Lou Brock



Photograph by Alton Telegraph


R.I.P. Lou Brock and More Uppercut MLB News

 

By David A. Avila

Lou Brock, one of the greatest players of the 1960’s and a sparkplug for the St. Louis Cardinals is gone. He was 81 years old.

Brock played during the dead ball era when pitching ruled supreme and a single run could mean a win or loss. He was Major League Baseball’s greatest threat and led the Cardinals to three World Series.

Pitching dominated the 60s and fireballers like Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning, Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn consistently kept runs off the scoreboard.

The Cardinals were no different and behind the ferocious Bob Gibson the team was able to advance to the World Series in 1964, 1967 and 1968. They won in 64 and 67 behind the potent tandem of Brock and Gibson.

It was a simple formula used by the Cardinals. Get Brock on base, he steals second or third and is brought in for a run or two over the course of nine innings. Then Gibson simply shuts out the other team and thus another victory. Simple math.

Brock never stole a base head first. He preferred to steal and slide feet first. His first few steps were the difference between safe and out calls.

The style of baseball in the 1960s was vastly different from the 50s when power lineups were in vogue. After the Los Angeles Dodgers led by Maury Wills showed how to win behind stealing and pitching, other teams including the Cardinals adopted the new method of play. The Cardinals perfected it with Brock and Gibson.

Against the Boston Red Sox in 1967 the National League team from St. Louis saw Gibson win three games as Brock terrorized the American League on the base paths. Their first match up saw Brock single twice and score twice in a 2-1 win. Overall Brock hit .391 batting average in the World Series. No other non-power hitter had the impact of Brock.

That was the speedster at his best. The bigger the stakes the better he played.

Brock was born in Arkansas on June 18, 1939, but was raised in Louisiana. He first signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1961 but was traded to St. Louis mid-season in 1964 in a deal that included Cubs Ernie Broglio. That trade sparked the Cardinals to win the NL pennant and led to the World Series where they defeated the Mickey Mantle and the New York Yankees after seven games.

From 1964 to 1976 the Cardinal outfielder remained a constant threat on the base paths and averaged 60 stolen bases a year. In 1974 he broke Wills record of 102 by stealing 118 bases. Brock’s total of 938 stolen bases is second to Ricky Henderson’s 1,406 and ahead of Ty Cobb’s 892. Aside from stealing bases Brock surpassed 3,000 hits in his career and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.

Whenever he spoke there was a genteel quality about him. Brock was symbolic of baseball in the 1960s.

 

NL and AL Players of the Week

Marcell Ozuna and Lourdes Gurriel were both selected the Players of the Week for their respective leagues.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ozuna smacked 13 hits in 48 at bats for a .464 batting clip. It included five homers and 13 RBIs for a 1.674 OPS. It was his fourth time winning Player of the Week.

Toronto Blue Jays Gurriel went 14 for 30 and a .467 batting average last week, and included two homers, four doubles and six RBIs for a 1.282 OPS. It was his first time winning the honor.

 

Top Hitters

AL

Nelson Cruz 15 homers 31 RBIs 1.117 OPS

Mike Trout 15 homers 38 RBIs 1.069 OPS

Teo Hernandez 14 homers 27 RBIs .996 OPS

NL

Fernando Tatis Jr. 15 homers 39 RBIs 1.062 OPS

Ian Happ 12 homers 24 RBIs 1.050 OPS

Trea Turner 9 homers 25 RBIs 1.036 OPS

 

Top Pitchers

AL

Shane Bieber 7-0 record 1.25 ERA 0.85 WHIP

Dallas Keuchel 6-2 record 2.19 ERA 1.05 WHIP

Dylan Bundy 4-2 record 2.49 ERA 0.95 WHIP

NL

Yu Darvish 7-1 record 1.44 ERA 0.88 WHIP

Clayton Kershaw 5-1 record 1.50 ERA 0.72 WHIP

Jacob DeGrom 3-1 record 1.69 ERA 0.88 WHIP

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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