Friday, June 15, 2012
Cubs 365, June 15
At the time, it wasn't considered a horrible trade. In fact, St. Louis fans thought they were getting ripped off. Why? The guy the Cubs received for Brock, Ernie Broglio, had won 18 games in 1963. And Lou wasn't exactly the fully developed he player he later became.
Coming up during the ill-fated College of Coaches experiment, in an organization that provided very little guidance at all for their players, Lou Brock was hopelessly lost at the plate, and was a liability in the outfield. He had been yanked this way and that, and wasn't given the opportunity to find himself.
Lou Brock hit .263 in '62, .258 in '63, and was only hitting .251 in 1964 when the trade was completed. Still, Cubs players knew immediately that they had been ripped off. Every player on the bench to a man couldn't believe that the Cubs had traded Brock. He had obvious star qualities, had hit long home runs, had shown incredible speed and skill on the bases, and was only 24 years old. All he really needed was guidance and coaching.
He got that in St. Louis. The Cardinal coaches told him he wasn't a power hitter--and he should stop trying to hit home runs. They also told him he had the green light to steal bases, and highly encouraged him to run. This shocked Lou. The Cubs had discouraged that part of his game.
As a Cardinal, Lou Brock would lead the league in stolen bases 8 of the next 10 years, and would retire as the record holder for most stolen bases in a career. He wouldn't hit that many home runs, but with his new found stroke that concentrated on utilizing his speed, he became a .300 hitter, and a clutch hitter at that. In his three World Series with the Cardinals, he would hit .391, winning the Babe Ruth Award as the MVP of the 1967 World Series.
In his first year of eligibility, he was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.
As a footnote, he guys the Cubs received in return didn't do a thing. Ernie Broglio went 7-19, Bobby Shantz won zero games, and Doug Clemens played a grand total of 182 games as a backup outfielder.
Anyway you slice it, this trade lives up to it's status as the worst trade in Cubs history.