Cards All-Time Top 40 – Jesse Haines #16

The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their long-time starting pitcher from four World Series squads, Hall of Famer Jesse "Pop" Haines.

Jesse Joseph Haines

The Basics



Total Yrs

Yrs in StL







1918, '20-'37






The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ



Cy Young

Gold Glove








Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Haines' career stats available from

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (12): Seventy years after he retired in 1937, nobody in a St. Louis Cardinal uniform has pitched more games (554) in their career than Haines and only one, Bob Gibson, has more than Haines' 210 career victories.

A three-time 20 game winner, Haines attributed much of his success to the knuckleball – probably also part of the reason he ranks second to Gibson for most career walks allowed.

Jerry Modene (NR): I considered the possibility of voting for Haines, but ultimately decided that he wasn't better than the starting pitchers I did vote for (Gibson, Dean, Brecheen, Forsch, Cooper, Tudor, Carlton, and Carpenter). I don't really have a problem, though, with Haines making the team.

Haines was a longtime Cardinal, of course, and before Gibson was the franchise leader in wins – but he was, in the estimation of many a sabermetrician, a fairly ordinary pitcher and probably not deserving of his eventual Hall of Fame enshrinement (he was elected by the Veterans Committee during the period of time when Frankie Frisch was bent on getting all his former teammates and players in there).

210 wins (an average of 11 2/3 wins per season) is nothing to sneeze at, of course, but a very average K/BB ratio of 981/781 and a really poor K/IP ratio of 2.75 strikeouts per 9 IP shows that he was, really, a fairly ordinary pitcher who had the good fortune to last a very long time – which is very unusual in that pitchers with that that poor a K/IP ratio rarely remain for more than a few seasons; Haines lasted 18 seasons in a Cardinal uniform!

Ray Mileur (4): Haines pitched 18 seasons for St. Louis, more than any other pitcher in Cardinals history, and only Stan Musial played more years in a Cardinals uniform.

He won 210 games for the Redbirds, second on the all-time Cardinal list behind Bob Gibson's 251 wins. His best season came in 1927 when Haines racked up 24 victories and led the NL with six shutouts and 25 complete games. Did he have an arm? He pitched 300 2/3 innings and maintained an ERA of 2.72.

Jesse pitched in four World Series for St. Louis; 1926, 1928, 1930, and 1934, posting a record of 3-1, with a 1.67 ERA and you don't get much better than that. This is an All-Time Cardinals list so it's hard to ignore these numbers.

Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970 by the Veterans Committee, there are those who would suggest he doesn't belong there, but there is no argument for him not belonging on our All-Time Cardinal list.

Brian Walton (16): Haines pitched for four Cardinals World Series clubs, including their initial pair of World Championships. His post-season record was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA, including a complete-game shutout of the Yankees in Game Three of the 1926 Series. Haines even hit a home run in that contest and then came back to win Game Seven at Yankee Stadium, leading the club to their first-ever crown, albeit with a big assist by Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Even after his starting days were over, Haines contributed past his 44th birthday as a very effective reliever and spot starter, perhaps due to his knuckler. It is said Haines threw the pitch with his knuckles, rather than his fingertips as others do, which added speed to his offerings.

Among Cardinals pitchers, Haines is in the top five in most every career category - first in games, second in innings-pitched and complete games, third in starts and fifth in strikeouts and shutouts. That is an impressive volume of work.

This is the first time so far in our countdown that my individual ranking and the group average lined up perfectly. So, obviously, I agree this placement is proper.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

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