On Sept. 23, 2005, the world was a different place. George W. Bush was president, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers were cellar dwellers, and, perhaps most baffling of all, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina had never thrown to each other in a Major League Baseball game.
That would change that night, however, as Wainwright made his second career appearance. His first had come in a game where Molina had already been pulled. In the bottom of the 7th, with the Brewers leading the Cardinals 9-6 at Miller Park, Wainwright came in and put down the Brewers 1-2-3: Chad Moeller by flyball, Jeff Cirillo by pop-out, and Brady Clark with a flyball to center.
And Wainwright has seemingly been pitching to Yadier Molina ever since. They’ve hadover 300 starts as a batterysince Wainwright became a full-time starter in 2007. They’ll start again tonight in the Wild Card Game against the Dodgers. They’ll likely continue to serve as a battery next year, and presumably for however long the two of them stay with the Cardinals.
So how else was the world different back when Wainwright first threw to Molina? Here’s a sampling:
That weekend (Sept. 23-25), the number one movie would be Flightplan starring Jodie Foster.
The Washington Nationals were in their first season since moving from Montreal.
Los Angeles’ pitcher tonight, Max Scherzer, was playing for the University of Missouri.
The Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, was still an active ballplayer.
The City of Chicago had not seen a World Series title since 1917 (the White Sox would win it a month later).
Daniel Craig had not yet debuted as James Bond.
Tobey Maguire was still Spider-Man.
The Nintendo Wii was still a year away from release.
John Roberts was not yet confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Most of the child cast of Stranger Things were not even in grade school yet. One of them, Priah Ferguson (who plays Lucas’ little sister Erica), hadn’t even been born.
Saturday Night Live had yet to have a broadcast in High Definition. The Colbert Report was just under a month from debuting. The West Wing, Alias, Malcom in the Middle, and That ’70s Show were all still on the air.
Every other member of the Cardinals’ Wild Card roster had not played a game of professional baseball. And on the Dodgers only Albert Pujols had. And on Sept. 23, 2005 he was… at first base for the Cardinals as Wainwright threw to Molina!
In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. This is the Cardinals’ entry.
In 2010, the St. Louis Cardinals went 86-76, and missed the playoffs.
They have made it every year since then. They are now the playoff constant that the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees once were. And yet, in the tough NL Central, it’s entirely possible that this season may see them finally miss the postseason for the first time since that 2010 team.
It’s not that the Cardinals will be bad, so much as that they are in the NL Central, with the Cubs and the Pirates. They also are, slowly, getting older. Matt Holliday is 36. Adam Wainwright is 34. Yadier Molina is 33 and those catching legs can’t be in the best shape. The Cubs and Pirates are younger, the Brewers are on their way up (although it’s doubtful they will be a threat this season). The window maybe, just maybe, could be closing.
On the other hand, these are the Cardinals. They excel at beating expectations. The “Devil Magic” may never stop.
Last month’s look at unofficial and unlicensed baseball shirts was a big hit, even being picked up by SI.com’s Extra Mustard. So, since I’m never the type to quit while I’m ahead, I’ll do another. So, with the postseason starting tomorrow, here are the best unofficial and/or unlicensed (or, in extreme circumstances, just plain cool) t-shirts for those teams. Click the links to be brought to the stores that are selling them.
(Note: Some of these are not technically unofficial, but are rather licensed by individual players or the Hall of Fame. You’ll see, for example, a HOF Reggie Jackson shirt that conspicuously doesn’t have any Yankees logos on it.)
In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.
A shorter one today, as we go back to bio-comics, this time looking at Stan Musial. Now, I’ve done a bio-comic before, but this one is different because it’s from a different era- the Golden Age of Comics! To be more specific, it’s from True Comics #78, in August 1949, from “Parents Magazine”. This is from the late Golden Age, a time where super-hero comics were in a low period and were being replaced by crime, horror and romance comics, no doubt leading to good wholesome fun like this to held up as being the last bastions of innocent virtue in comics.
But I digress. Here’s the part of the comic with Stan on it:
You can see it here, as it is in the Public Domain. Go below the jump for more: