St. Louis Cardinals 5 Best Moments of the 2016 Season

Sam Masterson (@sammasterson22)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The end wasn’t what the St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinals Nation wanted. No brisk, fall evenings with rally towels being whipped throughout Busch Stadium. No baseball on the KMOX air waves until next Spring.

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a whole lot of moments worth remembering:

Jeremy Hazelbaker’s April– The man I call Hazel-raker was hitting .500 with two home runs, five RBI and a 1.500 OPS after just eight games. He was a total unknown, and one of the last players to officially make the team out of spring training. Thirty days later, he was spoken of among the best rookies in the National League.

August Cubs series– It’s August 13, and the Cubs just creamed St. Louis 13-2 the prior night. The future of St. Louis, Alex Reyes, gets his first big-league win after he shuts Chicago down for three innings. It was a tie-game going into the 8th, but that quickly changed after a few errors by Chicago and a grand slam by Randal Grichuk to seal the victory.

St. Louis Cardinals Brandon Moss gets a facefull of water from pitcher Alex Reyes after hitting a go ahead two run home run in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 13, 2016. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

St. Louis Cardinals Brandon Moss gets a facefull of water from pitcher Alex Reyes after hitting a go ahead two run home run in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 13, 2016. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

The next day, St. Louis was still 13 games back of Chicago, but the momentum was building to take over a Wild Card Spot from New York or San Francisco, and hold off the Miami Marlins. Still in Chicago, the Cubs again took an early lead and the score was tied headed into the 8th. Then Stephen Piscotty homered, Brandon Moss followed with another and Grichuck was clutch again, this time doubling in a run.

That was part of a five-game win streak, that ultimately wasn’t enough to make the playoffs, but was a moment of rejuvenation for St. Louis

Aledmys Diaz’s grand slam after Jose Fernandez’s death– Their friendship was documented since they were just children playing baseball together in Cuba. In Diaz’s first at bat after he traveled to Miami, to be with the family of Fernandez, he mashed a grand slam. With tears in his eyes he looked and pointed to the sky to honor his late friend.

Every 7th through 9th inning– The Cards late-inning comebacks caused an uncountable amount of heart attacks in the greater St. Louis area in 2016. As a team, St. Louis had statistically the best offense in baseball after the 6th inning.

All season, the Card’s late-inning statistics were well-tracked by KMOX’s Chris Hrabe.

Matt Holliday’s final weekend– Baseball just has a way of taking a special moment and making it memorable. Holliday was activated to the roster for what will in all likelihood be his last weekend as a St. Louis Cardinal. We figured to see him at least once, maybe after the Cards had officially clinched a spot or been eliminated from the playoffs. Instead, in a one-run game he would pinch hit on Friday and hit a home run.

What a send off that would have been. But then again on Saturday he came up to the plate with two on and St. Louis down by three. Of course, he drives in another run. And finally on Sunday he makes his final appearance as a Cardinal. Since being traded to St. Louis from Oakland in 2009, then signed that offseason with St. Louis – 156 home runs, four All Star appearances, and a World Series championship later, St. Louis says goodbye:

Honorable mentions:

Yadier Molina’s game-winning double– It was the most controversial moment of the season. Molina should have bought a lottery ticket that night, after his ball bounced off the MOLottery.com sign “above” the left field fence.

Diaz’s first half– He ended his rookie season with the second highest WAR among Cardinals. Although he only made the All-Star team after a injury kept Matt Carpenter out, Diaz was certainly deserving.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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