On December 4th, Matt Holliday agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees. In his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals, Holliday performed like an all-time great.
The July 24th, 2009 trade which brought Matt Holliday to the St. Louis Cardinals will be remembered as one of GM John Mozeliak’s best moves. Holliday would become a staple in the heart of Cardinals lineups through 2016 and was a major part in St. Louis’ sustained run of success this decade. Additionally, Matt Holliday gained a reputation for giving back to the St. Louis community, establishing a presence both on and off the field.
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Last month, when it was evident that Holliday would be leaving the St. Louis Cardinals, Drew Clark wrote about the best moments of Matt Holliday’s time as a Redbird. With his tenure in St. Louis officially over, I take on my second tear-jerker in the past week as I look to see how Holliday ranks among other Cardinals greats, as well as in comparison to the rest of the MLB over the period he was in St. Louis.
Holliday appeared in 982 games with the St. Louis Cardinals, meaning he has played more games as a Cardinal than all but thirty-two players. He ranks 30th in Cardinals history with 4,121 plate appearances. Among the 1,985 players to have donned a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, Matt Holliday ranks 23rd in fWAR, accumulating 26.9 in his 7+ seasons St. Louis.
His 1,048 hits as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals places him at 28th all-time among Cardinals. His 156 home runs since coming to St. Louis in 2009 ranks 11th in Cardinals history, while his 616 RBI ranks 23rd. Further cementing his reputation as an all-time slugger, Matt Holliday’s .201 ISO and .494 slugging percentage rank 20th and 18th among all Cardinals with at least 1200 plate appearances (approximately two seasons worth).
Beginning with Holliday’s first full season with St. Louis in 2010, he was arguably a top ten player in baseball. He earned 24.4 fWAR over this period, which ranks 9th among qualified MLB hitters and is tops among all St. Louis Cardinals players. Holliday possessed a rare combination of power and on-base skill, evidenced by his .288 average and .486 slugging percentage over this period, which both rank 16th. Additionally, his .377 on-base percentage ranks 8th.
Matt Holliday was one of the MLB’s top power hitters, blasting 143 home runs over this period to rank 15th in the MLB. His only season where he hit less than 20 home runs was an injury-shortened 2015 campaign. Additionally, his 561 RBI since the start of 2010 ranks 11th. His 10.3% walk rate, which ranks 23rd in the majors over this time, is a testament to the respect he commanded from pitchers while in the box.
Holliday was selected to four All-Star teams while a member of the St. Louis Cardinals: 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. Additionally, he received MVP votes in four years: 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Furthermore, he won a Silver Slugger in his first full season in St. Louis in 2010.
Holliday was a key piece in the St. Louis Cardinals six playoff appearances since 2009. With him as an anchor in the lineup, the Cardinals won four division titles and two National League pennants; they never finished worse than second place in the division and never won less than 86 games.
Holliday helped the St. Louis Cardinals transition from the end of the Albert Pujols era following 2011 without missing a step, enabling the team to continue a historic run of success beginning in 2000. With his stellar and consistent performance across 7+ seasons, Matt Holliday was one of the top players in baseball and cemented himself as one of the St. Louis Cardinals best all-time players.
Ultimately, Matt Holliday will be remembered both for his years of success in the St. Louis uniform, as well as his unforgettable final few at-bats. It is all but guaranteed that Holliday will one day find his name enshrined in the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.