To this day, I can remember that team of 46 years ago- Gibson, Nelson Briles, Dick Hughes, and Ray Washburn in the starting rotation, a lineup that featured Tim McCarver behind the plate, Mike Shannon, Dal Maxvill, Julian Javier, and Orlando Cepeda in the infield and Lou Brock, Curt Flood, and Roger Maris in the outfield.
The Cardinals were in the World Series despite losing Gibson midway through the season when the Pirates' Roberto Clemente slammed line drive off his leg, breaking it. I remember listening to that game. Gibson stayed in the game long enough to get the next three batters out.
That was a great St. Louis-Boston World Series, going seven games and the Cardinals emerging victorious over a team that included ace pitcher Jim Lonborg and superstar outfielder Carl Yastrzemski.
The next time the two teams met in the Fall Classic was less memorable for Cardinals fans. They were steamrolled 4-0 by a Red Sox team that had fought back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the league championship series.
Now the teams meet again and if things work out the way experts are predicting, we are in for an exciting week.
Thomas Boswell, the veteran Washington Post columnist described it this way today:
Boston and St. Louis are especially fine teams. In the past 40 years, just 14 Series teams have outscored their foes by more than 185 runs in the regular season. And, in that time, no two of them have met head-to-head in the World Series — until now.
You can’t slide a sheet of paper between the talent levels of the Cardinals and Red Sox. Both won 97 games, and the stats that measure luck say that they should have won even more: St. Louis 101 and Boston 100. Neither has a clear weakness. But neither has a rotation so deep that they might not be vulnerable. This is an ideal match of almost-but-not-quite-great teams