Remembering Recent Non-Roster Invitees Who Have Made the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day Roster

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Scott Rovak- USA TODAY Sports /
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David Freese St. Louis Cardinals
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David Freese, 3B, 2009

Before David Freese became a World Series hero and an All-Star, he surprisingly earned himself a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster for 2009 in the wake of an unexpected injury to Troy Glaus. After Joe Mather failed to win the starting third base job out of spring training, the Cardinals relied on a trio of unproven infielders—two non-roster invitees, Freese and Thurston, and waiver pickup Brian Barden—to split the duties at the hot corner until Mark DeRosa was acquired in June.

Freese played in 11 games (starting four) during the season’s first month, hitting just .158 with two RBI. He was the first player jettisoned from the third base platoon, as he was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on April 22 and would remain there until late September. He’d go on to be unquestionably the most successful Cardinal among this bunch, though, becoming the Cardinals’ starting third baseman from 2010 to 2013 and entrenching himself in franchise history forever with his walkoff homer in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

Next: Colby Rasmus