Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Up For Grabs Cardinalpalooza: Willie McGee


Previously on the Cardinalpalooza: Red Schoendienst | Enos SlaughterBruce SutterAlbert PujolsRay LankfordMark McGwireJ.D. DrewColby RasmusYadier MolinaAllen CraigStan MusialRick AnkielDavid Freese | Keith Hernandez | Steve Carlton

Willie Dean McGee was one of the centerpieces of the Runnin' Redbirds. McGee's speed and tablesetting was as integral to the success of the Cardinals offensive engine as Ozzie Smith's defensive wizardry was to saving runs. And even though McGee won the MVP in 1985 based largely on his ability to get on base and his base thievery, it was his 1987 season that always sticks in my mind. He was dropped to 5th in the batting order and sacrificed some of his on-base abilities that year while driving in a remarkable 105 runs. Not bad for a guy who had 79 HRs in 18 seasons.


Willie remains one of the most popular Cardinals of all-time to never have his uniform number retired, even though he spent the better part of the '90s in other uniforms. I don't recall other players who have been issued his #51 (though not exactly the most popular of numbers), so it's safe to assume it's unofficially retired.


Well over a decade before renting players at the trade deadline became a common practice, McGee was a participant in one of the weirder statistical anomalies in all of baseball when he won the NL batting title as a member of the (AL) Oakland Athletics. The Cardinals traded him to Oakland at the deadline when he was hitting .335 and he had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting crown. No one caught up to him.


Like Ray Lankford, McGee returned to the Cardinals at the tail end of his career, during the Tony La Russa era. La Russa feuded with Ozzie Smith, a Cardinal legend that he inherited, but apparently must have been on good terms with some of the other Cardinals stars of earlier days.


The list:

1983 Fleer #15
1983 Topps #49
1983 Topps Stickers #147 [2 available]
1984 Topps #310 [6 available]
1985 Donruss #475
1985 Topps #757 [4 available]
1986 Donruss #109
1986 Donruss (Diamond Kings) #3
1986 Fleer Baseball's Best Sluggers vs. Pitchers #22
1986 Fleer Star Stickers #74
1986 O-Pee-Chee #117
1986 Topps #580 [7 available]
1986 Topps (All-Star) #707 [6 available]
1986 Topps Box Bottom #L
1986 Topps Glossy All-Star Send-In #9
1986 Topps Mini League Leaders #71
1986 Topps Quaker Chewy Granola Bars #1
1987 Donruss #84 [5 available]
1987 Fleer #304
1987 Fleer League Leaders #29 [3 available]
1987 O-Pee-Chee #357 [2 available]
1987 Topps #440 [8 available]
1988 Donruss #307 [9 available]
1988 Donruss All-Stars #44
1988 Fleer #42 [2 available]
1988 Fleer Star Stickers #118 [2 available]
1988 Score #40 [8 available]
1988 Topps #160 [5 available]
1988 Topps Mini League Leaders #71 [4 available]
1988 Topps Stickers (w/ Steve Bedrosian Super Star #31) #55
1988 Topps U.K. Minis #46 [7 available]
1989 Donruss #161 [10 available]
1989 Fleer #457 [3 available]
1989 Panini #189
1989 Score #88 [3 available]
1989 Topps #640 [7 available]
1989 Topps Stickers (w/ Rafael Santana #313 and Bob Knepper Super Star #63) #36
1989 Topps Stickers (w/ Rafael Santana #313 and Mark Davis Super Star #64) #36
1990 Bowman #194
1990 Donruss #632 [5 available]
1990 Fleer #253 [6 available]
1990 Score #374 [5 available]
1990 Topps #285 [8 available]
1990 Upper Deck #505 [2 available]
1991 Donruss Highlights #BC-22
1991 Panini #1 [2 available]
1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice #199 [2 available]
1998 Upper Deck #202
1999 Upper Deck #187

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