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The Cardinals' Last Michael Bourn

So the Cardinals will send five all-stars to this year's All-Star Game, in Anaheim, and while the Cardinals really do have five deserving all-stars, Yadier Molina probably owes Jaime Garcia dinner some night when they get back into town. 

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It's the most all-stars the Cardinals have had since 2005, when the team sent, in addition to the triumphant MV3, Chris Carpenter, David Eckstein, and Jason Isringhausen, not to mention La Russa and his staff, which is a perk that comes with winning the National League championship. 

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The team has sent a lot of players in the Tony La Russa era, most of whom were at least deserving at the time; I'm looking at Kent Bottenfield, here, but not Royce Clayton, whom I can't explain at all. But a weird choice who makes the team with a legitimately deserving player—Ray Lankford made the team with Clayton, and Mark McGwire with Bottenfield—is outside the purview of this blog entry.

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It's guys like Michael Bourn and Ty Wigginton, able now and forevermore to sign ALL-STAR under their names on baseballs, who inform this blog entry: they led me to wonder when the last time was that the Cardinals received a clear charity all-star. 

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What makes this so difficult to figure isn't just the Cardinals' long string of excellent seasons, it's the astounding all-star popularity of Ozzie Smith, who made the team from 1982 to 1992 and then from 1994 to 1996. There's no need to give a bad squad a charity all-star when Ozzie Smith is just going to be included anyway. 

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Nevertheless, his selection as the sole Cardinal in 1990 might be the closest thing to one. Smith was hitting just .231 at the break and was on his way to his worst season as a Cardinal; the Cardinals, meanwhile, weren't any better, about to go through Whitey Herzog, Red Schoendienst, and Joe Torre on their way to a sixth place finish. Willie McGee, who would later be traded, was probably the Cardinals' most deserving all-star, and the NL's eventual batting champion in absentia, but with Smith on the team there was little need to overrepresent the last of the Whiteyball squads. 

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From there the Cardinals' all-star mantle was held by Lee Smith, the immortal Gregg Jeffries, and Tom Henke; Smith was later the Cardinals' only pick in 1996, but Ron Gant and Ray Lankford would have been deserving selections in a year when the most popular baseball player in the country wasn't retiring. 

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