In the span of three days, two prominent players, third baseman Terry Pendleton and left fielder Vince Coleman, left the Cardinals for free-agent riches. For Pendleton, the move rejuvenated his career. For Coleman, it was a setback.

terry_pendleton2Twenty-five years ago, on Dec. 3, 1990, Pendleton, 30, left the Cardinals after seven seasons and signed with the Braves. Two days later, on Dec. 5, Coleman, 29, left the Cardinals after six seasons and signed with the Mets.

Pendleton, a career .259 hitter with St. Louis, was spectacular with the Braves, helping them win three National League pennants (1991, ’92 and ’96). In 1991, Pendleton won the NL Most Valuable Player Award. He led the NL that season in batting average (.319) and hits (187), tied with the Giants’ Will Clark for the league high in total bases (303) and paced NL third basemen in assists. In 1992, Pendleton tied with a former Cardinals teammate, the Pirates’ Andy Van Slyke, for the NL lead in hits (199) and again topped NL third basemen in assists.

Coleman, who led the NL in stolen bases in each of his six seasons with St. Louis, was a bust with the Mets. With the Cardinals, Coleman three times had more than 100 steals in a season and never had fewer than 65. With the Mets, Coleman had season totals of 37, 24 and 38 steals. In each of his three seasons with the Mets, they had losing records, including 59-103 in 1993.

Plans for Zeile

The Cardinals had tried harder to keep Coleman than they did Pendleton.

With Todd Zeile converting from catcher to third baseman, the Cardinals figured Pendleton was expendable. The Cardinals offered Pendleton a contract for three years and $5.5 million. The Braves offered him a contract for four years and $10.2 million. Pendleton became the only Braves player besides outfielder Dale Murphy to be paid more than $2 million per season, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“I never dreamed about making that kind of money,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton twice won a Gold Glove Award with the Cardinals (1987 and 1989) and three times led NL third basemen in assists (1986, 1987 and 1989). In 1989, Pendleton also led NL third basemen in fielding percentage (.971).

“He’s a good player with good makeup and he will be a very valuable asset to our club and to our organization,” Braves general manager John Schuerholz said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He has good leadership qualities and he’s been with a winner.”

Countered Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz: “The Cardinals were justified in letting third baseman Terry Pendleton take his weight problem, deteriorating arm and narrowing fielding range to Atlanta.”

Pendleton praised Cardinals fans who “stuck by me even when I wasn’t playing well” and took a parting shot at Cardinals management, saying, “I’m excited about starting anew. I’m happy to go someplace where I’m wanted.”

Making an exception

Coleman and Pendleton were starters on Cardinals pennant-winning teams in 1985 and 1987. Coleman was named winner of the 1985 NL Rookie of the Year Award. He had 110 stolen bases that year, scored 107 runs and produced 170 hits in 151 games.

Though the Cardinals had rookie Bernard Gilkey available to replace Coleman in left field in 1991, they wanted to keep Coleman atop their batting order.

The Cardinals initially made Coleman an offer of three years and $7.5 million. When the Mets offered him four years and $11 million, the Cardinals made what they considered a major concession. They offered Coleman four years and $10.5 million, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“Although it hasn’t been our policy in the past to offer four-year contracts, Vince is a premier player,” Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill said. “Other players of his caliber are receiving contract offers like that and we thought it was proper to extend it a year.”

When the Mets countered with four years and $11.95 million, Coleman accepted.

“The Cardinals were in this thing until the very end,” said Richie Bry, Coleman’s agent. “He was torn by the decision.”

Asked by the Post-Dispatch what would have prompted him to choose the Cardinals over the Mets, Coleman said, “Match their offer, which they promised they’d do about a month ago.”

Maxvill denied that the Cardinals promised to match any offer. “He was hoping we would match it,” Maxvill said.

Noting that the difference between the Mets’ offer and Cardinals’ offer was $1.45 million, Miklasz wrote, “Spread over four years, it amounts to $363,000 a season … Why couldn’t the Cardinals come up with an extra $363,000 a year to keep Coleman?”

Separate paths

Coleman said he hoped to achieve 130 stolen bases in a season for the Mets. “I know when Lou Brock was 34 he stole 118 and I’m not close to being 34 yet,” Coleman said. “To steal 130 would be out of sight. You never know what Vince Coleman might do now that he’s got a new look on life.”

Coleman batted .270 with 238 hits in 235 games in his three years with the Mets and totaled 99 steals over that time.

In a 13-year big-league career with the Cardinals, Mets, Royals, Mariners, Reds and Tigers, Coleman batted .264 with 1,425 hits and 752 stolen bases. He ranks sixth all-time in steals.

Twice an all-star with the Cardinals (1988 and 1989), Coleman never again was an all-star after leaving St. Louis and never again played for a pennant winner.

In a 15-year big-league career with the Cardinals, Braves, Marlins, Reds and Royals, Pendleton batted .270 with 1,897 hits. Pendleton, Murphy and Chipper Jones are the only Braves players to win NL MVP awards since the franchise relocated from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966.

Pendleton played in five World Series (two for the Cardinals and three for the Braves) and batted .298 with 28 hits in 27 games.

Previously: Why Cardinals traded Willie McGee to Athletics

Previously: Why Cardinals stopped being a Whitey Herzog team

The Dodgers had the cash. The Cardinals had the players. That combination led the National League rivals to make their second significant transaction of the year at the end of 1940.

mickey_owenSeventy-five years ago, on Dec. 4, 1940, the Cardinals dealt the best young catcher in the NL, Mickey Owen, to the Dodgers for $65,000, catcher Gus Mancuso and minor-league pitcher John Pintar.

Six months earlier, on June 12, 1940, the Cardinals had sent slugging left fielder Joe Medwick to the Dodgers for $125,000 and four players whom a writer described as “a few ham sandwiches.”

The Dodgers, who hadn’t won a NL pennant since 1920, were willing to spend lavishly to acquire the talent needed to become champions.

The Cardinals, confident their farm system could replenish their big-league roster, were willing to deal standout players at their peak market value to increase profitability.

Daring Dodgers

After the 1940 season, Dodgers president Larry MacPhail spoke openly of his intention to acquire Owen.

Babe Phelps, 32, had been the primary catcher for the 1940 Dodgers. He hit well (.295 batting average, 24 doubles and 61 RBI) and was named an all-star for the third time in his 11-year career in the big leagues. The Dodgers, though, wanted a younger catcher with a better arm, better defensive skills and more agility than the lumbering Phelps (who, at 225 pounds, was unkindly nicknamed “Blimp.”).

Owen, 24, met the criteria. He entered the big leagues with the 1937 Cardinals and became their starting catcher in 1938. In four seasons with St. Louis, Owen hit .257. His prime asset was his ability to deter stolen base attempts.

In 1938, Owen ranked third among NL catchers in percentage of runners caught stealing (50.9 percent). Owen was the league leader in that category in both 1939 (61.1 percent) and 1940 (60.4 percent).

By comparison, Phelps caught 33.3 percent of runners attempting to steal in 1940.

Bidding battle

In its Nov. 21, 1940, edition, The Sporting News wrote that Owen “is No. 1 on the MacPhail shopping list because of his youth and speed. Larry, however, isn’t at all confident of landing the fiery Redbird receiver.”

The Giants and Cubs also wanted Owen. Cardinals owner Sam Breadon and general manager Branch Rickey were delighted to have multiple bidders for Owen. They were receptive, in part, because they had a hard-hitting catcher at their Columbus farm club, Walker Cooper, who was deemed ready to be a big-league regular.

The Cardinals “will be on the listening end of one of the most interesting _ and profitable _ bidding contests in a long time,” The Sporting News wrote. “… Cardinals chieftains need only to sit back and let the other fellows do the talking and bidding … They couldn’t have done better if they had written the plot themselves.”

At the baseball winter meetings in Atlanta, the Cubs reportedly made an aggressive play for Owen. MacPhail quickly countered and sealed the deal by increasing the cash offering.

Cash trumps talent

Some were surprised the Cardinals settled for Mancuso instead of Phelps in the deal.

Mancuso, 35, who began his big-league career with the 1928 Cardinals and played in the World Series for them in 1930 and ’31, had hit .229 as backup to Phelps for the 1940 Dodgers. Pintar, 27, a right-hander, had posted an 11-9 record and 2.77 ERA for the Dodgers’ Texas League affiliate in Dallas.

“At first glance, it looked like the Dodgers benefitted most” with the Cardinals “getting the money they like so well,” Judson Bailey of the Associated Press wrote. Bailey called Owen “a smart defensive player and the kind of aggressive worker that (Dodgers) manager Leo Durocher likes.”

In The Sporting News, Dodgers correspondent Tommy Holmes opined, “Everybody knew MacPhail wanted Owen … What no one expected was that Mickey would come to the Dodgers for so small an outlay of useful playing material. It seems Sam Breadon … preferred the cash.”

Why not? The $190,000 the Cardinals got from the Dodgers for Medwick and Owen was a staggering sum. In 1940, the highest-paid player in the big leagues was Tigers slugger Hank Greenberg at $35,000. The average player salary in the 1930s was $7,500. In the 1940s, it was $11,000.

Advantage, Cardinals

In the short term, the deal worked well for both teams. In the long term, the Cardinals did better.

With Medwick and Owen as regulars, the 1941 Dodgers composed a 100-54 record and won the NL pennant, finishing 2.5 games ahead of the second-place Cardinals (97-56).

Medwick batted .318 with 18 home runs, 88 RBI, 100 runs scored and 171 hits in 133 games for the 1941 Dodgers.

Owen was second in the NL in fielding percentage among catchers that season and fourth in percentage of runners caught stealing (51.8). He was named an all-star for the first time. He hit .231 with 44 RBI.

(In the 1941 World Series against the Yankees, Owen failed to catch a third strike pitch with two outs in the ninth inning that should have clinched a 4-3 Dodgers victory in Game 4 and evened the series at 2-2. Instead, the Yankees rallied, won the game, 7-4, and went on to secure the championship with four wins in five games.)

Mancuso and Cooper formed an effective catching platoon for the 1941 Cardinals. Mancuso hit .229 in 106 games, including 98 starts at catcher. However, Mancuso ranked No. 1 among NL catchers that season in percentage of runners caught stealing (69.2 percent).

Cooper batted .245 in 68 games, including 45 starts at catcher, for the 1941 Cardinals and was fifth in the NL in percentage of runners caught stealing (51.4), just behind Owen.

After 1941, Owen never played in another World Series.

Cooper was the starting catcher on Cardinals clubs that won three consecutive NL pennants (1942-44) and two World Series titles.

The left fielder who eventually replaced Medwick and joined Enos Slaughter and Terry Moore as starting outfielders on that 1942 World Series championship club was another standout from the Cardinals farm system, Stan Musial.

Previously: How Joe Medwick got traded by Cardinals to Dodgers

Like a prince learning from kings, John Mozeliak was mentored by Cardinals royalty. He worked with two of the franchise’s most successful executives, Bing Devine and Walt Jocketty. Because of Devine, Mozeliak can trace a line in his apprenticeship directly to the man who built the prototype of a Cardinals general manager, renowned innovator Branch Rickey.

As general manager of the Cardinals since October 2007, Mozeliak has followed in the tradition of his best-known predecessors, building championship clubs and keeping the Cardinals among the elite franchises in the big leagues.

Mozeliak, who turns 47 in January 2016, is keenly aware of the lineage of Cardinals general managers. He says it is his desire to pay back those who taught him by helping others position themselves to carry on that tradition.

E-mail from Mozeliak

In November 2015, Mozeliak answered questions from Cardinals bloggers by e-mail. The opportunity to ask questions of Mozeliak came about through the efforts of Daniel Shoptaw, founder of United Cardinal Bloggers, and Cardinals communication coordinator Lindsey Weber.

In citing the tradition of prominent figures who have been Cardinals general managers _ men such as Stan Musial, Whitey Herzog, Bob Howsam, Frank Lane, Devine and Jocketty _ I asked Mozeliak whether he ever reflected on that and his role in that legacy.

“I have,” Mozeliak replied. “I have not thought about my legacy, but I have thought a lot about the people that have come before me.”

Jocketty brought Mozeliak to the Cardinals and helped grow his career. Devine provided added value as a sage.

Protégé of Jocketty

Mozeliak, a left-handed pitcher and first baseman in high school at Boulder, Colo., says he grew up a fan of Johnny Bench _ “I tried to be a left-handed catcher, but that didn’t work very well,” he wrote in his e-mail _ as well as George Brett, Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee.

After graduating from the University of Colorado, Mozeliak joined the Rockies as a batting practice pitcher. He worked his way through the organization, earning various roles in baseball operations, and made a favorable impression on Jocketty, the Rockies’ assistant general manager.

Jocketty replaced Dal Maxvill as Cardinals general manager in October 1994. Mozeliak joined the Cardinals after the 1995 season as an assistant in scouting operations.

Mozeliak became Cardinals scouting director in 1999. Jocketty brought Devine back to the Cardinals that fall as a special assignment scout.

Devine intervention

Devine served two stints as Cardinals general manager: 1957-64 and 1968-78. His trades during his first term brought Lou Brock, Curt Flood, Bill White, Julian Javier and Dick Groat to the Cardinals. The farm system under Devine’s management developed players such as Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Tim McCarver, Mike Shannon and, during his second term, Ted Simmons, Bob Forsch and Keith Hernandez.

In 1939, when he joined the Cardinals as a 23-year-old office assistant, Devine ran errands for Rickey. (Though Rickey formally had the title of Cardinals business manager, his role was that of general manager and included player personnel.)

Sixty years later, when Devine, 83, rejoined the Cardinals as a scout, he bonded with the scouting director, Mozielak, sharing decades of Cardinals knowledge and experience with the 30-year-old protégé.

‘He taught me a lot’

“I had a unique opportunity to work with Bing and did get to know him and actually traveled to some minor-league cities with him,” Mozeliak said in his e-mail. “He taught me a lot. He was someone who had a unique perspective on the business …

“The economics have changed drastically; how you think about development and creating assets within an organization is different, yet there (are) a lot of truisms that you still have to play the game and play the game right,” Mozeliak wrote. “I remember Bing would always reflect on that with me.”

In his 2004 book, “The Memoirs of Bing Devine,” Devine said of his 1999 return to the Cardinals, “I owe a debt of gratitude to the present Cardinals ownership. They believed I was not too old or too far removed to make a contribution from a player evaluation standpoint.”

Devine praised Jocketty as “a talented and aggressive general manager” and, in a nod to executives such as Mozeliak, he added, “The surrounding personnel are dedicated as well.”

In his e-mail, Mozeliak said of Devine, “I think about my opportunity to spend time with him as just very lucky and as I move forward I hope I can someday help the next generation.”

Efficient and effective

Jocketty promoted Mozeliak to the role of Cardinals director of baseball operations in 2001 and then assistant general manager in 2003. After Jocketty departed because of philosophical differences with ownership, Mozeliak succeeded him as general manager in October 2007, 10 months after Devine had died at age 90.

With Mozeliak as general manager, the Cardinals have won two National League pennants and a World Series title and have qualified for the postseason in six of his eight years in the club’s top baseball leadership role.

I asked Mozeliak in what ways does he anticipate the role of general manager will evolve and how, in 10 to 20 years, it will it be different than how it is today.

“The game has changed in the sense of total revenues … so just understanding this game from a more business perspective is required,” Mozeliak replied in his e-mail. “The demands on the different departments _ whether it’s international, amateur, scouting, or player development _ there are big costs to that, and running efficient and effective departments are critical.

“Most of my time, as boring as it may sound, is not necessarily focused just on the 25-man roster,” Mozeliak wrote. “It’s really making sure that we’re optimizing all those different areas that we touched on. So, I think as general managers’ roles change, it’s more about becoming a more efficient business.”

Previously: Why Gussie Busch fired Bing Devine in championship year

Previously: How Dal Maxvill became general manager of Cardinals

Previously: Frank Lane and his tumultuous stint as Cardinals GM

Playing for a new manager, Vern Rapp, and with a core of young, highly regarded players, such as Keith Hernandez, Garry Templeton and John Denny, the Cardinals enjoyed a successful opening to the 1977 season.

keith_hernandez5On April 7, 1977, amid strong winds and a mix of rain and light snow, the Cardinals beat the Pirates, 12-6, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

That was the last of four season openers the Cardinals have played at Pittsburgh.

On April 3, 2016, the Cardinals are scheduled to start their season against the Pirates at Pittsburgh for the first time in 39 years.

The 2016 Cardinals will open the season at PNC Park as the defending National League Central Division champions. The 1977 Cardinals opened the season as a franchise looking to rebuild.

New approach

In 1976, the Cardinals finished 72-90. Red Schoendienst, who had managed the Cardinals since 1965, was fired after that 1976 debacle. He was replaced by Rapp, a St. Louis native who had played and managed in the Cardinals’ system but who never had reached the major leagues.

A disciplinarian, Rapp instructed Cardinals players during 1977 spring training to shave off their moustaches and beards and keep their hair trim.

In the opener at Pittsburgh, the Cardinals started Denny, 24, against Jerry Reuss, a St. Louis native who had began his career with his hometown team.

Along with established standouts such as left fielder Lou Brock and catcher Ted Simmons, the Cardinals’ lineup included Hernandez, 23, at first base and Garry Templeton, 21, at shortstop.

Denny and Templeton were making their first Opening Day starts in the big leagues.

Helped by three Pirates errors, the Cardinals scored four runs in the opening inning off Reuss. The Pirates’ sloppy start prompted “lusty boos from many of the 35,186 spectators,” the Associated Press reported.

The Cardinals never trailed. Denny held the Pirates to three runs in 5.2 innings and got the win. Templeton had two hits and scored three runs.

Hernandez, a left-handed batter, scored twice and had key hits against a pair of left-handed relievers. Hernandez hit a two-run double off Grant Jackson and a two-run home run (estimated at 425 feet) against Terry Forster. For Hernandez, it was his first four-RBI game in the big leagues.

Playing to win

“The thing about Vern Rapp is that he has us playing aggressive baseball, taking the extra base, playing at our maximum,” Hernandez said after the game. “We don’t have a lot of power, but we do have good hitting and exceptional speed and I think we’re going to make the most of it.”

Asked about playing without his signature moustache, Hernandez replied, “I’m here to play baseball. That’s what is important to me. I’ve got five months in the off-season to grow a moustache and long hair, but right now I want to help the Cardinals play winning baseball.” Boxscore

Behind stellars seasons by Hernandez (.291 batting average, 41 doubles, 91 RBI), Templeton (.322 batting average, 200 hits, 18 triples, 28 stolen bases), Simmons (.318 batting average, 21 home runs, 95 RBI) and pitcher Bob Forsch (20 wins), the 1977 Cardinals improved to 83-79.

Hernandez’s effective hitting against left-handers continued through the season. He batted .313 in 201 at-bats versus left-handers in 1977.

Here are the results of the other three Cardinals season openers played at Pittsburgh:

Cardinals comeback

With a three-run seventh inning off starter Bob Klinger, the Cardinals erased a 2-0 Pirates lead and won, 3-2, on April 18, 1939, at Forbes Field. Joe Medwick drove in two of the St. Louis runs and Johnny Mize knocked in the other.

Bob Weiland started for St. Louis and pitched six innings for the win. Clyde Shoun produced three shutout innings of relief for the save. Boxscore

Dickson delivers

On April 17, 1951, the Pirates beat the Cardinals, 5-4, at Forbes Field behind the pitching and hitting of Murry Dickson.

Acquired by the Pirates from the Cardinals, Dickson started and got the win, though he yielded seven walks and four hits in six innings.

In the fourth, Dickson broke a 3-3 tie with a solo home run off starter Tom Poholsky. It was Dickson’s first big-league home run and one of only three he would hit in 18 years in the majors.

Left fielder Wally Westlake added a solo home run in the sixth off Poholsky.

Bill Werle pitched three shutout innings in relief of Dickson. The Cardinals stranded 10 base runners. Boxscore

Shaky relief

The Cardinals led, 5-2, after seven innings behind starter Bob Gibson, but the Pirates rallied for five runs in the eighth and won, 7-5, on April 6, 1973, at Three Rivers Stadium.

After the Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, Schoendienst lifted Gibson and called on Diego Segui to preserve the three-run lead.

Segui struck out Bob Robertson for the second out of the inning. Then, Richie Hebner hit a two-run double, cutting the St. Louis lead to 5-4, and Gene Clines followed with a two-run triple, giving the Pirates a 6-5 lead. An error by rookie shortstop Ray Busse allowed another run to score for Pittsburgh.

Right fielder Bernie Carbo had two hits, a RBI and a run scored for St. Louis. Boxscore

Previously: Cardinals debut was dream come true for Keith Hernandez

Previously: Pete Vuckovich was fearless in great escape for Cardinals

With the first of his three National League Most Valuable Player awards, Albert Pujols established himself as the dominant player in the National League, producing numbers that hadn’t been reached in decades by any Cardinals player who had earned the honor.

albert_pujols24Ten years ago, on Nov. 15, 2005, Pujols, 25, was named NL MVP in balloting by 32 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Pujols became the first Cardinals player to earn a NL MVP since Willie McGee in 1985.

Barry Bonds of the Giants had won the award in four consecutive years (2001-04). After that, Pujols won NL MVP in three of the next five years (2005, 2008, 2009).

In 2005, Pujols batted .330 with 41 home runs, 117 RBI, 195 hits, 129 runs and a .430 on-base percentage.

Among the special achievements:

_ Before Pujols, no Cardinals NL MVP winner had hit 41 home runs in a season.

_ The 117 RBI by Pujols were the most by a Cardinals NL MVP winner since Joe Torre had 137 in 1971.

_ Pujols’  129 runs scored and his .430 on-base percentage each was the most by a Cardinals NL MVP winner since Stan Musial scored 135 and had a .450 on-base percentage in 1948.

_ Pujols and Chris Carpenter in 2005 became the first NL teammates to win the MVP Award and Cy Young Award in the same year since Terry Pendleton and Tom Glavine did so with the 1991 Braves.

Asked by St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz about Pujols being the NL MVP winner, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, “Our club gets a lot of its competitive nature from his personality. That’s what an MVP should be all about.”

Pujols received 378 vote points and 18 first-place votes in the balloting for the 2005 NL MVP Award.

Braves outfielder Andruw Jones was a close runner-up, with 351 vote points and 13 first-place votes. Jones batted .263 with 51 home runs, 128 RBI, 154 hits, 95 runs and an on-base percentage of .347.

“I think he deserved it,” Jones said to the Associated Press about Pujols winning the award. “The voting was the right vote. He was the right choice.”

Finishing third in balloting was Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, with 263 vote points and one first-place vote. Lee hit .335 with 46 home runs, 107 RBI, 199 hits, 120 runs and a .418 on-base percentage.

Previously: Albert Pujols joins Stan Musial with 4 MVP seconds

Previously: Albert Pujols achieves unofficial Triple Crown

Like Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer, Elston Howard and Whitey Herzog, Norm Siebern was a St. Louis-area athlete who was bypassed by the Cardinals and began his professional baseball career in the Yankees organization. Toward the end of his big-league career, Siebern faced the Cardinals in the World Series and got three at-bats _  all against Bob Gibson.

norm_siebernBorn in St. Louis and raised in the nearby town of Wellston, Mo., Siebern was an outfielder and first baseman for 12 years in the big leagues with the Yankees, Athletics, Orioles, Angels, Giants and Red Sox. He three times was named to the American League all-star team: 1962 and ’63 with the Athletics and 1964 with the Orioles.

His connections to St. Louis and the Cardinals are recalled here in tribute. Siebern, 82, died Oct. 30, 2015, in Naples, Fla.

Two-sport standout

Siebern was a basketball and baseball standout at Wellston High School in St. Louis County. He caught the attention of Lou Maguolo, a Yankees scout who had signed Herzog out of New Athens, Ill.

Maguolo signed Siebern for the Yankees after Siebern graduated from high school in 1951. During the baseball off-seasons, Siebern pursued a journalism degree from Missouri State (then known as Southwest Missouri) in Springfield. While there, he and Jerry Lumpe (who would become a teammate of Siebern with the Yankees and Athletics) played on the 1952 and 1953 basketball teams that won NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) championships.

In 1957, Siebern had a breakout season with the Yankees’ Class AAA affiliate at Denver. He batted .349 with 45 doubles, 15 triples, 24 home runs, 118 RBI and 97 walks.

Boston bound

Ten years later, Siebern, 34, primarily was a pinch-hitter and role player. He began the 1967 season with the Giants and was dealt to the Red Sox in July.

The Red Sox were seeking a left-handed pinch-hitter and backup first baseman. Manager Dick Williams recommended they pursue Siebern. Williams, a St. Louis native, had been a teammate of Siebern and Herzog with the 1960 Athletics.

Siebern hit .205 in 33 games for the 1967 Red Sox, but Williams kept him on the World Series roster.

Siebern vs. Gibson

In Game 1 at Boston, with Bob Gibson protecting a 2-1 Cardinals lead in the seventh inning, Reggie Smith was on first base with two outs when Williams sent Siebern to pinch-hit for catcher Russ Gibson.

As Bob Gibson delivered a pitch, Smith attempted to swipe second and was thrown out on Tim McCarver’s peg to shortstop Dal Maxvill, ending the inning.

“He went on his own,” Williams said of Smith to The Sporting News. “I didn’t want him to go at that time.”

Because Siebern was at-bat, Williams was faced with either lifting him and wasting a plate appearance, or keeping him in the game. Williams opted for the latter, sending Siebern to play right field in place of Ken Harrelson.

Siebern led off the eighth with a single off Gibson. Siebern was bunted to second by Elston Howard, but was stranded there. Gibson completed a six-hitter and got the win in a 2-1 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

In Game 4 at St. Louis, Siebern led off the eighth, pinch-hitting for pitcher Dave Morehead, and flied out to center fielder Curt Flood against Gibson. The Cardinals won, 6-0, behind Gibson’s five-hit shutout. Boxscore

Final showdown

The decisive Game 7 in Boston was a matchup of aces: Gibson for the Cardinals and Jim Lonborg for the Red Sox.

Gibson again dominated.

In the eighth inning, the Red Sox, trailing, 7-1, mounted their final threat. Rico Petrocelli doubled and advanced to third on Gibson’s wild pitch. Dalton Jones followed with a walk, putting runners on first and third with none out and “stirring the Boston crowd into shouts of encouragement,” The Sporting News reported.

Williams sent Siebern to pinch-hit for pitcher Jose Santiago. Siebern hit a groundball to second baseman Julian Javier, who tossed to Maxvill to get the forceout of Jones at second. Petrocelli scored and Siebern got a RBI, but Gibson had defused the threat.

Gibson completed a three-hitter (he also hit a solo home run) in a 7-2 Cardinals victory, earning his third win of the World Series and carrying St. Louis to its second championship in four years. Boxscore

Siebern had this consolation: a World Series batting average of .333 (with a RBI) against the great Gibson.

The World Series duels versus Gibson were a last hurrah for Siebern. In 1968, his final big-league season, Siebern batted .067 in 27 games for the Red Sox before he was released in August.

Previously: Dick Williams couldn’t intimidate 1967 Cardinals

Previously: George Scott: Bob Gibson ‘won’t survive 5’ in Game 7

Previously: Do Cardinals still win if Dick Groat gets dealt for Roger Maris?


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