Archive for the ‘Hitters’ Category

Taking advantage of an unmotivated, jet-lagged team, Fernando Valenzuela pitched a no-hitter against the Cardinals. It was the second no-hitter pitched in the major leagues that night and the first versus the Cardinals in 12 years.

fernando_valenzuelaTwenty-five years ago, on June 29, 1990, Valenzuela pitched the only no-hitter of his career in a 6-0 Dodgers victory over the Cardinals at Los Angeles.

Earlier that night, Dave Stewart, Valenzuela’s former Dodgers teammate, pitched a no-hitter for manager Tony La Russa’s Athletics against the Blue Jays. It was the first time no-hitters had been pitched in both the American League and National League on the same day.

Valenzuela, 29, struck out seven and walked three. The Cardinals also had a runner reach on an error.

The Dodgers’ left-hander pitched the first no-hitter against the Cardinals since Tom Seaver of the Reds on June 16, 1978. Since Valenzuela’s gem, the only no-hitter pitched against the Cardinals was by Johan Santana of the Mets on June 1, 2012. Eight no-hitters have been pitched against the Cardinals.

Control, confidence

After beating the Pirates in a night game at St. Louis on June 28, the Cardinals stayed overnight at home and left the morning of June 29 for that night’s game against the Dodgers. The Cardinals arrived in Los Angeles about 12:30 in the afternoon Pacific Coast time.

The Dodgers watched on the clubhouse television as Stewart completed his no-hitter at Toronto. Boxscore

Valenzuela turned to his teammates and said, “You’ve seen one on TV. Now come watch one live,” Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Valenzuela’s previous big-league best had been a two-hitter.

From the start, it was evident Valenzuela was in command. “Throughout the game, I had excellent control,” he told the Orange County Register. “I had a lot of confidence.”

Timely tip

In the ninth, Vince Coleman led off for the Cardinals. The speedster was the batter Valenzuela feared most in the St. Louis lineup. “Coleman makes a lot of contact and he can bunt,” Valenzuela said.

Coleman hit a shot down the third-base line, but it was foul. With the count 2-and-2, Coleman faked a bunt attempt and was called out on strikes by umpire Jerry Layne.

Willie McGee was up next and he walked.

That brought to the plate Pedro Guerrero, who had been Valenzuela’s Dodgers teammate from 1980-88. Guerrero was playing on his 34th birthday.

“When Willie got on,” Guerrero told Hummel, “I said, ‘I’m going to be the one that’s going to do it.’ “

Guerrero hit a groundball up the middle. As Valenzuela reached for the ball, it tipped his glove and was deflected to second baseman Juan Samuel, who stepped on second for the force on McGee and threw to first for the game-ending double play.

“Do you think if I don’t touch that ball, it goes through for a single? I think it does,” said Valenzuela. “I think if I don’t touch it, I’m in trouble.” Boxscore

Cardinals crusher

The loss was the fifth in six games for the Cardinals, dropping their record to 30-44.

“We’re pathetic,” said Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog.

Said Guerrero: “We didn’t look too good out there, but I think flying on game day had something to do with it.”

Stewart called the Dodgers clubhouse after the game to congratulate Valenzuela.

The no-hitter evened Valenzuela’s season record at 6-6 and lowered his ERA from 4.09 to 3.73.

A week later, Herzog resigned, saying he was embarrassed by the play of his team.

Previously: Willie Mays on Ray Washburn: ‘Never saw a better curve’

Previously: Like Johan Santana, Bob Forsch had disputed no-hitter

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The Cardinals twice have experienced back-to-back battery power.

rick_ankiel8Tom Pagnozzi and Omar Olivares in 1994 and Eli Marrero and Rick Ankiel in 2000 are the only Cardinals catcher-pitcher batteries to hit consecutive home runs, according to David Vincent of the Society for American Baseball Research.

The home run by Ankiel was the first of his big-league career.

Here is a look at those feats:

Magic in Miami

On Aug. 10, 1994, in the next-to-last Cardinals game before the players’ strike that shortened the season, Olivares and Pagnozzi led a 12-4 St. Louis rout of the Marlins in Miami.

Pagnozzi was 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs scored and two RBI. Olivares pitched seven innings and earned his third win of the season.

The highlights came in the sixth. With one on, one out and the Cardinals ahead, 4-2, Pagnozzi, batting eighth, hit a two-run home run off starter David Weathers. Olivares, batting ninth, followed with a solo shot, his third big-league homer.

“I just swing hard,” Olivares said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Boxscore

Dream come true

Six years later, on April 20, 2000, at St. Louis, Marrero and Ankiel matched the feat in a 14-1 Cardinals triumph over the Padres.

In the fifth, with the Cardinals ahead, 10-0, Vicente Palacios was pitching in relief for the Padres. Palacios, 36, was making his first big-league appearance since June 1995 when he was with the Cardinals.

Marrero, batting eighth, connected off Palacios for his second home run of the game, a 412-foot shot off the Stadium Club at Busch Stadium II. Ankiel, 20, followed with a 380-foot home run into the bullpen.

“That’s all I’ve got,” Ankiel said of his power stroke. “I didn’t know it was gone when I hit it … It was great. As a little kid, that’s what you dream of.”

Ankiel was 3-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored. He pitched five shutout innings and earned his second win of the season, yielding two hits and seven walks and striking out four.

“None of those hits were accidents,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. “He’s almost as good a hitter as he is a pitcher.”

Said Cardinals hitting coach Mike Easler of Ankiel: “What it took me 10 years in the minors leagues to learn, he’s learned at 20 years old.” Boxscore

Unable to control his pitches and set back by injuries, Ankiel quit pitching in spring training 2005, learned to play outfield in the minors and returned to the Cardinals as an outfielder in 2007. He hit 76 career home runs in the big leagues, with two as a pitcher and the rest as an outfielder or pinch-hitter.

Previously: How Rick Ankiel made happy return to St. Louis as pitcher

Previously: Rick Ankiel and the decision that altered his career

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Twenty years ago, in June 1995, the Cardinals were a franchise in disarray. The depth of their dysfunction was revealed on one dismal day, June 16, when they fired their manager, Joe Torre, and traded their cleanup hitter, Todd Zeile.

todd_zeileRather than signal an inspiring beginning, the moves had the feel of surrender.

The termination of Torre largely was viewed as a lame effort to deflect attention from management’s shortcomings.

The trading of Zeile largely was viewed as spiteful.

A bad team

After being named Cardinals manager in August 1990, Torre led the Cardinals to winning seasons each year from 1991 through 1993. His best record was 87-75 in 1993. When the Cardinals fell to 53-61 in strike-shortened 1994, Torre’s friend, general manager Dal Maxvill, was fired and replaced by Walt Jocketty.

By then, the Anheuser-Busch ownership of the Cardinals seemed more interested in minimizing expense to enhance profitability than it did in investing in the team.

The 1995 Cardinals split their first 18 games, then lost 10 of their next 13 and sunk to 12-19.

“This is a bad team and someone must pay the price,” columnist Bob Nightengale wrote in The Sporting News. “They don’t have a marquee power hitter. They’re awful defensively. They have no speed.”

Published reports indicated Cardinals president Mark Lamping was pressuring a reluctant Jocketty to appease a restless fan base by changing managers.

Cheap PR move

On the morning of June 16, with the Cardinals’ record at 20-27, Jocketty went to Torre’s home and informed the manager he was fired.

“It didn’t surprise me,” Torre told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

His overall record as Cardinals manager: 351-354.

“We worked hard and we did a lot of things,” Torre said. “We just didn’t win enough.”

Said Jocketty: “We will not stand pat and let things keep going as they were.”

Unimpressed, Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz wrote that the Cardinals “dumped a classy guy, Torre, to feed the wolfpack.”

“All I see is a cheap PR move.” Miklasz wrote. “All I see is a twitch reflex from a panic attack.”

Change the dynamics

After considering Cardinals coaches Chris Chambliss and Gaylen Pitts as candidates to replace Torre, Jocketty chose director of player development Mike Jorgensen.

“He is an intense guy … He’ll bring a little fire to the clubhouse as well as to the field,” Cardinals pitcher Tom Urbani said of Jorgensen.

Said Jocketty: “I wanted to bring in someone who could change the dynamics a little.”

Jocketty, though, wasn’t done for the day. Next, he dealt Zeile.

Deal or no deal

Zeile was batting .291 with five home runs and 22 RBI as the first baseman and cleanup hitter for the 1995 Cardinals. In June that year, he revealed that the Cardinals had reneged on a three-year, $12 million handshake agreement he said they made in April.

Lamping was furious. “There never was a deal with Todd Zeile,” Lamping said to Hummel.

Jocketty traded Zeile, 29, to the Cubs for pitcher Mike Morgan, 35, and a pair of minor-league players, first baseman Paul Torres and catcher Francisco Morales.

“We’re not happy with the chemistry and the focus of this team,” Jocketty said. “If you saw Todd Zeile play, you could see he’s not a real aggressive person in his approach to the game. He was kind of at one gait.

“Todd Zeile was not happy here. Todd Zeile asked to be traded … We didn’t want someone here who wasn’t happy.”

In seven seasons with St. Louis, Zeile started at three positions _ catcher, third base and first base _ and batted .267 with 75 home runs.

Zeile told Hummel he would depart “with a lot more fond memories than negative,” but added, “Unfortunately, this situation turned kind of ugly at the end. I think it will be better in the long run to go somewhere where I’ll be embraced.”

Miklasz blasted Lamping and Jocketty, saying the Cardinals executives “smeared Zeile, suggesting he was responsible for poor team chemistry. Zeile wasn’t any more at fault than any of the other veterans on the team. Why single him out as the villain?”

Noting the decisions by Jocketty to acquire underperforming third baseman Scott Cooper and pitcher Danny Jackson, Miklasz wrote: “Jocketty traded for Cooper and he’s a nervous wreck. Jocketty signed Jackson and he’s a physical wreck.”

The aftermath

Getting fired by the Cardinals turned out to be a blessing for Torre. He was hired to manage the Yankees and led them to four World Series titles and six American League pennants. Torre was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Jorgensen managed the Cardinals to a 42-54 record and returned to the front office after the season. He was replaced as manager by La Russa, who would lead St. Louis to two World Series championships and three National League pennants and would be inducted into the Hall of Fame with Torre.

Rookie John Mabry replaced Zeile as the Cardinals’ first baseman.

Zeile was a bust with the 1995 Cubs, hitting .227. After leaving the Cardinals, Zeile played for 10 teams: Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, Rockies, Yankees and Expos. He had 2,004 hits and 1,110 RBI in 16 seasons in the majors.

Morgan made 17 starts for the 1995 Cardinals and was 5-6 with a 3.88 ERA. The next year, he was 4-8 with a 5.24 ERA for St. Louis before he was released.

The two minor-league players acquired with Morgan from the Cubs never reached the big leagues.

Previously: George Kissell, Cardinals inspired Joe Torre to be manager

Previously: Why the best Joe Torre Cardinals club was not good enough

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Joe Medwick was a special hitter for the Cardinals. He also was expensive and high maintenance. When his popularity waned, the Cardinals decided the value Medwick could bring them in a trade was greater than what he could produce for them in the lineup.

joe_medwick3Seventy-five years ago, on June 12, 1940, the Cardinals traded Medwick and pitcher Curt Davis to the Dodgers for $125,000 and four undistinguished players, or, as one writer described them, “a few ham sandwiches.”

Cardinals owner Sam Breadon and general manager Branch Rickey got exactly what they wanted. With attendance sagging and the Cardinals out of contention, Breadon and Rickey were seeking cash.

As The Sporting News noted, the Cardinals traded Medwick “while he had high market value.”

Medwick, a hitter of Hall of Fame skills, had sulked about being lifted in the late innings for a defensive replacement. When he fell into a hitting funk, Cardinals fans taunted him from the Sportsman’s Park bleachers. Witnessing this, Breadon realized there wouldn’t be a public relations backlash if he traded the club’s standout hitter. That’s when he instructed Rickey to pursue a deal.

“The tide had turned,” wrote columnist Dan Daniel. “The fans would not shout against the departure of (Medwick).”

Remarkable hitter

A right-handed batter who swung at pitches outside the strike zone with savage aggressiveness, Medwick, 20, debuted with the Cardinals in September 1932 and became their starting left fielder in 1933.

Among his many remarkable hitting feats with the Cardinals, Medwick:

_ Achieved the Triple Crown in 1937, leading the National League in batting average (.374), home runs (31) and RBI (154). Medwick is the last NL player to accomplish the feat.

_ Won the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1937. He also led the NL that season in runs (111), hits (237), doubles (56), slugging percentage (.641) and total bases (406).

_ Led the NL in hits in 1936 (223).

_ Led the NL in doubles in 1936 (64) and 1938 (47).

_ Led the NL in RBI in 1936 (138) and 1938 (122).

_ Hit .379 (11-for-29) with five RBI in the 1934 World Series vs. the Tigers.

Medwick remains the Cardinals’ all-time single-season leader in doubles (64) and RBI (154).

Interest from Dodgers

Larry MacPhail, Dodgers president, had offered the Cardinals $200,000 for Medwick in 1939, The Sporting News reported. In contention then, the Cardinals rejected the offer.

In 1940, the Cardinals started poorly, losing 20 of their first 32 games. On June 3, Medwick was hitting .297 _ good for most but subpar for him.

Medwick felt disrespected by Breadon and Rickey. After his Triple Crown and MVP season in 1937, the Cardinals rewarded Medwick with a salary of $20,000 in 1938. When he followed his .374 batting average of 1937 with a .322 mark in 1938, the Cardinals cut his pay to $18,000 in 1939. After hitting .332 in 1939, Medwick demanded a $20,000 salary in 1940. Instead, the Cardinals gave him $18,000.

Recalling MacPhail’s interest in Medwick, Rickey contacted the Dodgers in June 1940. “Rickey telephoned and said that the Cardinals were in the mood to do some trading,” MacPhail told The Sporting News.

The ensuing conversation:

MacPhail: “Who will you trade?”

Rickey: “Anybody.”

MacPhail: “Does that go for Medwick, too?”

Rickey: “Yes.”

MacPhail took a flight to St. Louis and closed the deal.

Finances a factor

In exchange for Medwick and Davis (who had 22 wins for the 1939 Cardinals), the Dodgers sent the cash, plus pitchers Carl Doyle and Sam Nahem, outfielder Ernie Koy and third baseman Bert Haas. The Cardinals assigned Nahem and Haas to the minor leagues.

“St. Louis believes the passing of Medwick and the development of a better feeling on the club, minus Joe and his $18,000 salary, will lift the (Cardinals),” Daniel wrote.

Said Breadon: “The Cardinals were going no place with Medwick and Davis on the job _ and they certainly couldn’t be any worse without them.”

The reduction in salaries paired with the infusion of cash helped the Cardinals overcome a drop in attendance. After drawing 400,245 paid customers in 1939, the Cardinals had a total home attendance of 324,078 in 1940. According to columnist Dick Farrington, Breadon was facing “the specter of a financial loss on the season.”

Hit by pitch

In joining the Dodgers, Medwick was reunited with his pal, manager Leo Durocher. They had been Cardinals teammates from 1933-37, when Durocher was the St. Louis shortstop. They played golf together almost daily in the off-season.

Said MacPhail: “Frankly, the Medwick deal surprised me more than anyone else. If you’d have told me a week before that we’d come up with Medwick, I’d have said you were crazy. A month ago, I put out a feeler for him and was told there wasn’t a chance.”

On June 18, in his sixth game for the Dodgers, Medwick faced the Cardinals at Brooklyn. In the first inning, a fastball from Bob Bowman struck Medwick behind the left ear, knocking him unconscious. As Medwick was carried on a stretcher to the clubhouse, MacPhail “stormed over to the Cardinals dugout and challenged the players, individually and collectively,” The Sporting News reported.

All of the Cardinals stood but none made a move. “Take it easy,” Cardinals outfielder Pepper Martin said to MacPhail.

Medwick was taken to a hospital and diagnosed with a concussion.

Bowman said he didn’t intend to hit him. “Medwick was looking for a curveball, expecting the ball to break,” Bowman said.

After the game, Bowman was being escorted from the ballpark by two detectives when MacPhail approached and “sent a wild swing at him,” according to The Sporting News.

The Cardinals visited Medwick in the hospital. Manager Billy Southworth, the only member of the contingent admitted to the room, expressed regrets for the injury. Medwick absolved the Cardinals, calling the incident “just one of those things.” Boxscore

Medwick was released from the hospital on June 21. He hit .300 in 106 games for the 1940 Dodgers. In 1941, he helped them win the pennant, hitting .318 with 18 home runs and 88 RBI.

Medwick returned to the Cardinals in 1947 and finished his playing career with them in 1948. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.

Previously: Joe Medwick set a doubles pace that is hard to beat

Previously: Joe Medwick, Stan Musial: Double trouble for pitchers


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With one swing, Tim McCarver lifted the Cardinals to a victory and propelled Fred Gladding toward a long, productive coaching career.

fred_gladdingOn June 2, 1973, McCarver hit a pinch-hit grand slam against Gladding in the eighth inning, giving the Cardinals a 6-2 victory over the Astros at St. Louis.

It would be the last major-league appearance for Gladding. He was sent to the minors soon afterward and served that summer as a player-coach at Class AAA Denver. That experience launched him the following season into a 22-year career as a coach in the Tigers, Astros and Indians organizations, including three seasons as Detroit’s pitching coach.

The encounter with McCarver is recalled here in memory of Gladding, who died May 21, 2015, at age 78 in Columbia, S.C.

Fading veterans

In June 1973, McCarver, 31, and Gladding, 36, were relegated to support roles after ranking among the best at their positions.

McCarver was the starting catcher on Cardinals clubs that won three National League pennants and two World Series championships in the 1960s. He twice was an all-star with St. Louis (1966-67).

After he was traded to the Phillies in October 1969, McCarver was reacquired by the Cardinals from the Expos in November 1972 and given roles as backup to Ted Simmons at catcher and Joe Torre at first base.

Gladding had been a stellar reliever. He was 6-4 with 12 saves and a 1.99 ERA in 42 games for the 1967 Tigers. In November 1967, the right-hander was dealt to the Astros, completing the trade that sent third baseman Eddie Mathews to Detroit.

In 1969, Gladding had a NL-leading 29 saves for Houston. He followed that with 18 saves for the 1970 Astros.

McCarver magic

On June 2, 1973, a Saturday night in St. Louis, the Astros led, 2-1, when the Cardinals batted in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Jim York. With two outs, Simmons doubled, scoring Dwain Anderson from first, tying the score at 2-2.

The next batter, Jose Cruz, was walked intentionally, putting runners at first and second and setting up a potential forceout. Luis Melendez followed with an infield single, loading the bases.

With Ken Reitz due to bat next, Astros manager Leo Durocher lifted York and replaced him with Gladding. Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst countered by calling on McCarver to bat for Reitz.

Gladding had a 4.11 ERA. McCarver, a left-handed batter, had no home runs.

McCarver swung at the first pitch from Gladding and hit it over the right-field wall for his fifth grand slam of his career.

“I said when we got him back last winter we could use his bat _ and I meant it,” Schoendienst told the Associated Press. “Tim is a tough out. I don’t care who is pitching.”

Rick Wise, the Cardinals’ starter, retired the Astros in the ninth, securing the win. Boxscore

New chapter

Deemed ineffective, Gladding was sent to the minor leagues for the first time since 1964. He went 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA and one save in 20 appearances for the Astros’ Class AAA Denver farm team. The Astros released him in October 1973.

Then, his coaching career began.

The Tigers named Gladding the pitching coach for their 1974 Evansville farm club. Among the pitchers Gladding worked with were future major-leaguers Vern Ruhle and Steve Grilli.

In 1975, Gladding was again at Evansville when he got the chance to mentor a phenom, Mark Fidrych.

Fidrych had started the 1975 season with Class A Lakeland and skyrocketed through the Tigers system, going to Class AA Montgomery and then Class AAA Evansville. With Gladding as his pitching coach, Fidrych, 20, was 4-1 with a 1.58 ERA in six starts for Evansville.

Back in the bigs

In 1976, Gladding returned to the major leagues as pitching coach for Tigers manager Ralph Houk. Fidrych earned a spot in the Tigers’ starting rotation. The combination produced sensational results.

Nicknamed “The Bird,” Fidrych was 19-9 for the 1976 Tigers. He led the American League in ERA (2.34) and complete games (24), started the All-Star Game and was named winner of the Rookie of the Year Award.

In the book “The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych,” Gladding said of his star pupil, “He was very easy to coach. He would listen to you and do what you suggested.”

Gladding remained Tigers pitching coach in 1977 and ’78, mentoring, among others, Jack Morris, who developed into Detroit’s ace. After the 1978 season, Houk retired and his successor, Les Moss, replaced Gladding with former Cardinals pitcher Johnny Grodzicki.

Gladding spent the remainder of his coaching career in the minor-league systems of the Astros and Indians.

In an interview with MLB.com, Steve Kline, the former Cardinals reliever, cited Gladding as a positive influence while Kline was in the Indians organization.

Jim Hickey, pitching coach of the Rays, told ESPN.com he had no intention of becoming a coach until Gladding encouraged him to do so.

In his last season as a minor-league player, Hickey was with the 1989 Columbus Mudcats, an Astros farm team. Gladding was the pitching coach. Gladding believed Hickey “had the smarts and, more importantly, the people skills to excel at coaching.” Inspired, Hickey became one of the best pitching instructors in the game.

In a roundabout way, Hickey can thank Tim McCarver for sending Fred Gladding his way.

Previously: Tim McCarver, Terry Pendleton share grand feat as Cardinals

Previously: Leaving the Cardinals was twice as hard for Tim McCarver

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With Vince Coleman offering a younger, less expensive and more productive alternative as a left fielder, the Cardinals deemed Lonnie Smith expendable.

lonnie_smith5Thirty years ago, on May 17, 1985, the Cardinals dealt Smith to the Royals for John Morris, a minor-league outfielder.

The trade upset Smith, who wanted to remain with St. Louis, and Cardinals fans, who generally thought the club should have received more in return for him. Five months later, Smith played an integral role in the Royals defeating the Cardinals in seven games in the 1985 World Series.

St. Louis sparkplug

In 1982, his first season with the Cardinals, Smith ignited the offense, hitting .307, scoring 120 runs and stealing 68 bases. In the 1982 World Series, Smith hit .321 with six runs scored, helping the Cardinals beat the Brewers in seven games.

Smith underwent rehabilitation for drug abuse in 1983, missing about a month of the season, but still hit .321 with 43 steals.

In 1984, though, his batting average dropped to .250.

Smith opened the 1985 season as the Cardinals’ left fielder, joining Willie McGee in center and Andy Van Slyke in right. When McGee was sidelined by an injury in April, the Cardinals promoted Coleman from Class AAA Louisville. The rookie speedster quickly established himself as a force, hitting .300 with 12 steals in his first dozen games. When McGee returned to the lineup, Smith was odd man out.

Coleman, 23, was receiving a salary of $60,000, according to baseball-reference.com. Smith, 29, was receiving a salary of $850,000, according to The Sporting News.

Royals come calling

The Royals were among several clubs that expressed interest in Smith, Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill said.

The proposed deal with Kansas City called for the Royals to send the Cardinals a player to be named. Maxvill reconsidered and asked instead for Morris, who was hitting .258 at Class AAA Omaha.

Morris, 24, was the first-round choice of the Royals in the 1982 amateur draft. In 1983, Morris was named winner of the Southern League Most Valuable Player Award, hitting .288 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI for Jacksonville.

Three days before the trade was made, the New York Daily News reported a deal was in the works. Morris got a phone call from his mother, who informed him of the newspaper report. Stunned, Morris called Royals general manager John Schuerholz and asked him about it.

According to Morris’ book “Bullet Bob Comes to Louisville,” Schuerholz told him, “Johnny, the news about you being traded is strictly a rumor created by the St. Louis media. You have nothing to worry about. Everything will be fine.”

Hurt feelings

Morris was with the Omaha club in Buffalo when he got a call from Schuerholz. According to Morris’ book, the conversation went like this:

Schuerholz: “John, we just made a trade. You’ve been dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals for Lonnie Smith. I know we discussed this the other day, but at the time I couldn’t give you any information.”

Morris: “So, you knew all along that I was going to be traded. I think it’s unfortunate that I had to find out from my mom, who just happened to stumble upon it in the newspaper.”

Schuerholz: “Listen, John, you’re going to a first-class organization and we know you will do well with the Cardinals … Whitey Herzog is a great manager who thinks the world of you. He even told me that himself in spring training.”

In the book “Whitey’s Boys,” Smith, recalling his reaction to the trade, said, “I actually thought about giving up baseball. I didn’t think I could go anyplace better (than St. Louis).”

Maxvill told The Sporting News he expected to be criticized for trading Smith. “People are going to say that it’s a matter of economics, that the Cardinals don’t want to pay the salaries,” Maxvill said.

Unapologetic, Herzog said, “I would venture to say there’s never been a better defensive outfield than Van Slyke, McGee and Vince.”

Royals benefit

The Cardinals assigned Morris to Class AAA Louisville. In 130 games combined for Omaha and Louisville in 1985, Morris hit .251 with five home runs and 50 RBI.

Smith became the Royals’ everyday left fielder. He replaced Darryl Motley, who moved to right field and platooned there with Pat Sheridan.

“The key things are his bat and his speed and that we think he can give us a boost offensively,” Royals manager Dick Howser said of Smith to the Associated Press.

Regarding Smith’s previous drug problem, Howser told United Press International, “Our indications are _ and we’ve checked it out _ that he’s very good. He’s done what he’s had to do. We feel comfortable with the fact that he’s clean.”

(In his book “White Rat: A Life in Baseball,” Herzog said of Smith’s drug problem, “I admired him, and still do, for having the guts to ask for help.”)

Smith hit .257 with 40 steals for the 1985 Royals. In the World Series versus the Cardinals, Smith batted .333 with four runs scored, four RBI, three doubles and two steals.

Morris played five seasons (1986-90) with the Cardinals, hitting .247 with six home runs and 54 RBI. Granted free agency in October 1990, Morris signed with the Phillies. He finished his big-league career with the 1992 Angels.

In four seasons (1982-85) with the Cardinals, Smith hit .292 with 491 hits in 459 games, 173 steals and a .371 on-base percentage.

Previously: How Lonnie Smith came clean with the Cardinals

Previously: Why Lonnie Smith was a nemesis of Nolan Ryan

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