Cardinals: WildCards

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Cardinals: WildCards

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WildCards

2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals

America’s Sports Artist Rick Rush’s WildCards depicts the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series. In the foreground are Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, David Freese, and Lance Berkman. In the middleground are Yadier Molina, Rafael Furcal, Kyle Lohse, Chris Carpenter, and Allen Craig. In the background, Tony LaRussa is projected on the Busch Stadium jumbotron.

The Cardinals earned their postseason berth by winning the National League Wild Card on the last day of the regular season. They defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series and the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series to earn their World Series shot against the Texas Rangers. The National League won the 2011 All-Star Game, giving the Cardinals home-field advantage in their third World Series appearance in eight years.

In the first out of the Series, Yadier Molina fired a ball to Rafael Furcal to catch the Rangers’ Kinsley stealing second. Later in the game, Chris Carpenter dove headlong with his throwing arm to make an out. Both of these plays are depicted in the WildCards middleground. The Cardinals won 3-2.

The Rangers bounced back to win Game 2 (2-1).

The Cards played Game 3 in Arlington, where Albert Pujols had what would be described by Sports Illustrated as "the greatest individual hitting performance in World Series history." Pujols went 5-for-6 with two singles, three home runs, four runs scored, and six RBIs. The Cardinals won 16-3.

The Rangers won Game 4 (4-0) and Game 5 (4-2).

Back in St. Louis, Game 6 of the Series witnessed the Cardinals erase two two-run deficits in the bottom of both the 9th and the 10th innings. In both innings, the Rangers were one strike away from their first ever World Series championship. The game, spanning four and a half hours, saw six lead changes and fifteen pitchers. The Cardinals were down by two in the bottom of the 9th until David Freese drove Berkman and Pujols in with a game-tying two-run triple. In the top of the 10th, the Rangers took a two-run lead. In the bottom of the 10th, Kyle Lohse made a crucial sacrifice bunt to put Daniel Descalso on third base. Descalso then scored on a Ryan Theriot ground out. Lohse’s bunt is depicted in the middleground of WildCards. Berkman, the National League’s Comeback Player Of The Year, hit a two-out two-strike RBI single that tied the game once again. At the top of the 11th, Texas was unable to score. In the bottom of the 11th, Freese hit a game-winning homerun. Freese would be named the Series MVP after setting a post-season record with 21 RBI’s. Cardinals won Game 6 (10-9).

In Game 7, Chris Carpenter pitched six innings and became the first pitcher in a decade to make three starts in one Series. Allen Craig’s final out catch is depicted in the middleground, opposite of Yadier Molina and the first out of the Series. The Cardinals won 6-2.

In the background of WildCards, Tony LaRussa tips his hat farewell. After sixteen seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, including two World Series Championships, the third-most winningest manager in Major League Baseball announced his retirement.

Rick Rush was named the 2011 Sport Artist Of The Year by the United States Sports Academy and Sport Artist Museum And Archives. Rush has been painting professionally for over thirty years. His other works depicting the St. Louis Cardinals include: High Flying Cardinals (1989), featuring Ozzie Smith; National Hero (1998), commemorating Mark McGwire’s homerun record; 2001: A Year Of Heroes (2003), also featuring Mark McGwire; Power With Purpose (2006), exclusive to the Albert Pujols Family Foundation; and Out Of Character (2008), dedicated to the Cardinals 2010 World Series Championship.