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Sports Then and Now



Surprising St. Louis Cardinals Win the 2011 World Series 79

Posted on October 29, 2011 by Dean Hybl

An improbable season ended with the St. Louis Cardinals as the 2011 World Series Champions.

The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals are a perfect reminder that in sports it isn’t how you start, it is about how you finish.

Considering that they lost their best pitcher to injury before the season even began and with just six weeks left were 10.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, it is quite amazing that last night they claimed the 11th World Series Championship in team history.

Even in the World Series they seemingly had an insurmountable mountain to climb as they were twice down to their final strike before rallying for an improbably extra inning victory in game six.

Then in the decisive seventh game they trailed early, but scored the final six runs to defeat the favored Texas Rangers.

Since Tony Larussa became manager of the Cardinals in 1996, the team has had their greatest success in seasons when they weren’t given much of a chance.

The 90-72 record that St. Louis posted in 2011 was actually the seventh best single season total for the franchise during Larussa’s tenure. Yet, the only other World Series title the team has earned came in 2006 when the team won only 83 games.

The Cardinals finished the 2011 season winning 24 of their final 33 games to sneak into the playoffs on the final day of the season.

They then won the final two games of their first round playoff matchup against the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies to advance to the NL Championship Series. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

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