In 24 days the Cubs will start their 50th season since the trade of the best #24 in Cub history – Lou Brock. Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
24 Days to Opening Day and, because of that, we get to take a look back at the worst trade in Cub history. And in baseball history.
Pretty much the worst trade in any sport. Between any two teams.
I could only be talking of one player, and that’s Lou Brock. Brock spent the first three-plus seasons in Chicago from 1961-4. On June 15, 1964, the Cubs traded away the greatest baserunner there ever was. Rickey would take Rickey. Give me Lou Brock and I’m good.
Up to the day of the trad,e Brock was considered a huge disappointment in Chicago. He averaged 58 steals a season over the course of his career. During his three-plus seasons in Chicago Brock stole 50 bases. Total. He hit .293 for his major league career – .257 as a Cub. Possibly the biggest pain of all is that, once he arrived in St. Louis with the Cubs arch enemy, the Cardinals started winning like crazy. Brock helped lead the Cards to the 1964 World Series, then back again in 1967 as well as 1968. Brock stole 14 bases in World Series play, helping the Cards win two of them. 14 bases in World Series play? He played a full season in 1963 with the Cubs and stole a whopping 12 bases.
It was a trade, though. That means the Cubs got something or someone in return. Well, that what is supposed to happen anyway. The Cubs got Ernie Broglio as the main piece from that trade. Broglio was a pretty successful starting pitcher in St. Louis prior to his move to Chicago. While Brock was headed to the Hall of Fame, Broglio was on his way out of baseball within two years.
Can you imagine the lineup the Cubs would have put out there in 1969 when they led the East nearly wire-to-wire? Add Lou Brock to Banks, Santo, Williams, Hundley and the rest. You think they were formidable without him – imagine the lineup with Brock. It would have been downright scary.
But, that’s the life of a Cub fan. Would have been…should have been…it’s the story of our fandom. Like Harry Caray used to say, “It could be…it might be…it IS!” Yes it was – an absolutely awful trade that may have cost the Cubs a pennant in the 1960s.