June 15th, 1964

broglio (4)loubrock

A day that will live in glory for the St. Louis Cardinals and infamy for the Chicago Cubs. It was the trading deadline. The Cardinals were sputtering, with a record of 28-30. General Manager Bing Devine, with the enthusiastic support of Manager Johnny Keane, made a deal with the Cubs. He sent pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens north in exchange for pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth and a relatively unknown outfielder, Lou Brock.

The deal is now known as “Brock for Broglio,” one of the most lop-sided in baseball, perhaps in all sports, but it wasn’t received well in St. Louis, as David Halberstam recounts in detail in his great book, “October, 1964.” Broglio was very popular. He’d led the National League with 21 wins in 1960, and he’d won 18 games the year before he was traded. Brock, one the other hand, was hitting .251 at the time, with 40 strikeouts in 215 at-bats. He wasn’t regarded as a particularly great fielder, either. But he could run; man could he run, and that’s what Keane and Devine wanted.

The rest, as they say, is history. In the remaining 103 games of the season, Brock batted .348, got 146 hits (12 of them home runs), and stole 33 bases. The Cardinals would win the National League pennant and the World Series in dramatic fashion. Brock would go on to the Hall of Fame, while Broglio was out of major league baseball two years later.

Two months later, the Cardinals’ imperious owner, Gussie Busch, fired Devine (and was reliably rumored to be looking to replace Keane as well), ironically as the Cardinals were about to begin the sprint that would lead to their World Series win over the Yankees. As the Philadelphia Phillies collapsed, the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds each put on a charge. The Cardinals went 21-10 in September and won on the last day of the season. I well remember sitting in our kitchen, listening on the old tube radio, as Harry Carey yelled, “The Cardinals win the pennant! The Cardinals win the pennant! The Cardinals win the pennant! Holy Cow!”

And a good chunk of the credit goes to that trade.

Later,

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