For fans of baseball, the St Louis Cardinals’ 2011 season is still talked about with legendary status.
Before the season started, the Cardinals were being offer at 999/1 to win the World Series, which is about as unlikely as you’re going to find, and punters backing them were few and far between.
They by no means had a bad season.
Despite a few injuries to key players they did well, finishing second in their division with a 90-72 win to lose record, but behind the Milwaukee Brewers who came in first and secured a place in the playoffs with 96-66.
The Cardinals’ had the next strongest record in the National League though, so they managed to get into the post season series’ as the Wild Card.
It was by the skin of their teeth, but they were still in with a chance of winning the World Series.
For bettors it was good news too. One man in particular had wagered $250 at 999/1 that they would win the World Series, and this was when they still had 15 games to play in the regular season. They would of course go on to win it, netting the bold punter a $250,000 return.
As for how they did it, that is explained next.
Although they barely scraped through to the post season, the St Louis Cardinals were now hitting a run of form and their confidence was high too after so many recent wins.
They were lucky in a way, because this was the last 8-team format season before the Wild Card Series was introduced, so there was only 1 wild card team from each league going into post season, meaning the Cardinals got a slightly easier ride.
Nevertheless, their first task was to defeat the National League East team, the Philadelphia Phillies, who had the best win loss record of all 15 teams in the National League (and the whole American League too for that matter).
They managed it, just, trading blows to take 2 games each – after an initial spanking from the Phillies in Game 1 – before finishing victorious in Game 5 with a 1-0 shutout.
St Louis faced the Milwaukee Brewers in the Championship Series, once again starting with a loss in Game 1 before winning then losing on repeat until Game 6, in which they dominated with a final score of 12-6, ending the series 4-2 winners.
This got them to the World Series for the 18th time in their history, having won it 10 times, the last being in 2006.
The Texas Rangers were their opponents, hungry for victory having achieved the same thing a year earlier only to have lost out to the San Francisco Giants.
What followed was one of the greatest World Series ever to take place.
After splitting the first two games, the St Louis Cardinals delivered a 16-7 blow out in Game 3, but the Rangers came back with a 4-0 shut out in Game 4.
The score was 2-2 now, and when the Texas Rangers won game 5 with a score of 4-2, the Cardinals had to win the next game in order to stay in the competition.
Understandably then, Game 6 was the most eventful of the series, with St Louis doing everything in their power to force the series into a seventh game. They started badly going down 2 runs to nil, before David Freese scored a triple in the 9th innings, and unbelievably did it again in the 10th. The Rangers had been 1 strike away from their first ever World Series in both innings, but St Louis denied them having chased the whole game, to win in 10-9.
It was a much more comfortable 6-2 win for St Louis in Game 7, despite once again falling behind at the start, and they became World Series Champions for the 11th time.