this post covers cards number 1 to 4 in the set, featuring the 1964 saint louis cardinals. here are the fronts:
and so we have the three basic cards of the set in the first three cards we see - a color image, a memorable moments card, and a black and white image. and then there is tim mccarver.
let's break it down.
what team is this?: 1964 saint louis cardinals
why this team?: the 1964 cardinals were world champions in 1964, beating the yankees in 7 games. they also won 93 games for the second year in a row, and won the national league pennant for the first time since 1946.
which players are featured?: bob gibson, lou brock, ray washburn, tim mccarver
why these players?: bob gibson was the ace of the staff and led the team in war, a stat nowhere in sight back in 1964. gibson's 'wins above replacement' player was 6.2 and his traditional stat were good, too. he was 19-12 in 40 games pitched (36 starts) with 17 complete games and 2 shutouts. he even had a 'save' which was not an official stat back then. he threw 287 innings and had 245 strikeouts, good for second in the league. plus, he was the mvp of the world series.
lou brock was acquired by the cardinals in june of 1964 from the cubs. he went on to hit .348 in 103 games with saint louis, and finished second overall in the league with 43 steals. he also had some world series heroics, hitting a home run in game 7 off of the yankees' al downing to give saint louis a 4-0 lead in a game they eventually won 7-5. he hit .300 in the series, and of course went on to have a hall of fame career with the cardinals.
ray washburn appeared in only 15 games for the cardinals in 1964, posting a record of 3-4 with 2 saves and a 4.05 era. he did not appear in the world series, and as the back of his card suggests, he was a much bigger factor on the redbirds' 1968 world series team.
tim mccarver was just 22 in 1968, but guided the pitching staff while hitting .288. he appeared in 143 games and hit 9 home runs. he allowed 16 passed balls and threw out less than 30% of the runners who tried to steal against him. but, while his regular season numbers were better during the cardinals' 1967 world championship season, the 1964 world series is where mccarver came through the most. he hit .478 (11 for 23) with 5 walks and just one strikeout in the series. he had a double, triple, home run, sacrifice fly, and even a stolen base over the course of the seven games. his 3-run blast in the 10th inning of game 5 was the difference as the cardinals took a 3-2 lead in the series.
the stadium on the back is...?: 'old' busch stadium. i saw a couple of games there in 1998, after it had been converted from its multi-purpose state of the 70's and 80's. i dug it. especially the retired numbers in the outfield and the homage to the saint louis arch via the 'crown of arches' all around the exterior of the stadium. the problem is, the 1964 cardinals played in sportsman's park, which was also called busch stadium. the busch stadium on the back of these cards opened in 1966.
did upper deck get it right?: well, we know that the stadium is wrong. and ray washburn seems out of place. perhaps bill white or curt simmons would have been better representatives of the 1964 team than washburn. otherwise, the players chosen make sense, although the photo used for gibson is from circa 1974, based on the uniform and the artificial turf. and, the image used on brock's card (although i love that it shows a rundown - that's why it's in the header!) is from a game against the mets, and doesn't really connect with the subject matter of the card.
is this team timeless?: it's hard to argue with a world championship team, especially one that beat the yankees. i think upper deck chose wisely with this team.