Best St. Louis Cardinal - 2000
Readers' Choice: Mark McGwire
The easy answer in general is Mark McGwire, and if he hadn't been hurt, that would be the correct one. But this year, Big Mac has missed too many games to be the best. The next obvious answer is Jim Edmonds, who has been the Cardinal lineup anchor without Mac in there. But the Cardinals have a lot of offensive weapons, and Edmonds isn't that much better than the other ones. Darryl Kile, on the other hand, has been the rotation anchor the Cardinals have needed for years. He's a Grade A pitcher, albeit an odd one in that his fastball isn't his best pitch. He's answered the bell every turn out. He has the won/lost record you expect of an ace. So does Garrett Stephenson, but Kile has thrown with remarkable consistency during the September stretch run, whereas Stephenson has suffered from fatigue. Kile also pitches against the other teams' aces, and it's harder to win those games. Kile is the biggest reason the Cards have run away with their division.