Last time, we compared the 30-point Scrabble value of Marc “Rzepczynski” to the entire 295-member St. Louis Cardinals system, both major and minor leaguers. “Scrabble” is the undisputed Cardinals champion – at least among the current, active players.
To see how Rzepczynski would stand the test of time, I took on a much greater task – reviewing every player in the history of the major league Cardinals, back to the late 1800s.
I did not expect to find a worthy challenger to the current Cardinals’ “Scrabble,” but it turned out there was one. It wasn’t who I suspected. My favorite coming in, 2005 second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, fell short. He was previously second.
Still alive today at 87 years of age, the outfielder began his career with Detroit in 1945. There, despite appearing in just 10 games at the age of 21, Mierkowicz received a World Series ring. He played in 24 more major league games with the Tigers during the 1947-48 seasons.
Mierkowicz came to the Cardinals system in 1949 and toiled in the system through 1953. His major league stint with St. Louis was amazingly short, however. On April 19, 1950, he made his one and only appearance in a Cardinals uniform. The pinch-hitter struck out. It was also his final moment as a major leaguer. Mierkowicz bounced around the minor leagues before finishing his career in Mexico in 1957.
Following are the 60 ex-Cardinals whose last names score at least 20 Scrabble points. They would be joined by four current Cardinals: Rzepczynski, Eduardo Sanchez (21 points) plus Adam Wainwright and Skip Schumaker (20 points each).
Top Scrabble points, ex-St. Louis Cardinals, team history
|Points||Ex-Cardinal (years played)|
|26||Grodzicki (1941, 46-7)||Hawksworth (2009-10)||MacKenzie (1963)||Vuckovich (1978-80)|
|25||Heintzelman (1973-4)||Jimenez, Jose (1998-9)||Jimenez, Kelvin (2007-8)||Quisenberry (1988-9)||Schreckongost (1899)|
|24||Fitzgerald (1988)||Higginbotham (1906, 08-9)||Zachary (1971)|
|23||Huntzinger (1926)||Woodeshick (1965-67)|
|22||Drabowsky (1971-2)||Faszholz (1953)||Jablonski (1953-4, 9)||Kuzava (1957)||Lewandowski (1951)|
|Mahaffey (1966)||Mollwitz (1919)||Raffensberger (1939)||Stechschulte (2000-2)||Valenzuela, Benny (1958)|
|Valenzuela, Fernando (1997)||Vizcaino (2006)|
|21||Cavazos (2007)||D’Acquisto (1977)||Jutze (1972)||Sanchez, Orlando (1981-3)||Scheffing (1951)|
|Schultz, Barney (1955, 63-5)||Schultz, Buddy (1977-9)||Schultz, Joe (1919-24)||Tewksbury (1989-94)||Zimmerman (1906)|
|20||Bakenhaster (1964)||Beauchamp (1963, 70-1)||Camnitz (1911)||Cannizzaro (1960-1)||Falkenborg (2006-7)|
|Frankhouse (1927-30)||Gillpatrick (1898)||Griesenbeck (1920)||Hazleton (1902)||Lowdermilk, Grover (1909-11)|
|Lowdermilk, Lou (1911)||McCarthy (1906)||McCormick (1892)||Mumphrey (1974-9)||Pasquella (1919)|
|Poholsky (1950-1, 4-6)||Schulz, Walt (1920)||Shephardson (1924)||Simontacchi (2002-4)||Hrabosky (1970-7)|
Current Cardinals television broadcaster Al Hrabosky is among those who squeaked in at 20 points. Among the surprising misses are Red Schoendienst, Jason Simontacchi and Jason Isringhausen. The lesson to be learned is that letter quantity does not mean Scrabble scoring quality.
The discovery of Mierkowicz provided a reminder that helped me quickly determine that Rzepcyznski is not the career Major League Scrabble points leader. For example, former Twins (and other clubs) first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, once known as “Eye Chart,” comes in at 32 points. There are likely others.
Coming up next will be the All-Time Cardinals Scrabble Team.