Back on Oct. 4 — when it came to pass that the St. Louis Cardinals would take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League divisional playoffs — the Post-Dispatch of St. Louis commissioned staff illustrator and famed Weatherbird cartoonist Dan Martin to come up with something clever for the front of the paper’s playoff special section.
Dan, of course, knocked it out of the park.
Having dispatched the Pirates handily last weekend, the Cardinals moved on to the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers — a best-of-seven series that started Friday in St. Louis.
Again, the Post-Dispatch produced a special section — this one was 18 page. And agian, the Post-Dispatch turned to Dan Martin. Here’s what he came up with.
Click that for a much larger look.
Assistant managing editor for sports Roger Hensley wrote Friday via Facebook:
Another excellent illustration by Dan Martin. And though Carlos Ayulo art directed the whole thing, he doesn’t get credit for the headline this time. Someone smarter than him came up with it. Ahem.
Carlos tells me that Dan turned in eight sketches from which to choose for that cover. Five of them, Carlos happens to still have.
The theme, obviously, is that the Cardinals have built their roster the old-fashioned way: By trading and by nurturing younger players. While the cash-rich Dodgers have built their playoff team quickly via free agency.
Carlos says this next one…
…did not show the Cards’ rich history
And this one, Carlos says…
…we never flushed it out
Here’s the sketch that was selected.
And here, again, is the final cover.
And not to seem overconfident or anything, but Carlos tells us…
[Dan] is already thinking about Red Sox or Tigers.
That might make you angry if you’re a Dodgers fan. But no disrespect is intended. The Post-Dispatch has covered enough playoff seasons that they know very well the value of early preparation. The worst that can happen is your team will lose and some work will go down the drain. That’s better than your team winning and you’re caught empty-handed with another massive playoff special section staring you in the face and nothing for the cover.
Dan has been the Weatherbird artist at the Post-Dispatch since 1980. The daily Weatherbird feature began in the paper in 1901 and the P-D likes to claim it’s the oldest running daily newspaper feature in the U.S. Here’s a video staffer Huy Mach put together for the Weatherbird’s 110th anniversary, two years ago.
Two years ago, Dan drew “Hero” and “Goat” illustrations for each playoff game. You can find samples of that work in this blog post.
You probably know what happened in Friday night’s Game One: The game went into extra innings — four of them, in fact. At 12:25 a.m. Saturday, with two men on base in the bottom of the 13th inning, Carlos Beltran marched to the plate and smacked a line drive to deep right field, scoring a run and ending the game.
The Post-Dispatch‘s David Carson got this great celebration shot. The staff back at the paper wisely ran it big and got the hell out of its way.
Later that day — heh — the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the series by topping the Dodgers by one whole run.
That run was scored by David Freese in the fifth inning. And you’re looking at it, as shot by staffer Chris Lee.
Game three will start today. When it’ll end is anyone’s guess…