The Cardinals were the best regular season team in 2004 winning 105 games. Walker couldn’t have landed in a better spot to get back to the postseason. His trade vetoes to other teams paid off and he landed in St. Louis on August 6. On that day, the Cardinals were 32 games above .500. Instead of batting in his traditional third spot in the lineup, he batted second. He was sandwiched in between Tony Womack and Jim Edmonds while Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen batted fourth and fifth, respectively.
The only reason this team didn’t win the World Series is because the baseball gods said it was finally time for the Curse of the Bambino to be broken. The 2004 Boston Red Sox impossibly came back from a 0-3 deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees, the first time any team had done that in the Championship Series. The Red Sox were a team of destiny and the Cardinals were swept in the World Series.
Walker did well for the rest of the season, batting .280 in 44 regular season games and had a line of .293 in the playoffs. He hit two homers every round for a combined six dingers, a franchise record for lefties … and that’s saying something with the Cardinals’ rich playoff history. The Cardinals would make it to the NLCS in 2005 but lost to the Houston Astros. Walker was plagued by injuries much of the season and he announced he would retire after the season, even though he a team option for 2006. Even though he didn’t reach his ultimate goal of earning a ring, it was much better ending that he more than earned and deserved.
The Rockies side of the deal, however, wasn’t as rosy.