Lou Brock (1939-2020)
Sunday, September 06 2020 @ 07:07 PM EDT
Contributed by: Magpie
Losing two Hall of Famers in the same week is just depressing.
The Chicago Cubs signed Lou Brock out of Southern University in 1960 and in his first pro season Brock tore the Northern League apart, batting .361 with 38 stolen bases. So the Cubs made him their Opening Day centre fielder the following April. The 1961 Northern League was roughly equivalent to A ball today, so the Cubs were expecting quite the leap from a 23 year old in just his second pro season. When Lou batted just .263 the Cubs were utterly dismayed. They also couldn't fathom how a player so fast could be such a bad outfielder. So, despite the fact that Lou's arm was always well below average, they tried him in right field in 1963. The Cubs. What can I say, except once more, they were disappointed.
So they just gave up and traded him to St. Louis in June 1964, in what history now records as one of the worst trades ever made. The Cardinals weren't too worried about Brock's outfield play - they had the great Curt Flood patrolling centre field. They stuck Brock in left field and told him to just go out and hit. And run. Which he did, and he didn't stop until he'd hit and run his way into the Hall of Fame. By the time he was done, he'd set the single season and career records for stolen bases, cleared 3,000 hits, and helped his team to three pennants and two championships. He was the great World Series performer of the 1960s and one of the greatest of all time - in his 21 WS games, he hit .391/.424/.655, stole 14 bases, and scored 16 runs.