By Rob Rains
One of the most anticipated assignments at the end of every year is to look back and select our favorite stories that we published on STLSportsPage over the previous 12 months.
This list is usually filled with a lot of feature stories about current Cardinals, up and coming prospects in the minor leagues, former Cardinals, and human-interest stories.
The list for 2021 is no exception. It is topped by the story we wrote in June about perhaps the best athlete the Cardinals ever selected in the amateur draft, even though he never advanced past Double A.
Telling the story of Basil Shabazz on the 30th anniversary of his selection by the Cardinals in the 1991 draft, and detailing the story of his life before and after that moment, included the realization that even though he never reached the major leagues, Shabazz “made it” in a far more important game than baseball, the game of life.
If you failed to read the story when it was first published, CLICK HERE
Here is a look at the other stories to make the list for 2021, presented in chronological order:
When the Cardinals played their home opener on April 8, it marked the first time that Dylan Carlson’s parents were able to watch him play in person in the major leagues, a chance they never had in 2020 because of the pandemic.
CLICK HERE to read the story of what that day was like for them.
One of our favorite events every year is the amateur draft, which is always filled with interesting stories. The selection who intrigued us the most this season was the story of Joshua Baez, a high school outfielder from Massachusetts. CLICK HERE to read our story from July 12.
In early August, we traveled to Peoria, Ill., for a pair of stories. The first was a profile of third baseman Jordan Walker, the Cardinals top selection in the 2020 draft who has quickly moved to the top of the organization’s prospect rankings. CLICK HERE to read that story.
Also while in Peoria we told the unlikely story of pitcher Paul Schwendel, who was attempting a comeback after not playing affiliated baseball in the minor leagues for seven years. Even though he later was released after the season it was still an amazing story. To read it CLICK HERE
During our annual trip to the Arizona Fall League in October, we caught up with prospect Juan Yepez, who also had a pretty remarkable story to tell. CLICK HERE to read that story.
The final story to make our list offered a look to the future. To find out what kind of manager Cardinals fans can expect Oli Marmol to be, we talked to several players and a coach who spent time on a Marmol-managed team in the minor leagues to try to answer that question. CLICK HERE for that story
As the year ends, we already are making plans for our Cardinals coverage in 2022, including writing more stories that hopefully will earn entry on next year’s list.
As always, thanks for following along.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains