June 15, 1964: Cardinals acquire Lou Brock in trade for Ernie Broglio

Long before Cardinals general manager Bing Devine traded Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens, and Bobby Shantz to the Cubs for Lou Brock, Jack Spring, and Paul Toth in June 1964, he’d been laying the groundwork for a deal.

The preceding winter, Devine had inquired with Cubs general manager John Holland about Brock’s availability, but been rebuffed. However, with the June 15 trading deadline looming, Devine called again, this time from Dodger Stadium, where the slumping Cardinals had suffered a three-game sweep. This time, Holland was open to a deal.

“When I called John Holland this time, he said, ‘If you’re still interested, we might have to move Brock,’” Devine recalled in 2012. “I said, ‘For what?’ He said, ‘We need a pitcher. You gave me a list of players when we talked before, and we’ll take a pitcher off that list. We’ll take Broglio.’”[1]

A 28-year-old right-hander, Broglio was in the sixth season of a productive major league career. In 1961, he led the National League with 21 wins, posting a 2.74 ERA to place third in the Cy Young Award voting. Just one year prior, he won 18 games with a 2.99 ERA while pitching 250 innings.

So far in 1964, he was 3-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 11 starts. After the trade was made, the Chicago Tribune reported that Broglio was rumored to be unhappy in St. Louis.[2]

Meanwhile, Brock was in his third full season in the majors, and while his speed and power at the plate hinted at untapped potential, he had yet to develop the consistency the Cubs were looking for. He hit .263 with nine homers, 35 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases during his rookie year and followed that with a .258 average, nine homers, 37 RBIs, and 24 stolen bases in 1963.

At the time of the trade, he was hitting .251 with two homers, 14 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases.

On the team flight to Houston, Devine discussed the trade with manager Johnny Keane. Later, he would say that Keane’s support for Brock was the primary reason he made the trade.[3]

“He said, ‘What are we waiting for?’” Devine said. “Remember, there were no cell phones then. I told him, ‘I’ll call as soon as we land and I can get to a pay phone.’”[4]

Red Schoendienst remembered the discussion continuing in Houston. Devine and Keane called him into an office, and asked for his opinion on Brock.

“I said, ‘I really haven’t seen him that much. He’s strong, the way he looks. I’ve watched him in batting practice and he hits the ball hard. He’s got a good arm, but I don’t know how accurate it is, and you know he can run,’” Schoendienst later wrote.[5]

The conversation continued to Brock’s defense, which to that point in his career had been a question mark.

“I said, ‘Listen, he’s playing in Chicago,’” Schoendienst recalled. “‘When I broke in in the ’40s, Bill Nicholson was supposed to be a real good outfielder and he had trouble at Wrigley. Right field is so hard to play there with that sun and that wind.’”[6]

At midday on June 15, the Cardinals and Cubs announced the six-player trade.

“We need outfield help and some hitting,” Keane said. “Brock adds youth, great running speed, and is an improving ballplayer.”[7]

Devine, who had often told the media that a team could never have too much pitching, admitted that trading Broglio was a risk.

“Fortunately, in the past whenever we’ve given up a starting pitcher, we’ve come up with someone who helped us,” he said.[8]

In Chicago, Cubs manager Bob Kennedy was delighted by the trade.

“This gives us as good a pitching staff as there is the league,” he said.[9]

The acquisition of Shantz also gave the Cubs a left-hander in the bullpen.

“We hate to lose Brock, and we think they’re getting a mighty good ballplayer, but when you get a chance to fortify yourself in two places, you’ve got to go for it,” Kennedy said. “Brock was the man they wanted and we felt we ought to go with pitching. We think that’s about 90% of the game, so it’s a little bit of a gamble for both of us.”[10]

Brock had fallen out of favor with Kennedy for miscues in the field and on the basepaths, and for his struggles against left-handed pitching, the Chicago Tribune reported.[11]

The early reviews heavily sided with the Cubs.

“Thank you, thank you, oh, you lovely St. Louis Cardinals,” Bob Smith infamously wrote in the June 16 edition of the Chicago Daily News. “Nice doing business with you. Please call again anytime.”[12]

Even in St. Louis, Post-Dispatch sportswriter Neal Russo wrote, “The first question raised by many is: Why didn’t the Cardinals get more than Brock, a flashy outfielder who could become a star, for Broglio, an 18-game winner last season and still regarded as a top pitcher?”[13]

Bob Gibson, who later said that he believed Brock deserved the 1967 World Series MVP Award instead of him,[14] wasn’t initially sold on the trade.

“I frankly didn’t care for it,” he wrote in 2015. “In Brock’s few years with the Cubs, I hadn’t found it difficult to get him out, even though he was a left-handed hitter. He seemed tentative, and looked the same in the outfield.”[15]

It didn’t take long for Brock to change minds in St. Louis and elsewhere. Through the remainder of the regular season, he hit .348 with 12 homers, 44 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases. With Brock providing a spark at the top of the lineup, St. Louis went 65-39 the remainder of the season to win the National League pennant by one game over the Reds and Phillies. In the World Series, Brock hit .300 with a home run and five RBIs to help the Cardinals defeat the Yankees in seven games.

In the 1967 World Series against Boston, he hit .414 with two doubles, a triple, a home run, and seven stolen bases. He was somehow even better in the 1968 World Series, batting .464 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, five RBIs, and seven stolen bases.

For his career, Brock hit .391 in the postseason with 14 stolen bases and a 1.079 OPS.

Eight times, Brock led the league in stolen bases, including 118 thefts in 1974. In August 1977, he broke Ty Cobb’s stolen base record, which was believed to be 892 at the time and was later changed to 897. Two years later, on August 13, 1979, Brock recorded his 3,000th career hit. Following the season, he retired with a .293 career batting average, 3,023 hits, and 938 stolen bases. In 1985, he was a first-ballot Baseball Hall of Fame selection.

Spring pitched three innings for the Cardinals in 1964 and pitched for the Indians in 1965, his last year in the majors. Toth was immediately sent to the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Jacksonville and was purchased by the Yankees the following January. He continued to pitch in the minor leagues through the 1967 season before retiring.

Broglio never regained his form as one of the league’s top pitchers. Battling arm troubles, he went 7-19 with a 5.40 ERA in 59 games for the Cubs, including 33 starts.

“When I was traded, my right arm was not in fine tune,” he said. “My elbow was really bothering me, and pitching in so many day games was not my piece of cake. In my opinion, the hitters see pitches better than they do at night.”[16]

Clemens played two seasons in Chicago, batting .238 with six homers and 38 RBIs before playing the final three seasons of his career with the Phillies. The 38-year-old Shantz allowed seven earned runs in 11 1/3 innings for the Cubs before he was sold to the Phillies in August. He pitched 32 innings for Philadelphia that season to close his 16-year major league career.


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[1] Bing Devine (2012), The Memoirs of Bing Devine: Stealing Lou Brock and Other Winning Moves by a Master GM, Kindle Android version, Retrieved from Amazon.com, Location 88.

[2] Richard Dozer, “Cubs Trade Brock for Broglio,” Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1964.

[3] Bing Devine (2012), The Memoirs of Bing Devine: Stealing Lou Brock and Other Winning Moves by a Master GM, Kindle Android version, Retrieved from Amazon.com, Location 124.

[4] Bing Devine (2012), The Memoirs of Bing Devine: Stealing Lou Brock and Other Winning Moves by a Master GM, Kindle Android version, Retrieved from Amazon.com, Location 95.

[5] Bing Devine (2012), The Memoirs of Bing Devine: Stealing Lou Brock and Other Winning Moves by a Master GM, Kindle Android version, Retrieved from Amazon.com, Location 1712.

[6] Bing Devine (2012), The Memoirs of Bing Devine: Stealing Lou Brock and Other Winning Moves by a Master GM, Kindle Android version, Retrieved from Amazon.com, Location 1712.

[7] Neal Russo, “Cards Get Brock, Send Broglio to Cubs,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 15, 1964.

[8] Neal Russo, “Cards Get Brock, Send Broglio to Cubs,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 15, 1964.

[9] Richard Dozer, “Cubs Trade Brock for Broglio,” Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1964.

[10] Neal Russo, “Cards Get Brock, Send Broglio to Cubs,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 15, 1964.

[11] Richard Dozer, “Cubs Trade Brock for Broglio,” Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1964.

[12] Alex Coffey, “Lou Brock Traded To Cardinals,” Baseball Hall of Fame, https://baseballhall.org/discover-more/stories/inside-pitch/lou-brock-traded-to-cards, Accessed May 29, 2021.

[13] Neal Russo, “Brock Will Bat Second for Cardinals,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 16, 1964.

[14] Bob Gibson (2015), Pitch by Pitch: My View of One Unforgettable Game, Kindle Android Version, Retrieved from Amazon.com, Page 30.

[15] Bob Gibson (2015), Pitch by Pitch: My View of One Unforgettable Game, Kindle Android Version, Retrieved from Amazon.com, Page 30.

[16] Russell Lake, “Ernie Broglio,” Society for American Baseball Research Bio Project, https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/ernie-broglio/, Accessed May 29, 2021.

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