The last time the St. Louis Cardinals were in the World Series, I was watching anxiously as the Texas Rangers were a strike away from hoisting the trophy. The Rangers were loaded with offensive talents Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Mike Napoli. On the mound they had their closer Neftali Feliz ready to close the door on Cards.
At the plate was a young 3rd baseman who was mainly known only to St. Louis fans by the name of David Freese. With 2 strikes and facing Feliz, he delivered what was one of the most clutch hits in World Series history. He tripled to deep right to drive in Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman. Nine innings and four at-bats were not enough for Freese, who continued the game of his career into extra innings.
In the bottom of the 11th inning the game was tied as Freese came to hit for the 5th time. Starting out with 3 balls, Rangers’ pitcher Mark Lowe fought back to a full count on the mound. On the 6th pitch, Freese hit the pitch over the fence to end the game with a walk-off solo home run.
The Rangers were unable to close out the game despite being ahead most of the late innings. David Freese was the man who the entire baseball world knew about after that night as he tied the game in the 9th and won it in the 11th. It wasn’t a series-clinching win for St. Louis, but that momentum carried forward as the Cardinals won Game 7.
With all of the hype surrounding Pujols, Berkman, and Matt Holliday, it was Freese who was the player whom the Cardinals could not have won without. He was named the World Series MVP and became part of a post season highlight reel for years to come.