April 5, 2000: Jim Edmonds hits his first Cardinals home run

It didn’t take long for Jim Edmonds to officially introduce himself to Cardinals fans.

Just two weeks after the Cardinals traded Kent Bottenfield and Adam Kennedy to acquire the two-time Gold Glover, Edmonds launched his first home run as a Cardinal in a 10-4 victory over the Cubs.

Two days earlier, the Cardinals opened their season with a 7-1 win over Chicago at Busch Stadium. Batting fifth in the lineup behind Fernando Vina, Edgar Renteria, Ray Lankford, and Fernando Tatis, Edmonds drew a pair of walks and scored a run, though he went 0-for-3 in his Cardinals debut.

“I was disappointed,” he said. “I’m never satisfied with two walks and going 0-for-3. I’m a little happier tonight. … It felt good to contribute.”[1]

In the second game of the series, Edmonds and the Cardinals squared off against Jon Lieber, a 30-year-old left-hander who had gone 10-11 with a 4.07 ERA the previous season.

Cubs first baseman Mark Grace staked Lieber to an early lead with an RBI double off Pat Hentgen in the first inning, but the Cardinals roared back in the bottom of the inning. After Renteria doubled and Lankford singled, Tatis put the Cardinals on the board with a double that scored Renteria. Though Lankford was thrown out at home for the second out of the inning, Edmonds made his presence felt in the next at-bat. With his first hit of the young season, Edmonds sent a two-run homer over the left-field wall to give the Cardinals a three-run lead.

“I was just excited that I got a hit,” he said. “Getting a hit was important. It didn’t have to be a home run. After you get the first hit, you can relax a little bit and move on.”[2]

The Cubs scored in the second to pull within 3-2, but Edmonds struck once again in the third. This time, after Tatis reached on an error, Edmonds pulled a double into the right-field gap, scoring Tatis to make it 4-2.

Lankford hit his first home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the fifth. The blast moved him into fourth place on the Cardinals’ all-time home run list with 182, trailing only Stan Musial (475), Ken Boyer (255), and Rogers Hornsby (193).

“Wow, I didn’t know that,” Lankford said when he was informed by reporters.[3]

The Cardinals broke the game open in the seventh. After Cubs reliever Brian Williams allowed a single to Renteria and walked Tatis, the Cubs called upon left-hander Felix Heredia to create a match-up issue for the left-handed Edmonds.

It didn’t work.

Edmonds walked on five pitches and Heredia was replaced with Matt Karchner. Craig Paquette, in the lineup for an injured Mark McGwire, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Eric Davis hit a two-run double, and Mike Matheny added an RBI single. Rick Ankiel made it 10-3 with an RBI triple that scored Matheny.

“This is the way we expect it to be,” Edmonds said. “I don’t think we expect to score 10 runs every night, but I think we expect to be explosive and have a good offensive lineup.”[4]

In the ninth inning, the Cubs scored on a ground-ball double play to produce the final 10-4 score.

Hentgen, making his first Cardinals start, allowed three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Ankiel threw two scoreless innings of relief.

“By the third inning, (Hentgen) settled in and made a bunch of good pitches,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “He was understandably excited, but you know when you send him out there that he’s a warrior.”[5]

“I had some adrenaline going, pitching for the first time with this organization,” Hentgen said. “What a big thrill. I feel honored to pitch on this team and this staff.”[6]

Lieber took the loss for the Cubs, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks. He pitched five innings before Chicago used five relievers to pitch the final three frames.

“I just didn’t make the pitches to put guys away,” Lieber said. “It ended up burning me.”[7]

Edmonds finished the day 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored, and three RBIs. In 10 plate appearances as a Cardinal, he had reached base six times.

“I’m having a good time,” he said. “This is what I was expected to do.”[8]

The 2000 season proved Edmonds’ best to date, as he hit .295/.411/.583 with a career-high 42 homers, 108 RBIs, 129 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases. In addition to leading the team in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, and walks (103), Edmonds ranked second in hits (155), doubles (25), and OPS (.994). In addition to winning the third Gold Glove of his career, he was named a National League all-star and placed fourth in the NL MVP voting.

With Edmonds leading the way, the 2000 Cardinals won the National League Central with a 95-67 record, then swept the Braves in a three-game NLDS.

Edmonds went on to play eight seasons with the Cardinals, establishing himself as part of the “MV3” alongside Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen and winning the 2006 World Series. During his tenure in St. Louis, he hit .285/.393/.555 with 241 home runs and 713 RBIs. He was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.


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[1] Mike Eisenbath, “First big day puts smile on Edmonds’ face,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 6, 2000.

[2] Joe Ostermeier, “Cardinals defeat Cubs again, 10-4,” Belleville News-Democrat, April 6, 2000.

[3] Rick Hummel, “Newcomers stand out as Cards rout Cubs,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 6, 2000.

[4] Joe Ostermeier, “Cardinals defeat Cubs again, 10-4,” Belleville News-Democrat, April 6, 2000.

[5] Rick Hummel, “Newcomers stand out as Cards rout Cubs,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 6, 2000.

[6] Rick Hummel, “Newcomers stand out as Cards rout Cubs,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 6, 2000.

[7] Teddy Greenstein, “Cards take full advantage of sluggish Cubs,” Chicago Tribune, April 6, 2000.

[8] Mike Eisenbath, “First big day puts smile on Edmonds’ face,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 6, 2000.