The Best Power/Speed Guy in Cardinals History

The St. Louis Cardinals have an extensive history in baseball. The team is rarely uncompetitive and has a track record of excellent player development. If you rank all St. Louis players by almost any metric you get an impressive list spanning multiple generations.

Home runs are a good example of this. St. Louis is a baseball fundamentals town, one that frequently eschews flashy things such as home runs and focuses instead on the hit-and-run, making contact, and executing the perfect sacrifice bunt. A glance at the top longball hitters in the club’s history instead reads like a cheat code has been enabled in a video game’s HR derby mode.

RankPlayerHRs as a Cardinal
1Stan Musial475
2Albert Pujols469
3Ken Boyer255
4Jim Edmonds241
5Ray Lankford228
6Mark McGwire220

Speed and baserunning skill is something that is more closely associated with the Cardinals. That is reflected in the team’s all-time stolen base leaders which include many who rank highly within the entire sport.

RankPlayerSBs as a Cardinal
1Lou Brock888
2Vince Coleman549
3Ozzie Smith433
4Willie McGee301
5Ray Lankford250

The running game is very different from hitting for power, about as different as playing two separate sports. Ray Lankford, himself a standout in both college football and baseball, is the only player to rank near the top of both categories. A reliable 20/20 player for much of the 1990s, he managed to fill in the running shoes of his predecessor McGee while slugging more home runs for the Cardinals than Mark McGwire.

A strong contender for the Hall of Pretty Good

Capturing Ray Lankford on Cardboard

Here is my Ray Lankford refractor. It was acquired from a fellow refractor collector near St. Louis who had at least a half-dozen of this particular card. The centering was off top/bottom to varying degrees on each copy, a condition that seems to plague many examples judging on the distribution of grades assigned by PSA. Aside from the border issues, the card looks fantastic.

Like all cards in ’93 Finest there is no biographical information on the back other than a few numerical data points. That was not the case for all cards issued that year. Donruss’ popular 1993 Studio set is all about giving non-quantifiable information to collectors and does not fail to deliver with its Lankford card. On the back we learn that he would have been a police officer if not for baseball (good luck outrunning him, bad guys). The part I found myself looking at again and again is where he states his pet peeve is taxes.