Glancing Back, and Remembering Lou Brock
The most famous – and most productive – trade in St. Louis Cardinals history was made on June 15, 1964. The Cardinals sent a pair of former 20-game winners, Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz, along with outfielder Doug Clemens, to the Chicago Cubs for three players: Pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth, and an outfielder named Lou Brock.
Lou Brock had a fabulous second half for the Cardinals in 1964. In 103 games, he hit .348 and scored 84 runs, with nine triples, 12 home runs, 44 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. He was the offensive spark plug for a Cardinal team that won its first pennant since 1946. In the World Series against the New York Yankees, Brock was instrumental in helping St. Louis take the championship, batting .300 with five RBIs and nine hits in seven games, including two doubles and a home run.
Brock’s performance was no fluke. He led the league in stolen bases each year from 1966 to 1969. His best year offensively was during the Cardinals’ pennant-winning season of 1967. Brock had career highs in hits (206), triples (12), home runs (21), RBIs (76) and batted .299. He led the majors with 113 runs scored.
In the 1967 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, Brock hit .414 with 12 hits and three stolen bases as the Cardinals took the Series four games to three. In 1968, Brock capped another strong regular season – when he led the major leagues in doubles (46), triples (14), and stolen bases (62) – by elevating his performance again in the Fall Classic. Against the Detroit Tigers, Brock hit .464 with 13 hits in seven games. His hits included three doubles, a triple and two home runs. Brock also drove in five runs and stole seven bases. His performance probably would have made him a strong candidate for World Series Most Valuable Player had the Cardinals been able to hold on and win the Series’ seventh game.
Brock finished his career with the Cardinals, retiring in 1979 with 3,023 hits and, at the time, the career record for stolen bases with 938. He eventually broke Maury Wills’ single-season record for stolen bases with 118 in 1974.
He was the most prolific base stealer during the 1960s, with 430 (Luis Aparicio was tops in the American League with 342 stolen bases during the decade). And though Brock recorded over 3,000 hits during his career, he never led the league in that category.
Brock was an All-Star six times. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.