The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Where have the Cardinals walk-offs gone?


There are several ways a baseball game can end in a dramatic fashion.

  • On the road, the club can score in the top of the final inning and hold the home team off in the bottom of the frame for the win.
  • At home, a team can score in the bottom of the eighth. When holding the visitors at bay in the top of the ninth, the win was secured in the home club’s final at-bat.
  • But the most exciting is the one that is instant in nature, the walk-off victory, by definition at home.

The latter occurred on Wednesday evening as rookie Colby Rasmus’ solo home run in the bottom of the tenth inning powered the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.

If it seemed like it had been a long time since a Cardinals walk-off, that’s because it was.

Prior to Rasmus, the club hadn’t had a walk-off since Troy Glaus did it last September 26. In an oddity, the last two walkoffs were on non-hits. Glaus’ was a sacrifice fly and prior to that, Cesar Izturis ended a September game against the Cubs on a fielders’ choice.

Looking at the Cardinals walk-off totals by season during the Tony La Russa years in St. Louis, one can see that the late-game heroics have been missing here in 2009. Last season, the team’s 11 walk-off wins included five on home runs, each tied for the team’s best season since 1996.

An average Cardinals season has eight walk-offs, of which three come via the home run.

Contrast those stats with 2009, during which over almost half the season had been played before the Cardinals managed even one walk-off win.

Cardinals walk-off wins by season (1996-2009)

total walkoff walkoff non-HR walkoff HR
2009 1 0 1
2008 11 6 5
2007 5 4 1
2006 10 7 3
2005 9 7 2
2004 10 6 4
2003 6 1 5
2002 7 4 3
2001 3 3 0
2000 9 6 3
1999 11 8 3
1998 9 7 2
1997 6 1 5
1996 8 5 3
totals 105 65 40
62% 38%
full-season average 8 5 3

Looking at individuals, it is expected that Albert Pujols leads the Cards in total walk-offs and walk-off home runs since 1996. Referencing the data below, I did find it interesting that the top three players in walk-offs did it via the home run 71% of the time. That compares to just 38% for the club overall.

I was also surprised to see that Scott Rolen is not among the Cards’ best in such feats. Note that Ryan Ludwick is coming on quickly, considering he has only about two seasons as a Cardinals major leaguer.

Cardinals walk-offs by player (1996-2009) (minimum four)

Inn Opp Score Hit BI Final
6/1/1996 10 Hou 4-4 Tom Pagnozzi HR 1 5-4
7/21/1996 10 ChC 5-5 Tom Pagnozzi HR 1 6-5
8/7/1996 9 SD 0-0 Gary Gaetti HR 1 1-0
9/2/1996 10 Hou 7-7 Willie McGee 1B 1 8-7
9/19/1996 13 ChC 4-4 Tom Pagnozzi 1B 1 5-4
9/27/1996 11 Cin 1-1 Ron Gant 1B 1 2-1
4/8/1997 9 Mon 1-1 Willie McGee HR 1 2-1
4/29/1997 9 SF 6-7 Ron Gant HR 3 9-7
5/30/1997 9 LA 1-1 DeLino DeShields BB 1 2-1
6/25/1997 9 ChC 1-1 Gary Gaetti HR 2 3-1
7/2/1997 10 Min 1-1 Willie McGee HR 1 2-1
8/15/1997 12 Atl 2-2 DeLino DeShields HR 1 3-2
4/2/1998 12 LA 5-5 Mark McGwire HR 3 8-5
5/12/1998 10 Mil 5-5 DeLino DeShields 1B 1 6-5
5/22/1998 12 SF 3-3 Ron Gant 1B 1 4-3
7/11/1998 11 Hou 2-3 Mark McGwire HR 2 4-3
7/19/1998 9 LA 4-4 John Mabry 1B 1 5-4
8/8/1998 13 ChC 8-8 Ray Lankford 1B 1 9-8
8/12/1998 14 NYM 4-4 Ray Lankford 1B 1 5-4
8/15/1998 12 Pit 7-7 Ray Lankford 1B 1 8-7
8/28/1998 10 Atl 4-4 Ron Gant 1B 1 5-4
5/7/1999 9 Pit 2-2 Shawon Dunston HR 2 4-2
5/16/1999 9 LA 3-4 Ray Lankford HR 2 5-4
5/27/1999 12 SF 2-2 Eric Davis WP 3-2
6/12/1999 14 Det 7-7 Edgar Renteria 1B 1 8-7
6/22/1999 14 Hou 3-3 Mark McGwire 1B 1 4-3
7/3/1999 10 Arz 1-1 Mark McGwire BB 1 2-1
7/7/1999 9 Cin 0-1 Darren Bragg HR 2 2-1
7/15/1999 13 ChW 2-2 Darren Bragg E3 3-2
8/15/1999 9 ChC 4-5 Craig Paquette 1B 2 6-5
8/17/1999 9 Phi 4-5 Craig Paquette 2B 2 6-5
9/29/1999 10 SD 5-5 Placido Polanco FC 1 6-5
6/22/2000 9 SF 10-10 Craig Paquette 1B 1 11-10
6/23/2000 12 LA 6-6 Craig Paquette HR 3 9-6
6/25/2000 9 LA 1-1 Larry Sutton 1B 1 2-1
8/7/2000 11 Fla 1-1 J.D. Drew 1B 1 2-1
8/10/2000 9 Col 4-4 Jim Edmonds 2B 1 5-4
8/18/2000 9 Phi 6-6 Carlos Hernandez 1B 1 7-6
9/1/2000 9 NYM 5-5 Jim Edmonds HR 1 6-5
9/2/2000 9 NYM 1-1 Fernando Vina 1B 1 2-1
9/3/2000 9 NYM 3-3 Jim Edmonds HR 1 4-3
4/9/2001 9 Col 2-2 Ray Lankford WP 3-2
6/23/2001 9 SF 5-5 Mike Matheny 1B 1 6-5
8/17/2001 9 Phi 3-3 Placido Polanco SF 1 4-3
4/10/2002 11 Mil 5-5 Eduardo Perez HR 1 6-5
4/13/2002 9 Hou 1-1 Eli Marrero 1B 1 2-1
5/22/2002 9 Hou 2-2 J.D. Drew HR 1 3-2
7/28/2002 9 ChC 4-9 Edgar Renteria HR 3 10-9
8/22/2002 9 Pit 2-4 Fernando Vina 2B 2 5-4
9/7/2002 13 ChC 5-5 Ivan Cruz 1B 1 6-5
9/24/2002 9 Arz 2-2 Edgar Renteria 1B 1 3-2
5/1/2003 10 NYM 5-5 Jim Edmonds HR 1 6-5
7/12/2003 11 Pit 7-7 Albert Pujols HR 2 9-7
7/27/2003 9 Pit 1-3 Albert Pujols 1B 1 4-3
8/21/2003 9 Pit 3-3 Jim Edmonds HR 3 6-3
8/28/2003 9 ChC 2-2 Kerry Robinson HR 1 3-2
9/20/2003 13 Hou 2-2 Albert Pujols HR 1 3-2
4/29/2004 13 Phi 4-4 Jim Edmonds HR 1 5-4
4/30/2004 9 ChC 3-3 Mike Matheny BB 1 4-3
5/2/2004 10 ChC 0-0 Scott Rolen 1B 1 1-0
6/17/2004 9 Oak 2-4 Reggie Sanders 1B 1 5-4
6/18/2004 10 Cin 3-3 Albert Pujols HR 1 4-3
8/4/2004 9 Mon 4-4 Albert Pujols HR 1 5-4
8/7/2004 9 NYM 1-1 Yadier Molina 1B 1 2-1
9/5/2004 11 LA 5-5 Reggie Sanders 1B 1 6-5
9/17/2004 9 Arz 3-3 Jim Edmonds 3B 1 4-3
10/20/2004 12 Hou 4-4 Jim Edmonds HR 2 6-4
4/23/2005 10 Hou 0-0 Larry Walker 1B 1 1-0
5/24/2005 12 Pit 1-1 Yadier Molina 1B 1 2-1
7/3/2005 9 Col 4-4 Abraham Nunez 1B 1 5-4
7/15/2005 13 Hou 2-3 Albert Pujols HR 2 4-3
7/22/2005 11 ChC 1-1 David Eckstein sac 1 2-1
8/7/2005 9 Atl 1-3 David Eckstein HR 4 5-3
8/19/2005 9 SF 0-4 Jim Edmonds 2B 2 5-4
9/12/2005 9 Pit 3-3 John Rodriguez 1B 1 4-3
9/13/2005 9 Pit 4-4 David Eckstein 1B 1 5-4
4/16/2006 9 Cin 6-7 Albert Pujols HR 2 8-7
4/26/2006 9 Pit 3-3 Albert Pujols 1B 1 4-3
5/31/2006 11 Hou 3-3 So Taguchi 1B 1 4-3
6/28/2006 9 Cle 3-4 David Eckstein E6 5-4
7/13/2006 14 LA 2-2 Albert Pujols HR 1 3-2
7/15/2006 10 LA 1-1 Scott Rolen 1B 1 2-1
8/17/2006 9 Cin 1-1 Scott Rolen 1B 1 2-1
8/26/2006 9 ChC 1-1 Gary Bennett 1B 1 2-1
8/27/2006 9 ChC 6-6 Gary Bennett HR 4 10-6
9/12/2006 9 Hou 4-5 Albert Pujols 2B 2 6-5
6/5/2007 9 Cin 3-3 So Taguchi 1B 1 4-3
6/20/2007 14 KC 6-6 Ryan Ludwick HR 1 7-6
7/28/2007 9 Mil 4-6 Ryan Ludwick 1B 1 7-6
9/19/2007 10 Phi 1-1 Yadier Molina 1B 1 2-1
9/23/2007 9 Hou 1-3 Rick Ankiel 3B 2 4-3
4/26/2008 9 Hou 3-3 Skip Schumaker 1B 1 4-3
5/2/2008 11 ChC 3-3 Skip Schumaker HR 2 5-3
5/17/2008 10 TB 8-8 Ryan Ludwick HR 1 9-8
5/18/2008 9 TB 4-4 Skip Schumaker 2B 1 5-4
6/15/2008 10 Phi 6-6 Chris Duncan E1 0 7-6
7/2/2008 9 NYM 7-7 Troy Glaus HR 1 8-7
7/5/2008 9 ChC 2-4 Rick Ankiel 1B 2 5-4
7/20/2008 9 SD 4-4 Aaron Miles HR 4 9-5
8/5/2008 11 LA 4-4 Ryan Ludwick HR 2 6-4
9/9/2008 9 ChC 3-3 Cesar Izturis FC 1 4-3
9/26/2008 9 Cin 6-6 Troy Glaus SF 1 7-6
7/1/2009 10 SF 1-1 Colby Rasmus HR 1 2-1

As always, thanks to Tom Orf for serving up the meaty raw data.

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