McGwire freese momentBrenden Schaeffer | THE INTREPID STL

The St. Louis Cardinals are a franchise as rich in tradition as any other, so this tournament should be a good one. If you haven’t heard already, the match ups in the four regionals (hosted at The Intrepid STL, Cardinals Conclave, Cardsblog and Redbird Rants, respectively) will run through the rest of the baseball season until a champion is crowned–the greatest moment in Cardinals history.

At The Intrepid STL, we kick things off with the #1 seed vs. #16 seed battled: David Freese’s game-tying triple in the 2011 World Series against Mark McGwire’s 500th career home run. Without further ado, let’s break it down:

#1 David Freese becomes a St. Louis legend

His home run to dead straightaway centerfield in the bottom of the 11th (“We… Will see you… Tomorrow night!”) was the nail of the coffin of the Texas Rangers in Game 6 (and let’s be honest, the series was over that night–you can tell me all you’d like that Game 7 was anyone’s ballgame, but I’ll never agree with you). But it was David Freese tripling over the head of Nelson Cruz that made his trip to Freese’s Lawn possible (and the Berkman single helped, too–seriously, what a game). Without this moment, this swing, this… misplay(?… Yeah, Cruz probably should’ve caught it… Oh well. ¯_(ツ)_/¯) the Cardinals would’ve watched the Rangers celebrate their first World Championship on the field at Busch Stadium.

Instead… Well, you know. History changed forever.

You probably already have the video bookmarked somewhere on your device, but in case you don’t, feel free to watch it (again–and again) below:

For whatever reason, this is the moment that stands above the rest from that postseason in the minds of many Cardinals fans. Nearly six years later, everything about this moment still has the capacity to send chills down your spine. In a tournament of great moments, this one will be a heavyweight.

#16 Big Mac steps into history–again

Mark McGwire’s 500th career home run certainly faces an impossible task matching up against one of the most unbelievable plays in the most remarkable game in Cardinals (baseball?) history. Still, it’s worth remembering McGwire’s tendency to approach the big moments with style.

McGwire, alongside Sammy Sosa, had taken the baseball world by storm during their 1998 chase for history–the single-season home run crown. The next year, McGwire was set to join elite company once again by joining the 500 home run club (also, Big Mac slugged 65 home runs in 1999, a season after reaching 70… Steroids or not, that’s ridiculous).

Coming into that August 5th game against the San Diego Padres, McGwire had homered 15 times over his last 20 games, and had 42 dingers on the season. More importantly, though, McGwire was sitting on 499 homers for his career that morning, and needed just one more to become the 16th player in major league baseball history to reach the 500 home run benchmark. In vintage McGwire fashion, he did it in style, hitting two in the same game, ensuring the Busch Stadium crowd got their money’s worth.

Check out some video below of home run 500 (the video also features No. 501, interviews with McGwire, and interviews with other Cardinals legends (Lou Brock, Stan the Man) from that day:

The vote–Who yuh got?

The hometown kid in one of his two most famous moments from the magical 2011 postseason up against one of the most prolific home run hitters in Cardinals history reaching another major milestone.

Which moment gets your vote? Decide below!