For the fifth consecutive year, is spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve counting down the top seven stories of the year in St. Louis sports. The number one story will be revealed on Dec. 31.

Coming in fourth on the list was the departure of a longtime star in St. Louis, the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday.

The Cardinals announced a couple of days before the end of the season that they would not be picking up the 2017 option on Holliday’s contract, ending a seven-year stay with the Cardinals that began when he was acquired in a trade from Oakland during the 2009 season.

Holliday had not played for more than six weeks after suffering a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch in a game in Chicago. He went out that night and hit the first pinch-hit homer of his career in one of the most dramatic moments of the Cardinals’ season.

Here is the link to the story we ran on that day, Sept. 30;

Holliday had an emotional final farewell on the final game of the season, taking his place in left field before the start of the ninth inning on Oct. 2. The rest of the Cardinals remained in the dugout as he ran on the field, and as he jogged off before the first pitch, allowing him the chance to get a final standing ovation from the fans at Busch Stadium.

Here is the link to the story we ran on that day:

After becoming a free agent Holliday signed a one-year contract for next season with the Yankees.

On Thursday we will reveal the story which ranked third on our list of the top sports stories of the year in St. Louis sports.

Here are the other stories in the top seven which already have been revealed:

Number 5 – David Backes leaves Blues

Blues captain David Backes signed a five-year contract with the Boston Bruins after becoming a free agent on July 1.

Backes had spent 10 years with the Blues. He ranks fifth all-time in games played in franchise history with 727 and is sixth in both goals, 206, and points, 460. He also was a central part of the team's leadership.

Here is the link to the story we ran that day:

Number 6 – The fallout from Cardinals’ hacking of Astros computer database

The story occupied our attention for much of the year. Former Cardinals’ scouting director Chris Correa pled guilty to hacking the computer database of the Houston Astros.

Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access to protected computer information on Jan. 8, was sentenced on July 18 to 46 months in prison and began serving that sentence on Aug. 31 at a federal facility in Cumberland, Md.

As the year ends the Cardinals are still waiting for major league baseball to decide on what penalties will be imposed against the organization for the crime.

Here are the links to the stories we ran about Correa this year:

Number 7 – Cardinals sign free agent Dexter Fowler

The Cardinals took a major plunge into the free agent pool on Dec. 9, signing Fowler away from the Chicago Cubs with a five-year contract worth 82.5 million.

Here is the link to the column we ran on that day: