On this date 54 years ago one of the most notable trades in MLB history took place as the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Lou Brock from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for outfielder Doug Clemens and pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz.
In Houston for a series against the Colt 45s, the late Red Schoendienst was a player-coach for the Cardinals then and recalls being called in for some questions from General Manager Bing Devine and Manager Johnny Keane.
“It was real hot in the clubhouse, no air-conditioning, no nothing,” began Schoendienst. “They wanted to know what I knew about Lou Brock. I said, well the only thing I had really seen of him was when he was taking batting practice or outfield practice and this and that. They said, what do you think? I said, well, he’s got a strong arm. I don’t know how accurate it’s going to be. He can run. Looks like he swings the bat pretty good. Then I said, well what would you give up for him and they said ‘never mind’ (laughs) just want to know what you think of Brock.”
The trade was made around midnight, but Brock still made it to Houston the next day.
“Lou showed up right before the game,” remembered Red. “He came up through that side gate down the right field line with his bat and glove over his shoulder. Johnny Keane put him in the lineup right that very minute and he was there ever since.”
Brock would go on to collect more than 2700 hits and nearly 900 stolen bases as a Cardinal on his way to joining Schoendienst in Cooperstown. Broglio won only 7 games over the next three seasons for Chicago. Clemens hit .238 in parts of two seasons there and Shantz had an 0-1 record in his 20 games as a Cub.
“It worked out real good,” smiled Schoendienst. “Lou had been a great ballplayer for the Cardinals. Liked to have him as a leadoff man. Man, that’s great. I was pretty fortunate when I was manager that I had him.”
A funeral mass was held this morning for Red Schoendienst. Besides distinguished guests like Lou Brock, there were hundreds upon hundreds of St. Louis Cardinals fans who came to pay their respects.
As fortunate as he felt to have managed or played alongside players like Brock, all of Cardinals Nation feels the same to have had the joy of knowing Red Schoendienst.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI, Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com