Countdown To Opening Night: 20

On this day, 20 until the Cardinals begin the 2015 season, it’s appropriate that their first opponent is the Cubs.

Chicago’s National League team, of course, was where Lou Brock played the first three-plus years of his Hall of Fame career, until being traded to the Cards on June 15, 1964.


Maybe you’ve heard about that trade? Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz and Doug Clemens were traded from the Cardinals in exchange for Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth. Yet it’s Brock and Broglio that were the centerpieces of the trade, and the names that are remembered most.

My Cubs fan family members certainly have heard about the trade — my uncle Jim, a Cardinals fan, makes a point of reminding them about it regularly on June 15.

And “Brock for Broglio” even has its own Wikipedia entry.

The phrase “Brock for Broglio” is sometimes used in the sport of baseball to signify a trade that in hindsight, turns out to be an extremely lopsided transaction.

It was thought initially the Cubs had done better in the deal, as Broglio was coming off some impressive seasons while pitching for the Cardinals, while Brock had been considered a disappointment for the Cubs.

Almost immediately the effects of the trade were felt, as Brock would bat .348 for the Cardinals and lead them to winning the 1964 World Series. Brock also helped the Cardinals to another World Series title in 1967, a pennant in 1968, and played successfully for St. Louis through 1979, amassing 3,023 hits and 938 stolen bases (at the time becoming baseball’s all-time leader in stolen bases) en route to his Hall of Fame election in 1985. Meanwhile, Broglio went only 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA for the Cubs, and by 1966 was out of Major League Baseball. Broglio did not tell anyone at the time, but he was suffering from an injured elbow since the second-half of the 1963 season, and in November 1964, had his ulnar nerve reset.

Ah, history …

Speaking of, there is always much to be learned at RetroSimba, Mark Tomasik’s fantastic Cardinals historical site. And Mark has written plenty about Lou, which you can find here.

Plus Lou looks much better in red than in blue, doesn’t he?


And especially his red Hall of Fame blazer

Just 20 more days!


Catching Up With The Cardinals: Saturday Edition

Welcome back, Jake Westbrook. Welcome to the 10-win club, Adam Wainwright, and congratulations on strikeout number 1,000 (and numbers 1,001 through 1,005).

And the performances by Westbrook and Wainwright — and Friday night’s and Thursday afternoon’s games — proved that great pitching and pitchers’ duels are a lot more fun, and a lot less frustrating, to watch.

Westbrook-WainwrightYet both games are just part of baseball. It’s trite but true — can’t win ’em all. Sometimes the worst team in baseball beats the best team.

Which is exactly what happened Friday as the Marlins beat the Cardinals 5-4. Westbrook allowed all 5 runs, though only 3 were earned, and 8 hits in his return from the disabled list while the Cardinals struck out 13 times on their way to scoring those 4 runs. Ouch.

And sometimes expected pitchers’ duels — like Wainwright vs. the Mets only good pitcher this season, Matt Harvey — actually live up to expectations. The Cardinals prevailed 2-1, Waino won his major league leading 10th game and Edward Mujica earned a shaky-yet-successful 19th save.

Ah, well, both of those games are now baseball past. Today is a new game — and today is also the 30th anniversary of a trade that Chris Jaffe describes at The Hardball Times as “one of the most incredible and obviously one-sided trades of the 1980s occurred” — the Cardinals trade of Keith Hernandez to the Mets for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey.

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