Top 15 All-Time Cards Teams - The Final Tally

Logging and analyzing the votes for the St. Louis Cardinals' top all-time teams.

As our Top 15 St. Louis Cardinals Teams of All-Time series nears its close, this article brings together the voting of all four participants from The Birdhouse, Ray Mileur, Jerry Modene, Rob Rains and me, Brian Walton. The far left column of the table below is our aggregate top 15 team ranking.

To the right of the team years are our individual votes. The clubs listed at the bottom are those which did not make our collective top 15. They will be discussed in a group of four daily articles starting tomorrow entitled "Best of the Rest".

Top 15 St. Louis Cardinals Teams of All-Time

Group

Year

Mileur

Modene

Rains

Walton

1

1942

1

1

5

1

2

1944

3

7

1

2

3

1931

2

8

2

3

4

1967

5

3

4

4

5

2004

12

2

7

6

6

1946

11

10

3

7

7

1934

10

11

6

5

8

1968

6

12

8

12

9

1943

7

9

NR

8

10

1964

8

15

11

10

11

1926

4

NR

NR

9

12

1982

9

14

9

14

13

1985

NR

4

10

NR

14

2005

15

5

NR

13

15

2002

NR

6

15

NR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1885

 

13

 

 

 

1928

13

 

 

11

 

1935

 

 

14

 

 

1945

14

 

 

 

 

1949

 

 

13

 

 

1987

 

 

12

 

 

2006

 

 

 

15

NR= not ranked

There seems general agreement about the top five teams, but moving into the second five, the differences in rankings among the voters begin to grow. There was a least one voter who omitted from their ballot four of the five teams in the bottom five of the top 15. In other words, not surprisingly, the further down the list one looks, the differences become even greater.

Walton's top teams most closely aligned with the consensus, while Modene pegged 14 of the group's top 15 somewhere on his list. While Rains did not agree with the other three that the 1942 team was number one, he selected a close cousin, the 1944 team, as tops instead.

Next, let's look at decades. Certainly given the prominence of the 1940's clubs at the top of the list, it is expected that would be the strongest ten-year period of the 13 decades listed. This first table simply tallies the raw number of votes by decade.

Raw vote totals by decade

Decade

Total

Mileur

Modene

Rains

Walton

1880's

1

0

1

0

0

1890's

0

0

0

0

0

1900's

0

0

0

0

0

1910's

0

0

0

0

0

1920's

4

2

0

0

2

1930's

9

2

2

3

2

1940's

17

5

4

4

4

1950's

0

0

0

0

0

1960's

12

3

3

3

3

1970's

0

0

0

0

0

1980's

7

1

2

3

1

1990's

0

0

0

0

0

2000's

10

2

3

2

3

It wasn't close. The 1940's received the most votes, with a significant gap until the 1960's, and the 2000's, 1930's and 1980's grouped more closely. Six entire decades did not have a team worthy of a single top 15 vote – the 1890's, 1900's, 1910's, 1950's, 1970's and 1990's.

Shifting to a view by voter does not provide great differences. While there are variances, they do not seem substantial. That table, however, gives a number one vote the same value as number 15. As a result, we will now provide a weighted view, where the best team on each list is assessed a point value of 15 and so on, down to the 15th-ranked club receiving one point.

Weighted totals by decade

Decade

Total

Mileur

Modene

Rains

Walton

1880's

3

0

3

0

0

1890's

0

0

0

0

0

1900's

0

0

0

0

0

1910's

0

0

0

0

0

1920's

27

15

0

0

12

1930's

83

20

13

26

24

1940's

169

44

37

42

46

1950's

0

0

0

0

0

1960's

94

29

18

25

22

1970's

0

0

0

0

0

1980's

40

7

14

17

2

1990's

0

0

0

0

0

2000's

64

5

35

10

14

The dominance of the 1940's is really accentuated here. Another interesting fact is the swap in places between the 1930's and 2000's. That means while the 2000's teams received more votes, those votes were typically lower ranked than those for the 1930's.

This view does a much better job of differentiating the voters. For example, Mileur and Walton seemed to value the early years, the 1920's and 1930's, more than the others, especially Modene.

Jerry was also less bullish on the Cardinals teams of the 1960's, but along with Rains is a big backer of Whitey Herzog's 1980's clubs. On the other hand, neither Mileur nor Walton gave those teams much weight.

Most interestingly, the current decade, with two seasons to go, has driven the greatest deviation in opinion. On one hand, Modene ranked the teams of the 2000's almost as highly as the 1940's. The other extreme is Mileur, who hardly gave Tony La Russa's recent clubs any relative consideration.

Coming into this exercise, we purposely did not establish a standard definition of what makes the best teams, which is a key reason our votes varied. That also kept the debate focused on the teams themselves, not on some arbitrary rules.

To that end, I thought I would share a bit of a discussion that occurred on our message board. Community member "bicyclemike" offered an interesting concept where a "great" team is more defined by World Series success while regular season results better profile a "best" club.

All this really illustrates with any certainty is that if you take any four Cardinals fans, their views of what makes the best team (or the greatest team, for that matter) can be all over the map. That makes this the ideal kind of hot stove fuel to carry us over until spring training begins!



Over the next four days, look for additional articles from this series coming from Jerry Modene, Ray Mileur, Rob Rains and myself, Brian Walton. Each of us will highlight the deserving teams from each of our personal top 15 lists did not make the consolidated one.

To reference our entire list of Top 15 Cardinals Teams of All-Time and read about each individual team, click here. You can also learn more about each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections and much more.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

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