How Lou Flew to St. Loo

 

Swap Shop: Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio

It was probably the most lopsided trade of the 1960s. (After all, Milt Pappas was 30-29 in two-plus seasons for the Cincinnati Reds.)

At first, it looked like a “steal” for the Chicago Cubs. It turned out that the St. Louis Cardinals added a base thief who would be pivotal in helping them steal the 1964 National League pennant.

Ernie Broglio was the key player the Chicago Cubs coveted in the Lou Brock deal. Coming off an 18-8 season with the Cardinals in 1963, Broglio would win only seven games for the Cubs before retiring in 1966.

Ernie Broglio was the key player the Chicago Cubs coveted in the Lou Brock deal. Coming off an 18-8 season with the Cardinals in 1963, Broglio would win only seven games for the Cubs before retiring in 1966.

The Cardinals sent two former 20-game winners, Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz, along with outfielder Doug Clemens, to the Cubs for pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth, and an outfielder named Lou Brock.

From the Cubs’ perspective, Broglio was the key player in the deal. He was a proven winner, notching 21 victories in 1960 and leading the Cardinals in 1963 with an 18-8 record and a 2.99 ERA. From 1960-1963, Broglio averaged 15 wins and 218 innings per season, with a combined ERA of 3.15.

But that wasn’t the Ernie Broglio that the Cubs received in exchange for Brock.

In 11 starts for the Cardinals in 1964, Broglio was 3-5 with a 3.50 ERA. A change of scenery didn’t help. Over the rest of the 1964 campaign, Broglio was 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA for the Cubs.

And the other players acquired by the Cubs didn’t help to compensate for Broglio’s slide. In 20 relief appearances with the Cubs, Shantz was 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA and a single save. And Clemens batted .279 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 54 games.

(In August, the Cubs sold Shantz to the Philadelphia Phillies. He retired at the end of the 1964 season.)

For Brock, the move to St. Louis launched him on his Hall of Fame career as he led the Cardinals to the World Series. In 103 games, he hit .348 and scored 84 runs, with nine triples, 12 home runs, 44 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.

Lou Brock was a speedy outfield prospect when he was acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964. Sixteen seasons later – all with the Cardinals – he would retire with seven stolen base titles, more than 3,000 hits, and a place reserved in Cooperstown.

Lou Brock was a speedy outfield prospect when he was acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964. Sixteen seasons later – all with the Cardinals – he would retire with seven stolen base titles, more than 3,000 hits, and a place reserved in Cooperstown.

In the World Series against the New York Yankees, Brock was instrumental in helping St. Louis take the championship, batting .300 with 5 RBIs and nine hits in seven games, including two doubles and a home run.

Brock would be a standout performer for the Cardinals for the next decade and a half, batting a combined .297 (while batting .300 or better seven times), leading the league in stolen bases seven times and collecting over 2,700 hits (on his way to 3,023 hits for his career).

It was a trade that neither team – or its fans – would ever forget. (Or, in the case of Cubs’ fans, forgive.)

 

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Welcome to the Homer Ward

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Pete Ward

While it’s no overstatement to say that pitching dominated the 1960s, it’s just as safe to say that, in the 1960s, pitching dominated the Chicago White Sox, especially in that team’s contending seasons.

Pete Ward was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1963 with a .295 batting average, 22 home runs and 84 RBIs.

Pete Ward was the runner-up for American League Rookie of the Year in 1963 with a .295 batting average, 22 home runs and 84 RBIs.

With solid starting arms such as Gary Peters, Joe Horlen and Juan Pizarro, and relievers such as Hoyt Wilhelm and Eddie Fisher, the White Sox featured the league’s deepest staff. And they needed it, with also one of the weakest hitting lineups in the American League.

The one “power” spot in the White Sox lineup came from a left-handed batter named Pete Ward.

Ward was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1958 and appeared in eight games with the Orioles at the end of 1962. That winter he was a throw-in in the blockbuster trade that brought Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson and Wilhelm to the White Sox for Luis Aparicio and Al Smith.

Ward replaced Smith at third for the White Sox and made an immediate impact, beating the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day with a seventh-inning home run, the start of an 18-game hitting streak. For the season Ward hit .295, fifth in the American League, with 22 home runs, 84 RBIs, and 80 runs. He finished second in the league in total bases (289), hits (177), and doubles (34), and was named American League Rookie of the Year.

Ward followed up in 1964 by hitting .282 with 23 home runs and 94 RBIs. An off-season auto accident led to back and neck problems that would plague him, and cut his offensive productivity, for the rest of his career. He slipped to 10 home runs in 1965 and only three in 1966.

Ward made something of a comeback in 1967 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs, but the weak Chicago lineup meant fewer good pitches to hit. His 18 home runs led the team, with only two other White Sox hitting as many as 10 home runs that season. His walks increased to 61 in 1967, and then to 76 in 1968, when Ward hit .216 with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs.

Lingering injuries forced Ward into a part-time role in 1969, and he spent one year as a reserve player for the New York Yankees in 1970 before retiring.

Ward finished his nine-year career with a .254 batting average and 98 home runs.

Half of Cardinals’ Infield Disappears

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball …

(October 27, 1965) The St. Louis Cardinals today traded two of their mainstays, sending first baseman Bill White and shortstop Dick Groat to the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Alex Johnson, pitcher Art Mahaffey and catcher Pat Corrales. St. Louis also threw in catcher Bob Uecker.

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(Left to right) Dick Groat, Bill White and Bob Uecker went to the Philadelphia Phillies in a 1965 trade that broke up the St. Louis Cardinals’ All-Star infield.

Only a year earlier, this was the Cardinals infield that led the team to its first World Series championship since 1946.

The Cardinals traded for White prior to the 1959 season. He hit a combined .299 during his seven seasons in St. Louis, averaging 20 home runs and 90 RBIs per season. As a member of the Cardinals, White was named to the All-Star team five times and won six Gold Gloves. (He would claim his seventh Gold Glove in his first season with the Phillies.)

Groat was acquired by the Cardinals prior to the 1963 season in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Don Cardwell and Julio Gotay. The National League batting champion and Most Valuable Player in 1960, Groat brought a solid glove and bat to the Cardinals, hitting a combined .289 during his three years with the Cardinals and leading the National League in doubles with 43 in 1963.

(Left to right) Pitcher Art Mahaffey, outfielder Alex Johnson and catcher Pat Corrales went to St. Louis in the deal that brought Dick Groat and Bill White to Philadelphia.

The trade not only eliminated half of the Cardinals’ starting infield, but also broke up what had been the starting infield for the National League in the 1963 All-Star game. The NL’s All-Star starters that season included third baseman Ken Boyer and second baseman Julian Javier as well as Groat and White.

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Spraying Rockets Around the National League

 

Homer Happy: Willie McCovey

What was most impressive about slugger Willie McCovey – beyond the career hitting statistics that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility – was his consistency as a power hitter throughout his 22-season career, even though he battled injuries in nearly half of them. Twelve times he hit 20 or more home runs in a season, and in the six seasons from 1965 through 1970, he hit no fewer than 31.

From 1965-1969, Willie McCovey led the National League in home runs twice. He averaged 37 home runs and 102 RBIs during those five seasons.

From 1965-1969, Willie McCovey led the National League in home runs twice. He averaged 37 home runs and 102 RBIs during those five seasons.

His total of 521 career home runs – clearly Hall of Fame worthy – was limited by his opportunities to play during the first five years of his major league career. McCovey was signed by the New York Giants in 1955 and made his debut with the San Francisco Giants on July 30, 1959. In the remaining two months of that season, McCovey batted .354 with 13 homes runs and 38 RBIs – all in what was essentially a third of a season. He also posted a .656 slugging average, and was named National League Rookie of the Year.

As good as he was, McCovey wasn’t good enough to find a place in the Giants’ everyday lineup, a lineup that included Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Felipe Alou and Willie Kirkland. By the end of the 1960 season, McCovey had earned a starting spot at first base.

With only 260 official at-bats in 1960, McCovey finished the season with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs. But the first base job went back to Cepeda in 1961, and McCovey returned to the role of part-time outfielder for the next two seasons. He hit 18 home runs in 1961 and 20 in 1962.

In 1963, McCovey was tabbed to be the team’s regular left fielder, and he responded with a league-leading 44 home runs and 102 runs batted in. A foot injury limited his playing time and productivity in 1964, when he batted .220 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs. He rebounded in 1965 with 39 home runs, and hit more than 30 homers in each of the next three seasons, leading the National League in home runs (36) and RBIs (105) in 1968.

McCovey’s best season came in 1969, when he batted .320 and led the National League in home runs (45), RBIs (126) and slugging average (.656). He was selected as the National League Most Valuable Player that season.

McCovey bashed 39 home runs in 1970, the most he would hit in a single season over the rest of his career. Dogged by injuries over the next few years, he managed 29 home runs and 75 RBIs in 1973. He was traded to the San Diego Padres, and after two years split the 1976 season between the Padres and the Oakland Athletics. He returned to San Francisco in 1977 and had a strong comeback season at age 39, batting .280 with 28 home runs and 86 RBIs. He hit only 28 more home runs as a part-time player over the next three seasons, and retired in 1980. He finished with a career batting average of .270.

McCovey was a six-time All-Star, and was the Most Valuable player in the 1969 All-Star game. He hit 231 home runs in Candlestick Park, the most by any player. And McCovey was the first major league player to twice hit two home runs in a single inning.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.

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Blue Moon Rising

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Blue Moon Odom

John (Blue Moon) Odom was one of the young Kansas City Athletics pitchers who paid his dues on the mound in the 1960s and contributed mightily to the emergence of the Oakland Athletics in the early 1970s.

Blue Moon Odom was 16-10 with a 2.92 ERA for the Oakland Athletics in 1968. He made his first All-Star appearance that season.

His personality and pitching were both flamboyant. And with Jim Hunter, Vida Blue and Ken Holtzman, he was a member of one of the most formidable starting rotations in baseball in the 1970s.

The right-handed throwing Odom was signed as a 19-year-old amateur free agent by the Athletics in 1964. He made his major league debut with the A’s later that season, going 1-2 with a shutout. Odom spent most of the next two seasons in the minors, and went 12-5 with AA Mobile in 1966. He joined the A’s for keeps midway through the 1967 season, finishing at 3-8 with a 5.04 ERA.

In 1968, the A’s first season in Oakland, Odom worked his way into the team’s starting rotation, going 16-10 in 31 starts with nine complete games, four shutouts and a 2.45 ERA. He followed that performance in 1969 with a 15-6 record and a 2.92 ERA. He was named to the American League All-Star team in both 1968 and 1969.

Odom won nine games in 1970 and 10 in 1971, then showed flashes of his former brilliance again in 1972 when Oakland won its first World Series championship. Odom finished the season at 15-6 with a 2.50 ERA. He was 2-0 in the League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, shutting out the Tigers 5-0 in Game Two and then clinching a berth in the World Series by winning the fifth game 2-1. In the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, Odom appeared in two games, going 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 11.1 innings.

In 12 seasons with the Athletics, John Odom was 80-76 with a 3.53 ERA. He was 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in postseason play.

In 12 seasons with the Athletics, John Odom was 80-76 with a 3.53 ERA. He was 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in postseason play.

The 1972 season would be Odom’s last as a dominant pitcher. His record slipped to 5-12 in 1973 with a 4.49 ERA, and he was relegated to the bullpen in 1974, going 1-5 with a 3.81 ERA. He pitched only two more seasons with four different teams (including another tour with Oakland), winning a total of four games.

He was traded three times during the 1975 season, first to the Cleveland Indians for Dick Bosman and Jim Perry, then two weeks later was dealt to the Atlanta Braves, who traded him after another week to the Chicago White Sox. Odom was released by the White Sox in January of 1977, and retired with a career record of 84-85 and a 3.70 ERA.

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A Ray of Winning Sunshine

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Ray Culp

Ray Culp was a strapping Texan who threw hard and won often. In fact, from 1963 through 1970, the right-hander had only a single losing season – his only season as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Ray Culp had an outstanding rookie season with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1963, going 14-11 with a 2.97 ERA.

Ray Culp had an outstanding rookie season with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1963, going 14-11 with a 2.97 ERA.

Culp was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1959 and worked his way through the Phillies’ farm system to make the big league club as a member of the starting rotation in 1963. He was 14-11 as a rookie with a 2.97 ERA, pitching 203.1 innings with 10 complete games and five shutouts. He was selected that year as The Sporting News National League Rookie Pitcher of the Year and was a member of the National League All-Star team.

He was 8-7 in 1964 and followed in 1965 with a 14-10 record and a 3.22 ERA, third on the team in victories behind Jim Bunning and Chris Short. He moved to the bullpen in 1966, going 7-4 with a 5.04 ERA, and then was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Dick Ellsworth.

Culp went 8-11 for the Cubs in 1967, and then was acquired by the Boston Red Sox, where his career took off to reflect the promise he showed in his rookie season. Culp was 16-6 for Boston in 1968 with a 2.91 ERA. He pitched 11 complete games for the Red Sox with six shutouts.

Ray Culp’s career rebounded when he was acquired by the Boston Red Sox in 1968. He was 71-58 with a 3.50 ERA in six seasons with the Red Sox.

Ray Culp’s career rebounded when he was acquired by the Boston Red Sox in 1968. He was 71-58 with a 3.50 ERA in six seasons with the Red Sox.

Culp followed up in 1969 with a 17-8 season and a 3.81 ERA. He also earned a spot on the American League All-Star team that season. Culp was 17-14 for Boston in 1970 with a 3.04 ERA and 15 complete games in 33 starts. He was fifth in the league in strikeouts with 197. It was his last winning season.

Culp’s record slipped to 14-16 in 1971 with a 3.60 ERA, but by this time his arm was effectively pitched out. He was 5-8 for Boston in 1972, and made only 10 appearances in 1973, going 2-6. He was released by the Red Sox following the 1973 season, and retired at age 31.

Culp finished his 11-year major league career with a record of 122-101 and a 3.58 ERA.

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Yankees Hand Houk Skipper’s Job

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(October 20, 1960) Coach Ralph Houk today was named to succeed Casey Stengel as manager of the New York Yankees.

Ralph Houk replaced Casey Stengel as New York Yankees manager for the 1961 season. In three seasons as field manager, Houk led the team to three American League pennants and two World Series titles.

Ralph Houk replaced Casey Stengel as New York Yankees manager for the 1961 season. In three seasons as field manager, Houk led the team to three American League pennants and two World Series titles.

Stengel had managed the Yankees since 1949. During that 12-year period, his teams won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series championships. The Yankees let him go after the team lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1960 World Series.

Houk had been part of the Yankees’ organization since 1947, first as a back-up catcher for eight seasons and then as a minor league manager and Yankee coach. He had been Stengel’s first base coach during the 1960 season, and he was interim manager for 13 games during the 1960 season when Stengel was hospitalized.

Houk would find immediate success as the new Yankees manager, winning three consecutive AL pennants and the World Series in 1961 and 1962. He moved into the club’s front office as general manager following the 1963 season, and served in that capacity until 1966, when he returned to the bench, serving as the Yankees’ field skipper for eight more seasons. He would later manage in Detroit and Boston.

In letting Casey Stengel go after the 1960 World Series loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees were firing one of the most successful managers in the franchise’s history. In 12 seasons as Yankees manager, Stengel led the team to 10 American League pennants and seven World Series championships.

In letting Casey Stengel go after the 1960 World Series loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees were firing one of the most successful managers in the franchise’s history. In 12 seasons as Yankees manager, Stengel led the team to 10 American League pennants and seven World Series championships.

Stengel would return to managing in 1962 as the first skipper of the New York Mets. Stengel was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

The Center of Pirate Success

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Bill Virdon

Bill Virdon was a classy outfielder who patrolled center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates for nearly a decade. His game smarts showed as a player and later as a big league manager, the longer of his baseball careers.

Bill Virdon played center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates for more than a decade. He was a Gold Glove winner in 1962.

Bill Virdon played center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates for more than a decade. He was a Gold Glove winner in 1962.

Virdon played a necessary role in the Pirates’ World Series championship season of 1960. Yet he was originally signed by the New York Yankees in 1950. He never played in Yankee pinstripes (though he later managed in that uniform). In 1954, the Yankees dealt Virdon and two other players to the St. Louis Cardinals for Enos Slaughter. He was Rookie of the Year for the Cardinals in 1955, hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs.

In 1957, Virdon led the majors by appearing in 157 games, accomplished by the fact that he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates one month into the season for Bobby Del Greco and Dick Littlefield. Virdon finished the season batting .319, what would be the highest batting average of his career. During the Pirates’ pennant-winning season of 1960, Virdon batted .264 with eight home runs and 40 runs batted in.

Over the next decade, he would hit a combined .259 for the Pirates. He led the National League with 10 triples in 1962.

Bill Virdon was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1955, batting .281 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs.

Bill Virdon was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1955, batting .281 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs.

Virdon was a premier defensive outfielder, winning the Gold Glove in 1962. His work in center field was often overshadowed by the spectacular fielding and throwing of his teammate in right field, Roberto Clemente.

He retired after being released by the Pirates in 1965 (though he tried a six-game comeback in 1968). Virdon finished his career with 1,596 hits.

 

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The Write Kind of Relief

 

Oh, What a Relief: Jim Brosnan

Jim Brosnan was one of the true pioneers of unvarnished sports journalism. His 1959 expose, The Long Season, while tame by today’s standards, was the first book of its kind, revealing life in the major leagues and preceding by a decade Jim Bouton‘s tell-all best-seller Ball Four.

Jim Brosnan was a key contributor to the Cincinnati Reds’ 1961 pennant. As the Reds’ bullpen ace, Brosnan was 10-4 with a 3.04 ERA and 16 saves.

Jim Brosnan was a key contributor to the Cincinnati Reds’ 1961 pennant. As the Reds’ bullpen ace, Brosnan was 10-4 with a 3.04 ERA and 16 saves.

The publication of The Long Season also coincided with what would be Brosnan’s most effective period as a major league reliever. He proved to be a major contributor to the Cincinnati Reds‘ pennant-winning season of 1961.

Brosnan was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1946 and made his first appearance for the Cubs in 1954, when he went 1-0 in 18 relief appearances. He made the Chicago roster to stay in 1956, posting a 5-9 record as a starter and reliever with a 3.79 ERA. In 1957, working almost entirely out of the Cubs’ bullpen, Brosnan went 5-5 in 41 appearances.

In May of 1958, Brosnan was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for veteran shortstop Al Dark. He went 11-8 that season with a 3.35 ERA, working as both a starter and as a reliever. But from this point in his career on, Brosnan would find himself relied on more and more as a reliever, and with more and more success in that role.

After the start of the 1959 season, Brosnan was traded to the Reds for Hal Jeffcoat. He had a combined record of 9-6 in 1959, and emerged as the Reds’ relief ace in 1960 with a 7-2 record in 57 appearances, all but two in relief. Brosnan posted a 2.36 ERA and recorded 12 saves for the Reds in 1960.

Jim Brosnan’s 1960 memoir, The Long Season, was one of the first sports books to give fans an authentic glimpse of what happened in the clubhouse. It chronicled Brosnan’s 1959 season with the Cardinals and Reds.

Jim Brosnan’s 1960 memoir, The Long Season, was one of the first sports books to give fans an authentic glimpse of what happened in the clubhouse. It chronicled Brosnan’s 1959 season with the Cardinals and Reds.

In 1961, as Cincinnati claimed the National League pennant for the first time in more than two decades, Brosnan had his best season, going 10-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 53 relief appearances. He also posted a career-high 16 saves, closing for a starting rotation that featured Joey Jay, Jim O’Toole and Bob Purkey.

Brosnan went 4-4 for Cincinnati in 1962 with a 3.34 ERA and 13 saves. In 1963 he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Dom Zanni, and finished the 1963 season at 3-8 with a combined ERA of 3.13 and 14 saves, all with the White Sox. At the end of the 1963 season he was released by Chicago, and retired at age 33.

During his nine-season major league career, Brosnan compiled a 55-47 record with 67 saves and a 3.54 ERA.

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Hittin’ Like Hinton

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Chuck Hinton

For more than a decade, Chuck Hinton was a dependable hitter and outfielder for three different American League teams. He remains the last Washington Senators player to hit .300 in a season.

Chuck Hinton was fourth in the American League in 1962 with a .310 average.

Chuck Hinton was fourth in the American League in 1962 with a .310 average.

Hinton was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1956. He was selected by the Washington Senators in the 1960 expansion draft, and hit .260 as a rookie for the Senators in 1961.

He had one of the most productive bats in the American League in 1962. Hinton hit .310 to finish fourth in batting, with 17 home runs and 75 RBIs, both career bests. He also stole 28 bases, second in the league to Luis Aparicio. His offensive numbers slipped over the next two season, though Hinton remained Washington’s best overall offensive threat. He batted .269 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs in 1963. He was an All-Star in 1964, batting .274 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs.

After the 1964 season, Washington traded Hinton to the Cleveland Indians for first baseman Bob Chance and infielder Woodie Held. Hinton batted .255 for the Tribe in 1965, with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs. He would never match those hitting statistics again in a single season.

A career .264 hitter, Chuck Hinton batted .318 with the Cleveland Indians in 1970.

A career .264 hitter, Chuck Hinton batted .318 with the Cleveland Indians in 1970.

After two more years with Cleveland, Hinton was traded to the California Angels for outfielder Jose Cardenal. After one season with the Angels (when he batted .195 in a part-time role), Hinton returned to Cleveland in exchange for outfielder Lou Johnson. He played three more seasons for Cleveland before retiring after the 1971 season. He hit a career-best .318 for the Indians in 1970.

Hinton retired after 11 major league seasons with a .264 career batting average.

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