Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Baseball » Lou Brock Biography - Reared In Small Southern Town, Slugged Way Onto College Baseball Team, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - SELECTED WRITINGS BY BROCK:

Lou Brock - Came Alive With The Cardinals

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In mid-June 1964, the Cubs dealt Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Ernie Broglio, who'd won 18 games the prior season, and two other players. In exchange, the Cardinals got Brock and two pitchers.

"None of us liked the deal," Cardinals first baseman Bill White recalled to Peter Golenbock in his book, The Spirit of St. Louis. "[We'd] say we did, but we didn't like that deal. In my opinion, Lou had a lot of talent, but he didn't know anything about baseball.… But somehow, when he came to us, he turned everything around."

The Chicago papers proclaimed the trade a steal for the Cubs, believing they had traded an iffy outfielder for a strikeout king. Sportswriter Bob Smith, who'd been so critical of Brock, wrote, "Thank you, thank you, oh, you lovely St. Louis Cardinals," according to Halberstam's book. In the end, however, the Cardinals were the ones thanking the Cubs for the deal as Brock went down in Hall of Fame history. (Broglio, incidentally, injured his arm after the trade and won only seven more games, while losing 19. By 1967, he had retired.)

The day following the trade, Brock took a plane from Chicago to Houston to join the Cardinals, who were playing that day. Late in the game against the Astros, Brock entered as a pinch-hitter and struck out. According to The St. Louis Cardinals Encyclopedia, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine, who had brokered the deal, took some heckling from a fan, who asked him, "Who could have made that deal?"

But for Brock, the trade was rejuvenating. He thrived as a Cardinal. He left behind the sun-drenched right side of Wrigley Field and took up left field. Coaches gave Brock the go-ahead to steal. Soon, fans caught a glimpse of his potential.

For the remainder of the 1964 season, Brock batted.348 and stole 33 bases. He also provided the spark that helped the team win the National League pennant and defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

In 1967, Brock had 206 hits, 21 home runs, and stole 52 bases, helping the Cardinals become the National League champs. They faced the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. In seven games, Brock had 12 hits, scored eight runs, and stole seven bases. His series batting average of .414 led the Cardinals to victory.

Brock continued his offensive onslaught in 1968, leading the National League in doubles with 46, triples with 14, and stolen bases with 62. Once again, the Cardinals landed in the World Series. Brock batted .464 during the series, though the Detroit Tigers defeated the Cardinals to win the title.

Over the next few years, Brock kept stealing, leading the league in stolen bases in 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1974. In 12 consecutive seasons (1965-1976) he stole more than 50 bases.

Lou Brock - Turned Base-stealing Into An Art [next] [back] Lou Brock - Got Dismal Start With The Cubs

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