Best Of 2004

Best Cardinals Player: Scott Rolen

On a team whose stars borrow millions from God and drive Ferraris, Scott Rolen is a throwback. Indiana born and bred, the muscular third sacker is a perfect fit for a town that put the H in hoosier. While the Redbirds threw prime-time Benjamins at the quietly intense RBI machine when he came here from Philadelphia in mid-2002, that wasn't the point. Rolen sought a trade to St. Louis because he wanted to play in a town he considers "baseball heaven." He is the best third baseman in the game, by a landslide, able to hit the dirt for laser grounders and emerge to whip rocket-like throws from his knees across the diamond in time to nab even the speedy likes of the Marlins' Juan Pierre. At the plate he has led his league all season in RBI, while providing the sort of cleanup-hole protection for Albert Pujols that Barry Bonds would kill for. Rolen is the senior circuit's best all-around player -- which makes him the best Cardinal, too.

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