With the NFL celebrating its centennial season in 2019, the league will soon be announcing its top 100 players of all-time. I thought it would be fun to look back and rank the Big Red’s top 100 players who played in St. Louis.
The Cardinals moved from Chicago after the 1959 season and played 28 years in St. Louis before Bill Bidwill moved to the desert in 1988. Several great players played under the arch during this period including four Hall of Famers.
These rankings are only based on the player’s time spent in St. Louis. Consideration was given to the player’s statistics, All-Pro/Pro Bowl selections, team leadership, and impact in the community. It is next to impossible to compare eras, so many of these picks were very difficult.
The Top 100 St. Louis Football Cardinals of All-Time: 70-61
70. Ahmad Rashad (WR)
The Big Red drafted Oregon star Bobby Moore with their top pick in the 1972 draft (4th overall). Moore played only two seasons in St. Louis catching 59 passes for 909 yards and 6 TDs. He was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team in ’72 and set an league record for the longest non-scoring pass reception with a 98 yarder against the Rams. Moore changed his name to Ahmad Rashad in 1973 after adopting the Orthodox Muslim Religion. The name change didn’t go over well with some fans and even coaches. Rashad was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 1974 for backup QB Dennis Shaw. He later went on to star for the Minnesota Vikings.
69. Miller Farr (CB)
Miller Farr was arguably the finest cornerback in the AFL when the Big Reg traded Charley Johnson for him in 1970. The former Houston cornerback was a 2x All-Pro who had 19 interceptions and 5 TDs the previous three seasons. In St. Louis, the former Wichita State star played opposite Roger Wehrli and picked off 5 passes including one for a TD in ’70. He finished with 10 interceptions and three fumble recoveries before being traded to Detroit in 1974.
68. Doug Marsh (TE)
The Big Red had a revolving door at tight for two seasons before drafting Doug Marsh with their second pick in 1980. The former Michigan star was an excellent blocker and and brought stability to the position for the next seven seasons. Marsh could also catch the ball. He scored 19 TDs in his Big Red career with his best season coming in 1984 when he caught 39 passes for 608 yards and 5 TDs.
67. Ken Stone (S)
Ken Stone had played for three different teams before arriving in St. Louis as a free agent in 1977. The gritty free safety and special teams player led the NFC with 9 interceptions in 1978 and led the Cards the following two seasons. He finished with 20 interceptions his last three years in the league. Stone was a 10th round draft choice out of Vanderbilt in 1973 by the Redskins. He also played with Buffalo and Tampa Bay.
66. Chuck Latourette (KR/P)
The late Chuck Latourette was a standout punter and kick returner for the Big Red in the late 1960s. The Rice product led the NFL with a 12.3 yard punt return average in 1968. He also led the league in punt and kick returns and return yardage the same season. His fourth quarter 86 yard punt return against the Saints helped the Cards to a come from behind 21-20 victory in ’68. He also returned a fumble 32 yards for a TD against the Redskins in 1970. Latourette was the team’s punter for four seasons averaging over 40 yards per kick. He died in 1982 from a gunshot wound at the age of 32. His wife was later acquitted of murder.
65. Mal Hammack (ST/RB)
Malcolm “Mal” Hammack was another special teams standout and fan-favorite who played all 12 seasons for the Chicago and St. Louis Cardinals. Hammack was a third round draft choice out of Florida in 1955. He played linebacker, tight end, fullback, and was a fierce special teams player while in St. Louis. The Texas native was named to the All-Time Big Red Team by the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 1988. Former teammate Jackie Smith said that players loved to watch game film of Hammack making big hits. “He was just a great athlete. He was very tough.” Hammack passed away in 2004.
64. Dave Williams (WR)
Dave Williams was the Cards top pick out of Washington in 1967. The speedy wide receiver quickly became Jim Hart’s favorite target scoring 5 TDs and was named the Big Red co-rookie of year. He followed that up with six more TDs in 1968 and then had his finest pro season in ’69 when he hauled in 56 passes for 702 yards and seven TDs. Williams played 5 seasons in St. Louis and finished with 22 TDs and 162 receptions.
63. Mike Dawson (DT)
The late Mike Dawson was the Big Red’s top pick in the 1976 draft. The former Arizona Wildcat standout started 83 of 88 games he played in St. Louis. He led the Cardinals defense in sacks in 1978 (7) and 1979 (9). Dawson injured missed most of the 1980 season with a knee injury and was slow to recover in ’81. He was traded to the Lions in 1983 and finished his career with the Chiefs in 1984.
62. Ron Wolfley (FB/ST)
Ron Wolfley played in St. Louis from 1985-1987. The New York native was the Cards fourth round draft pick in 1985 out of West Virginia. Wolfley excelled on special teams with his kamikaze-like play. Former Big Red special teams coach Chuck Banker referred to Wolfley as a “human missile, always flying into somebody, blowing them up.” Wolfley was the special teams captain and named to consecutive Pro Bowls in 1986 and 1987. He continued his Pro Bowl play in Phoenix earning honors in ’88 and ’89. Wolfley later played in Cleveland and then returned to St. Louis in 1995 to play nine games for the Rams.
61. IKE HARRIS (WR)
Isiah “Ike” Harris Jr. played three seasons with the Cardinals. He was drafted in the fourth round in 1974, but signed with the Southern California Sun in the WFL. Harris arrived in St. Louis in 1975, started the last five games at wide receiver, and was named the team’s rookie of the year. He led the team in receptions (52) and yards (782) in 1976 with his best game coming against the Rams (8/130) in a 30-28 win at the Coliseum. Harris again led the team with 40 receptions in 1977, however was traded to the Saints along with Conrad Dobler following the season
Revisit Player Rankings 100-91
Pingback: The Top 100 St. Louis Football Cardinals (60-51) | THE BIG RED ZONE
Pingback: The Top 100 St. Louis Football Cardinals (50-41) | THE BIG RED ZONE
Pingback: The Top 100 St. Louis Football Cardinals (40-31) | THE BIG RED ZONE
Pingback: The Top 100 St. Louis Football Cardinals (30-21) | THE BIG RED ZONE
Pingback: The Top 100 St. Louis Football Cardinals (20-11) | THE BIG RED ZONE
Pingback: The Top 100 St. Louis Football Cardinals (10-1) | THE BIG RED ZONE