Texas and became the Rangers after the 1971 season, their most noteworthy interaction with the Cardinals has been through a few significant trades.
The Rangers also launched the managerial career of one of the Cardinals’ legends (Whitey Herzog, 47-91 with Texas in 1973), faced Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina in a three-game regular-season series at Texas in 2004 (St. Louis won two of those games), and hired a hitting coach (Scott Coolbaugh) who had ended his playing career with St. Louis in 1994.
Here’s a look at some of the deals between the Rangers and Cardinals, who square off this week as World Series opponents:
_ Cardinals send pitcher Jim Bibby to the Rangers for pitcher Mike Nagy and catcher John Wockenfuss, June 6, 1973: The trade was a bust for St. Louis. Bibby, seldom used by the Cardinals, became a 19-game winner for Texas in 1974. The right-hander recorded 111 wins in a 12-year big-league career.
Herzog had pushed for the Rangers to acquire Bibby. When Herzog was farm director of the Mets, Bibby was a prospect in New York’s minor league system.
At the time of the trade, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine told The Sporting News, “Whitey said Bibby has a better arm than half his pitchers.”
Nagy never won a game for the Cardinals and Wockenfuss (who became a reliable utility player for the Tigers) never played a regular-season game for St. Louis.
_ Cardinals send outfielder Tommy Cruz and cash to the Rangers for pitcher Sonny Siebert, Oct. 26, 1973: Cruz, the middle of the trio of outfielder brothers for St. Louis (Jose and Hector were the others), never played a regular-season game for Texas.
Siebert, a St. Mary, Mo., native who had success with the Indians and Red Sox, realized a lifelong dream by joining the Cardinals. He had been a high school basketball standout in suburban St. Louis and had been a baseball and basketball player at the University of Missouri.
Siebert, 37, opened the 1974 season in the Cardinals’ rotation. He was 6-3 with a 1.98 ERA on June 10. He finished the season 8-8 with a 3.84 ERA.
The right-hander’s most memorable win for St. Louis came on Sept. 11, 1974, at Shea Stadium in the Cardinals’ 4-3 25-inning victory over the Mets. Siebert pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win, his last as a Cardinal. Boxscore
_ Cardinals send shortstop Eddie Brinkman and pitcher Tommy Moore to the Rangers for outfielder Willie Davis, June 4, 1975: St. Louis acquired the mercurial Davis with the hope his offense would spark them to a championship in 1975. Though the Cardinals fell short, Davis mostly delivered, filling in for injured outfielders Bake McBride and Reggie Smith.
Davis batted .291 with 50 RBI in 98 games. Brinkman, the Cardinals’ Opening Day shortstop, played one game for cash-strapped Texas and then was peddled to the Yankees. Moore never won a game for the Rangers.
Davis, 35, had clashed with Rangers manager Billy Martin. He had staged a sitdown protest in center field when teammate Steve Hargan failed to hit a batter in retaliation after Davis was brushed back by an opponent’s pitch. Davis also had irked Texas general manager Dan O’Brien by repeatedly asking for advances in his salary. “At some point, you’ve got to draw the line,” O’Brien told United Press International.
But the trade was popular with Cardinals players. St. Louis second baseman Ted Sizemore, who had been Davis’ teammate with the Dodgers, told the Associated Press, “The man can play. He comes to play. He likes to play.”
Said Davis to The Sporting News: “With the Cardinals, I know I can play baseball again without being suppressed. I can be loose again.”
By September, though, Davis’ personal and financial problems caught up with him. He refused to play some games while his wife pursued an alimony case that threatened to restrict his wages. After the season, when he demanded a five-year contract for $1 million, the Cardinals traded him to the Padres.
_ Cardinals send shortstop Royce Clayton and pitcher Todd Stottlemyre to the Rangers for pitcher Darren Oliver, third baseman Fernando Tatis and outfielder Mark Little, July 31, 1998: Clayton and Stottlemyre were eligible to become free agents after the season and the Cardinals were uncertain they could re-sign them.
On the day of the trade, Texas was a game behind the first-place Angels in the American League West. The Cardinals were six games under .500 and 13.5 games behind the first-place Astros in the National League Central.
Clayton hit .285 for Texas in 1998 and Stottlemyre won five of 10 starts, helping the Rangers win the division title. St. Louis general manager Walt Jocketty, meanwhile, was positioning for the future.
“The guy we liked is Tatis,” Jocketty told The Sporting News when the trade was made. “We needed to find a third baseman and he was the best guy available.”
Tatis slugged 34 home runs for the Cardinals in 1999 and contributed to their division championship season in 2000.
Oliver, 41, the lone remaining active player from the deal, is back with the Rangers as a left-handed relief specialist and will be on the World Series roster against the Cardinals.