Men don’t follow titles; they follow courage.
Since football season is over, my thoughts turn to baseball. During the offseason, the Cardinals have been making some deals, some more painful than others.Jim Edmonds won't be wearing the "birds on the bat" in 2008. The Cardinals Nation mourns the departure of the 4-time All Star and 8-time gold glover. But, he didn't just play awesome defense, he won the Silver Slugger award in 2004, the best batting average at his position.
"Jimmy Baseball" was my favorite player after the Ozzie era. Ozzie had such range at shortstop, just as Jimmy had incredible range in center field.
My favorite of all time is Bob Gibson and I may be overly nostalgic, but Edmonds makes my top 10 and perhaps even my top 5.
He's no lock for the Hall of Fame, but I so enjoyed watching him play, and I'm not alone. In all honestly, however, I would yell at him before every AB knowing they might as well just spot the pitcher an 0-2 count to save everyone the time and aggravation.
Next to only Ken Griffey, Jr., Edmonds had the sweetest left-handed swing in baseball. His dramatic catches and clutch hitting solidified his reputation while with the Angels, but he only added to it as a Cardinal.
In the 2004 NLCS, with the Cardinals down to the disAstros 3 games to 2, Jimmy's "walk off" homer (3:05 of video) in the 12th inning set up a Game 7 in St. Louis against Roger Clemens. That night, at a critical point in the game, Jimmy laid out horizontally, running away from the ball to snag one of the greatest catches I've ever seen (2:50 of video). The Cardinals went to the World Series.
Here's a great tribute video for his 8 years in St. Louis.
It's been said that 70% of the earth is covered by water, and the other 30% is covered by Jim Edmonds, and I believe it.
His courageous play made him a leader on the team, for men don't follow titles; they follow courage. Such a courageous player/leader will be hard to replace.
Thanks for the memories, Jim Edmonds.