AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Sanders is in the postseason for the fifth time in six seasons, with four different teams and he’s batting much better than in previous Octobers. He drew a full-count walk in his initial plate appearance in the first inning of Game 3 of the Cardinals’ NL division series against the Padres on Saturday night, a game St. Louis was leading 7-2 in the 7th inning as the Press-Telegram went to press Saturday. In the first two games against San Diego, Sanders had eight RBI in eight at-bats after totaling five RBI in 68 at-bats in five previous division series. He hit a grand slam and drove in an NLDS-record six runs in Tuesday’s series opening 8-5 win, then hit a two-run double in a 6-2 victory in Game 2 on Thursday. “When he steps on the field, he has a knack for coming up with clutch hits when you need it,” said shortstop David Eckstein, the only other member of the Cardinals to win a World Series, while with the Angels in 2002. “He missed so much time with the broken leg and he didn’t miss a beat. He’s focused on doing his job and being consistent with it. He’s a great person to have in the clubhouse.” Sanders returned to the St. Louis lineup Sept. 12, nearly two months after breaking his right fibula in an outfield collision with Jim Edmonds on July 15. He carried his strong regular-season finish into the playoffs. He had RBI in six straight games to end the year for the Cardinals, who finished with baseball’s best record at 100-62. For Sanders, his latest postseason success is a nice change after he went hitless in nine at-bats during last year’s World Series. The Cardinals were swept by Boston. His postseason numbers have been unimpressive, except during the first round and World Series in 2001, when Sanders won a ring with the Arizona Diamondbacks. “You have to move on,” he said. “I think probably the older you get and the more you go to the postseason, you learn to house those emotions and capitalize in key situations.” Though he did become briefly upset when he broke his leg, Sanders quickly reminded himself that playing for a team means it’s not all about you. Such thinking was taught to Reginald Laverne Sanders early on in Florence, S.C., a community that grew from the old railroad industry. He has impeccable manners and always is quick to offer his time. And Sanders takes great pride in his reputation as a strong clubhouse presence. “It’s huge,” he said with that genuine smile he flashes so often. “Of course, the way you carry yourself on and off the field, the way you are as a family man, the way you are as a ballplayer and the way you respect people, shows the strength of a person.” Like most players inching closer to retirement, Sanders relishes every moment he has left in uniform. He plans to play three more seasons his close friend Steve Finley is still going strong at 40 for the Angels and then decide his next step. For now, the Cardinals are happy to have him though Sanders’ contract is up at season’s end. He knows he could be headed for another new team, and most likely more winning. “He’s been in good situations,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “Nobody wins by themselves, but he definitely contributes to a winning environment on and off the field. The first couple of weeks of September was like spring training all over again for him. Little by little, he got sharper and sharper, and now he’s himself again.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Sanders withstood almost two months of rehabilitation, then struggled for two weeks in September to regain his stroke, but now he’s coming up with all the big hits that helped move the Cardinals within one victory of getting back to the NL Championship Series. “I think I’ve been in some good situations where I’ve been able to be on teams that needed a couple of key players but already had their nucleus intact,” Sanders said. “I’ve been very blessed. For me, what stands out is perseverance. This game is very tough politically. Sometimes you realize you have talent, and you have to go out and prove it and continue to work.” Sanders’ work ethic is never questioned. It didn’t take him long after breaking into the big leagues full time in 1992 with Cincinnati to learn how much more effective he could be by not abusing his body by staying up late to party. He got good advice from veteran players back then that he stands by to this day his 15th season in the majors. SAN DIEGO — Reggie Sanders allowed himself all of two days to pout about his broken leg and question whether his 37-year-old body would bounce back this time. Then, the St. Louis left fielder returned to his upbeat self and decided he wouldn’t be responsible for bringing down his team’s winning mood.