In their 5-0 win over Houston on Wednesday night, the St. Louis Cardinals reached a team milestone for the first time.
Third baseman David Freese and catcher Yadier Molina each hit their 20th home runs of 2012. This is the first time in history the team has five players with 20 or more homers in one season. Carlos Beltran (29), Matt Holliday (27) and Allen Craig (21) had reached that figure earlier. (Further details here.)
Over time, the Cardinals haven’t been known as a home run-hitting franchise, Mark McGwire being a notable exception. While this current feat is an admirable measure of balance, it isn’t unusual for a number of other MLB clubs.
According to researcher Tom Orf, across MLB history, five different teams had seven players with 20 home runs or more. 13 clubs had six hitters with at least 20 long balls. With their current total of five, the 2012 Cardinals joined 66 other teams in MLB annals that accomplished it before them.
To me, the most notable member of the Cardinals current longball five is Molina, who is beginning to receive notice in discussions about the National League Most Valuable Player. On Wednesday night, he became the first Cardinals catcher to hit 20 or more home runs in a season since Ted Simmons had 21 in 1980.
In fact, Molina is now tied with Simba for third on the single-season home run list by a Cardinals catcher. With one more, he will tie for second. While Molina would need a whopping six more in St. Louis’ final 13 games to gain a share of the top, his feat is still most admirable.
Home runs as a catcher, St. Louis Cardinals, season, team history
(Note that the above table does not include home runs hit that season while playing at other positions.)