Two Ships Passing
This team was similar to the Reds in that they had the best record for the season in their division but didn't get to the playoffs. They finished 2nd in both halves of the season. But that is where the similarities end. These two teams were like two ships passing in the night. The Reds were coming off of their 1970s successes, but would be the worst team in the National League in 1982 and take the entire '80s to rebuild into a playoff team. Meanwhile, the Cardinals would go on to win the world series in 1982 and appear in 2 more before the end of the '80s.
Could've Been The Best Bullpen Ever
The Cardinals made 3 trades between December 8, 1980 and December 12, 1980 that are interesting. The Cardinals sent out a bunch of spare parts on 12/8 to the Padres to pick up Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace. On 12/9 they traded Leon Durham and Ken Reitz to the Cubs for Bruce Sutter. Then on 12/12 they traded Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons, and Pete Vuckovich to the Brewers for a bunch of spare parts. So for four days in the middle of December 1980, the Cardinals had two future hall of fame relievers on their roster. The Cardinals made the right choice keeping Sutter as he would lead the NL in saves for 3 of the next 4 seasons.
When the dust settles, looking at all these trades from the Cardinals viewpoint, it looks like they sent out Leon Durham, Ted Simmons, and Pete Vuckovich and a whole lot of spare parts out to acquire Bruce Sutter and a whole lot of spare parts.