St. Louis Cardinals Opening Day 1997 – Look at the Last 50

St. Louis Cardinals at Montreal Expos

Umpires: HP – Ed Montague, 1B – Jerry Crawford, 2B – Tom Hallion, 3B – Wally Bell.
Time of Game: 2:25.
Attendance: 33,437.
Start Time Weather: In Dome.

 

Montreal Expos Starting Line-up

Mgr. Felipe Alou

  • Mark Grudzielanek
  • Mike Lansing
  • Rondell White
  • Henry Rodriguez
  • David Segui
  • Darrin Fletcher
  • Joe Orsulak
  • Shane Andrews
  • Jim Bullinger

St. Louis Cardinals Line-up

Mgr. Tony LaRussa

  • Delino DeShields
  • Royce Clayton
  • Willie McGee
  • Brian Jordan
  • Ron Gant
  • Gary Gaetti
  • John Mabry
  • Tom Lampkin
  • Todd Stottlemyre

The Game

This games features very little scoring. The Expos started the bottom of the 3rd with a singles by Andrews followed by a sacrifice by the pitcher. Mark Grudzielanek singles the first run home to make it 1-0 Montreal.

The Cardinals knot it up in the bottom of the 6th when DeShields leads off with a triple and two batters later Bullinger throws a wild pitch to tie the game at one apiece. The game stays at that score until the bottom of the 9th inning.

Rich Batchelor takes the mound for the Cardinals and he allows a lead-off single to Rondell White. Batchelor is replaced by Tony Fossas (last yrs opening day losing pitcher). Rodriguez singles and Segui is intentionally walked to load the bases. Fossas proceeds to walk in the winning run and the Expos win the Opener 2-1.

Stats

Cardinals

2B: W McGee (1, off J Bullinger).
3B: D DeShields (1, off J Bullinger).
TB: D DeShields 4; W McGee 3; J Mabry; G Gaetti; R Clayton.
GIDP: J Mabry (1); T Lampkin (1).
Team LOB: 6.
With RISP: 0 for 10.
Fielding
DP: 1. J Mabry.
Baserunning
SB: R Clayton (1, 2nd base off J Bullinger/D Fletcher); W McGee (1, 2nd base off J Bullinger/D Fletcher).
Pickoffs: B Jordan (1st base by U Urbina)

Expos

SH: J Bullinger (1, off T Stottlemyre); F Santangelo (1, off R Batchelor).
IBB: D Segui (1, by T Fossas).
TB: R White 2; S Andrews 2; M Grudzielanek; D Fletcher; H Rodriguez.
RBI: S Obando (1); M Grudzielanek (1).
Team LOB: 7.
With RISP: 1 for 7.
Fielding
DP: 2. M Lansing-M Grudzielanek-D Segui 2.
E: U Urbina (1).
Baserunning
SB: R White (1, 2nd base off T Stottlemyre/T Lampkin); M Grudzielanek (1, 2nd base off T Stottlemyre/T Lampkin)

 

After Opening Day

The Cardinals went 73-89 during the season and finished 4th in the National League Central division, eleven games behind the Houston Astros.

June 3, 1997: Rick Ankiel was drafted by the Cardinals in the 2nd round. Player signed August 28, 1997.
Xavier Nady was drafted by the Cardinals in the 4th round, but did not sign.
José Rodríguez was drafted by the Cardinals in the 24th round. Player signed July 15, 1997.
June 13, 1997: Danny Jackson, Mark Sweeney and Rich Batchelor were traded by the Cardinals to the San Diego Padres for Scott Livingstone, Phil Plantier, and Fernando Valenzuela.
July 29, 1997: Mike Gallego was released by the Cardinals.

July 31, 1997: The Cardinals acquired Mark McGwire from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for relief pitcher T.J. Mathews and minor league pitchers Eric Ludwick and Blake Stein. McGwire could have been a free agent at the end of the season.

McGwire had 34 home runs and 81 RBIs with Oakland at the time of the trade, which reunited him with former Athletics manager Tony La Russa. The Cardinals were considered to have little chance of keeping him with the club beyond the final two months of the season. But general manager Walt Jocketty’s deal figured to inject some excitement into a dull close to the season, since the Cardinals were far out of the race. They had begun their free fall in early July when left fielder Ron Gant had failed to make a routine catch which would have given the Cardinals a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only did the Pirates rally for that victory, but they also ended up sweeping the four-game series, knocking the Cardinals out of first place, and sending them reeling.