Glancing Back, and Remembering Ernie Broglio
The short career of pitcher Ernie Broglio was really the sum of two careers. For five seasons, he was one of the best right-handers in the National League as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation. Then in three seasons with the Chicago Cubs, he was a heartbreaking disaster, pitching against impossible expectations with an arm that was out of juice.
Broglio was signed by the independent Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League in 1954 and was acquired by the New York Giants two years later. He won 16 minor league games in each of the next tw0 seasons, and was dealt to the Cardinals in October of 1958.
Broglio was 7-12 in his rookie season with the Cardinals, but led the National League in wins in 1960 with a 21-9 record, posting a 2.74 ERA (second in the league to Mike McCormick’s 2.70). He slipped to 9-12 in 1961 and flipped his record to 12-9 in 1962, finishing third on the team in wins and in innings pitched (222.1).
In 1963, Broglio’s 18-8 record tied him for the team lead in victories (with Bob Gibson). Working almost entirely as a starter, he was second on the team in earned run average (2.99), innings pitched (250), shutouts (5) and complete games (11).
In 1964, Broglio pitched effectively but had only a 3-5 record (with a 3.50 ERA) when the Cardnals traded him with Doug Clemens and Bobby Shantz to the Chicago Cubs for Lou Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth. It turned out to be one of the most-lopsided deals of the decade, as Broglio won only seven games for the Cubs over the next three seasons while Brock led the Cardinals to the 1964 National League pennant in 1964 en route to a Hall of Fame career.
The fact was, Broglio’s had little left after pitching 218 innings per season during the previous four yearswith the Cardinals. He was 4-7 for the Cubs over the remainder of the 1964 season. That was more games than he would win for Chicago over the next two years combined. He retired, at age 30, after going 2-6 in 1966.
Broglio posted a 77-74 career record with a 3.74 ERA.