Although the Cardinals have been all but mathematically eliminated, they still have, in the words on the Iron Horse, an awful lot to live for, such as individual awards. And now with their Memphis callups, sporting spring-training numbers on their uniforms, they also have an opportunity to set a new season-high: the sum of their starting lineup’s uniform numbers.
The acquisition of Pedro Feliz may have failed offensively, but it gave the Cardinals a tremendous difference between the third basemen on their roster. No, we’re not talking about defensive skill — we mean between their jersey numbers. With Feliz sporting his typical #77, and sometime third sacker Felipe Lopez wearing #3, the Cardinals have the widest uniform-number gap — 74 — between fellow players of the same position since 2007, when #99 So Taguchi and another #3, Preston Wilson, both started at various times in right field for a difference of 96, a record that can only be tied but never broken (the Cardinals have retired numbers 1 and 2).
Feliz has figured in nine of the top 10 uniform-number lineups this season:
Aaron Miles returned to the club and his old jersey number returned to him to make possible some low combinations. So it appears that three of the team’s midyear acquisitions — Feliz, Winn and Miles — were beneficial in one way, anyway (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Of all the players who started this season, here’s the maximum possible lineup Tony La Russa could’ve tried (but, amazingly, given his 142 different batting orders, didn’t):
And the lowest:
Curiously, the mid-range-numbered Joe Mather appears on both lists — now that’s versatility!
Speaking of numbers, here’s hoping that when the team’s e-number finally zeroes out, Tony La Russa trots out his maximum-possible lineup, which, including the newbs, would be:
See, like we said, they’ve got an awful lot to play for. Well, perhaps not an awful lot. But we’d like to see the Reds come up with a higher-number lineup than that. What you got, Brandon Phillips?