ST. LOUIS – Albert Pujols delivered a signature moment in his illustrious career 17 years ago Monday. To date, it’s considered to be one of the Cardinals’ top postseason moments in a non-World Series title season.

On Oct. 17, 2005, Pujols came up to the plate against reliable Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge, who needed just one more out to send the Houston Astros to the World Series. Facing a 4-2 deficit with two outs, Pujols entered a situation that ultimately could have ended the Cardinals’ 100-win season.

It didn’t take long for Pujols to play hero. On an 0-1 count, he slugged a Lidge fastball past the upper deck wall of Minute Maid Park, a towering 455-foot home run that silenced the Houston crowd. The Cardinals, on the brink of elimination, took a 5-4 lead they would not relinquish in Game 5.

Though the Cardinals would drop the NLCS just two days later, Pujols’ home run gave fans one more game at Busch Stadium II before it was demolished to open Busch Stadium III in 2006. The home run also cemented Pujols’ status as one of the top hitters of his generation, coming off a season he slugged his 200th career home run and just weeks before Pujols earned his first of three MVP honors.

Pujols had a chance to add to that fine moment and many others this October before the Cardinals’ season (and his career) ended with a National League Wild Card Series loss.

That said, the Cardinals are no stranger to exciting postseason moments. You can pick out just about any date in October and find something incredible that happened in Cardinals history.

For the remaining days of October, here are some key Cardinals postseason anniversaries…

  • Oct. 18, 2013: Michael Wacha outduels Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for the second time in a week, firing seven shutout innings to spark the Cardinals to a World Series trip.
  • Oct. 19, 2006: Yadier Molina breaks a late tie with a two-run, ninth-inning blast in New York. Adam Wainwright secures the NLCS with a freezing-curveball strikeout of Carlos Beltran.
  • Oct. 20, 1982: “That’s a winner!” Bruce Sutter fans Gorman Thomas as the St. Louis Cardinals outlast the Milwaukee Brewers in a seven-game World Series.
  • Oct. 21, 2004: St. Louis secures its first World Series appearance of the new millennium, remembered with an early game-changing over-the-shoulder diving catch from Jim Edmonds.
  • Oct. 21, 2006: Anthony Reyes outduels Justin Verlander in the first Game 1 World Series battle with two rookie starting pitchers.
  • Oct. 22, 2011: Quite possibly Albert Pujols’ best postseason moment next to the 2005 Lidge home run. Pujols slugs three home runs in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series. It leads to a five-hit, six-RBI night and a 16-7 rout of the Texas Rangers.
  • Oct. 26, 2013: Cardinals win Game 3 of the World Series on a walk-off and obscure play. It ended with a moment deemed as defensive indifference when Allen Craig tripped over Boston Red Sox third baseman Wil Middlebrooks trying to reach third base on a wild throw.
  • Oct. 27, 2006: Adam Wainwright fans Brandon Inge and the Cardinals topple the Detroit Tigers for a World Series title in Busch Stadium III’s inaugural season.
  • Oct. 27, 2011: “We will see you tomorrow night!” Down to their final strike twice in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, the Cardinals just simply don’t quit. David Freese and Lance Berkman pick up game-tying hits in back-to-back innings before Freese ultimately seals a Cardinals comeback on an eleventh-inning, walkoff home run.
  • Oct. 28, 2011: The Cardinals follow up Freese’s heroics with a Game 7 victory and their most recent of 11 World Series titles.

And why not remember a few other notable anniversaries in Cardinals postseason history?

  • Oct. 2, 1968: Bob Gibson strikes out 17 Detroit Tigers hitters in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series, still the most ever for a pitcher in a Fall Classic tilt.
  • Oct. 6, 2012: The Cardinals strike early and catch a break on a late “infield fly” call to rally past the Atlanta Braves in the first-ever National League Wild Card Game win-or-go-home format.
  • Oct. 7, 2011: Chris Carpenter goes the distance and bests longtime teammate Roy Halladay in a pitcher’s duel to end the National League Division Series. The Cardinals strike for one-first-inning run, all that was needed to beat the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Oct. 7, 2019: On the brink of elimination in the NLDS, Yadier Molina rose to the occasion. In Game 4, he sparks the Cardinals to a comeback win with a walk-off, tenth inning single against Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran.
  • Oct. 10, 1982: The Cardinals sweep a best-of-five NLCS against the Atlanta Braves to advance to their first of three World Series appearances in the 1980s.
  • Oct. 11, 1964: Ken Boyer slugs a grand slam to give the Cardinals a Game 4 World Series victory over the New York Yankees.
  • Oct. 12, 2012: The Cardinals rally from an early six-run deficit and one out away from elimination in the ninth inning to stun the Washington Nationals, 9-7. St. Louis scored four in the final frame, including two on a go-ahead hit from Pete Kozma.
  • Oct. 14, 1985: “Go crazy, folks!” Ozzie Smith comes up with his biggest hit ever, a walkoff home run lifting the Cardinals to a 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead in the NLCS.
  • Oct. 15, 1982: Willie McGee hits two home runs in a World Series Game, becoming just the third rookie in MLB history to reach that feat.
  • Oct. 16, 1985: Jack Clark gives the Los Angeles Dodgers a crushing blow with a two-out, three-run home run in the ninth inning. It put the Cardinals ahead 7-5, and proved the difference between a Game 7 and the Cardinals advancing to the World Series early.

Also worth noting, the Cardinals have won each of their 11 World Series titles in the month of October…

  • Oct. 5 (1942)
  • Oct. 9 (1934, 1944)
  • Oct. 10 (1926, 1931)
  • Oct. 12 (1967)
  • Oct. 15 (1946, 1964)
  • Oct. 20 (1982)
  • Oct. 27 (2006)
  • Oct. 28 (2011)