Lou Brock is not only known as a great player, but he is also known for being involved in arguably one of the most one-sided trades in MLB history. In 1961, Brock made his debut with the Chicago Cubs. Despite his outstanding speed and power, the Cubs were not impressed with their young right fielder and traded him along with Jack Spring and Paul Toth to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz, and Doug Clemens on June 15th, 1964.
After the trade, Brock moved to left field and became one of the greatest players of his generation. He was instrumental in helping the Cardinals capture the 1964 NL Pennant and World Series title, defeating the New York Yankees in seven games. This all came despite the Cardinals having a 28-31 record at the time of the trade.
Brock’s career numbers are outstanding. He owns a career .293 BA, 900 RBI, and 3,023 hits. However, perhaps his greatest achievement is his stolen base records. On August 29th, 1977, Brock surpassed Ty Cobb‘s career mark of 892 steals and he never looked back. His 938 career steals were an MLB record until Rickey Henderson broke it in 1991. Also, Brock held the single-season stolen base record of 118 in 1974. It was only one of 14 consecutive seasons of at least 30 stolen bases for Brock. That record was also broken by Henderson when he stole 130 bags in 1982. His stolen base record in 1974 was considered almost as unbreakable and Babe Ruth‘s career 714 home runs. Brock was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year on the ballot.
“The numbers can hardly tell the full story of Louis Clark Brock. They cannot tell you of the enthusiasm he possessed, the zest for the game, the excitement he generated, the joy of watching him. If you have not seen him play, you have missed one of the great joys of sport.” New York Daily News reporter Phil Pepe, 1979.
Unfortunately, Brock suffered from multiple medical conditions. Along with having his left leg amputated due to diabetes, he also suffered from multiple myeloma. Despite being told he was cancer-free in July of 2017, Brock succumbed to cancer complications. Without a doubt, the baseball and sports world has lost a legend.
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