1996

February 13, 1996: A’s trade Dennis Eckersley to the Cardinals

Tony La Russa had yet to manage a game for the St. Louis Cardinals, but his Oakland connections were already paying dividends. On February 13, 1996, the A’s traded Dennis Eckersley to St. Louis for minor-league reliever Steve Montgomery, making Eckersley the fourth former Athletics player alongside Mike Gallego, Rick Honeycutt, and Todd Stottlemyre to …

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July 12, 1996: Gant, Gaetti pace Cardinals’ seven home runs in win over the Cubs

With 142 home runs in 162 games, the 1996 Cardinals weren’t exactly known for their power. But on July 12, the friendly confines of Wrigley Field couldn’t contain the St. Louis lineup as the Redbirds tied a 56-year-old team record with seven home runs in a 13-3 win over the Cubs. Ron Gant and Gary …

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June 19, 1996: Ozzie Smith announces he will retire at season’s end

With his 9-year-old son Dustin standing beside him on June 19, 1996, Ozzie Smith tearfully announced that the current campaign would mark the end of a legendary 19-year career that included a World Series championship, NLCS MVP Award, 13 Gold Glove Awards, and, with his upcoming appearance in the midsummer classic, 15 all-star appearances. “It’s …

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April 3, 1996: Todd Stottlemyre, Dennis Eckersley earn Cardinals firsts in win vs. Mets

On April 3, 1996, the St. Louis Cardinals got their first glimpse of what their offseason additions had bought them. With a new ownership group following Anheuser-Busch’s sale of the team, the Cardinals had retooled following a disappointing 62-81 season in 1995. Joe Torre had been replaced by Tony La Russa; Andy Benes, Ron Gant, …

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January 9, 1996: Cardinals acquire Todd Stottlemyre in trade with Athletics

It turned out that the Cardinals weren’t quite done with their Christmas shopping. Having already obtained Royce Clayton, Ron Gant, Andy Benes, Willie McGee, and Gary Gaetti ahead of the 1996 season, the Cardinals added yet another newcomer when they traded outfielder Allen Battle and pitchers Jay Witasick, Carl Dale, and Bret Wagner to the …

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December 23, 1995: Cardinals sign Ron Gant and Andy Benes

When the ownership group led by Bill DeWitt Jr., Andrew Baur, and Frederick O. Hanser announced just before Christmas 1995 that they had purchased the St. Louis Cardinals for $150 million, they were under no illusions – the Redbirds weren’t very good. The team had just completed a 62-81 strike-shortened season in which Joe Torre …

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September 2, 1996: Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee spark Cardinals’ comeback

For the first time since the Whitey Herzog days of the 1980s, the Cardinals were in the thick of a pennant race. So it was fitting that two stars of the 1980s, Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee, led the Cardinals to an extra-inning victory over the Astros on September 2, 1996. The Cardinals entered the …

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