By Rob Rains
The end of the year is always a time for reflection and at STLSportsPage.com, that includes taking the time to look back at our favorite stories published over the past 12 months.
As has been the case in recent years, this year’s list includes feature stories, profiles of up-and-coming Cardinals prospects, stories about current Cardinals and human-interest stories that have a connection to the Cardinals. Collecting these stories at the end of the year provides readers with another chance to catch up on any they might have missed when they were first published.
Listed in chronological order of when the stories first ran, here are our favorites from 2022:
Of all of the players who were in spring training with the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., perhaps none had a more interesting story about how they got there than Won-bin Cho, an 18-year-old outfielder there for the first time. He signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent in January, and we told the story of all of the people who helped make his journey from South Korea to the Cardinals possible. If you missed the story when it ran on March 31, CLICK HERE
The Cardinals had a new manager in 2022, Oliver Marmol, who was quick to point out that he believed one of the reasons for his quick rise to that position was the help and advice he received from his three older brothers as he grew up. So before opening day, we ran a story on April 5 featuring interviews with all of his brothers. CLICK HERE to read that story.
It had been a dozen years since the Cardinals selected pitcher Seth Blair in the first round of the 2010 draft. He never reached the majors with the Cardinals, but in 2022, he was still pitching, still trying to reach that dream, even after those hopes were derailed for a few years. To read Blair’s story, which can on April 27, CLICK HERE
A player new to the Cardinals organization in 2022 found himself in the headlines when he got off to a hot start at Double A Springfield. Our story on June 6 tried to answer the questions who is Moises Gomez, and why is he leading the minor leagues in home runs? CLICK HERE to read his story
One of the many rookies to appear for the Cardinals in 2022, and who quickly became a fan favorite, was Brendan Donovan. We profiled Donovan in a June 16 story. To read that story CLICK HERE
Of the Cardinals first six picks in the 2012 draft, four of them made it to the major leagues and enjoyed nice careers. On July 13, a decade after that draft, we profiled the two picks who didn’t make it to the majors, James Ramsey and Steve Bean, who still found a way to enjoy a successful career in the game. CLICK HERE to read their story.
One of the most interesting times of the season for fans is the trade deadline and that proved true again in 2022, when the Cardinals swung a pair of deals. For the parents of players, however, the stress of waiting out that deadline can be difficult. The fathers of Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker opened up to us about their thoughts as they waited for that deadline to pass. CLICK HERE to read that story.
With Walker still in the organization, we traveled to Springfield in August to do a story about a day in the life of the Cardinals’ top prospect – and how he achieved that status. To read Walker’s story CLICK HERE
One of the biggest stories of the year in St. Louis was the success Albert Pujols enjoyed in his return to the Cardinals after playing the last 10 years in California. As he got close to hitting his 700th career home run, we told the story of his first professional game from the vantage point of people who were there in Peoria in 2000, his teammates from that first game. We got their thoughts about watching him then, and what it was like to still be watching him in 2022 as he approached that milestone. CLICK HERE to read the story.
When the Cardinals’ season ended, we headed to the Arizona Fall League for a few days. One of our stories was a profile of shortstop Masyn Winn, who has developed into the second best prospect in the organization. To read his story CLICK HERE
Another trip following the end of the season took us to Muscle Shoals, Ala., where Adam Wainwright was fulfilling a promise made during spring training to record an album of original songs. We spent a day in the studio watching it happen. To read that story CLICK HERE. If you missed the original story from spring training about how Wainwright’s musical career got started CLICK HERE
As the year ends, we already are making plans for our Cardinals coverage in 2023, including writing more stories that hopefully will earn entry on next year’s list of favorites.
As always, thanks for following along.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains