Jose Rosario Domec Cardenal
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 150 lb.
Speedy outfielder Jose Cardenal stole 329 bases during 18 seasons in the big league, split between 9 different teams.
The Cuban-born Cardenal was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1960 and made his pro debut the following summer. He reached the majors with the Giants in 1963, going 1-for-5 in 9 games, but spent most of that year with the El Paso Sun Kings of the Texas League, hitting .312 with 36 home runs and 35 stolen bases. After spending most of 1964 with the Tacoma Rainiers, he was back in the big leagues with San Francisco that September, going hitless in 15 at-bats. Stuck behind Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Jesus Alou, and Matty Alou on the Giants depth chart, he was traded to the California Angels for C Jack Hiatt that fall.
Cardenal became a starter for the Angels in 1965, hitting .250 with 11 home runs while stealing 37 bases. After three seasons in California, he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians for Chuck Hinton. He went from the Indians to the St. Louis Cardinals to the Milwaukee Brewers before being sent to the Chicago Cubs following the 1971 season. He hit .290 or above for five consecutive seasons with the Cubs from 1972 to 1976. On May 2, 1976, he went 6-for-7 in the first game of a doubleheader against the Giants. While never an All-Star, he was a very good player who could do a bit of everything: hit for average, pick up extra bases, steal some bases, and field all three outfield positions. That made him a quietly valuable player.
Cardenal moved on to the Philadelphia Phillies following the 1977 season and then went to the New York Mets in mid-season in 1979. Released by the Mets in August 1980, he was picked up by the Kansas City Royals for the season's stretch run. He hit .340 in 25 games for the Royals and made his only World Series appearance that October, going 2-for-10 as his team fell to the Phillies. He retired following the season.
Cardenal had a bit of a reputation of being flaky and somewhat moody. He was often known to chew on the vines that cover the outfield wall at Wrigley Field, and fairly or not, he was sometimes known as a hypochondriac.
After his playing days, Cardenal was a long-time big league coach. He was on the Cincinnati Reds staff in 1993 and with the St. Louis Cardinals the next two seasons, 1994 and 1995. From 1996 to 1999, he was a New York Yankees coach and spent the next two years with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2002 and 2003, he was once again a member of the Reds coaching staff.