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Remembering The Great, Lou Brock

September 9, 2020

In this gripping year of bitter reality, one could make the case we have lost THE player from the three baseball title teams from (1967-1969), as the great Lou Brock, who was an integral player on two St. Louis Cardinals’ title teams and 3 pennant winning teams, all from (1964-1968), died at age 81.

Earlier this year, Al Kaline who led the 1968 title winning Tigers died while last week, Tom Seaver, a 25 game winner for the 1969 World Series winning New York Mets, passed away.

Brock could hit for power, once hitting a home run into the bleachers at the Polo Grounds, but was more of a hits and stolen bases man, amassing over 3,000 of the former and breaking Maury Wills’ season record for the latter in 1974.

Lou went on to set the all-time stolen bases record, eclipsing both Ty Cobb and “Sliding” Billy Hamilton’s records which had stood for 80 odd years. Eventually Rickey Henderson, as with Cobb, Kaline, Seaver, and Brock a true great Hall of Fame player, (I add that Maury Wills, a related player to Lou, is more deserving of “Hall” honors, than some that are already there, Maury Wills is not, likely will not get the honor of being inducted, yet again people /voters not understanding impact), broke Lou’s all-time base stealing record.

What impact Lou Brock had, as he like Maury, made a study of how to and then stole bases, bringing that exciting aspect of the once great game back,  as in the days of Cobb.

Brock stood out in 3 World Series, collecting 34 hits in 21 W.S. games. He set the stage for key rallies as the Cards won 7 game World Series from the Yankees in 1964 and from the 100:1 pennant winning, Carl “Yaz” (Yastrzemski) led Boston Red Sox in 1967.

He came to the Cards in a famed, one sided trade on June 15, 1964, two years after Bob Murphy uttered “Lou Brock safe at home” on an Andre Rogers rbi hit. Two days later, he hit the aforementioned titanic home run at “P.G.” the first to do so since Joe Adcock. (The home run into the distant center field bleachers) The next day, Lou’s 23rd birthday, Henry Aaron accomplished the feat, but few, if any others did so. (Before remodeling Babe Ruth did so and it is said Luke Easter did so in a Negro Leagues game, but Lou, Henry and Joe Adcock are the only three to do so in the remodeled Polo Grounds in a major league game).

After the trade, Brock and the Cardinals, a team that included Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Orlando Cepeda and an arrogant, but excellent catcher, named Tim McCarver, went on a “baseball run” with Lou running the most, among the best in modern baseball times.

The St. Loo team won 2 titles and led the Detroit Tigers 3 games to 1 in the 1968 World Series. On a key play in game 5, Brock, who often did not slide, again did not, and was thrown out by Willie Horton, after he fielded Julian Javier’s hit to left. The Cards off to a (3-0) lead with Lou’s double starting their 3 run first inning, led by only a run.

Detroit rallied to win game 5, with Kaline getting the big hit. The Tigers never trailed in 2 wins at St. Louis and claimed their first title in 23 years.

Below, I have included a link to a moving article by 92 year old Jerry Green (oh do I remember reading Mr. Green’s NFC Central columns in the Sporting News in better days), who like me shed tears regarding it.

It details the Tigers celebrating Mickey Lolich’s 3 wins and the title, their respect and yes fear, of the great opposing player Lou Brock and most of all, Lou coming into the delirious Tigers’ clubhouse and congratulating the Tigers, including Kaline.

Maybe and hopefully, Lou, Al and Mr. Seaver (that includes the fictional Mr. Seaver, Alan Thicke) are “safe at home” now. We all go eventually, maybe not before much needed change geared toward kindness, is implemented on this angst ridden planet.

 

Green: Lou Brock showed grace, guts in duel with Al Kaline .

 

Newloubrockprofile.jpg

Lou Brock, an all-time great player, pictured above.

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