These four recent St. Louis Cardinals seemingly vanished after having some productive years for the team.
Playing baseball is a tough, demanding job, and usually only a few draft picks per team every year will make it to the major leagues. Far fewer players will have lengthy or noteworthy careers, with many simply appearing in the major leagues for a couple of days as injury replacements or roster expansion fillers.
For every Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina — players who enjoy long and fruitful careers — there are about 30 Jermaine Curtises and Travis Tartamellas, who barely make a blip on the radar in the show. But between those extremes lies a curiosity: players who seem as though they’ll fall into the first category but taper off quickly and, in some cases, inexplicably.
Some of the most famous of these types of players had the yips, such as Steve Blass. Rick Ankiel was in danger of being one of these players until his remarkable comeback as a position player. But most players aren’t as lucky as Ankiel in their comeback stories, nor do they receive as much attention for their descent as Blass. Many of these players end up overseas or out of baseball entirely with little to no fanfare.
I wrote an article covering one former Cardinal, Von McDaniel, who seemed to be destined for stardom before his career fell apart. This article will cover Cardinals who played for the team within the past several years and fell off their perches after a year or more of productive play.