Randy Flores was the winning pitcher in one of the most dramatic postseason games played by the Cardinals.

randy_floresOn Oct. 19, 2006, Flores pitched a flawless eighth inning, setting the stage for Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright to lift the Cardinals to a 3-1 victory in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Mets at New York.

Nine years later, Flores, 40, was playing another prominent role for the Cardinals. He was chosen by general manager John Mozeliak to be Cardinals scouting director, starting the job on Sept. 1, 2015.

Flores, who earned both an undergraduate degree in finance and a master’s degree in administration from the University of Southern California, was hired for the front-office role, in part, for his leadership and management skills, Mozeliak said to Dan McLaughlin in an interview for radio station KMOX.

Flores’ skills in performing under pressure on the field passed the test in the epic pennant-clinching 2006 game at Shea Stadium.

Trusted by Tony

In the eighth inning, with the score tied at 1-1 and most of the 56,357 spectators howling for the Mets to take the lead, Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan walked the leadoff batter, Carlos Beltran.

Next up for the Mets was cleanup batter Carlos Delgado. A left-handed slugger, Delgado had been walked three times in the game by Suppan.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa replaced Suppan with Flores, a left-handed reliever.

Flores had posted a 5.62 ERA in 65 appearances during the regular season. He’d been much better during the postseason, though. Flores had pitched twice in the NL Division Series against the Padres and three times versus the Mets in the Championship Series and hadn’t yielded a run.

Now, with a berth in the World Series at stake, La Russa was entrusting the Cardinals’ fate to Flores.

Delgado had hit three home runs against the Cardinals in the series and 38 overall during the regular season, with 114 RBI.

Flores struck him out on a slider in the dirt.

Rough vs. righties

Another power hitter, David Wright, was up next. A right-handed batter, Wright had driven in the Mets’ run in the first with one of their two hits in the game against Suppan. During the season, Wright had hit 27 home runs with 102 RBI.

The matchup with Flores favored Wright. Right-handed batters had hit .329 versus Flores during the season.

La Russa could have brought in a right-hander to face Wright. He didn’t because Shawn Green, a left-handed batter, was on deck. Tyler Johnson, a rookie, was the lone remaining left-hander in the bullpen.

Preferring to stick with his veteran, La Russa gambled and let Flores face Wright.

Flores struck him out on a slider.

Complete the job

Beltran, who had 18 stolen bases during the season and one during the series, hadn’t budged off first base.

Like Delgado and Wright, Green had the proven ability to drive in Beltran with an extra-base hit. Acquired by the Mets from the Diamondbacks in August, Green had produced 31 doubles and 15 home runs during the season.

Flores induced him to ground out to first baseman Albert Pujols, ending the inning and emboldening the Cardinals with his shutdown performance.

In the ninth, Molina slammed a two-run home run off reliever Aaron Heilman, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 lead and positioning Flores for the win.

Facing Adam Wainwright, the Mets loaded bases with two out in the bottom half of the inning before the rookie struck out Beltran on three pitches, the final one a jaw-dropping curve. Boxscore

Said Flores to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about earning the win: “The best moment possible, winning Game 7 of the NLCS _ unless you’re talking about Game 7 of the World Series.”

The win was the personal highlight of an outstanding 2006 postseason for Flores. Overall, he pitched 5.2 scoreless innings against the Padres, Mets and Tigers.

Signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in November 2003 after spending the season in the Rockies minor-league system, Flores played five years (2004-08) with St. Louis and was 9-2 with a 4.35 ERA and three saves in 237 appearances.

Previously: Bob Gibson was nearly unbeatable against Mets

The 1970s was a decade when the Cardinals dealt a significant number of quality starting pitchers, most notably Steve Carlton, Jerry Reuss, Mike Torrez and Jim Bibby.

jim_bibby2A 6-foot-5, 235-pound right-hander, Bibby possessed a fastball that Whitey Herzog compared with Nolan Ryan’s.

Bibby’s name was back in the news when the Astros’ Mike Fiers pitched a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 21, 2015. Fiers, acquired by the Astros from the Brewers on July 30, 2015, became the first pitcher since Bibby in 1973 to throw a no-hitter after switching teams midseason. Boxscore

Bibby, traded by the Cardinals to the Rangers on June 6, 1973, pitched his gem for Texas against the Athletics on July 30, 1973. Boxscore

Herzog, manager of the 1973 Rangers, knew Bibby could be special. Bibby pitched in the Mets’ minor-league system when Herzog was their farm director. It was Herzog who encouraged the Rangers to acquire Bibby from St. Louis.

Career challenges

Bibby, 20, signed with the Mets as an amateur free agent in July 1965. The Mets assigned him to their rookie league club at Marion, Va. One of his teammates was another hard-throwing prospect, 18-year-old Nolan Ryan.

After the season, Bibby was drafted into the Army and his baseball career was put on hold. He spent 1966 and 1967 in the military, including a hitch in Vietnam.

When Bibby resumed his baseball career in 1968, Herzog was in his second year overseeing the Mets’ farm system as their director of player development. Over the next two years, Bibby progressed through that system. The Royals tried to trade for him in December 1969, but the Mets declined.

Then Bibby’s career hit another roadblock.

Bibby needed back surgery in 1970. The procedure required removing bone from his hip and attaching it to his spine to strengthen vertebrae. Bibby sat out the 1970 season, the third year in the last five that he couldn’t play baseball.

“There were times during that recuperation period when I wondered if it was worth it,” Bibby told The Sporting News. “I thought maybe it just wasn’t meant for me to play baseball, that maybe I should quit and get into something else.”

Bibby persevered and returned in 1971. Herzog assigned him to Class AAA Tidewater. Bibby’s record at the end of July was 14-2. He awaited a promotion to the big leagues. “I wonder what more the Mets want me to do or show,” Bibby said. “I feel I’ve proved myself down here.”

Bibby finished 15-6 with a 4.04 ERA in 27 games for Tidewater. He struck out 150 in 176 innings but issued 109 walks.

Terrific at Tulsa

On Oct. 18, 1971, the Mets traded Bibby, pitchers Rich Folkers and Charlie Hudson and outfielder Art Shamsky to the Cardinals for pitchers Chuck Taylor and Harry Parker, first baseman Jim Beauchamp and second baseman Chip Coulter.

The Sporting News opined that it “came as no surprise” that the Mets gave up on Bibby and added, “The big guy throws hard, but that’s about all.”

Bibby, 27, went to spring training in 1972 as a candidate for the No. 5 spot in the Cardinals’ rotation. The role instead went to Al Santorini. Bibby was sent to Class AAA Tulsa.

With his path to the big leagues stalled again, Bibby was becoming best known as the older brother of Henry Bibby, a starting guard for three national championship basketball teams under UCLA coach John Wooden.

At Tulsa, Jim Bibby started well, pitching a four-hit shutout on Opening Day.

In July, Bibby struck out 16 in each of two consecutive starts.

In 27 starts for Tulsa, Bibby was 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA, striking out 208 in 195 innings. He pitched 13 complete games and showed improved control, walking 76.

Winning debut

Bibby was promoted to the Cardinals in September 1972. He made his big-league debut on Labor Day, Sept. 4, getting the start and the win in the second game of a doubleheader against the Expos at St. Louis.

Bibby gave up three runs in the first, including a two-run triple by Expos catcher and former Cardinal Tim McCarver, then pitched five consecutive scoreless innings before yielding another run in the sixth.

The Cardinals won, 8-7. Bibby’s line: 6.1 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts. Boxscore

In six starts for the 1972 Cardinals, Bibby was 1-3 with a 3.35 ERA.

Command issues

At spring training in 1973, Bibby competed with Alan Foster, Mike Nagy and Santorini for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

In the exhibition opener, a 4-0 Cardinals triumph over the Mets, Bibby displayed a “powder-river fastball,” The Sporting News gushed.

Bibby and Nagy became the finalists for the last pitching spot on the Opening Day roster. Both had run out of minor-league options. The Cardinals chose Bibby, trading Nagy to the Rangers “because Bibby throws harder than Nagy,” The Sporting News reported.

Used sparingly, Bibby struggled with his command, walking 17 in 16 innings. In six appearances, including three starts, Bibby was 0-2 with a 9.56 ERA for the 1973 Cardinals.

Whitey’s wisdom

On June 6, 1973, the Cardinals dealt Bibby to the Rangers for Nagy and catcher John Wockenfuss. In two seasons with St. Louis, Bibby was a combined 1-5 with a 5.11 ERA.

Explaining the deal, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine said of Bibby, “There’s his age (28) and Whitey Herzog knows about him. Whitey said Bibby has a better arm than half his pitchers.”

Said Herzog: “What interested us about Bibby was the fastball. I’d say only Nolan Ryan throws consistently harder in this league. Since this is a breaking-ball league, we felt that if Bibby could get the ball over the plate, he might be successful.”

Herzog instructed Bibby to reduce his assortment of pitches, saying, “With your speed and your slider, you don’t need a curveball … Smoke. That’s your strength. Smoke! Use it.”

Following Herzog’s advice and getting the work he craved, Bibby pitched effectively. Red Sox slugger Carl Yastrzemski said of Bibby, “He’s faster than Vida Blue.”

Bibby at his best

On July 30, 1973, Bibby pitched his masterpiece, a no-hitter in a 6-0 Rangers victory at Oakland. Bibby struck out 13 and walked six.

In the ninth, Bibby issued a leadoff walk to Sal Bando, who swiped second. The next batter, Reggie Jackson, worked the count full. Bibby unleashed a fastball that Jackson said he never saw for strike three.

“That last one was the best pitch I ever saw,” said Jackson. “Well, really, I didn’t see it. I heard it.”

Bibby retired Deron Johnson on a groundout and got Gene Tenace to pop out, completing the first Rangers no-hitter.

In 12 years with the Cardinals, Rangers, Indians and Pirates, Bibby had a record of 111-101 with a 3.76 ERA. He made two starts for the Pirates in the 1979 World Series, including Game 7, and posted a 2.61 ERA. In 1980, he had 19 wins for the Pirates and was named an all-star.

In 1984, Bibby, 39, was in his second stint with the Rangers. They released him on June 1 and, eight days later, the Cardinals, managed by Herzog, gave him another chance.

The Cardinals assigned Bibby to Class AAA Louisville, which was managed by his former Rangers and Pirates teammate, Jim Fregosi.

Bibby made two relief appearances for Louisville and didn’t allow a run in five innings, though he walked six and gave up five hits. On July 1, the Cardinals released him. Nearly 20 years after he signed with the Mets, Bibby’s pitching career was done.

Previously: Cardinals, Texas deals: Jim Bibby to Fernando Tatis

In a span of three days, Bob Gibson experienced the emotional swing of being honored for his Cardinals achievements and then ending his career on a downturn. bob_gibson20

Forty years ago, the Cardinals designated Sept. 1, 1975, as Bob Gibson Day. Gibson, 39, was feted in an hour-long ceremony before the Cubs played the Cardinals in front of 48,435 spectators on a Labor Day afternoon at St. Louis.

Two days later, Sept. 3, Gibson yielded a grand slam and took the loss in his final Cardinals appearance.

Nervous ace

Before reporting to spring training, Gibson had said 1975 would be his last year as a player. He began the season in the starting rotation but was shifted to the bullpen during the summer.

The Gibson Day event was an opportunity to salute the Cardinals’ all-time best pitcher. Gibson was the ace on 1960s Cardinals clubs that won three National League pennants and two World Series titles. He is the franchise’s career leader in wins (251), shutouts (56), strikeouts (3,117), complete games (255), innings pitched (3,884.1) and games started (482).

In a ceremony at home plate, the Cardinals declared that Gibson’s uniform No. 45 would join the No. 6 of Stan Musial and the No. 17 of Dizzy Dean as the only numbers retired by the franchise. Club owner Gussie Busch presented Gibson with a $32,250 luxury motor home.

Gibson told onlookers, including former teammates Musial and Bill White, “I’m more nervous than I was before a World Series game.”

Then it was Gibson’s turn to address the crowd.

In the book “Gibson’s Last Stand,” author Doug Feldmann wrote, “At first, Gibson was too moved to speak when he approached the microphone down on the field. Several times he stepped toward it again, but had to pause with every attempt, as each standing ovation was louder than the one a moment earlier.”

When he was ready, Gibson, true to self, told the crowd, “One thing that I’ve always been proud of is the fact that I’ve never intentionally cheated anyone out of what they paid their money to come and see. Most of all, I’m proud of the fact that whatever I did, I did it my way.”

Reflecting on his future as a retired player, Gibson said, “It’s going to be a new life, a strange life for me. I just hope I can be half as successful as I have been in baseball.”

To cap the festivities, Busch got behind the wheel of the motor home and drove Gibson, his mother and his two daughters around the perimeter of the field as the stadium organist played “Auld Lang Syne.” Said Busch to Gibson: “I bet you never had a chauffeur like this before.”

Inspired, the Cardinals went out and beat the Cubs, 6-3, behind Lou Brock (three hits, three steals, two runs) and the pitching of Bob Forsch and Al Hrabosky. The victory moved the second-place Cardinals to within three games of the Pirates in the NL East Division. Boxscore

Tough to take

On Sept. 3, in the finale of the series, the Cubs led, 6-1, before the Cardinals rallied for five runs in the sixth, tying the score at 6-6.

Sensing an opportunity to give his fading star another shot at glory, Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst called on Gibson to relieve starter Ron Reed and hold the Cubs in the seventh.

The move backfired.

The Cubs loaded the bases on a Champ Summers infield single and walks to Jose Cardenal and Andre Thornton. With two outs, Gibson uncorked a wild pitch and Gene Hiser, running for Summers, raced home from third, giving the Cubs a 7-6 lead. Gibson issued an intentional walk to Jerry Morales, reloading the bases.

Pete LaCock, a pinch-hitter, batted next. LaCock, who had lost the starting first base job to Thornton, was best-known as the son of game-show host Peter Marshall of “Hollywood Squares.”

With the count 3-and-2, LaCock stunned Gibson by drilling a fastball over the right-field wall for a home run _ the lone grand slam of his big-league career.

Dejected, Gibson retired the next batter, Don Kessinger, on a groundout and then walked off the mound for the final time. Boxscore

“I had reached my absolute limit in humiliation,” Gibson said in his book “Stranger to the Game.” “I said to myself, ‘That’s it. I’m out of here.’ ”

Gibson remained idle while the Cardinals fell out of contention.

On Sept. 15, two weeks after his special day, Gibson said goodbye to his teammates and headed home with 10 games remaining in the season, knowing he’d never pitch again.

Previously: Bob Gibson and his final Opening Day with Cardinals

Previously: How Ron Reed replaced Bob Gibson in Cards rotation

Previously: How Bob Gibson achieved career win No. 250

Unwilling to reward him sufficiently for being one of their key players of the 1980s, the Cardinals were prepared to let Willie McGee depart as a free agent after the 1990 season. Then the Athletics unexpectedly found themselves in need of a center fielder and suddenly the Cardinals were in position to deal.

willie_mcgee4Twenty-five years ago, on Aug. 29, 1990, the Cardinals traded McGee to the Athletics for outfielder Felix Jose, third baseman Stan Royer and minor-league pitcher Daryl Green.

The Cardinals had been resigned to receiving only a compensation pick in the amateur draft if, as expected, McGee had become a free agent and signed with another club.

General manager Dal Maxvill was delighted when his counterpart, Sandy Alderson of the Athletics, called and expressed interest in trading for McGee. Because McGee figured to become available as a free agent, Maxvill said he hadn’t been receiving attractive trade offers for him.

The Athletics, though, became motivated to deal when their center fielder, Dave Henderson, suffered a knee injury on Aug. 20 and went on the disabled list. Unsure how long Henderson would be sidelined but fearing it could be for the remainder of the season, the defending World Series champions didn’t want to jeopardize a chance at another title by lacking an experienced center fielder.

Right circumstance

Alderson said he and Maxvill talked for several days about a deal for McGee. The Cardinals wanted Jose. The Athletics were reluctant to trade him. Alderson described Jose as being “a powerful switch-hitter” with an “outstanding arm” and “excellent speed.” When Alderson relented, the Cardinals felt fortunate to receive such a prized prospect.

“I feel pretty good about it, really,” Maxvill said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If we had to move McGee for whatever reasons, we did well. But it was circumstance _ Henderson’s injury _ more than any ability on my own.”

Said Cardinals manager Joe Torre: “We made out very well rather than (McGee) walking off and us getting a draft choice.”

Added Alderson: “With the injury to Henderson, we really looked at the short term rather than the long term potential for us.”

Being a switch hitter added to the Athletics’ interest in McGee. Anticipating that they would face the Red Sox and their right-handed aces, Roger Clemens and Mike Boddicker, in the American League Championship Series, the Athletics wanted hitters who could bat left-handed. On the same day they acquired McGee, the Athletics also got Harold Baines, a designated hitter and left-handed batter, from the Rangers.

Athletics manager Tony La Russa told the Los Angeles Times, “Felix Jose has done a fine job for us … but if anyone thinks he gave us a better chance to win than Willie McGee does, I’d have to question that judgment.”

Location added to the appeal of the trade. McGee was born in San Francisco, went to high school in Richmond (10 miles north of Oakland) and had a house about a 25-minute drive from Oakland Coliseum.

“I just didn’t want to trade him to some city just for the heck of it,” Maxvill said. “I made an effort to get him back home to Oakland.”

Said McGee: “If I had any place to go, that was it.”

Late-night goodbye

McGee, 31, was a four-time all-star and fan favorite who had played a central role in the Cardinals winning three National League pennants and a World Series championship in the 1980s. He had won the NL Most Valuable Player Award and a batting title in 1985.

After the 1987 season, McGee had signed a three-year, $4.1 million contract. With that deal about to expire after the 1990 season, McGee was seeking a contract from the Cardinals for three years and $9 million. The Cardinals, though, were offering no more than $7 million for three years, according to Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.

Maxvill conceded that the Cardinals were unlikely to sign McGee. They had a prospect, Ray Lankford, ready to take over in center field.

After the Cardinals had beaten the Reds in Cincinnati on Aug. 29, they were preparing to leave the ballpark about 1 a.m. and go to the airport for a flight to Atlanta when McGee, walking in a tunnel at Riverfront Stadium, was approached by Torre and informed of the trade.

McGee, with a smile and with tears welling in his eyes, told Hummel, “I just appreciated the opportunity to play in St. Louis. There were some of the best people and some of the best managers there.” He added that playing for the Cardinals since 1982 had been “a beautiful nine years of my life.”

McGee’s departure left shortstop Ozzie Smith as the lone remaining Cardinals player from their 1982 World Series championship team.

Saying that he and McGee “were like brothers,” Smith added, “It’s a sad ending to a great time in baseball history for St. Louis.”

Batting champ

McGee hit .335 in 125 games for the 1990 Cardinals. He ranked second in the NL in batting at the time of the trade. At the end of the season, McGee had the best batting average in the NL and was declared the league’s batting champion because he had 542 plate appearances with the 1990 Cardinals, exceeding the requisite number (502) needed to qualify for the title.

McGee hit .274 in 29 games for the Athletics. With 31 hits for Oakland and 168 for St. Louis, McGee led the major leagues in hits in 1990, with a total of 199.

After the season, McGee became a free agent and was signed by the Giants for four years and $13 million. After stints with the Giants and Red Sox, McGee, again a free agent, returned to the Cardinals for the 1996 season and was reunited with La Russa. McGee’s second stint with St. Louis lasted four years. He retired after the 1999 season.

Jose was the Cardinals’ starting right fielder in 1991 and ’92. He batted .298 overall for St. Louis, with an on-base percentage of .352. The Cardinals traded him to the Royals in the deal that brought them first baseman Gregg Jefferies.

Royer hit .258 in parts of four seasons (1991-94) with the Cardinals. Green pitched in the Cardinals’ farm system in 1991 and never reached the big leagues.

Previously: Five fabulous facts about Willie McGee

Three years after his pitching helped the Cardinals to a National League pennant and World Series title, Jim Kaat used his skills as a talent evaluator to help St. Louis to another championship season.

cesar_cedenoKaat, a left-handed reliever for the 1982 champion Cardinals, was a coach for the 1985 Reds when he recommended to St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog that the club acquire Cesar Cedeno from Cincinnati.

Acting on Kaat’s advice, the Cardinals got Cedeno from the Reds _ 30 years ago, on Aug. 29, 1985 _ for minor-league outfielder Mark Jackson.

The deal rejuvenated the Cardinals and Cedeno.

Filling in for injured first baseman Jack Clark, Cedeno batted .434 (33-for-76) with six home runs in 28 games, sparking the Cardinals to the 1985 NL East Division title and on a path to a pennant and a berth in the World Series.

After clinching the division crown in the next-to-last game of the 1985 season, Herzog told The Sporting News, “If we hadn’t got Cedeno, we would have been at least three games out of first, maybe more, going into this last week.”

Breakfast bunch

With the Astros from 1970-81, Cedeno batted .289 with 343 doubles and 487 stolen bases. He won the Gold Glove Award five years in a row (1972-76), was named an all-star four times and twice led the NL in doubles.

The Astros traded Cedeno to the Reds in December 1981 for third baseman Ray Knight. By 1985, Cedeno, 34, had fallen into disfavor with Reds manager Pete Rose.

Cedeno, eligible to become a free agent after the 1985 season, said he expected to be traded. He’d heard the Blue Jays were interested.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, were in Cincinnati for an Aug. 26-28 series with the Reds. Kaat, who pitched for St. Louis from 1980-83, and Herzog met for breakfast.

In his book “White Rat: A Life in Baseball,” Herzog said, “Kaat told me that Cesar Cedeno might be available to us, to fill in for Clark. Cesar was on the outs with Pete Rose … Kaat said he thought (Cedeno) could still play.”

The Cardinals and Reds arranged a deal.

“I’m very happy an opportunity like this _ to play with a contender _ came around,” Cedeno said. “I will welcome whatever they want me to do. I’m thrilled an organization like the Cardinals has interest in me. It’s a great feeling to be wanted.”

When the trade was made, the Cardinals led the second-place Mets by 2.5 games.

A right-handed batter, Cedeno had hit .241 in 83 games for the 1985 Reds, but the Cardinals saw him as a capable candidate to platoon with Mike Jorgensen at first base until Clark, who had suffered a rib injury on Aug. 23, could return to the lineup.

Hot hitter

The trade paid immediate dividends.

In his first at-bat with the Cardinals, Cedeno hit the first pitch he saw from the Astros’ Mike Scott for a home run on Aug. 30 at St. Louis. Boxscore

A week later, on Sept. 6, Cedeno, pinch-hitting for Jorgensen, clouted a grand slam off Gene Garber in an 8-0 Cardinals victory over the Braves at St. Louis. Boxscore

“I was looking for him to try to get ahead (of the count) … He’s always around the plate,” Cedeno said to the Associated Press.

Cedeno had eight hits in his first 16 at-bats for the Cardinals. “He’s been awesome, hasn’t he?” Cardinals pitcher John Tudor said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. It seems like every time he’s up he hits the ball on the nose.”

Beat the Mets

On Sept. 10, the Mets beat the Cardinals at New York and moved into first place in the NL East, a game ahead of St. Louis.

The next night, Sept. 11, produced a matchup of aces: the Cardinals’ John Tudor vs. the Mets’ Dwight Gooden. Both were sharp and the game was scoreless through nine innings.

In the 10th, Jesse Orosco relieved Gooden. The first batter he faced was Cedeno. Orosco hung a slider and Cedeno belted a home run, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Tudor held the Mets scoreless in the 10th, clinching the victory and moving the Cardinals into a tie for first place with New York. Boxscore

Thanks, Pete

Four days later, Sept. 15, with the Cardinals clinging to a half-game lead over the Mets, Cedeno went 5-for-5 with four RBI in a 5-1 St. Louis victory over the Cubs at Chicago. Cedeno had two singles, two doubles, a two-run home run and a stolen base. Boxscore

Cedeno said he recently had spoken with Rose and told him, “Thank you, thank you, thank you for trading me to St. Louis.”

Said Herzog: “He’s been a blessing to us.”

In his month with the Cardinals, Cedeno hit .528 (19-for-36) at home and .541 (20-for-37) against left-handers. He had a .477 batting average (21-for-44) with runners on base. Cedeno further endeared himself to Cardinals fans by shredding Cubs pitchers at a .560 clip (14-for-25) with nine RBI.

It was a different story in the postseason. Cedeno hit .167 (2-for-12) in the NL Championship Series versus the Dodgers. Playing in his only World Series, Cedeno batted .133 (2-for-15) against the Royals.

In March 1986, Cedeno signed with the Blue Jays, got released before the season began and was picked up by the Dodgers. In June 1986, the Dodgers released him, A month later, he signed with the Cardinals and was sent to Class AAA Louisville.

Cedeno hit .169 in 20 games for Louisville and never returned to the big leagues.

Previously: Jim Kaat interview: ’82 Cards were close-knit club

Previously: How Cardinals’ Jim Kaat appeared forever young

Previously: Jim Kaat revived both his career and the Cardinals

For pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth, being part of one of the Cardinals’ best trades did little for their careers other than making them answers to a trivia question.

spring_tothWho were the players the Cardinals acquired with outfielder Lou Brock from the Cubs on June 15, 1964, for pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens?

Spring and Toth.

Because of the impact of the deal on Brock and the Cardinals, few recall St. Louis got anyone else in the trade.

Brock sparked the Cardinals to the 1964 National League pennant and World Series championship and built a Hall of Fame career in St. Louis.

For Spring, the Cardinals became a brief stop during a year in which he played for three big-league teams before finishing the season in the minors.

For Toth, the trade was a reunion of sorts, returning him to the organization he started with but doing nothing to get him back to the major leagues.

Spring, 82, died on Aug. 2, 2015, leaving Brock as the sole survivor among the trio the Cardinals acquired in the trade. Toth, 63, died on March 20, 1999.

Aloha, Jack

Spring, a left-hander, debuted in the major leagues with the 1955 Phillies. He also pitched for the 1957 Red Sox and 1958 Senators before joining the expansion Angels in 1961. In four years with the Angels, Spring was 11-2 with eight saves.

In 1964, Spring began the season with the Angels before being sent to the Cubs on May 15 in a cash transaction.

He made his Cardinals debut on the same day he was traded from the Cubs. In an inning of relief against the Colt .45s at Houston, Spring yielded four runs, one earned, on three hits and walk. In the eighth, Brock made his Cardinals debut, pinch-hitting for Spring. Boxscore

“When the trade was made, I was home in Chicago,” Spring told Jim Price of the Society for American Baseball Research. “My wife called out to me that they’re talking about it on the TV. Brock and I flew to Houston, where the game had already started. I went to the bullpen. They told me to warm up and go into the game. The catcher was Tim McCarver. I got to the mound, and he said, ‘Hi, Jack. I’m Tim. What do you throw?’ ”

Five days later, on June 20, Spring made his second and last Cardinals appearance. In two innings of relief against the Giants at St. Louis, Spring gave up five runs on five hits, including a three-run double by Hal Lanier and a two-run home run by Orlando Cepeda. All the runs were unearned. Boxscore.

Spring had yielded nine runs in three innings for St. Louis but had an ERA of 3.00 because only one of those runs was earned.

The Cardinals assigned Spring, 31, to their Class AAA club at Jacksonville, Fla. He refused to report. If he was going to accept a demotion to the minor leagues, Spring, a resident of Spokane, Wash., preferred to play in the Pacific Coast League.

On July 9, the Cardinals accommodated Spring, sending him to the Angels in a cash transaction. The Angels assigned him to their Pacific Coast League team in Hawaii. Bob Lemon, the Hall of Fame pitcher, was Hawaii’s manager. Spring thrived there, posting a 3-3 record and 2.11 ERA in 30 games.

Spring got his final big-league chance with the 1965 Indians, pitching in 14 games. He spent the remainder of his playing career in the Pacific Coast League, finishing with his hometown club, Spokane, in 1969.

Cardinals prospect

Unlike Spring, Toth was sent directly to the minor leagues after his trade to the Cardinals and never returned to the big leagues.

Toth, a right-hander, was signed by the Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1955. He pitched in their system until 1958 before spending two years in military service.

When he resumed his playing career in 1961, the Cardinals assigned Toth to Class AA Tulsa. He had his most successful season, posting an 18-7 record and 2.37 ERA.

That performance caught the attention of Cardinals manager Johnny Keane. At the 1962 spring training camp, Toth got to pitch in exhibition games for the Cardinals and did well. He held the Mets to a hit in three innings in the second exhibition of the spring and was cited by The Sporting News as the “sleeper” prospect of the camp.

Toth was one of 10 pitchers on the Cardinals’ 1962 Opening Day roster. He appeared in six games and was 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA. His highlight was a complete-game win in a start against the Colt .45s on Aug. 5 at St. Louis. Boxscore

“Paul showed a good assortment and plenty of poise,” said Cardinals pitching coach Howie Pollet.

Wrote The Sporting News: “Toth’s chief assets are a good slider and a reputation as a tough battler.”

Less than a month later, though, on Sept. 1, the Cardinals traded Toth to the Cubs for pitcher Harvey Branch.

Toth was 3-1 with a 4.24 ERA for the 1962 Cubs. He earned his first win for them on Sept. 18 against the Cardinals in a 4-3 Chicago victory at Wrigley Field. Toth pitched 8.2 innings, yielding a solo home run in the second to his former road roommate, catcher Carl Sawatski, and a two-run homer in the ninth to Stan Musial. Boxscore

“He figures in my plans for next year,” Cubs manager Charlie Metro said of Toth. “He’s the kind of guy you like to have on your club. A real bear-down guy. He knows how to pitch. He moves all of his pitches around and showed a real good change-up.”

Toth was 8-12 in three seasons with the Cubs. He was with their Salt Lake City farm club when he was traded back to the Cardinals in the Brock deal.

The Cardinals assigned Toth, 29, to Jacksonville. He was 4-6 with a 3.25 ERA. After the 1964 season, Toth was sent to the Yankees, managed by Keane, in a cash transaction.

Toth never pitched for the Yankees, finishing his playing career in the minor leagues in 1967.

Previously: Lou Brock hit the ground running in 1st start with Cardinals


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