The deal that brought Lou Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals was not well received at the time. But it did not take long for those feelings to change.
It is a trade that lives on forever in baseball infamy. The St. Louis Cardinals stole Lou Brock from the Chicago Cubs, sending Ernie Broglio to the Windy City for the raw speedster. Brock seemingly put everything together from the moment that he put on the Cardinals’ uniform, while Broglio had broken down and would win just seven games in his two and a half years with the Cubs.
But that is how the trade is remembered through the gift of hindsight. At the time, Broglio was considered to be the key part of the trade, a possible ace heading to a Cubs team desperate to return to the postseason. Since he had posted a 30-17 record with a 2.99 ERA over the previous two years, Broglio was the piece the Cubs thought they needed.
Meanwhile, when the trade was announced, there was an uproar – in the Cardinals locker room. Broglio was a popular player in the clubhouse, beloved by his teammates. Brock, meanwhile, had plenty of potential, but was very raw. Bob Gibson summed up the feeling amongst the Cardinals players, saying that they thought it was the worst trade ever.
The Cardinals players were right, but not for the reasons they expected. Broglio had a mediocre start to his 1964 season, but was also hiding an elbow injury that he suffered back in 1963. He would have his ulnar nerve reset that offseason, and would never be the same pitcher again, out of the majors after the 1966 campaign.
Brock quickly changed the Cardinals’ player’s minds. Those hard feelings regarding the departure of their friend changed as soon as they saw Brock running. It did not take long for the players to realize that having someone like that atop their lineup would help them win.
That would prove to be the case in 1964. At the time of the trade, the Cardinals were in eighth place in the National League with a 28-31 record, seven games out of first and on a five game losing streak. St. Louis caught fire from that point, and used an eight game winning streak at the end of September to pass the Phillies and Reds to capture the pennant. The Cardinals would then go on to win the World Series in seven games, with Brock impressing in the postseason.
The trade that brought Lou Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals was considered to be one of the worst trades ever at the time. It turned out to be so, although not the way the Cardinals’ players expected.