St. Louis Cardinals Opening Day 1998- Look at the Last 50

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, March 31, 1998, 3:10, Busch Stadium II
Umpires: HP – Harry Wendelstedt, 1B – Jerry Layne, 2B – Rich Rieker, 3B – Sam Holbrook.
Time of Game: 2:52.
Attendance: 47,972.
Field Condition: Dry.
Start Time Weather: 60° F, Wind 15mph from Right to Left, Cloudy, No Precipitation.

 

Starting Line-up for Dodgers

Mgr. Bill Russell

  • Eric Young
  • Jose Vizcaino
  • Mike Piazza
  • Todd Zeile
  • Raul Mondesi
  • Paul Konerko
  • Todd Hallandsworth
  • Trent Hubbard
  • Ramon Martinez

Starting Line-up for Cardinals

Mgr. Tony LaRussa

  • Royce Clayton
  • Delino DeShields
  • Mark McGwire
  • Ray Lankford
  • Brian Jordan
  • Ron Gant
  • Gery Gaetti
  • Tom Lampkin
  • Todd Stottlemyre

The Game

This looked like a pitchers duel as both teams fail to score through four innings. However, in the bottom of the 5th inning that Cardinals blow it wide open. Gary Gaetti begins the half with a double to right which is followed by a single and the runner stops at third. Martinez fans Stottlemyre and Clayton and looks like he will get out of it but then walks DeShields to load the bases for Mark McGwire. The first pitch to Big Mac is called a ball just outside his reach. The next pitch is grooved and he sends it deep into the seats and the Cardinals lead 4-0. Lankford walks on four pitches and the day is done for Martinez.

The scores remains that way until the bottom of the 8th inning and the Cardinals face Jim Bruske of the Dodgers. Ron Gant singles, Gary Gaetti singles and the Dodgers commit and error to score Gant, then Willie McGee pinch hits for the pitchers spot and singles home another fora 6-0 lead going to the 9th inning. In the bottom half of the inning the Cardinals bring in fastball throwing Braden Looper. He fans all three batters he faced and the Birds win 6-0 on Opening Day.

Game Notes

 

  • The Dodgers managed only three hits and two of them came from Paul Konerko.
  • The Cardinals got three hits from Gary Gaetti and two from Mark McGwire. McGwire also got four RBI’s with a grand slam.
  • Stottlemyre pitched 7 innnings and allowed three hits, walked tow and fanned five.
  • Lance Painter pitched to one batter and retired him.
  • John Frascator faced two batters and got both out.
  • Braden Looper struck out all three batters he faced.

 

After Opening Day

 

The Cardinals went 83-79 during the season and finished 3rd in the National League Central division, 18 games behind the Houston Astros. First baseman Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record this season by hitting 70 home runs, battling with the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa, who finished runner-up in the National League with 66.

 

On May 8, McGwire hit career home run number 400 in his 4,726th at bat, faster than any other player in history who reached 400 home runs.
Facing Liván Hernández on May 16, McGwire hit his longest home run of the season, estimated at 545 feet.
McGwire hit home run number 50 of the season on August 20, becoming the first Major League ballplayer in history with three consecutive 50-plus home run seasons.
McGwire broke Roger Maris’ 37-year-old record of 61 home runs on September 8 with a low line drive over Busch Stadium’s left field fence. Known for hitting many long home runs, it was ironically the shortest home run McGwire hit that season.

 

Transactions

 

June 2: Drafted J. D. Drew in the 1st round with the 5th pick of the 1998 amateur draft. Player signed July 3, 1998.
April 14: The Cleveland Indians selected David Bell off waivers.
July 31: Traded Todd Stottlemyre and Royce Clayton to the Texas Rangers for Darren Oliver, Fernando Tatís and a player to be named later. The Rangers sent Mark Little on August 9 to the Cardinals to complete the trade.
August 16: Released catcher Tom Pagnozzi.