The Cardinal way was pioneered by Branch Rickey, Rogers Hornsby and Frankie Frisch. It's been adopted by Gas House Gangs, Coopers and Deans, "Country" and "Cha-Cha." It is muscular like Joe Medwick, imposing like Bob Gibson, dynamic like Lou Brock and acrobatic like Ozzie Smith.
It has had oracles like George Kissell and Red Schoendienst, keepers like Billy Southworth and Whitey Herzog, deities like Stan Musial and Albert Pujols.
The Cardinal way covers 11 World Series championships and 24 playoff appearances, more ground than any other franchise in the National League covers. During Tony La Russa's 16-year tenure, the Cardinal way has averaged 88 wins and advanced to nine postseasons. In the last eight years, it has included three World Series appearances and two championships. The only franchise with a more illustrious trail is the New York Yankees. The Pinstripe way has led to 27 World Series championships, 47 pennants and 50 playoff appearances. The Pinstripe way has lots to brag about.
The Cardinal way boasts a fraternity of red jackets and Hall of Fame names, congregating at home plate on special occasions, closing ranks around "Baseball's Perfect Knight." The Cardinal way is a code La Russa embraced when he came to St. Louis in 1996. He experienced it as a young player, he espouses it as a Cooperstown-bound skipper. He believes in it.
"There is something to the history and the tradition of the Cardinals that as soon as you sign on you feel," La Russa said. "And those guys remind you. During my first year, they came into spring training and they're there, and you know they're pulling like hell for that year's edition to add something.
"I think it helps year in and year out. I think our guys feel it and they want to live up to it as best they can. So that's what it is here."
Meanwhile, here's Joe Strauss' gamer from Friday night.