ST. LOUIS -- A recent article by MLB.com's Will Leitch highlighting 10 former Yankees who you may not remember as former Yankees got us thinking about what such a list might look like for other baseball franchises.
Curious about the same? Well, you're in luck. Here we'll take a look at 10 former players whose donned the Birds on the Bat for a short period of time before or after gaining notoriety elsewhere.
Using chronological order to rank these, here we go:
Cy Young, 1899-1900
Of his 511 career wins, 46 came with the Cardinals, the second of five Major League clubs for which Young pitched. Young's time in St. Louis was sandwiched between nine years in Cleveland and eight in Boston, which is why he's easy to overlook. But he posted a 2.78 ERA while appearing in 85 games (77 starts), and he logged 690 2/3 innings. His walk rate of 1.008 per nine innings in 1900 still ranks fifth-best in franchise history.
Bob Uecker, 1964-65
Uecker isn't necessarily forgotten around these parts since he was a member of a World Series-champion club. Yet, he's much more broadly known for his time in the Brewers' broadcast booth, as well as his place in pop culture. But before he became Harry Doyle, a regular on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" and the most recognized voice in Brewers history, Uecker was a catcher for the Cardinals. He platooned with Tim McCarver for a while and is quick to remind folks of that time in 1965 when he took Sandy Koufax deep.
Bobby Bonds, 1980
Remembered mostly for his time in San Francisco, Bonds concluded his career with a few jumps around the Midwest. That included a season in St. Louis, which traded for Bonds in December 1979. Bonds went on to make 57 starts for the Cardinals before being released the following offseason. By the time he arrived, Bonds had already become the second player in MLB history to hit 300 homers and steal 300 bases.
Jim Kaat, 1980-83
Kaat wound down a 25-year Major League career with four seasons in St. Louis, where he pitched primarily out the bullpen. By the time he became a Cardinal, Kaat had already been a three-time All-Star and 16-time Gold Glove Award winner. But Kaat won his only World Series ring with the Cardinals in 1982, and his time in St. Louis made him the 29th player in Major League history to appear in games over four decades.
Jamie Moyer, 1991
Moyer never won a game for the Cardinals, and, after seven starts, was demoted to the Minors. The Cardinals released him at the end of the year, and Moyer wouldn't return to the Majors for another two years. Once he did, though, his renaissance was remarkable, as Moyer went on to win 235 more games before ending his career in 2012. The last pitch he threw for the Cardinals was crushed by Barry Bonds, who hit two homers off Moyer in Pittsburgh that day.
Andres Galarraga, 1992
The Expos traded Galarraga to the Cardinals one year before he entered free agency. His time in St. Louis was mostly underwhelming, with Galarraga posting a .673 OPS over 95 games. It was after he departed that Galarraga signed with the Rockies and entered the most productive part of his career -- six straight top-16 finishes in the MVP Award vote and four All-Star appearances in a seven-season span.
Dennis Eckersley, 1996-97
It was Eckersley's relationship with Tony La Russa, who had managed him in Oakland, that brought him to the Cardinals in the twilight of his career. By the time he arrived, Eckersley had already notched 323 saves and 192 wins. His arrival in St. Louis not only reunited Eckersley with La Russa, but also pitching coach Dave Duncan. He pitched well as the Cardinals' closer, accruing 66 saves over two seasons and making six scoreless postseason appearances. Eckersley then left for Boston, which is where his 24-year career ended.
Bobby Bonilla, 2001
Bonilla still draws a paycheck from the Mets each July 1 to pay off deferred salary, yet it was in St. Louis that his career actually came to an end. Bonilla signed with the Cardinals before the 2001 season, but he was limited to 93 games due mostly to injuries. He hit .213. Bonilla, a six-time All-Star, announced his retirement shortly after the season ended.
Joe Girardi, 2003
Best remembered for his time behind the plate in Chicago and New York, Girardi played his final 16 games with the Cardinals. Girardi signed with the club as a free agent and served as a backup to Mike Matheny, who he would later manage against. It was a homecoming of sorts for the Peoria, Ill., native, who finished with three hits in 23 at-bats. That included a hit in his final time at the plate, giving him an even 1,100 for his career.
John Smoltz, 2009
Smoltz's Hall of Fame career ended with seven starts in St. Louis. He signed with the club in August and set a franchise record by striking out seven consecutive batters in his first appearance. Smoltz won that game, but no more. He considered re-signing with the Cardinals for another year before ultimately retiring after 21 seasons in the Majors.