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With the Cardinals in need of a public relations boost, Stan Musial went to bat for Red Schoendienst.

red_schoendienst8As usual, Musial delivered.

Fifty years ago, on Oct. 20, 1964, the Cardinals hired the popular Schoendienst to replace Johnny Keane as their manager. Four days earlier, Keane had stunned the Cardinals by resigning less than 24 hours after leading St. Louis to a World Series championship.

Schoendiesnt, 41, a former all-star second baseman who was a coach on Keane’s staff, had no managerial experience. “I never had really thought about managing,” Schoendienst said in his book “Red: A Baseball Life.”

According to broadcaster Harry Caray, in his book “Holy Cow,” the Cardinals had told Schoendienst that summer they wanted him to get experience managing in the minor leagues. Schoendienst said he told the Cardinals he had no desire to manage and would prefer to remain a major league coach for the next 25 years.

Fan favorite

Keane quit because Cardinals owner Gussie Busch had fired general manager Bing Devine in August and plotted to replace Keane with former St. Louis shortstop Leo Durocher after the season. Even though Busch changed his mind about firing Keane after the Cardinals rallied to win the National League pennant and World Series crown, Keane refused to stay. His surprise departure triggered a firestorm of criticism against Busch and general manager Bob Howsam.

Desperate to repair the damage, Busch ordered Howsam to fire consultant Branch Rickey, who had advocated for Devine’s dismissal and for Durocher to replace Keane, and he formed a six-person executive committee to seek a replacement for Keane.

Musial, in his first year as Cardinals vice president after a stellar playing career, and Howsam were the key members of the committee. Joining them were Busch, club executive Dick Meyer and Cardinals board of directors members Jim Conzelman and Mark Eagleton.

According to multiple sources, Howsam favored hiring either White Sox scout Charlie Metro, who had managed for Howsam in the minor leagues at Denver, or former Giants manager Al Dark, a one-time Cardinals shortstop.

Musial advocated for Schoendienst, who was Musial’s friend and road roommate during their playing days together for St. Louis.

“I knew Red needed experience _ we all did _ but we felt he was the best man for the job,” Musial said, according to George Vecsey’s 2011 biography of the Cardinals icon.

Said Schoendienst: “With Musial leading my support, it came down to as much a public relations decision as a baseball one and that’s where I had the advantage … The prevailing thought was the new manager needed to be someone who was a favorite of the fans.”

Quick decision

Schoendienst got tipped off by a Busch relative, Ollie Von Gontard, that the committee was considering him as a serious candidate.

Caray told Schoendienst, “Red, if you keep your nose clean with all the craziness that’s going on here, you’re going to wind up being manager of this club.”

Schoendienst said Busch called and asked to meet at the ballpark. Schoendienst said he met with Busch and Howsam. After Howsam quizzed Schoendienst about game strategies and player personnel evaluations, Schoendienst said the general manager “suddenly jumped up from his chair and asked how I would like to manage. I said that would be great and he said, ‘You’re my new manager.’ It happened so quickly I really didn’t have time to think about it.”

Said Schoendienst: “I felt comfortable that I could do the job and was ready to put my full-time energy and devotion into the post.”

Take my advice

Cardinals players, who respected and supported Keane, were tolerant of Schoendienst, who wisely avoided micro-managing while learning on the job.

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” pitcher Bob Gibson said, “The only problem I had with Schoendienst was that he wasn’t Johnny Keane. But he was a good man and a good man for us … Schoendienst, like Keane, respected our intelligence and our professionalism. His only rules were ‘Run everything out’ and ‘Be in by 12.’ Somehow, we got the words tangled up and lived instead by the motto ‘Run everything in and be out by 12.’ “

Schoendienst also listened to his players. Said Gibson: “Red was uncertain of himself in the beginning, a fact which the ballplayers were well aware.”

Gibson said he and catcher Tim McCarver would sit on either side of Schoendienst in the dugout and offer suggestions to one another about game strategy. “We never actually told him to make a move; we were just there as birdies in the ear, now and then providing the information he needed to make his decision,” Gibson said.

Center fielder Curt Flood, in his book “The Way It Is,” said of Schoendienst, “When he was required to think two or three moves ahead, as in choosing pinch-hitters or replacing pitchers, he accepted advice readily. And it was given matter-of-factly, with every consideration for Red’s position.”

Outfielder Carl Warwick told author Peter Golenbock for the book “The Spirit of St. Louis” that Schoendienst was a popular choice with the players. “You couldn’t help but love Red,” Warwick said. “You knew he was going to be on your side all the time … Red was available to help anybody any time.”

The Cardinals finished seventh and sixth in Schoendienst’s first two years as manager, then won two consecutive pennants and a World Series title. He managed the Cardinals from 1965-76 and for parts of 1980 and 1990. His 1,041 wins rank second only to Tony La Russa (1,408 wins) among Cardinals managers all-time.

Previously: Red Schoendienst: ‘Lover of hot ballgames and cold beers’

Previously: How Red Schoendienst survived Cardinals’ 5-20 start in 1973

Previously: Big 3: Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, Tony La Russa

Previously: Why Gussie Busch fired Bing Devine in championship year

Previously: Johnny Keane to Gussie Busch: Take this job and shove it

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Gussie Busch broke Johnny Keane’s cardinal rule. Keane couldn’t forgive him.

johnny_keane2Fifty years ago, on Oct. 16, 1964, just 19 hours after St. Louis had won the World Series championship, Keane resigned as Cardinals manager, stunning Busch, the Cardinals owner, who had expected to sign Keane to a contract extension that day.

Loyalty was sacrosanct to Keane. He had been loyal to the Cardinals, serving the franchise for 35 years. When Busch became disloyal to him, Keane’s personal code of conduct required he take action: He quit.

Surprising news

In the celebration that immediately followed the Cardinals’ World Series Game 7 victory over the Yankees on Oct. 15, Busch announced he would hold a news conference at the Anheuser-Busch brewery the next morning. Word leaked that Busch intended to present Keane with a three-year contract extension, reportedly for $50,000 per year.

When Keane arrived at the brewery, he handed Busch a resignation letter 30 minutes before the news conference. Busch, in a hurry to begin the event, gave the letter to an assistant without reading it, according to the book “October 1964.” The assistant read the letter and insisted the owner do the same.

Flanked by Keane and general manager Bob Howsam, Busch, visibly shaken, announced Keane’s resignation to the surprised gathering, who were expecting a celebratory contract signing.

“This really has shocked me,” Busch said. “I didn’t know a thing about it until I saw Johnny this morning. All I can say is that I’m damned sorry to lose Johnny.”

Said Keane: “I told Mr. Busch not to make any offer. I handed him my resignation and said my decision was firm _ that I didn’t want to embarrass him _ but that no offer would be acceptable.”

In his book “Uppity,” Cardinals first baseman Bill White wrote, “I wasn’t there, but I was told Busch and Howsam looked as if Johnny had just kicked them in the teeth _ which, in effect, he had.”

The resignation letter was dated Sept. 28 _ the day after the Cardinals had completed a five-game sweep of the Pirates, with six games remaining in the regular season.

The decision had been made 10 days before then.

Higher calling

Keane, a St. Louis native, briefly had studied for the priesthood at St. Louis Prepatory Seminary. At 18, he signed a Cardinals contract and was assigned to the minor leagues.

“I’ve been asked about that often,” Keane told The Sporting News. “Did I give up the priesthood for baseball? The answer is no. I knew after consultation with the priests at the seminary that the life was not for me.”

Keane was a baseball lifer. More specifically, a Cardinals lifer, or so it seemed.

He was an infielder in the St. Louis organization from 1930 until becoming a Cardinals minor league player-manager in 1938. He spent 21 seasons as a manager in the St. Louis farm system and had winning records in 17 of those years.

In 1959, Keane made it to the major leagues for the first time as a coach on the staff of Cardinals manager Solly Hemus. Keane replaced Hemus as St. Louis manager in July 1961.

Matter of principle

In August 1964, Busch, thinking the fifth-place Cardinals were out of contention, fired general manager Bing Devine, business manager Art Routzong and player personnel director Eddie Stanky. All were friends of Keane.

Though Keane remained manager, published reports indicated Busch planned to replace Keane after the season with Dodgers coach and former Cardinals shortstop Leo Durocher.

Keane felt betrayed.

On Sept. 18, with the Cardinals 6.5 games behind the first-place Phillies, Keane and his wife agreed that Keane would resign after the Cardinals’ final game. They kept their agreement private.

Ten days later, Keane wrote his resignation letter and put it aside.

Hold that letter

The Cardinals then won four of their final six games, including a sweep of the Phillies, and clinched the pennant on the last day of the regular season.

Carl Warwick, a Cardinals reserve outfielder, said of Keane, “He was as nearly perfect as any manager I ever saw. He didn’t panic.”

In the World Series, the Cardinals won four of seven against the Yankees, clinching their first title in 18 years.

At the news conference the next day, Keane told reporters a series of “little things” led to his resignation. Pressed for details, Keane admitted Devine’s firing and Busch’s open flirtation with Durocher were factors that caused him to depart.

Devine and Keane had become friends in 1949 when Devine was general manager of the Cardinals’ minor league club at Rochester and Keane was the manager.

In his book “The Memoirs of Bing Devine,” Devine wrote, “As a person, Keane impressed me as Stan Musial did … I’m talking about basic traits as a person.

“I didn’t think he needed to _ or should have _ quit the Cardinals because of me. But Johnny Keane was a loyal guy _ and that’s how he felt.”

Players react

Most Cardinals players said Keane’s resignation surprised them. But Cardinals pitcher Roger Craig told United Press International he had predicted Keane’s decision in August when it became known Busch wanted Durocher as manager. “Knowing the pride he has,” Craig said of Keane, “I knew this would happen.”

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson wrote, “My anger toward the ballclub _ and it was tangible _ stemmed largely from the needless nature of Keane’s departure … I stayed mad through the winter.”

Hours after Keane’s resignation became public, the Yankees fired manager Yogi Berra. Three days later, Keane was hired to replace him.

Previously: Why Gussie Busch fired Bing Devine in championship year

Previously: 5-game sweep of Pirates positioned Cardinals for pennant

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Mike Matheny became the first Cardinals manager to lead St. Louis to the postseason in each of his first three full seasons with the club.

mike_matheny9He’s also only the fifth big-league manager all‐time to have achieved that feat, joining Ron Gardenhire (2002-04 Twins), Larry Dierker (1997-99 Astros), Ralph Houk (1961-63 Yankees) and Hughie Jennings (1907-09 Tigers), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Matheny receives my top vote for the Connie Mack Award presented by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance to the most deserving manager in the National League.

Bloggers representing each National League franchise will vote for the Connie Mack Award. My vote is one of two representing the United Cardinal Bloggers.

Voters are required to list three managers on the Connie Mack Award ballot. Here, in order, starting with the top pick, are the managers who received my votes:

MIKE MATHENY

He led the Cardinals to their second consecutive National League Central Division championship. Under Matheny, the 2013-14 Cardinals became the first St. Louis teams to achieve consecutive seasons of 90 wins or more since the 2004-05 clubs.

His leadership skills and ability to overcome obstacles are exemplary.

Matheny excelled even though:

_ Yadier Molina, the catcher and heart and soul of the team, was limited to 110 games because of injury.

_ Allen Craig, considered a vital part of the offense, hit just .237 with a pitiful .291 on-base percentage before being banished to Boston.

_ Peter Bourjos, acquired from the Angels for David Freese, was a bust as the everyday center field candidate, hitting .231 with an on-base percentage of .294.

_ Two starters in the rotation, Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha, got injured and missed big portions of the season. Garcia was limited to seven starts and Wacha made 19 starts.

_ Randy Choate, the 39-year-old left-handed relief specialist, posted an unacceptable 4.50 ERA.

_ Kevin Siegrist, projected as the top left-handed reliever, was an abysmal 1-4 with a 6.82 ERA.

_ The Cardinals ranked last in the National League in home runs at 105.

_ The Cardinals ranked next-to-last in the National League in steals at 57.

_ The Cardinals ranked ninth among 15 National League clubs in runs at 619.

Wrote Richard Justice of MLB.com: “Mike Matheny has kept things rolling because he’s great with the players and he’s poised.”

BRUCE BOCHY

The Giants manager led San Francisco to its third postseason appearance in five years even though ace Matt Cain was limited to 15 starts because of injuries, no player achieved 90 RBI and the club ranked last in the National League in steals.

CLINT HURDLE

The Pirates manager got Pittsburgh into the postseason for the second consecutive year and masterfully utilized utility player Josh Harrison (.315 batting mark, 164 hits in 143 games) to plug a myriad of holes by rotating him at third base, right field, left field, second base and shortstop.

Previously: Mike Matheny, Eddie Dyer share rare rookie achievement

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A decade after the Cardinals and Dodgers were matched again in a National League Division Series, the result was familiar. So was the touch of class.

jim_tracyAfter the Cardinals eliminated the Dodgers from the 2004 National League Division Series, players and staff from both teams met on the field and shook hands.

After the Cardinals eliminated the Dodgers from the 2014 National League Division Series, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny tipped his cap to his opponent.

On Oct. 7, 2014, the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, 3-2, in Game 4 at St. Louis and advanced to the National League Championship Series. Boxscore As Matheny entered the field to congratulate his team, he turned toward the Dodgers’ dugout, doffed his cap and, in a gesture of respect, nodded in their direction. Check out the video clip.

Ten years earlier, on Oct. 10, 2004, the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, 5-2, in Game 4 at Los Angeles and advanced to the National League Championship Series. In an unscripted act of sportsmanship prompted by Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker and led by managers Jim Tracy of the Dodgers and Tony La Russa of St. Louis, the teams met near the third-base line and the Dodgers offered congratulations.

A surprised Matheny, then the Cardinals’ catcher, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch afterward, “I didn’t know what was going on. I thought we were going to brawl.”

Hockey lesson

Late in the regular season, after the Cardinals had clinched the 2004 Central Division crown, Walker suggested to La Russa that the Cardinals and their Division Series opponent shake hands on the field after the series finale. Walker, a Canadian, was impressed by how National Hockey League players formed a line on the ice after games and congratulated one another.

“Those guys (hockey players) go out and beat the daylights out of each other and then shake hands,” Walker said. “I think it’s a class thing.”

At the time Walker proposed his idea, the Cardinals didn’t know who they’d face in the first round of the postseason. “It sends a great message,” La Russa said of Walker’s suggestion. “But it depended on who we go up against. I know some managers better than others. But I know Jim Tracy really well.”

Before Game 1 of the Cardinals-Dodgers series, La Russa and Tracy discussed Walker’s idea, but neither mentioned it again.

Impromptu gesture

After the Cardinals’ clinching victory in Game 4, La Russa, like Matheny in 2014, went onto the field and turned toward the Dodgers’ dugout. He waved to Tracy. Then, La Russa made a handshake motion.

Tracy got the message.

He led the Dodgers onto the field.

“It was a class act,” said Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. “Tracy led the way.”

Said an appreciative La Russa: “I know it had to be much more difficult for them to come out of the dugout and meet us halfway. It was impressive.” Boxscore

Walker, who had joined the Cardinals two months earlier in a trade with the Rockies, was delighted.

“This is something I’ve thought about for a long time,” Walker said. “You can laugh at it, but I think it’s something that can be done. It can’t hurt.”

Previously: Mike Matheny sparked Cardinals over Dodgers in 2004 NLDS

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Tony La Russa and Joe Torre bring to 10 the number of managers in the National Baseball Hall of Fame who either played for or managed the Cardinals. Three of those 10 did both.

miller_hugginsLa Russa and Torre will be inducted into the Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine on July 27, 2014.

The 10 Hall of Fame managers who either played for or managed the Cardinals are, in alphabetical order: Walter Alston, Leo Durocher, Whitey Herzog, Miller Huggins, Tony La Russa, John McGraw, Bill McKechnie, Wilbert Robinson, Billy Southworth and Joe Torre.

Huggins, Southworth and Torre are the three Hall of Fame managers who both played for and managed the Cardinals.

Several other Hall of Famers _ such as Roger Bresnahan, Frankie Frisch, Rogers Hornsby and Red Schoendienst, to name a few _ managed the Cardinals, but were inducted at Cooperstown because of their stellar playing careers, not for managing.

Another Hall of Fame manager, Sparky Anderson, managed Cardinals farm teams, but didn’t manage the Cardinals and didn’t play for them.

Here is a look at the 10 Hall of Fame managers who either played for or managed the Cardinals:

Walter Alston

If general manager Branch Rickey hadn’t left St. Louis to join the Dodgers after the 1942 season, Alston eventually may have become Cardinals manager.

Instead, Rickey lured Alston from the Cardinals to the Dodgers. In 23 years as Dodgers manager, Alston had 2,040 wins, four World Series titles and seven National League pennants from 1954-76.

Alston played in the Cardinals’ minor-league system from 1935-44. He was a Cardinals minor-league player and manager at Class C Portsmouth (Ohio) in 1940 and at Class C Springfield (Ohio) in 1941 and 1942.

In the only major-league game in which he played, for the Cardinals against the Cubs in the season finale on Sept. 27, 1936, at St. Louis, Alston struck out against Lon Warneke in his lone at-bat and made an error in two fielding chances as a replacement for Johnny Mize at first base. Boxscore

Leo Durocher

After firing general manager Bing Devine in August 1964, the Cardinals planned to hire Durocher as their manager after the season. Instead, the Cardinals rallied to win the pennant and the World Series crown. When manager Johnny Keane resigned to join the Yankees, the Cardinals, looking for a popular replacement, changed course and hired Schoendienst rather than Durocher.

Durocher was the Cardinals’ shortstop from 1933-37. He started for the World Series champions in 1934. He was an all-star in 1936. He led National League shortstops in fielding percentage in 1933 and 1936.

In 24 years as a manager with the Dodgers, Giants, Cubs and Astros, Durocher had 2,008 wins, three pennants and a World Series championship.

Whitey Herzog

As Cardinals manager, Herzog won a World Series title and three pennants, reviving a franchise that had gone without a postseason appearance throughout the 1970s. Herzog had a record of 822-728 in 11 years with the Cardinals. He had 1,281 wins overall in 18 years as manager with the Rangers, Angels, Royals and Cardinals.

Miller Huggins

Like Torre, Huggins played for and managed the Cardinals, but earned his Hall of Fame credentials for his work with the Yankees.

Huggins was a Cardinals second baseman from 1910-16 and was their manager from 1913-17. He had a .402 on-base percentage and .270 batting average as a Cardinals player. He led the National League in on-base percentage at .432 in 1913.

His best season as Cardinals manager was 1917 when St. Louis finished in third place at 82-70. In five seasons as Cardinals manager, he was 346-415.

Huggins was the Yankees manager when Babe Ruth joined the team. He won three World Series crowns and six pennants with the Yankees. He was their manager when the Cardinals beat them in the 1926 World Series and when they beat the Cardinals in the 1928 World Series.

In 17 seasons as a big-league manager, Huggins had 1,413 wins, 1,067 with the Yankees.

Tony La Russa

His 1,408 wins with the Cardinals are the most by any manager in the franchise’s history. In 16 seasons with the Cardinals, La Russa earned two World Series titles, three pennants and nine postseason berths.

La Russa ranks third all-time in wins (2,728) among big-league managers. In 33 years managing the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals, La Russa won three World Series crowns and six pennants.

John McGraw

In 33 years managing the Orioles and Giants, McGraw had 2,763 wins. Only Connie Mack had more. McGraw won three World Series championships and 10 pennants with the Giants.

He played in 99 games as a third baseman for the 1900 Cardinals and led the National League that season in on-base percentage at .505. He also batted .344.

Bill McKechnie

In 1928, his first season as Cardinals manager, McKechnie won a pennant. He managed the Cardinals for part of the 1929 season before resigning and joining the Braves. In 25 years as manager with the Pirates, Cardinals, Braves and Reds, McKechnie had 1,896 wins, two World Series titles (with the 1925 Pirates and 1940 Reds) and four pennants.

Wilbert Robinson

Robinson won two pennants with the Dodgers, also known then as the Robins, and had 1,399 wins in 19 years as manager of the Orioles and Dodgers.

He was a backup catcher for the 1900 Cardinals, batting .248 in 60 games.

Billy Southworth

Like La Russa, Southworth won two World Series championships and three pennants as Cardinals manager. Southworth achieved the feat in three consecutive years (1942-44). He also won a pennant with the Braves. In 13 years as a manager with the Cardinals and Braves, Southworth had 1,044 wins.

He was a Cardinals outfielder in 1926, 1927 and 1929, compiling a .305 batting average. Southworth hit a three-run home run off Yankees starter Urban Shocker, helping the Cardinals to a Game 2 victory in the 1926 World Series. Boxscore

Joe Torre

A case could be made that Torre qualifies for the Hall of Fame as a player. In 18 seasons with the Braves, Cardinals and Mets, Torre hit .297 with 2,342 hits and 1,185 RBI.

He played third base, first base and catcher for the Cardinals from 1969-74 and batted a collective .308 with 1,062 hits. He earned the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player Award when he led the league in batting average (.363), hits (239) and RBI (137).

In 29 years as a manager with the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers, Torre had 2,326 wins (fifth all-time) and won four World Series titles and six pennants (all with the Yankees). He was 351-354 in six seasons as Cardinals manager.

Previously: Great debate: When Tony La Russa first batted the pitcher eighth

Previously: Cardinals boosted managing career of Sparky Anderson

Previously: 1956 Cardinals groomed nine managers

Previously: Mike Matheny, Eddie Dyer share rare rookie achievement

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Performing in an era when two, not five, teams qualified for the postseason from the National League, the best Cardinals club produced by manager Joe Torre wasn’t a September contender, even though its record was similar to, or better than, future St. Louis champions.

joe_torre4On July 27, 2014, Torre and Tony La Russa, who had the most wins of any Cardinals manager, will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Torre primarily was elected for managing the Yankees to four World Series crowns and six American League pennants.

Torre was 351-354 as Cardinals manager from August 1990 until June 1995. His best St. Louis team, the 1993 Cardinals, had an 87-75 record but finished third in the National League East Division, 10 games behind the champion Phillies and seven behind the second-place Expos.

In 2014, the National League qualifies three division champions and two wild-card teams for the postseason. In 1993, only the champions of the East and West divisions advanced.

The 1993 Cardinals had the fifth-best record in the National League. Their 87 wins were one fewer than those posted by the 1996 Cardinals (who were Central Division champions) and the 2012 Cardinals (who qualified for the postseason as a wild-card with the fifth-best record in the league). The 1993 Cardinals had four more wins than the 2006 Cardinals, who were Central Division champions and proceeded to win the World Series title.

Jefferies delivers

First baseman Gregg Jefferies led a 1993 Cardinals lineup that ranked fourth in the National League in runs scored (758) and batted a collective .272, eight percentage points better than the league average. Jefferies batted .342 with 16 home runs, 83 RBI, 46 stolen bases and a .408 on-base percentage.

Joining Jefferies among the top producers were third baseman Todd Zeile (17 home runs, 103 RBI), right fielder Mark Whiten (25 home runs, 99 RBI), left fielder Bernard Gilkey (40 doubles, 16 home runs) and shortstop Ozzie Smith (.288 batting average, 21 stolen bases).

The pitching staff featured closer Lee Smith (43 saves despite a 4.50 ERA) and three starters with winning records and double-figure wins: Bob Tewksbury (17 wins), Rene Arocha (11) and Donovan Osborne (10). But the staff was neither deep nor dominant and it produced a team ERA of 4.09, five percentage points above the league average.

A 20-7 June record put the Cardinals at 45-31 overall. After beating the Braves on July 19, the Cardinals were a season-high 18 wins over .500 at 55-37 and in second place, three games behind the Phillies and 6.5 ahead of the third-place Expos.

One month later, on Aug. 19, the Cardinals were holding steady, 17 wins above .500 at 69-52 and still in second place, but had lost ground to the Phillies, who were eight games ahead of them in the East.

Good group

As late as Sept. 19, the Cardinals were 15 wins above .500 at 82-67, but the Expos had moved past them and into second place. The Cardinals trailed the Expos by four games and the Phillies by eight.

“We have a good group,” Torre told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sept. 19. “There’s a lot more offense out there than we’ve had for a while. We thought our pitching would carry us, and it did for a while, but we’re a much better team offensively than we thought at the beginning of the season.”

St. Louis then lost eight of its next 11, dashing any hopes of a postseason berth.

The Phillies won the division title at 97-65. The second-place Expos were 94-68.

“You’re happy it’s over because finishing third, when you thought you had a chance for more, it’s frustrating,” Torre said after the season finale.

Said Ozzie Smith: “We competed for a long time, but then we just sort of fell out. That’s the disappointing part.”

Energy drain

In an analysis of the Cardinals’ 1993 season, Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch wrote, “The season must be classified as a disappointment to everyone concerned. A team that should have contended didn’t contend long enough. And a team that most certainly should have finished second didn’t seem to care about that.”

Hummel gave Torre a grade of C-plus for his managing in 1993. “Torre thought he had a team that would be in it until the last few days, at the least … Try as he might, Torre couldn’t infuse enough energy into this team late in the season,” Hummel wrote.

In his three full seasons as Cardinals manager (1991-93), Torre’s teams had winning records. The 1991 Cardinals finished second in the East Division, but 14 games behind the Pirates. Here is a breakdown of Torre’s year-by-year records with the Cardinals:

_ 1990: 24-34. (Hired in August by general manager Dal Maxvill).

_ 1991: 84-78.

_ 1992: 83-79.

_ 1993: 87-75.

_ 1994: 53-61. (Players’ strike halted season in August).

_ 1995: 20-27. (Fired in June by general manager Walt Jocketty).

Previously: Ted Simmons helped put pal Joe Torre on path to Hall

Previously: George Kissell, Cardinals inspired Joe Torre to be manager

Previously: Cardinals, Hall of Fame link Tony La Russa, Joe Torre

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