The Cardinals began their season at home against the San Diego Padres on March 31, following an 86–76 (.531) record and second-place finish in the NL Central in 2010. The team returned to postseason play in 2011 as the Wild Card team, after finishing second in the NL Central to the Milwaukee Brewers by six games. The Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies in five games in the Division Series and the Milwaukee Brewers in six games in the National League Championship Series. They defeated the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series in seven games.
On Oct 18, 2010, manager Tony La Russa decided to return for his 16th season with the Cardinals after agreeing to terms for a new one-year contract, and a mutual option for a second year. Bullpen coach Marty Mason was not retained, but all the other coaches returned with extended contracts.
On November 2, 2010, the team named a bullpen coach to replace Mason: Derek Lilliquist, the team’s pitching coordinator for the last three seasons. Also announced that day: Greg Hauck was promoted to head athletic trainer, while longtime head trainer Barry Weinberg assumed duties as assistant athletic trainer.
On Oct 6, 2010, the Cardinals picked up the $16 million option on Albert Pujols.
On November 30, 2010, the Cardinals traded pitcher Blake Hawksworth for middle-infielder Ryan Theriot in a trade with Dodgers. They also signed free agent left-handed relief pitcher Brian Tallet. On December 12 the Cardinals cleared a space for Theriot at shortstop by trading incumbent shortstop Brendan Ryan to the Seattle Mariners for Class-A prospect Maikel Cleto.
On December 4, 2010, the Cardinals signed 34-year-old free agent Lance Berkman (formerly with the Houston Astros and then Yankees in 2010) to a 1-year, $8 million deal. Berkman, who was slated to play right field regularly for the first time since 2004, had slumped to a .248 average in 2010 and had hit particularly poorly after his midseason trade to the New York Yankees. As a Cardinal in 2011, he hit 31 home runs and was named NL Comeback Player of the Year.
On December 14, 2010, the Cardinals signed free agent catcher Gerald Laird to a one-year contract.
On January 15, 2011, Albert Pujols, through his agent Dan Lozano, told the Cardinals that the date to report to Spring Training (Feb. 18) was the deadline to reach a deal on a new contract. Negotiations failed to produce a deal, and on February 16 Pujols suspended negotiations, citing an unwillingness to be distracted during the season, including Spring Training. Pujols received $16 million in 2011 and $111 million over his previous eight seasons. Pujols had asked for a 10-year deal, worth up to $300 million, averaging $30 million per year.
On January 21, 2011, the Cardinals signed free agent backup infielder Nick Punto to a one-year contract for $750,000.
In a surprise announcement on February 4, the Cardinals signed former Cardinal Jim Edmonds (2000–07) to a minor-league contract, and an invitation to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. He hit 241 home runs (4th in rank) as a Cardinal in his eight years, made three All-Star teams (2000, 2003, 2005), and won six Gold Gloves (2000–05). He needed seven home runs to reach 400. On February 18, Edmonds announced his retirement from baseball, citing the risk of permanent damage in his comeback from Achilles tendon surgery.
On October 6, 2010, the Cardinals picked up the option on LH relief specialist Trever Miller after he vested his option with his 45th appearance in 2010 (57 G), and finished the season healthy.
On November 16, 2010, the Cardinals signed free agent pitcher Jake Westbrook to a two-year deal through 2012 for $16.5 million, with a mutual option for 2013, and a full no-trade clause. The Cardinals had acquired Westbrook in a 2010 trade that sent Ryan Ludwick to the Padres.
On Jan 15, 2011, the Cardinals agreed to a one-year contract with reliever Kyle McClellan in avoiding arbitration. Salary was not announced.
The Cardinals suffered a severe setback at the beginning of spring training. On Feb 24, 2011, it was confirmed that ace pitcher Adam Wainwright needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after experiencing discomfort in throwing batting practice on February 21. It meant missing, at a minimum, the entirety of the 2011 season. Wainwright was coming off a 2010 season in which he won a career-high 20 games, made the All-Star game, and finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting. The Feb 28 surgery on Wainwright in St. Louis was described as ‘successful.’
Starting in 2010, the Cardinals started a campaign to award longtime hero Stan Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The initiative was nicknamed Stand for Stan. On February 15, 2011, the program came to fruition, as President Barack Obama awarded Musial the medal.
The Cardinals opened 2011 with a loss at home against the San Diego Padres on March 31, after leading 3–2 with two outs in the 9th inning. Matt Holliday hit what looked to be the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 8th, but closer Ryan Franklin gave up a game-tying home run in that 9th inning, sending the game to extra innings. The Padres scored twice in the 11th to win 5–3. It was a sign of things to come for Franklin in 2011.
That evening, Holliday complained of pains, leading to an emergency appendectomy the next day. After missing only seven games while recuperating from surgery, Holliday returned to the lineup on April 10, singling and drawing two walks in a 6–1 victory over the Giants.
Lance Berkman received the NL Player of the Week award on April 18, batting .417 (10-for-24), leading the majors with six HRs, 12 RBIs, and 1.167 Slugging percentage, and also having two multi-homer games.
Matt Holliday (.408) and Lance Berkman (.393) were 1–3 respectively in the NL batting lead after the first month of the season ended, April 30. Holliday also led the NL in OBP (.511), and Berkman led the NL in both slugging (.753) and OPS (1.207).
The Cardinals recovered from a 2–6 start to finish in first place (16–11) by two games over the Reds at the end of April, and the entire team was also No. 1 in sweeping all three NL hitting percentages at .295/.362/.451, having a .812 OPS and also leading in hits (281), runs (144) total bases (429), and also struck out the fewest times (168). All those base runners led to them also leading in grounding into the most double plays (36), with Albert Pujols (.245/.305/.453, .758 OPS) owning the NL lead with nine.
The Cardinals rose to first place in the standings despite major problems in the bullpen. Closer Ryan Franklin blew four of his first five save opportunities and the Cardinals lost all four of those games. Franklin never got another save opportunity after blowing a save against the Dodgers on April 17, and finished the month with a 10.12 ERA. Mitchell Boggs got the call as closer and recorded three saves before blowing another save (leading to another Cardinals blown-save loss) against Houston on April 26. Left-handed reliever Trever Miller was hit for an .899 OPS by opposition batters in April.
Third baseman David Freese suffered a broken bone in his left hand on May 1 from being hit by a pitch. Freese did not return until the end of June.
The Cardinals continued to search for an effective closer in May. Rookie Eduardo Sanchez filled the role for a while in early May, then Fernando Salas took the job and recorded seven saves in seven chances in the second half of the month.
Jaime García flirted with history on May 6, pitching 71⁄3 innings of perfect baseball against the Milwaukee Brewers at home, bidding for the first perfect game in Cardinals’ history, and the first no-hitter since Bud Smith on September 3, 2001. He ended with a 2-hit, complete-game shutout (his 2nd of 2011), after losing his perfect bid with a walk and a hit in the 8th inning. He later gave up a double in the 9th, the only runner to reach second base. He walked one and struck out eight, and a double-play in the eighth helped preserve his shutout, the third of his career.
The Cardinals were a strong 17–12 in May and finished the month 21⁄2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central despite numerous injuries to key players. Albert Pujols struggled through a most uncharacteristic slump at the start of the season, going a career-worst 105 at-bats without a home run and finishing May with an unusually low .755 OPS for the first two months. Tony La Russa, suffering from a severe case of shingles, missed six games, with bench coach Joe Pettini serving as acting manager.
Albert Pujols broke out of his season-long slump in style, hitting five home runs in the week that ended June 5 and winning NL Player of the Week honors.
Tony La Russa managed his 5,000th major league game (2,676–2,320–4 0.536) on June 10, but the milestone was marred by a shutout loss at Milwaukee. He joins Connie Mack as the only manager or coach in American sports history to reach 5,000 games.
On June 19, Albert Pujols hurt his wrist when an opposing player ran into him when Pujols was taking an errant throw from second baseman Peter Kozma. A subsequent MRI on June 20, showed a small fracture in the left wrist-forearm. Pujols estimated time on the DL was expected to be from four to six weeks, and after Wainwright and Pujols both going down and Holliday missing significant time, it became obvious that 2011 was going to be a rough year, maybe even a lost cause. Pujols had played in all 73 games before the injury.
Pujols’s injury was 14th time the Cardinals used the disabled list that season for 12 different players, already more than they used all of the previous year. He joined Wainwright, Freese, Nick Punto, Allen Craig, Gerald Laird, Bryan Augenstein and Eduardo Sanchez on the DL.
Left-handed reliever Raúl Valdés was promoted from AAA Memphis on June 23. Valdes became the third lefty in the struggling bullpen, joining struggling southpaws Trever Miller and Brian Talletin the bullpen. Disabled players David Freese (3b) and Nick Punto (Inf.), both out for over a month, were activated on June 27, providing relief for the injury-riddled team. Freese last played on May 1, and Punto on May 17. Both players made instant impacts in their first game returning when they helped beat the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in their first interleague game there.
Late in June the Cardinals cleared two ineffective relief pitchers from the roster. Miguel Batista, who had given up 27 hits and 19 walks in only 29 innings, was let go on June 22. Former closer Ryan Franklin was given his unconditional release on June 29. He was 1–4 with an 8.46 ERA. Opponents battered him for a .367 average, plus 44 hits and nine home runs over 21 games, in only 272⁄3 innings. He walked 7 and struck out 17, with a 1.84 WHIP. Right-handed pitcher Brandon Dickson’s contract was called up to fill the roster spot vacated by Franklin’s release.
After 81 games on June 29, the half-way point of the season, the team was 43–38 (.531) only 1 game behind the Milwaukee Brewers at 44–37 (.543). The Cardinals played very poorly for much of June, going 3–12 from June 10 to 26. At some time around the end of June, manager Tony La Russa decided to retire at the end of the season. He kept that decision secret from the team.
After an initial estimate of Albert Pujols out for 4-to-6 weeks projecting an August 1 return, a reevaluation follow-up from a CT scan on July 1 showed faster recovery than originally thought, raising the possibility of a return by July 15, right after the All-Star break. However, Pujols surprised everyone by recovering very rapidly, and he was activated on July 5, after the minimum 15-days on the DL. Lefty reliever Brian Tallet was placed on the DL to make room for Pujols.
The team made a major trade on July 27, a four-for-four swap, dealing disgruntled Colby Rasmus (hitting only .246), left-handed relievers Trever Miller and Brian Tallet, and starter P. J. Walters to the Toronto Blue Jays. In return, the team received right-hand starter Edwin Jackson, left-hand specialist Marc Rzepczynski, right-hand reliever Octavio Dotel, and outfielder Corey Patterson. The team will also receive either three players to be named later, or cash. Jackson was traded earlier the day from the Chicago White Sox to the Blue Jays. Rasmus had previously asked to be traded away from the Cardinals, and at the time of the trade he was mired in a severe slump that saw him hitting .194 since May 12. Jon Jay, who had been getting more playing time as Rasmus struggled, became the everyday center fielder. Kyle McClellan, promoted to the starting rotation to fill the gap caused by the loss of Adam Wainwright, returned to the bullpen.
Pujols got his 2,000th career hit on July 29, at Busch Stadium against the Cubs in the eighth inning with an RBI double. He became the fifth Cardinal to get to 2,000 hits, joining Stan Musial (3,630), Lou Brock (2,713), Rogers Hornsby (2,110), and Enos Slaughter (2,064). He got it in his 1,650th game, the 12th quickest. Musial got his in 1,507 games.
The team made another trade on July 31, just before the non-waiver deadline, acquiring shortstop Rafael Furcal from the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for an AA-outfielder Alex Castellanos. Furcal displaced offseason acquisition Ryan Theriot, who committed 17 errors at shortstop for the Cardinals in 2011.
On Aug 11 the Cardinals signed free agent lefty specialist pitcher Arthur Rhodes, previously released by the Texas Rangers. The Rhodes acquisition completed a radical in-season makeover of the Cardinal bullpen. The only Cardinal relievers in the bullpen on Opening Day who were still on the team at the end of the season were Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte. Departures included Miguel Batista and Ryan Franklin (released), Bryan Augenstein (disabled and later sent to the minors) and lefty specialists Trever Miller and Brian Tallet (traded to Toronto). Additions over the course of the season included Rhodes, Marc Rzepcynski and Octavio Dotel (acquired from Toronto in the Rasmus trade), Kyle McClellan (sent back to the bullpen after the Cardinals traded for Edwin Jackson), and Lance Lynn and Fernando Salas (called up from the minor leagues).
At the beginning of the month the Cardinals were 21⁄2 games behind the Brewers in the standings. However, they lost two of three to Milwaukee on the road Aug. 1–3, then did the same at home on Aug. 9–11, giving the Brewers a four-game lead in the NL Central. The team continued to stumble as the Brewers continued to win. Newly acquired shortstop Furcal hit only .240 for the month. The Cardinals went 2–4 on a six-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Chicago, then came home and were swept in three games by a bad Dodger team. After close of business on August 24, the day the Dodgers completed their sweep, St. Louis had fallen ten games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central standings and 101⁄2 games behind the Atlanta Braves (and in third place) in the NL Wild Card standings. Manager Tony La Russa said on the struggles: “I guarantee that the team you have seen the past few weeks is not the team we have, and I believe you will start to see our team tomorrow.” Chris Carpenter and other veterans called for a closed, player-only team meeting, which was held the day after the Dodgers series ended. St. Louis’ odds of making the playoffs stood at 1.3%.
The sweep by Los Angeles dropped the Cardinals to 67–63. They ended the month on a positive note, taking three of four from the Pirates and sweeping the Brewers in Milwaukee Aug 30 – September 1, improving their chances of making the playoffs to 4.3%.
September: The Comeback
The Cardinals set a new NL record of grounding into their 167th (and later, 168th) double-play on September 26, breaking the record set by the 1958 St. Louis Cardinals. They finished the season with 169, five short of the all-time MLB record set by the 1990 Boston Red Sox.
After dropping two of three to the Reds the Cardinals played their last series of the season against Milwaukee September 5–7. St. Louis took two out of three and thus won five of its last six games against the Brewers, but Milwaukee still held a lead of 81⁄2 games. The Cardinals got as close as 41⁄2 games behind the Brewers later in September but Milwaukee played too well to be caught, clinching the Central Division title on September 23.
The same was not true of the wild-card leading Atlanta Braves. 101⁄2 games ahead of the Cardinals on August 24, Atlanta went only 6–7 over its next 13 games before coming to St. Louis on September 9 to play a three-game series that would prove to be critical. In the first game, Atlanta led 3–1 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but a Schumaker single and walks to Furcal and Theriot set up a two-run, two-out Albert Pujols single to tie the game. The Cardinals won on a sacrifice fly by Nick Punto in the bottom of the 10th. On September 10 St. Louis won by the same 4–3 score when Michael Bourn flied out to right with the tying run on third. On the 11th Yadier Molina hit a three-run double and the Cardinals won 6–3 to complete the sweep. The sweep cut the gap in the wild-card race to 41⁄2 games, but St. Louis had only 16 games left to play and its playoff chances were still only 7.7%.
The Cardinals followed up their sweep of Atlanta by going on the road to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and taking two of three from the Pirates and three of four from the NL-leading (and eventually 102-game-winner) Phillies. On the 14th Yadier Molina hit a two-run double and the Cardinals beat Pittsburgh 3–2 behind 6.2 strong innings from Edwin Jackson. On the 16th an error by right fielder Corey Patterson allowed the Phillies to tie the game 2–2 in the bottom of the ninth, but the Cardinals scored on RBI hits from rookie Adron Chambers and Tyler Greene in the 11th and hung on to win 4–2. On the 19th the Cardinals escaped with a 4–3 victory over the Phillies when Octavio Dotel got Hunter Pence to ground out in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run on base. The Braves went 3–4 over this same stretch of games, losing to the Marlins on September 19 when Omar Infante hit a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. The gap in the wild-card standings had decreased to 2.5 games but with only nine games left the Cardinals’ playoff chances were still only 17.7%.
The Cardinals then won two of three at home against the Mets, but suffered a bitterly disappointing loss in the third game of that series, when Rafael Furcal let a ball roll through his legs in the top of the 9th, triggering a six-run Met rally that won the game 8–6. Furcal was so upset by his error that he was talking about retirement before having a personal meeting with LaRussa. The Braves led by two games with six games left and the Cardinals’ playoff chances were 24.4%. The Cardinals won two of three against the Cubs, winning 2–1 on September 24 via a bases-loaded walk and wild pitch by Carlos Mármol and recent callup Adron Chambers sprinted home with the winning run. while the Braves lost two of three to the Nationals. Atlanta had a one-game lead with three games left.
The last series of the year for the Cardinals was against the terrible Houston Astros, and Atlanta’s was against the powerful Philadelphia Phillies. And since the Redbirds were only one game out of the wild card, the last series was very key. The Cards were playing the worst team in the majors, and the Phillies were the best. The race and Boston and Tampa Bay’s in the American League began stirring up attention around the country.
The Cardinals lost in extra innings to Astros (who finished the year at 56–106) on the 26th on a walk-off squeeze bunt by Angel Sanchez, but Atlanta lost to the Phillies. On the 27th St. Louis overcame a bad start by Jake Westbrook and a 5–0 deficit, scoring five in the fourth and four more in the seventh and winning 13–6. The winning runs came via a two-run triple from Ryan Theriot. Atlanta lost to Philadelphia again, and with one game left in the season the Cardinals and Braves were tied for the wild card.
In the season finale, the Cardinals had little trouble with the Astros, winning 8–0 behind a complete game two-hit shutout from Carpenter. The game ended about 9:25 PM CST. This was the first of two key clinchers Carpenter pitched in late 2011. The Braves started later. With their final regular-season game freshly on the books, Cardinals players and fans anxiously watched the still-ongoing Braves-Phillies match in Atlanta that was now in extra innings. They were two outs away from forcing a tie-breaker game, but a Chase Utley sacrifice fly tied the game 3–3 in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the 12th, the Braves stranded the winning run on third base. Finally, in the top of the 13th Hunter Pence hit an RBI infield single, and in the bottom of the inning Freddie Freeman of the Braves hit into a double play to lose the ballgame and eliminate Atlanta.
By edging Atlanta to clinch the Wild Card on the final day of the regular season, the 2011 Cardinals completed the largest comeback in history after 130 games, (and collapses in Atlanta’s point of view). They went 23–9 over their final 32 games to erase a 10.5 game deficit. They went 18–8 in the month of September while the Braves went 9–18 for September to open the door. Since the Braves play in a different division, the two teams played fewer games against each other, also lowering the odds that the Cardinals had to catch up with the Braves in the Wild Card race. St. Louis finished 90–72 and advanced to the postseason to face the NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies, heavily favored to move on.
The team qualified for the Wild Card on the final day of the regular season and played the Philadelphia Phillies for the first time in postseason, in the NL Division Series best of five, starting the first two games at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
2011 National League Division Series
Game 1 of the NLDS ended an 11–6 Philadelphia victory. After Roy Halladay struggled in the first, allowing a three-run homer to Lance Berkman, he settled down, at one point retiring twenty-one Cardinal hitters in a row. After Game 1, Chris Carpenter, starting on three-day’s rest for the first time in his career, allowed the Phillies to take a quick 4–0 lead in Game 2. And with Cliff Lee on the mound for the Phils, the game seemed out of reach. “You can count on one finger the number of times you’ll come back from four runs down against Cliff Lee”, Lance Berkman said. That’s exactly what the Cardinals did, and took a 5–4 lead after an RBI single by Albert Pujols. The series was tied at one game apiece. “That win was huge for us”, Tony La Russa said. “Realistically, us winning three in a row was not really possible.” The famous Rally Squirrel (aka, ‘Busch Squirrel’), made his first appearance in Game 3 on October 4, and then again appeared in Game 4 on October 5, running across Home Plate at Busch Stadium in front of Skip Schumaker who was batting. The pitch was called a ball, and Roy Oswalt protested that it should not have counted. Nothing he did changed the umpire’s mind though. Schumaker later flew out to left. The team was ahead at the time, 3–2, and held on for the 5–3 victory. The Rally Squirrel was instantly adopted by the fans as the postseason mascot, and thousands of rally squirrel T-shirts were sold. His Twitter account started, and by October 6 it had over 11,000 followers; by October 20, it had over 27,500 followers.
The October 7, Game 5 winner-take-all in the NLDS pitted Cardinals’ ace Chris Carpenter vs. Roy Halladay, his best friend off-the-field for the Phillies, at Citizens Bank Park. Carpenter threw an outstanding 3-hit shutout over Halladay and the Phillies to win the NLDS, 1–0. The last out was made by St. Louisian Ryan Howard, who chopped a grounder to Nick Punto at second. Punto saw Howard on the ground by home plate, having torn his achilles. He then lobbed the ball to Albert Pujols, who caught it to send the Cardinals to the NLCS for the first time since 2006.
National League Championship Series
The Milwaukee Brewers took the first game of the NLCS 9–6, but the Cardinals rebounded to take the next two games. The teams split the next two, and on Sunday, October 16, the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, for their 18th NL Pennant, and became the only team to play in three of the last ten World Series. The final out was recorded when Jason Motte struck out the Brewers’ Mark Kotsay on high heat. David Freese was named NLCS MVP.
Allen Craig was the hero in Game 1 of the World Series, singling off Alexi Ogando to break a 2–2 tie. The Cards managed to win. The next day, Craig was almost the hero again when he singled off Ogando for the second straight night. The Rangers came back to win, 2–1, though, for Jason Motte’s only blown save of the postseason. The next game, Albert Pujols went 5-for-6 with three home runs to put him in company with Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players to hit three homers in a World Series game. Pujols also set a record with 14 total bases, hits in four consecutive innings, and tied a Series record with five hits, total bases, RBIs, and runs scored in one game.
But after the Rangers won the next two games, the Cardinals fell behind in the Series 3–2. The Cardinals, facing the Texas Rangers in the World Series, pulled-off one of the greatest comeback game wins in World Series history, with an amazing Game 6, winning 10–9 in 11 innings after twice being one strike away from elimination. David Freese hit a two-out, two-strike, ninth-inning triple, to tie the game after trailing 7–5 in the ninth inning. Berkman followed with an RBI single in the 10th to tie the game again. Later, with the score tied 9–9, Freese hit a lead-off walk-off home run to dead centerfield in the 11th, off Mark Lowe at 11:39 pm CDT. Lance Berkman had previously tied the game in the 10th with a single with 2 outs and 2 strikes, scoring Jon Jay. The win meant that the World Series would go to a seventh game for the first time since 2002. Of the last 13 Major League teams that won Game 6 at home to force a Game 7 in the postseason, 12 went on to win Game 7. The Rangers led 4 different times in the game, including with two outs and two strikes in both the ninth and the 10th, but the Cardinals refused to die.
Freese’s game-winning home run was only the fifth in World Series Game 6 history (1960-Pit., 1975-Bos., 1991-Min., 1993-Tor).
The Cardinals set two records in their Game 6 win: the first team to come back twice from deficits in both the 9th and 10th innings, and the first team to score in the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th innings.
The Cardinals celebrate the 11th World Series Championship in club history, the most of any National League team.
On October 28, the Cardinals finished off their amazing, end-of-season run, starting after the Aug 24 game when they were 101⁄2 games behind for the NL Central Division lead. They defeated the Texas Rangers 4 games to 3, with a 6–2 win in Game 7 of the World Series at their Busch Stadium home in front of 47,399 fans. It was the 36th time a team won the World Series in a Game 7 (or Game 8). The final out was made when David Murphy flew out to left field to give the Cardinals their eleventh world championship. David Freese, a graduate of Lafayette High School in St. Louis, won the MVP award for both the NLCS, and then for the World Series, as well as the Babe Ruth Award. He knocked in a record 21 RBIs in his post-season. Chris Carpenter set a franchise record for most wins (four) in a single postseason. Carpenter, 9–2 overall in his Cardinals postseason career, ran his home postseason mark to 7–0 with a 2.15 ERA. Tony La Russa became only the ninth manager in major-league history to win at least three World Series.
After the World Series
- On October 31, three days after winning the World Series, manager Tony La Russa announced his retirement. He finished his managerial career after 33 seasons, third in all-time managerial wins and second all-time in post season wins.
- November 3 marked the first time in the playing history of Albert Pujols that he would become a free agent. He officially became a free agent as of 12:01 Eastern.
- On November 13, the Cardinals announced former Cardinals’ catcher Mike Matheny as their new manager with a news conference on November 14.
- Although Dave Duncan did not officially retire, he took an extended leave of absence to tend to his ailing wife and his assistant Derek Lilliquist was nominated as his substitute.
- On November 16, MLB announced that La Russa came in third in voting for NL Manager of the Year. Kirk Gibson (of the Arizona Diamondbacks) in his first season won, and Ron Roenicke (of the Milwaukee Brewers) came in second.
- Berkman’s resurgence led him to a seventh-place MVP finish, and the National League Comeback Player of the Year award.
- On December 16, 2011, the Cardinals won the Organization of the Year award from Baseball America for the first time. Baseball America has given this award since 1982