Two of the greatest players in baseball history at reaching base are in the same lineup for the 2011 Cardinals.
Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman have career on-base percentages that rate among the top eight all-time in the National League.
(This post was updated May 11 to clarify statistical data).
Not since Berkman and Jeff Bagwell were Astros teammates has a NL team had such a historically significant duo of on-base percentage leaders.
No wonder the 2011 Cardinals top the NL in on-base percentage at .357.
Pujols has a career on-base percentage of .423. Berkman is at .409. (Matt Holliday isn’t far behind at .390)
(The formula for calculating on-base percentage is adding hits + walks + hit-by-pitches divided by the sum of at-bats + walks + hit-by-pitches + sacrifice flies.)
The National League career on-base percentage leaders:
_ Barry Bonds, .444 OBP
_ Rogers Hornsby, .424 OBP
_ Todd Helton, .423 OBP
_ Albert Pujols, .423 OBP
_ Stan Musial, .417 OBP
_ Bobby Abreu, .412 OBP (NL only)
_ Mel Ott, .410 OBP
_ Lance Berkman, .409 OBP
_ Jeff Bagwell, .408 OBP
_ Chipper Jones, .404 OBP
_ Johnny Mize, .404 OBP
Like Pujols and Berkman, Hornsby, Musial and Mize played for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have finished as NL leaders in on-base percentage 13 times, the last being 2003 (the only time a Cardinals club managed by Tony La Russa accomplished the feat). But only five of those 13 won pennants. All five had pitching or defense that was as strong as the offense.
St. Louis teams that led the NL in on-base percentage:
_ 2003 Cardinals, .350 OBP
_ 1989 Cardinals, .321 OBP
_ 1987 Cardinals, .340 OBP*
_ 1985 Cardinals, .335 OBP*
_ 1982 Cardinals, .334 OBP*
_ 1980 Cardinals, .328 OBP
_ 1971 Cardinals, .338 OBP
_ 1963 Cardinals, .326 OBP
_ 1954 Cardinals, .350 OBP
_ 1944 Cardinals, .344 OBP*
_ 1942 Cardinals, .338 OBP* (tied with Dodgers)
_ 1939 Cardinals, .354 OBP
_ 1920 Cardinals, .337 OBP
NOTE: * indicates NL pennant winners
For more about Cardinals history, see a terrific post about a recent pitching feat that involves Scipio Spinks at The Cardinal Nation Blog.