The Next Matchup to Determine the Greatest Cardinal Moment is a great one.
The two moments are both within the past 3 years, but memorable Cardinal sluggers names Matt. But who will prevail: Matt Adams or Matt Holliday?
Matt Adams Three-Run Home-Run Off Kershaw:
You would have trouble picking a better pitcher than Clayton Kershaw in baseball over the last decade. He took the league by absolute storm and has made hitters across the league look foolish. In 2014 Kershaw was at his best, posting a 21-3 record with a 1.77 ERA and 239 strike outs in 198 innings pitched. That’s why most thought the Cardinals couldn’t steal a second win from him heading into game four of the 2014 NLDS.
Through six innings the Cardinals were down 2-0 and Kershaw was one-hitting St. Louis. That all changed in the seventh inning, after singles by Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta. What happened is Matt Adams walked up to the plate. Adams took the first pitch for a strike, and then on Kershaw’s next pitch, crushed a three-run homer into the Cardinals bullpen. Hands raised in triumph, Adams screamed into the dugout and started trotting to first base, jumping and celebrating.
To put this home run in perspective, is was the first home run any lefty ever hit off Kershaw’s curveball, and on top of that, it was the game winning home run that led the Cardinals to the NLCS.
Matt Holliday’s Last At-bat as a Cardinal:
Moments like this show that baseball is truly more than just a game. Matt Holliday wasn’t retiring from baseball but all signs pointed to his time with the Cardinals coming to an end.
The month previous to this moment, Holliday was placed on the DL after breaking his thumb and subsequently having surgery. While rehabbing, the initial idea was to get Holliday healthy for playoffs. But that seemed to change as the season progressed. The Cardinals just wanted to give him a proper goodbye as their playoff hopes dwindled.
Holliday was activated early from the DL and after nearly a month of not hitting live in a game, was placed back on the team roster. It wasn’t likely that he would play or even get an at bat- the situation would need to be stress free.
In baseball, there are emotional moments that always seem to find a way of transforming into something special. In the 7th inning on September 30th, with the Cardinals up 5-0, Matt Holliday stepped up to the plate to pinch hit for Carlos Martinez.
After getting down 0-2, he gave St. Louis a reason to remember his last at bat. Matt crushed the next pitch- his last pitch ever seen in a Cardinal uniform- over the right field wall. As Holliday crossed home, he started tearing up showing just how much wearing the Cardinals uniform meant to him.
After 7 and a half years that saw 4 All-Star nods, a Silver Slugger award, 6 Play-Off seasons, 2 Pennants and a World Series ring, Holliday hit his 156th home run in a Cardinal uniform in his 4121 and final at bat for the team.
Which was the Greatest Cardinal Moment?
Which Cardinals Moment is better? Matt Holliday with a picture perfect farewell, or Matt Adams delivering one of the most clutch home runs in Cardinals history?
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry- USA TODAY Sports