We're only about a week away from Opening Day, so it?s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we?re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don?t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at email@example.com. Today: The St. Louis Cardinals.
• 1. Their Leading Sluggers Are Not Who You Think. The all-time leader in Busch Stadium home runs? Not Mark McGwire, not Jack Clark, George Hendrick or Ted Simmons. It's Ray Lankford (123). Also, the only man to hit a ball completely out of Old Busch Stadium was (drum roll) ... Mike Laga.
• 2. Their Fans Are Beginning To Become A Little Concerned. The Cardinals have not won a World Series game since 1987, a World Series road game since 1985 or a World Series title since 1982, which ranks as the 12th longest drought in the Major Leagues.
• 3. They Will Kick Your Ass In Beach Volleyball. Pitcher Sidney Ponson is the third native of the island of Aruba to play in the majors. Orioles outfielder Eugene Kingsale was the first, making his debut on 9/3/96, and Calvin Maduro made his debut later that month with Philadelphia, shortly after being traded to the Phillies from the Orioles' AAA Rochester farm team. This is why Ponson played for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic; the Caribbean island is autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
• 4. They Still Insist There Were Weapons Of Mass Destruction. He's practically a regular at the Nixon Library (he's had a book signing and has made a speech there) and is part of Curt Schilling's Republican Posse, yet shortstop David Eckstein seems to be left a little wanting when it comes to those good ol' GOP family values. He appeared in an episode of She Spies (April 14, 2003), which was on several conservative media watchdog group hit lists, probably due to its three sexy, often scantily clad female leads.
(Tomorrow: The Philadelphia Phillies)