Chicago Cubs: The infamous Lou Brock trade

Hot streaks, cold streaks. A team wins, another loses. It’s all part of baseball, and so are the trades, some made, and some not made. This is one the Chicago Cubs lost.

The trade deadline is nearing and you can sense the excitement of a loyal fan as he sees what his team has done. “Take a look at that trade they made!,” says an enthused Cubs fan.

In the multitude of trades the Chicago Cubs have made through the years, one deal stands out as perhaps the worst ever. Caution readers, it could get ugly. But baseball is made up of the klutz plays and the klutz deals and this one ranks up there with them.

The facts: Lou Brock, then 24, was traded along with Jack Spring, and Paul Toth, to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-handed pitcher Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz, and Doug Clemens.

Brief overview: At the time this trade was made, in June of 1964, Broglio was considered a hot pitcher. The season before, he had won 18 games. And four years earlier led the league in wins.

No one knew he had a bum elbow and had his ulnar nerve reset in surgery in Nov. 1964. Two years later, Broglio would be out of the game. While he was with the Cubs, he did nothing spectacular. In 1964, he finished the season with a 4-7 record with an ERA of 4.04.

Lou Brock, once he was traded as a 24-year-old, literally took off with the St. Louis Cardinals and had a great career that led to his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Yes, Cubs fans, it hurts. In 1964, he hit .348 the rest of the year with the Cards, leading them to a pennant and World Series winner over the favored New York Yankees. Brock was a player who could hit for power and run the bases.

In 1962, while still a Cub, he smashed a home run into the centerfield bleachers in the old Polo Grounds. He hit a home run off of Al Jackson of the NY Mets. He is one of only four players to do this. Brock hit .260 in his first two years and the deal was made.

It was a deal that still today has Cub fans shaking their heads. Brock went on to play in two World Series which the Cards both won. He ended up stealing 938 bases, which topped the National League. And he also sits at No. 24 on the all-time hit list with 3,023, 30 behind Rod Carew.

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He started the 1967 season hitting five home runs in his first four games, becoming the first player in Major League history to do so. This was tied later by Barry Bonds in 2002. He was named to the ’67 National League All-Star team.

In a sad touch of irony, a man who excelled at base running and base stealing was felled by illness and in Nov. 2015, Brock had part of his left leg amputated just below the knee. This was caused by an infection to his leg due a diabetic condition.

Brock was visited by Cardinal great Bob Gibson in the hospital. Brock was fit with a prosthesis which enables him to walk under his own power. Now 75, he has been a regular at Cardinals spring training complex, offering advice to the players and signing autographs for the fans.

The Cubs had Lou Brock but they traded him and he became a legend in St. Louis.

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