2006 National League Championship Series

The 2006 National League Championship Series (NLCS), the second round of the 2006 National League playoffs, began on October 12 and ended on October 19; it was scheduled to begin on October 11, but was postponed a day because of inclement weather. The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the heavily favored New York Mets in seven games to advance to the 2006 World Series against the Detroit Tigers.

The Cardinals and the Mets took the series to the limit, reaching the 9th inning of Game 7 tied at 1–1. The Cardinals took the lead with Yadier Molina's two-run home run off Mets reliever Aaron Heilman in the 9th to put his team ahead, 3–1. Adam Wainwright would then hold the Mets scoreless in the bottom of the 9th to give St. Louis their second pennant in three years and 17th in club history, placing them one behind the New York/San Francisco Giants and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for most in NL modern history (since 1903). The Cardinals were making their third consecutive appearance in the NLCS; manager Tony La Russa, who led St. Louis to the 2004 pennant and previously won AL titles with the Oakland Athletics from 1988–90, became the first manager in history to win multiple pennants in both leagues.

The Mets, handicapped after season-ending injuries to Pedro Martínez and Orlando Hernández, qualified for postseason play for the first time since 2000. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers three games to none in the NL Division Series, while the Cardinals defeated the San Diego Padres three games to one. The Mets had home-field advantage due to their better record in the regular season (the Mets were 97–65, the Cardinals 83–78). The Mets and Cardinals previously met in the 2000 NLCS, which the Mets won in five games.

The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series in five games.

2006 National League Championship Series
2006 NLCS Logo
Teams
Team (Wins) Manager Season
St. Louis Cardinals (4) Tony La Russa 83–78, .516, GA: 1½
New York Mets (3) Willie Randolph 97–65, .599, GA: 12
DatesOctober 11–19
MVPJeff Suppan (St. Louis)
UmpiresTim Welke, Jim Joyce, Jerry Layne, Fieldin Culbreth, Jeff Kellogg, Gary Darling
NLDS
Broadcast
TelevisionFox
TV announcersJoe Buck, Tim McCarver and Luis Gonzalez
RadioESPN
Radio announcersDan Shulman and Dave Campbell

Summary

New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis won the series, 4–3.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 12† St. Louis Cardinals – 0, New York Mets – 2 Shea Stadium 2:52 56,311[1] 
2 October 13† St. Louis Cardinals – 9, New York Mets – 6 Shea Stadium 3:58 56,349[2] 
3 October 14 New York Mets – 0, St. Louis Cardinals – 5 Busch Stadium (III) 2:53 47,053[3] 
4 October 15 New York Mets – 12, St. Louis Cardinals – 5 Busch Stadium (III) 3:31 46,600[4] 
5 October 17‡ New York Mets – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 4 Busch Stadium (III) 3:26 46,496[5] 
6 October 18 St. Louis Cardinals – 2, New York Mets – 4 Shea Stadium 2:56 56,334[6] 
7 October 19 St. Louis Cardinals – 3, New York Mets – 1 Shea Stadium 3:23 56,357[7]

†: Game 1 was postponed due to rain on October 11. Game 2 was subsequently pushed back a day as well.
‡: Game 5 was postponed due to rain on October 16.

Game summaries

Game 1

Thursday, October 12, 2006 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
New York 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 X 2 6 0
WP: Tom Glavine (1–0)   LP: Jeff Weaver (0–1)   Sv: Billy Wagner (1)
Home runs:
STL: None
NYM: Carlos Beltrán (1)

On a game pushed back a day by rain, both pitchers pitched magnificently. Tom Glavine earned the win with seven innings of shutout baseball. The game's only runs came on a two-run homer by Carlos Beltrán off losing pitcher Jeff Weaver in the sixth following a two-out single by Paul Lo Duca. Glavine was aided by stellar defense, as the Mets turned two double plays. In the third inning, with runners on first and second, third baseman David Wright caught a line drive off the bat of David Eckstein and threw to second to double up Yadier Molina. In the following inning, Juan Encarnación flied out to shallow center to Beltrán, who threw to first on the run to double up Albert Pujols, who went 0-for-3 with a walk. Left fielder Endy Chávez also made an excellent diving play on a flare hit by Ronnie Belliard. He replaced Cliff Floyd, who left in the second inning when he reaggravated his injured Achilles tendon.

Following the game, Albert Pujols was controversially critical of Glavine's performance, saying that the Cards would have dominated him if they were on their "A" game. His exact words were:

"He wasn't good. He wasn't good at all ... I think we hit the ball hard, we didn't get some breaks. I say he wasn't good at all. We just didn't get some opportunities and that's it.... [He did the] same thing that he always does. Throw a changeup, fastball and that was it."[8]

Pujols' comments drew criticism from fans, talk-show hosts, broadcasters, and even his own manager. Tony La Russa, while maintaining that Pujols made the remarks in the heat of the moment, said "It's not a good statement. Glavine deserves credit." [9] Tom Glavine, when asked, merely said that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. His teammate Billy Wagner, on the other hand, said:

"I know if Albert would have said that about me, I wouldn't have been as veteraned, as seasoned about it ... I probably would have said something back. That's me. Tom is classy all the way ... Tom's done so much. Tom doesn't have to stoop to tell people how good he is ... His numbers speak for themselves. With 290 wins for somebody that has been in the league as long as he has is pretty self-explanatory ...Tommy's stature is much bigger than Pujols'. He's [got] a Hall of Fame induction coming. Albert doesn't. Albert's a great player, but you just don't know about tomorrow. In this clubhouse, Tommy is the epitome of class and great leadership. He leads by what he does in the field. He doesn't lead by what he says in the media." [10]

Game 2

Friday, October 13, 2006 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 3 9 10 1
New York 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 6 9 2
WP: Josh Kinney (1–0)   LP: Billy Wagner (0–1)   Sv: Adam Wainwright (1)
Home runs:
STL: Jim Edmonds (1), So Taguchi (1)
NYM: Carlos Delgado 2 (2)

In Game 2, the Cardinals erased three deficits en route to a 9–6 victory. In the first inning, Carlos Delgado hit a three-run home run off the Cardinals' ace Chris Carpenter. Yadier Molina then drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double in the second inning off of John Maine. In the bottom of the second, Endy Chavez hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a groundout and scored on José Reyes's, but Jim Edmonds's home run after a walk tied the game in the third. Delgado's home run in the fifth put the Mets back on top 5–4. Next inning, Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock walked Reyes, who scored on Paul Lo Duca's double, but Scott Spiezio, who started the game at third base in place of an injured Scott Rolen, had two hits and three RBIs, including a two-run triple on an 0–2 pitch in the seventh inning to tie the game at six off of Guillermo Mota. Lefty closer Billy Wagner came into the game in the top of the ninth inning. Left fielder Chris Duncan, a lefty hitter, was due to lead off, so, Duncan was pulled in favor of So Taguchi, a right-hitting outfielder who was a better defensive option than Duncan. Taguchi homered on the ninth pitch of the at-bat to put the Cardinals ahead, 7–6. Albert Pujols doubled and moved to third on a groundout before Spiezio's RBI double and Juan Encarnación's single extended the Cardinals' lead to 9–6. Tyler Johnson and Adam Wainwright retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the ninth as the Cardinals' win tied the series 1–1.

Game 3

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at Busch Stadium (III) in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
St. Louis 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 5 8 0
WP: Jeff Suppan (1–0)   LP: Steve Trachsel (0–1)
Home runs:
NYM: None
STL: Jeff Suppan (1)

Back in St. Louis for the next three games, St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan pitched eight innings as the Cardinals defeated the Mets, 5–0. Scott Spiezio hit a two-run triple (his second two-run triple in as many games) in the bottom of the first inning to put the Cardinals ahead, 2–0. The Cardinals loaded the bases on two walks afterward, but Mets starter Steve Trachsel struck out Yadier Molina looking to end the inning. Next inning, Suppan's leadoff home run made it 3–0, who then loaded the bases on two walks and a line drive off the bat of Preston Wilson that hit Trachsel, who left with a bruised thigh. Mets reliever Darren Oliver threw a wild pitch to Jim Edmonds that let David Eckstein score before Edmonds's RBI groundout plated the last run of the game. Oliver then pitched six shutout innings. After the game, the Mets had not scored in twelve consecutive innings, making it fourteen before scoring in the third inning of Game 4.

Game 4

Sunday, October 15, 2006 at Busch Stadium (III) in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 2 0 3 6 1 0 0 12 14 1
St. Louis 0 1 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 5 11 1
WP: Óliver Pérez (1–0)   LP: Brad Thompson (0–1)
Home runs:
NYM: Carlos Beltrán 2 (3), David Wright (1), Carlos Delgado (3)
STL: David Eckstein (1), Jim Edmonds (2), Yadier Molina (1)

Game 4 was a pivotal game for the Mets, who were faced with a two-games-to-one deficit. They sent Óliver Pérez, a young lefty picked up at the trade deadline from the Pittsburgh Pirates, to face the Cardinals' own young starter, Anthony Reyes. In a game that would see an NLCS-record-tying seven home runs, the Cardinals grabbed an early lead in the bottom of the second on a Yadier Molina single. It seemed to be a repeat of the night before, but in the top of the third the Mets hit two home runs, one being Carlos Beltrán's second of the series and sixth against the Cardinals in NLCS play, and another representing David Wright's first hit of the series and first homer of the playoffs. The lead was short-lived, as Scott Spiezio walked with one out, then scored on Juan Encarnación's two-out triple to tie the game. The game would stay tied until the top of the fifth inning, when Paul Lo Duca reached on an error by Cardinals second baseman Ronnie Belliard, Beltrán managed a walk, and Carlos Delgado scored an opposite-field three-run homer, his third of the series, to make it 5–2 Mets and knock starter Brad Thompson out of the game. David Eckstein pulled the Cards back in the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff homer, but, in the top of the sixth, the Mets extended the lead. José Reyes and Paul Lo Duca hit back-to-back singles off of Josh Hancock, and Beltrán walked to load the bases. Delgado then hit a ground-rule double to drive in two runs, and then Wright walked. Tyler Johnson relieved Hancock and Shawn Green singled to drive in one run and José Valentín, who, at that point, was only 3-for-20 in the playoffs, hit a bases-clearing double down the left field line to make it 11–3. The Cardinals got home runs from Edmonds and Molina to make it an 11–5 game, but Mets manager Willie Randolph then pulled starter Pérez and bought in submarine pitcher Chad Bradford to try and limit the damage. Beltrán would tie the NLCS record of seven home runs with another in the seventh off of Braden Looper en route to a final score of 12–5. Beltrán also tied Babe Ruth for the all-time postseason record of seven home runs against the Cardinals, having hit four against them in the 2004 National League Championship Series while playing for the Houston Astros.

Game 5

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at Busch Stadium (III) in St. Louis, Missouri

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
St. Louis 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 X 4 10 0
WP: Jeff Weaver (1–1)   LP: Tom Glavine (1–1)   Sv: Adam Wainwright (2)
Home runs:
NYM: None
STL: Albert Pujols (1), Chris Duncan (1)

After Game 5 was pushed back a day by rain, giving their starter now four days' normal rest instead of three days' short rest, the Mets sought a 3–2 lead in the NLCS. However, pitcher Tom Glavine could not stifle the Cardinals' offense. After the Mets jumped out to a 2–0 lead on Jose Valentin's double off of Jeff Weaver, the next half-inning Albert Pujols struck for his first home run and RBI of the series to cut the Mets' lead in half. Glavine then walked Scott Rolen and allowed a single to Jim Edmonds before Ronnie Belliard tied the game with a single to left. David Eckstein singled to lead off the fifth and scored on Preston Wilson double to put the Cardinals up 3–2. St. Louis padded their lead in the sixth through a pinch-hit home run by rookie Chris Duncan off of Pedro Feliciano that made the final score 4–2, Cardinals. The win moved the Cardinals within one of their second National League pennant in three years.

Game 6

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 7 1
New York 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 X 4 10 0
WP: John Maine (1–0)   LP: Chris Carpenter (0–1)
Home runs:
STL: None
NYM: José Reyes (1)

Facing elimination, the Mets sent John Maine to start Game 6. He allowed no runs in ​5 13 innings, earning the win for the Mets. José Reyes hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first, giving the Mets a lead that would never be relinquished. Reyes became the first Met to lead off with a home run in the first inning of a postseason game since former outfielder Lenny Dykstra in Game 3 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. The Cardinals stranded several runners against Maine. In the top of the first inning, with runners on second and third and one out, Maine struck out Jim Edmonds. After Maine hit Juan Encarnación with a pitch to load the bases, Scott Rolen flew out. In the top of the third, with a runner on second and nobody out, Maine struck out Scott Spiezio and intentionally walked Albert Pujols. Edmonds then flew out and Maine struck out Encarnación to finish the job. Shawn Green hit an RBI single in the fourth off of starter Chris Carpenter and Paul Lo Duca added two more with an RBI hit in the seventh off of Braden Looper. Billy Wagner came on in the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Juan Encarnación and subsequent double to Scott Rolen. After retiring the next two batters, Wagner gave up a two-RBI double to So Taguchi before retiring David Eckstein to end the game.

Game 7

Endy Chavez plaque
Endy Chávez plaque

Thursday, October 19, 2006 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 6 1
New York 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
WP: Randy Flores (1–0)   LP: Aaron Heilman (0–1)   Sv: Adam Wainwright (3)
Home runs:
STL: Yadier Molina (2)
NYM: None

In the decisive Game 7, the Mets sent Game 4 winner Óliver Pérez to the mound against Jeff Suppan. The Mets jumped out to an early 1–0 lead when David Wright drove in Carlos Beltrán in the first with a bloop single into right field. The Cardinals tied the game in the second when Ronnie Belliard hit into a squeeze play that scored Jim Edmonds from third. In the fifth, with runners on first and second and two gone, Albert Pujols came up to the plate. Even with Chad Bradford warming up in the bullpen, Willie Randolph decided to stay with Pérez. He got Pujols to pop out. Pérez ran into some more trouble in the sixth with a runner on and one out, when Scott Rolen hit a long fly ball to left field to create one of the greatest defensive plays in postseason history.

The ball cleared the fence, but Endy Chávez amazingly brought it back by snow-coning the ball, jumping from the edge of the warning track to retrieve what looked to be an easy home run. He then threw the ball to first base quickly to double off Jim Edmonds, who had rounded second on his way to third, to end the inning. He received two curtain calls from the Shea crowd. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth, José Valentín and Chávez failed to get the go-ahead run in.

With the score 1–1 in the top of the ninth, Yadier Molina, with a man on-base, hit a deep fly off Aaron Heilman in the same general direction as the one Rolen hit in the sixth. This ball was hit too high for Chávez to catch, and it gave the Cardinals a 3–1 lead, with only three outs in the bottom of the ninth separating them from a pennant.

However, the Mets would not go quietly. Rookie closer Adam Wainwright yielded singles to Valentín and Chávez to lead off the ninth. After getting a strikeout and a flyout, Wainwright walked Paul Lo Duca to bring up Carlos Beltrán with the bases loaded. Down 0–2 to the rookie Wainwright, Beltrán looked at a called strike three, a curveball on the outside corner at the knees, to end the game.

This was the last playoff game played in Shea Stadium and the last postseason appearance for the Mets until 2015, six years after Citi Field opened. It is also the second time that a visiting team won a postseason series at Shea (the other being the Yankees' victory over the Mets in the 2000 World Series).

Composite box

2006 NLCS (4–3): St. Louis Cardinals over New York Mets

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 2 7 3 2 2 3 2 0 7 28 56 4
New York Mets 5 1 2 3 4 9 3 0 0 27 54 4
Total attendance: 365,500   Average attendance: 52,214

Aftermath

The Cardinals would win the World Series by defeating the heavily favored Detroit Tigers. With 83 wins, the Cardinals set a record for the worst regular season win-loss total for any championship team. They would win another World Series in 2011 and make another World Series appearance in 2013 (where they lost to the Boston Red Sox).

As for the Mets, many commentators and fans had predicted that 2006 would be the beginning of a dynasty. They had dominated the National League that season, winning 97 games when no one else won more than 88, and they had a deep and young core, with Beltran, Wright, and Reyes being under 30 (the latter two being under 25). Supporting those three were Hall of Fame caliber players such as Carlos Delgado, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martínez, and Billy Wagner.

Nonetheless, 2006 stands as the only achievement for this group. They suffered an historic collapse at the end of the 2007 season, losing 12 of their final 17 games to blow a 7-game division lead and miss the postseason by one game. After a smaller late-season collapse the next season, they again missed the postseason by one game. They then finished below .500 the next six seasons (2009–2014). Manager Willie Randolph was fired in the middle of the 2008 season, Delgado played his last game in 2009, General Manager Omar Minaya was fired after 2010 (In 2017, he was brought back as a Special Assistant to then-General Manager Sandy Alderson), Beltran was dealt away at the 2011 trade deadline, and Reyes left via free agency the following offseason. Reyes would eventually return to the Mets in 2016; he, along with David Wright, would leave the Mets after the 2018 season - Reyes's contract was not renewed, and Wright retired as a result of spinal stenosis.

In 2015, the Mets returned to the NLCS, where they defeated the Cardinals' arch-rival, the Chicago Cubs, in a four-game sweep that saw the Mets not trail once in the entire series. They would go on to lose to the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series in five games.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "2006 NLCS Game 1 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "2006 NLCS Game 2 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "2006 NLCS Game 3 - New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "2006 NLCS Game 4 - New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "2006 NLCS Game 5 - New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "2006 NLCS Game 6 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "2006 NLCS Game 7 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  8. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/2006/oct/14/sports/sp-nlnotes14
  9. ^ https://sports.yahoo.com/news/pujols-comments-draw-attention-004800985--mlb.html
  10. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2006/news/story?id=2630313

External links

2000 National League Championship Series

The 2000 National League Championship Series (NLCS), to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played between the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals and the wild card New York Mets. The Mets and Cards used as a rally cry the 2000 hit song "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by the Baha Men.

This series pitted a pair of teams that were former division rivals. In the mid-1980s, the Mets and Cardinals fought it out for supremacy in the National League East over four seasons, with each team alternating division championships between 1985 and 1988 (the Cardinals in their pennant seasons of 1985 and 1987, the Mets in their championship season of 1986 and 1988; however, the Cardinals weren't serious contenders in both of those years).The Cardinals, led by manager Tony La Russa, had played through the 2000 season in relatively businesslike fashion. They had won the National League Central division, and swept the Mets' fiercest rival, Atlanta Braves, in three games in the NL Division Series, making the Mets' run to the World Series much easier. However, they were struck with several injuries to key players as the playoffs began, including slugger Mark McGwire, catcher Mike Matheny, and the sudden, unexplained wildness of rookie pitcher Rick Ankiel.

The Mets, on the other hand, engaged in battle with the Braves for much of the season, eventually falling one game short of a division title. They matched up with the San Francisco Giants in the Division Series. After dropping the first game, they would rebound to win the following three games in heart-stopping fashion, including a thirteenth inning walk off home run from Benny Agbayani to win Game 3 and an improbable one-hit shutout by Bobby Jones to win the clinching Game 4. As noted above, the Mets thanked the Cardinals for making their run to the World Series much easier.It was the first NLCS since 1990 not to feature the Braves.

The Mets would go on to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series in five games.

2007 Major League Baseball season

The 2007 Major League Baseball season began on April 1 with a rematch of the 2006 National League Championship Series; the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets played the first game of the season at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, which was won by the Mets, 6–1. The regular season concluded with seven teams entering the postseason who had failed to reach the 2006 playoffs including all National League teams, with only the New York Yankees returning; a dramatic one-game playoff between the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres; and the largest September collapse for a leading team in baseball history, with the Mets squandering a 7-game lead with 17 to play, losing on the final day of the regular season, and the Philadelphia Phillies capturing the National League East for the first time since 1993. The season ended on October 28, with the Boston Red Sox sweeping the World Series over the Rockies, four games to none.

A special exhibition game known as the "Civil Rights Game" was played on March 31 in AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee, between the Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians to celebrate the history of civil rights in the United States. The 2007 season commemorates the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's entry into the game, breaking the color barrier.

For the fourth consecutive season, MLB regular season attendance increased by comparison with the previous year. In 2007, an all-time attendance record of 79,502,524 (32,785 per game) was set.

2011 Major League Baseball season

The 2011 Major League Baseball season began on Thursday, March 31, and ended on Wednesday, September 28. This marked the first time a season began on a Thursday since 1976, and the first time a regular season ended on a Wednesday since 1990. The 82nd edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 12 with the National League defeating the American League for the second straight year, by a score of 5–1. As has been the case since 2003, the league winning that game has home field advantage in the World Series. Accordingly, the World Series began on October 19, and ended on October 28, with the St. Louis Cardinals winning in seven games over the Texas Rangers.Only two teams were unable to complete the entire 162-game regular season schedule, as the make-up game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 8 was cancelled due to rain and not made up, owing to scheduling constraints and the game being inconsequential to the playoffs.

Aaron Heilman

Aaron Michael Heilman (born November 12, 1978) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. Heilman was drafted by the New York Mets out of Notre Dame in 2001. He came up through the Mets system as a starting pitcher, but was converted to a relief pitcher in 2005.

Adam Wainwright

Adam Parrish Wainwright (born August 30, 1981) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Atlanta Braves selected him 29th overall in the first round of the 2000 amateur draft from Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Georgia. His performance in the minor leagues brought him notice as one of the Braves' top pitching prospects. The Braves traded him to the Cardinals after the 2003 season, receiving outfielder J. D. Drew in a deal which has since been considered lopsided in favor of the Cardinals. Wainwright made his MLB debut on September 11, 2005, against the New York Mets.

As spending his first full MLB season as a relief pitcher, Wainwright briefly assumed closer duties, saving the series-clinching games of both the 2006 National League Championship Series and World Series. The next season, he returned to starting pitching, a role in which he has since remained, except for 2011, which he missed due to Tommy John surgery. He emerged as an ace as he led the National League multiple times in wins, innings pitched, and games started. He also has multiple top-ten finishes in earned run average, strikeouts, walks plus hits per inning pitched, and complete games. In 2014, he became the first pitcher in Major League history to post nine of his first 18 starts with seven innings pitched and no runs allowed. In his career, Wainwright has won more than 150 games, three All-Star selections, two Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and finished in the top three in the Cy Young Award balloting four times.

With 1,705 strikeouts in his career to date, Wainwright is second in Cardinals' history to Bob Gibson (3,117) in Cardinals franchise history in strikeouts. He runs a fantasy football league where the registration fees go to charity. He is currently signed through 2019.

Alex Anthony

Alex Anthony is best known as the Public Address announcer for Major League Baseball's New York Mets, a position he held from 2004-2017, first at Shea Stadium and then at Citi Field since the Mets moved there in 2009. He has been called the "Voice of the Mets."

Busch Stadium

Busch Stadium, also referred to informally as "New Busch Stadium" or "Busch Stadium III", is a baseball park located in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. The stadium has a seating capacity of 44,494, and contains 3,706 club seats and 61 luxury suites. It replaced Busch Memorial Stadium (aka Busch Stadium II) and occupies a portion of that stadium's former footprint. A commercial area, dubbed Ballpark Village, was built adjacent to the stadium over the remainder of the former stadium's footprint.

The stadium opened on April 4, 2006 with an exhibition between the minor league Memphis Redbirds and Springfield Cardinals, both affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals, which Springfield won 5-3 with right-hander Mike Parisi recording the first win. The first official major league game occurred on April 10, 2006 as the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 6–4 behind an Albert Pujols home run and winning pitcher Mark Mulder.

The highest attendance for a sports event other than baseball was on May 23, 2013, when 48,263 people watched Chelsea Football Club and Manchester City Football Club play a friendly match. To date, the largest attendance for a baseball game occurred Mothers Day May 12th, 2019 with an attendance of 48,556 in a game between the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The stadium is the third stadium in St. Louis to carry the name Busch Stadium. Sportsman's Park was renamed Busch Stadium in 1953, after team owner Gussie Busch. The first Busch Stadium closed in 1966 and both the baseball Cardinals, and the National Football League (NFL)'s team of the same name (now the Arizona Cardinals) moved to a new multi-purpose stadium, named Busch Memorial Stadium. However, the current stadium is actually a corporate name and named after Anheuser-Busch, not Gussie Busch. The naming rights deal was signed in 2004 and would extend from the stadium's opening in 2006 until 2026.

Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson Jr. (born March 16, 1981) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Milwaukee Brewers.

Granderson played college baseball at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and was selected by the Tigers in the 2002 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut with the Tigers in 2004, and signed a contract extension with Detroit in 2008. After the 2009 season, he was traded to the Yankees. After his contract expired following the 2013 season, he signed a four-year contract with the Mets. In the final season of the contract, the Mets traded him to the Dodgers. Granderson signed with the Blue Jays for the 2018 season.

Granderson is a three-time MLB All-Star, and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2011. Off the field, Granderson is recognized for his commitment to the community through outreach and charity work. Many of his charitable endeavors support inner-city children. He has also served as an ambassador for MLB abroad. Granderson has won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award three times and the Roberto Clemente Award in 2016 in recognition of his contributions in the community.

Endy Chávez

Endy de Jesus Chávez (; born February 7, 1978), is a Venezuelan former professional baseball outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Kansas City Royals, Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles.

Game seven

A game seven is the final game of a best of seven series. This game can occur in the postseasons for Major League Baseball (MLB) (League Championship Series and World Series), the National Basketball Association (NBA) (all rounds of the NBA playoffs), and the National Hockey League (NHL) (all rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs).

The game is generally played at the site of the team holding the home advantage across the series.

The nature of a best-of-seven series requires that the series be tied 3–3 going into game seven, such that either team can take the series (advancing further in the playoffs or winning the championship) by winning the game. Because of this decisive nature, game sevens add an element of drama to their sports.

Aside from North American sports leagues, game sevens are also a fixture in many other sports around the world, mostly in baseball, basketball, and ice hockey leagues. Most codes of football do not employ a best-of-seven series (or any best-of-x series in general), hence game sevens are not played in those leagues.

Some playoff rounds (such as MLB's current Division Series) are played in a best of five format, such that game 5 has similar qualities to those described above, though the suspense and drama have less time to build in a shorter series. Furthermore, the World Series of 1903, 1919, 1920, and 1921 were played in a best of nine format, though none of the four went to a decisive game 9.

The game seven is comparable to a final or to a single game in a single-elimination tournament or to a one-game playoff. A championship series' game seven is equivalent to the Super Bowl game in the National Football League in that the game's winner is the league's champion for the season.

Jeff Suppan

Jeffrey Scot Suppan (; born January 2, 1975), known as Jeff Suppan, is an American retired professional baseball pitcher and current professional baseball coach who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. Since 2015, Suppan has been the pitching coach for the Idaho Falls Chukars in the Kansas City Royals system.

José Reyes (infielder)

José Bernabénis Reyes (born June 11, 1983) is a Dominican-American professional baseball infielder who is currently a free agent. He has played, most notably at shortstop, in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Mets, Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, and Colorado Rockies.

Reyes is a four-time MLB All-Star. He led MLB in triples in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2011. Reyes also led the National League (NL) in stolen bases in 2005, 2006, and 2007. He was the NL batting champion in 2011. He is also the New York Mets' all-time leader in triples and stolen bases, and has the most stolen bases among all active players.

List of Major League Baseball pitchers who have hit home runs in the postseason

Relatively few Major League Baseball pitchers have hit home runs in the postseason. Through the 2018 World Series, only 24 home runs have been hit, by 22 different pitchers.

Luis Gonzalez (outfielder)

Luis Emilio Gonzalez (born September 3, 1967), nicknamed "Gonzo", is an American former baseball outfielder who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for seven teams. Gonzalez spent his best years with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was one of the most popular players in the organization's history. His game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera clinched the Diamondbacks' first and only World Series championship to date. Gonzalez was a five-time All-Star and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2001. After retiring from baseball in 2008, Gonzalez joined the Diamondbacks' front office in 2009 as a special assistant to the president. The following year, the team retired his uniform number #20, making him the first player so honored by the Diamondbacks.

Major League Baseball 2K7

Major League Baseball 2K7 (or MLB 2K7) is a Major League Baseball licensed baseball simulation video game developed by Kush Games and published by 2K Sports. Released on February 27, 2007, it is the only 2007 MLB licensed game available for the Xbox 360 and Xbox. It is also available for the PlayStation Portable, the PlayStation 2 and, for the first time, the PlayStation 3, though its competition came in the form of MLB 07: The Show from 989 Sports. Portable versions for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and Game Boy Advance were released. It is the first baseball game to be released for the Nintendo DS and the last major release for the Xbox game console.

For the third year in a row, Derek Jeter is the cover athlete, and ESPN baseball broadcasters Jon Miller and Joe Morgan serve as announcers, despite the loss of the ESPN license to Electronic Arts in 2005. Steve Physioc and Jeanne Zelasko cover the pre-game.

Scott Spiezio

Scott Edward Spiezio (; born September 21, 1972) is a former Major League Baseball infielder. He was most recently an infielder for the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League in 2010. He is well known for his time as a member of the Anaheim Angels, when he hit a 3-run home run in Game Six of the 2002 World Series against the San Francisco Giants, sparking the Angels to a dramatic come-from-behind victory. He has also played for the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and St. Louis Cardinals. He is the son of former Padre and Cardinal Ed Spiezio.

In addition to his pivotal moment helping the Angels win the World Series in 2002, 2002 was also Spiezio's most productive full season, with a .807 OPS. Spiezio was a utility player on the St. Louis Cardinals 2006 World Series championship team.

So Taguchi

So Taguchi (田口 壮, Taguchi Sō, born July 2, 1969) is a Japanese former outfielder. After ten seasons with the Orix BlueWave of Nippon Professional Baseball, he played eight years in Major League Baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, followed by a final two years in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes.

Taguchi is the second Japanese-born player to win a World Series after Tadahito Iguchi in 2005. Taguchi is also the first Japanese player to win two World Series with different teams – with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.

Óliver Pérez

Óliver Pérez Martínez (born August 15, 1981) is a Mexican professional baseball pitcher for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, and Washington Nationals. He has also competed for the Mexican national baseball team in the 2006, 2009, and 2013 World Baseball Classics.

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