Chicago Cubs: What if these five things never happened in Cubs history?
Here we look at five significant events in Chicago Cubs history and think about what might have happened had they never taken place.
For years, it was a symbol of Chicago Cubs’ futility: Brock-for-Broglio. On June 15, 1964, the Cubs traded 25-year-old outfielder Lou Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ernie Broglio. There were a few other players involved, but those were the two main pieces. It turned into a disaster for the Cubs.
In 2 1/2 years with the Cubs, Broglio won a total of seven games and posted a 5.40 ERA. Brock, meanwhile, collected 3,023 hits and 938 stolen bases, playing with the Cardinals until 1979 and ending up in the Hall of Fame. What if this trade never happened?
Brock wasn’t too impressive in his time with the Cubs between 1961-1964, batting .257 while not stealing bases nearly at the clip that he did in St. Louis. He exploded in the second half of 1964 with the Cardinals, batting .348 with 33 stolen bases in 103 games. Maybe he wouldn’t have done this in Chicago, but it’s fun to think about Brock on those late 1960s Cubs teams that were good but not quite good enough to make the postseason.
In that famous 1969 season, for example, center field was offensively one of the team’s weaker positions. Brock played center for the Cubs in 1962, but they moved him to right in 1963, and the Cardinals moved him to left, where he played the rest of his career. The Cubs, of course, had a great left fielder in Billy Williams.
Despite the speed, Brock holds a career defensive WAR of -16.8. He led the league in errors among outfielders seven times and was consistently below league average in range factor, meaning that he didn’t get to baseballs, nor did he field the ones he got to. This might be an indication that it didn’t matter which outfield spot they put him at, had they held onto him.
Still, given how good of a hitter he was, he would have been a welcome addition to those Cubs teams with Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins, and Williams, among others, and he might have made a difference in getting them to the postseason.
This is just one of five hypotheticals in Cubs history we’ll look at here. Next up is a trade that worked out much better for the Cubs.