Archive for the ‘Hitters’ Category

In the last 40 years, no National League game has gone more innings than the one played by the Cardinals and Mets on Sept. 11-12, 1974.

bake_mcbride2Beginning at 8:08 p.m. on Sept. 11 and ending at 3:15 a.m. on Sept, 12, the Cardinals beat the Mets, 4-3, in 25 innings at New York’s Shea Stadium. Started before a crowd of 13,460, it ended before about 1,000 spectators, including baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, his wife and their son.

The Cardinals-Mets marathon remains the longest National League night game in innings played.

In the longest major-league game by innings, the Dodgers and Braves played to a 1-1 tie in 26 innings on May 1, 1920. That National League game was played on a Saturday afternoon at Braves Field in Boston. Boxscore

Only one 25-inning game has been played in the major leagues since the Cardinals-Mets classic in 1974. In an American League game, the White Sox, managed by Tony La Russa, beat the Brewers, 7-6, in 25 innings at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. That game began on a Tuesday night, May 8, 1984, was suspended after 17 innings with the score tied at 3-3 and completed on May 9. Boxscore

With no National League curfew, the Cardinals and Mets played their 25-inning game without a stop in play.

When it ended, Cardinals outfielder Reggie Smith told his teammates, “There’s no way that your wives are going to believe you guys were out playing baseball all night.”

Reitz to the rescue

The Mets had been within an out of winning the game in nine innings.

Behind starter Jerry Koosman, the Mets took a 3-1 lead into the ninth. After Joe Torre struck out, Ted Simmons singled and was replaced by pinch-runner Larry Herndon. When Koosman unleashed a wild pitch while pitching to Bake McBride, Herndon advanced to second.

McBride struck out.

The Cardinals’ last hope was Ken Reitz. He had hit just one home run since July.

Reitz lofted a two-run home run against Koosman, tying the score at 3-3.

Cardinals reliever Claude Osteen, who had a clear view of the home run from his perch in the bullpen, held his hands less than a foot apart when he told United Press International that the ball “went out by about that much.”

Scoreless relief

For the next 15 innings, Cardinals and Mets relievers threw shutouts.

Al Hrabosky, Rich Folkers, Ray Bare, Osteen and Sonny Siebert were the Cardinals relievers who stopped the Mets in extra innings. Osteen pitched 9.1 innings _ the equivalent of a complete-game shutout.

A pair of former Cardinals, Harry Parker and Bob Miller, joined Bob Apodaca and Jerry Cram as the Mets relievers who stopped the Cardinals. Cram pitched eight innings.

They escaped several jams.

_ Torre was out at the plate trying to score on a single by McBride in the 13th.

_ In the 20th, the Cardinals had runners on first and second, no outs, until Smith was picked off at second and the threat fizzled.

_ In the 23rd, the Mets loaded the bases with two outs before Cleon Jones flied out.

_ Both teams loaded the bases with two outs in the 24th but failed to score.

Bake was cooking

Hank Webb, making his first appearance of the season for the Mets, relieved Cram in the 25th inning. The first batter he faced, McBride, got an infield single. Reitz was up next.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst gave the hit-and-run sign. Webb, sensing McBride might be running, made a pickoff throw, but it sailed over first baseman John Milner and rolled into foul territory in right field.

“I figured I could get to third,” McBride told the Associated Press. “Then, when I turned second, I said to myself, ‘I’m going all the way.’ “

McBride raced around third without looking toward coach Vern Benson. “He was going too fast to see any sign anyway,” Benson said.

Milner, who had retrieved the ball, fired a throw to catcher Ron Hodges. McBride and the ball arrived at the plate about the same time. Hodges caught the ball, then dropped it before he could attempt a tag.

“I don’t think he would have had me, even if he had held the ball,” McBride said. “He was out in front of the plate and I was past him.”

The run gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead, but the Mets still had their turn to bat.

Happy ending

Siebert retired the first two batters, Ken Boswell and Felix Millan, on fly outs.

Brock Pemberton, appearing in his second big-league game, pinch-hit for Webb. He singled, prolonging the drama with his first big-league hit. When the ball was removed from the game so that Pemberton would have a keepsake, Mets pitcher Tom Seaver yelled from the dugout, “Don’t give it to him. It’s the last ball we’ve got left.” (Fifteen dozen balls were used in the game, The Sporting News reported.)

Milner, the Mets’ top home run hitter, batted next.

Siebert struck him out, ending the game at 7 hours, 4 minutes. Boxscore

Dizzying stats

The Cardinals used 26 players and the Mets, 24. The Cardinals stranded 20 base runners and the Mets, 25.

Nine players played the entire game. They were McBride, Reitz, Smith, Torre and Ted Sizemore for the Cardinals; Millan, Milner, Wayne Garrett and Dave Schneck for the Mets.

McBride, Reitz and Millan each had four hits in 10 at-bats. Garrett was 0-for-10 with four strikeouts. Lou Brock, the Cardinals’ future Hall of Famer, was 1-for-9 and was caught stealing in his lone attempt.

The home plate umpire, Ed Sudol, also had worked the plate in a 23-inning game between the Mets and Giants in 1964 and a 24-inning game between the Mets and Astros in 1968.

Asked to sum up the long night, Mets pitcher Tug McGraw said, “The only thing I regret now is that all the eating places are closed. I’ll have to go home and make myself a baloney sandwich.”

Previously: Reggie Smith and the Cardinals’ after-hours club

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On the night he broke the record for stolen bases in a season, Lou Brock triggered a wide range of emotions. Cool Papa Bell was delighted. Maury Wills was melancholy. Bob Boone was bitter.

lou_brock10Brock was relieved.

“I’m glad to get it behind me,” Brock said to the Associated Press.

Forty years ago, on Sept. 10, 1974, in an 8-2 Phillies victory over the Cardinals at St. Louis, Brock got his 104th and 105th stolen bases of the season, surpassing the mark of 104 established by Maury Wills of the 1962 Dodgers. The steals were the 739th and 740th of Brock’s career and made him the all-time National League leader, surpassing Max Carey, who swiped 738 for the Pirates and Dodgers from 1910-29.

In achieving the record, Brock stole second base 100 times and third base five times.

Sorry, Maury

Brock, 35, achieved his 105 steals in 134 games. Wills got his 104 steals in 165 games. (The Dodgers had a three-game playoff with the Giants after finishing the 162-game schedule in a tie for first place.)

“I never thought anyone would approach the record this soon, probably not in my lifetime,” Wills told the Associated Press. “I just feel that was my record. I was very proud of it … I don’t think anyone looks forward to seeing his own record broken.”

Asked by The Sporting News to compare his skills with Brock’s, Wills replied, “I had more finesse and got a better lead, but I guess Brock has more speed.”

Hometown hero

The game against the Phillies on Sept. 10 was the Cardinals’ last at home before embarking on a trip to New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Brock was motivated to break the record at home.

“The only pressure was that which I’d put on myself by saying I wanted to do this at home,” Brock said.

In the first inning, before 27,285 at Busch Stadium II, Brock led off with a single against Dick Ruthven. On the second pitch to the next batter, Ron Hunt, Brock broke for second and beat Boone’s throw, which bounced into center field. Brock was credited with a steal of second and advanced to third on the error.

Brock led off the seventh with a single. On Ruthven’s second pitch to Hunt, Brock took off and beat a wide throw from Boone to shortstop Larry Bowa for the record-breaking 105th steal.

“On 105, I felt my legs swaying just before I reached the base,” Brock told The Sporting News. “I didn’t even have enough energy to pop up with my slide. I guess I was pretty well spent.”

Salute to Lou

As Cardinals fans chanted “Lou, Lou, Lou,” the game was halted and Brock was honored in an on-field ceremony. Second-base umpire John McSherry shook hands with Brock. Bowa did, too.

Bell, a Negro League speedster who had been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, presented Brock with the second-base bag. “We decided to give him his 105th base because if we didn’t he was going to steal it anyway,” Bell said.

Addressing the crowd, Brock thanked Ted Sizemore _ “My partner in crime.” _ who had batted behind him for most of the season and patiently took pitches in order to provide Brock with the chances to attempt steals.

Brock also thanked teammates Bake McBride and Reggie Smith “for helping me clock the pitcher’s delivery” and trainer Gene Gieselmann because he “pumps my legs up every day.”

Said Brock of the record: “The key to it all was getting on base enough and staying healthy.”

Sour grapes

Two innings later, with the Cardinals trailing by six, Brock led off the ninth and reached first on Bowa’s error. Brock tried to swipe second, but was caught by Boone.

Afterward, Boone ripped Brock for trying to steal a base with the Cardinals so far behind.

“I thought it was brutal,” Boone said to the Associated Press. “When anybody tries to steal with his club six runs behind, he better darn sure make it. I lost a lot of respect for the man when he tried that … You just can’t get thrown out in that situation.

“My dad played with a guy named Jungle Jim Rivera and he was paid by the number of bases he stole. Maybe Brock’s got something like that in his contract, too. I don’t know why he did it. It wasn’t good baseball.”

Said Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt of Brock: “What the hell’s he stealing for in the ninth inning?”

Replied Brock: “Sometimes you can make things happen by the unexpected.”

Green means go

Several Phillies defended Brock.

“Everybody knows he’s going to run and he still does and makes it most of the time,” Bowa said.

Said Phillies second baseman Dave Cash: “When a man steals 104 or 105 bases, you don’t put the red light on.”

Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton, Brock’s former Cardinals teammate, said, “These people came to see him run.” Boxscore

Brock finished the 1974 season with 118 steals. It was the only time in 19 big-league seasons that he swiped more than 74. Video

Eight years later, Rickey Henderson broke Brock’s record by swiping 130 for the 1982 Athletics.

Henderson is the big-league career leader in steals at 1,406. Brock is second at 938.

Previously: Hot leadoff hitting helped Lou Brock earn steals record

Previously: The real story on Lou Brock and his steals of home

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Joe Cunningham usually hit for average, not for power. So the three home runs he produced in his first two big-league games with the Cardinals were surprising.

joe_cunninghamTwo rookies with the 2014 Cubs, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, joined Cunningham as the only players since 1900 to hit three home runs in their first three major-league games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Baez hit a home run in his first major-league game on Aug. 5, 2014, at Colorado and followed that with two homers in his third game on Aug. 7 at Colorado.

Soler homered in his first big-league game on Aug. 27, 2014, at Cincinnati and hit two more in his third game on Aug. 29 at St. Louis.

Cunningham did them one better. He’s the only player since 1900 to hit three home runs in his first two big-league games.

Mid-season replacement

A left-handed batter and first baseman, Cunningham, 22, began the 1954 season at Class AAA Rochester. On June 28, 1954, the Cardinals came to Rochester to play an exhibition game versus the Red Wings. Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky said the prospect he was most interested in seeing was Cunningham.

Cunningham produced two singles and walked twice in four plate appearances.

Impressed, the Cardinals decided to promote Cunningham. On June 29, before the Red Wings played a doubleheader against Havana at Rochester, Cunningham was told he would be joining the Cardinals in Cincinnati the next day.

Cunningham was replacing rookie first baseman Tom Alston. In 66 games, Alston, the Cardinals’ first black player, hit .246 with four homers and 34 RBI. But he slumped in June (.181 batting average for the month) and produced only seven RBI in his last 42 games.

Whirlwind journey

Cunningham planned to catch an overnight train from Rochester to Cincinnati after playing both games of the doubleheader against Havana. He went hitless  _ “I was so happy and surprised (about the promotion) I hardly could see up there at the plate,” Cunningham said to The Sporting News. _ but because of the length of the games, he missed the train.

“I just had to get there,” Cunningham said.

A member of the Rochester publicity staff agreed to drive Cunningham from Rochester to the Buffalo airport the morning of June 30. Cunningham took a flight from Buffalo to Cincinnati, arrived in the afternoon, signed a big-league contract and went to the ballpark.

Stanky put Cunningham in the starting lineup, batting him fifth against the Reds that night.

St. Louis slugger

Cunningham hit into force outs in his first two at-bats. In the fifth, facing Art Fowler, a 32-year-old rookie right-hander, Cunningham hit a three-run home run for his first big-league hit. He followed that with a two-run single off left-hander Harry Perkowski in the seventh. Cunningham’s five-RBI performance carried the Cardinals to an 11-3 victory. Boxscore

Immediately afterward, the Cardinals traveled to Milwaukee for a game the next day, July 1, against the Braves and their ace, left-hander Warren Spahn. Stanky put Cunningham in the lineup, batting sixth.

Cunningham hit two home runs off Spahn. The first was a 390-foot solo shot to right in the second inning. In the fifth, he connected for a three-run homer that landed just inside the right-field foul pole. The Cardinals won, 9-2. Boxscore

Dream come true

“This is just like a dream,” Cunningham said to the Associated Press. “I always wanted to be a big leaguer, but I had no idea it would come so soon.”

He had just one problem. “I left the minors in such a hurry I only brought along one pair of trousers,” Cunningham said. “I guess I’m still in a sort of shock. I had all my stuff at the cleaners and the only pants I’ve got are the ones I’ve been wearing.”

The next day, July 2, playing in his third game in his third city in three days, Cunningham was 1-for-3 with a single and a walk against the Cubs at Chicago. Boxscore

Cunningham finished the 1954 season with a .284 batting average, 11 home runs and 50 RBI in 85 games for the Cardinals. In 12 big-league seasons, seven with the Cardinals, Cunningham hit .291 with 64 homers. His single-season high in home runs was 12 for the 1958 Cardinals.

Previously: The story of how Tom Alston integrated Cardinals

Previously: Jim Brosnan: Combination Cardinals chronicler, closer

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An overachiever with a team-oriented attitude, Joe McEwing was Tony La Russa’s kind of Cardinals player.

joe_mcewingMcEwing also might be La Russa’s kind of manager.

Speculation is McEwing, the former Cardinals second baseman, might be approached by La Russa to become manager of the Diamondbacks.

McEwing has been a coach with the White Sox since 2012. Before that, he was a manager for three seasons in the White Sox minor-league system. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is a close friend of La Russa, whose first big-league managing job was with the White Sox.

La Russa, chief baseball officer for the Diamondbacks, hasn’t said whether he’ll retain Kirk Gibson as manager. That’s fueled speculation about who else La Russa might consider.

Sub to starter

McEwing played for the Cardinals in 1998 and 1999 when La Russa was their manager. Called up from the minors in September 1998, McEwing, 25, made his big-league debut with the Cardinals and played in 10 games that month, batting .200 (4-for-20).

Ticketed for a utility role with the 1999 Cardinals, McEwing earned the second base job over Placido Polanco.

McEwing endeared himself to La Russa and Cardinals fans by putting together a 25-game hitting streak from June 8-July 4. He broke the Cardinals rookie record held by Johnny Mize (22-game streak in 1936). McEwing’s streak was the longest by a Cardinals player since Lou Brock (26 consecutive games) in 1971.

“I appreciate Cardinal history,” McEwing said to columnist Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch during the streak. “I’m a big fan of the game and to be mentioned in the same sentence with Johnny Mize, Lou Brock, Hall of Famers. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Asked whether he thought of the streak when he awoke each morning, McEwing replied to Miklasz, “When I get up, I worry about getting my coffee and doughnuts.”

Super streak

The streak began with a pair of singles against Royals starter Chris Fussell on June 8 at Kansas City. Boxscore

It reached 25 games in a row on July 4 with a home run off Diamondbacks starter Andy Benes, a former Cardinal. Boxscore

“He plays each game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series,” La Russa said of McEwing during the streak. “He is never different.”

Willie McGee, who had a 22-game streak for the 1990 Cardinals, said McEwing “deserves it. He works hard … He’s an outstanding person and an outstanding player.”

Beaten by the best

McEwing’s streak was snapped by Diamondbacks left-hander Randy Johnson on July 5. McEwing was 0-for-4 that day against Johnson, who won the National League ERA title and the second of his five Cy Young awards in 1999. In his last at-bat, McEwing lined out to left in the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs. Boxscore

“I told him he just got beat by a Hall of Famer,” La Russa said.

Added McEwing: “It was a good run and I enjoyed it.”

McEwing hit .318 during the streak, with 13 runs scored.

Fifteen years later, his hitting streak remains the longest by a Cardinals rookie.

McEwing would finish the 1999 season with a .275 batting average and 141 hits, including 28 doubles, in 152 games. He paced the Cardinals with 16 infield hits and grounded into only three double plays in 513 at-bats. McEwing made 85 starts at second base, 18 in center field, 16 in left and eight in right.

After the season, the Cardinals acquired second baseman Fernando Vina from the Brewers. During spring training in March 2000, the Cardinals traded McEwing to the Mets for reliever Jesse Orosco. McEwing helped the Mets win their first pennant in 14 years, eliminating the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series.

In eight big-league season with the Cardinals, Mets, Royals and Astros, McEwing batted .251 with 443 hits. That’s better than La Russa, who batted .199 with 35 hits in six seasons with the Athletics, Braves and Cubs before going on to a Hall of Fame managerial career.

Previously: How Tony La Russa can learn from Whitey Herzog mistakes

Previously: Tony La Russa successor follows Cardinals pattern

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Being discarded by the Cardinals was tough on Tim McCarver the first time it happened. The second time was worse.

tim_mccarver4Forty years ago, Sept. 1, 1974, the Cardinals sold the contract of McCarver to the Red Sox.

At the time of the transaction, the Cardinals were in second place in the National League East, 2.5 games behind the Pirates.

It hurt McCarver that the Cardinals saw him as a liability rather than an asset in their late-season bid for a division championship.

McCarver, 32, was in his second stint with the Cardinals in 1974. He had debuted with them as a 17-year-old catcher in 1959. A two-time all-star who finished runner-up to teammate Orlando Cepeda in voting for the 1967 Most Valuable Player Award, McCarver was an integral part of a Cardinals club that won three National League pennants and two World Series titles in the 1960s. His leadership skills and special bond with pitching ace Bob Gibson also were important.

Feeling the hurt

In October 1969, the Cardinals dealt McCarver, center fielder Curt Flood, pitcher Joe Hoerner and outfielder Byron Browne to the Phillies for slugger Richie Allen, infielder Cookie Rojas and pitcher Jerry Johnson.

In his book “Oh, Baby, I Love It” (1987, Villard), McCarver recalled, “When general manager Bing Devine broke the news to me about my going to Philly, he said it hurt him to do it. That’s like a father dangling a razor strap in front of his 4-year-old son and saying, ‘This is going to hurt me more than it’ll hurt you.’ Bull. Since St. Louis had been my baseball home since my rookie year in 1959, it had to hurt me more than a little, too.”

Reacquired by St. Louis in a November 1972 trade with the Expos for outfielder Jorge Roque, McCarver batted .266 with 49 RBI as a utility player for the 1973 Cardinals.

In 1974, McCarver’s role primarily was to be the Cardinals’ top pinch-hitter, although he also filled in at catcher and at first base. He struggled, hitting .179 (7-for-39) as a pinch-hitter and .217 (23-for-106) overall. He produced just one extra-base hit.

Bound for Beantown

On Aug. 29, as the Cardinals left San Diego to open a series in San Francisco, Bob Kennedy, Cardinals player personnel director, informed McCarver he likely would be dealt to the Athletics, who were atop the American League West and headed to their third consecutive World Series championship. The Athletics were seeking a veteran backup to catcher Ray Fosse.

“I thought I was being traded to Oakland,” McCarver said in his book. “When the Cards took a flight to San Francisco, I went with them, fully expecting to transfer across the bay.”

After arriving at San Francisco, McCarver called his wife, Anne, at their home in Memphis and said, “I need you.”

Said McCarver: “I was pretty depressed about leaving the Cards, who had a shot at the pennant that year. Anne flew from Memphis to San Francisco and we had dinner that Friday night. The next morning, I got word that I was heading to (Boston).”

The Red Sox, who led the American League East, were seeking help for catcher Bob Montgomery, who was filling in for an injured Carlton Fisk.

“When the Red Sox picked me up, I hadn’t the slightest notion they had any interest in me,” McCarver said.

Trust issues

The transaction caught many by surprise.

In The Sporting News, Peter Gammons reported this exchange with Red Sox manager Darrell Johnson: “On Aug. 30, Johnson was asked if the Sox were interested in Tim McCarver. ‘No,’ he answered, but McCarver was bought the next day.”

Wrote St. Louis reporter Neal Russo: “It’s usually the custom to add a few veterans for a club’s final push, but the Cardinals dropped one.”

With McCarver gone, the Cardinals called up prospects Marc Hill to back up catcher Ted Simmons and Keith Hernandez to back up first baseman Joe Torre.

In the end, neither the Cardinals nor the Red Sox qualified for the postseason. The Cardinals finished in second place, 1.5 games behind the Pirates, and Boston placed third, seven behind the first-place Orioles.

Previously: How Tim McCarver became a Cardinal at 17

Previously: Tim McCarver challenged Bob Gibson for World Series MVP

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Just three years after being drafted by the Cardinals as almost an afterthought, Keith Hernandez made his major-league debut in his hometown as the heir apparent to one of St. Louis’ most prominent players.

keith_hernandez4Forty years ago, on Aug. 30, 1974, Hernandez, 20, played his first big-league game for the Cardinals against the Giants at San Francisco. Batting seventh and starting at first base, Hernandez had a single, two walks and a RBI in four plate appearances against left-handed starter Mike Caldwell.

Promoted from Class AAA Tulsa, Hernandez was filling in for perennial all-star Joe Torre, who was sidelined because of a sprained thumb. Torre, 34, would return to the lineup four days later, but he was traded to the Mets soon after the season in order to clear a path for Hernandez to become the everyday first baseman.

Scaring the scouts

A San Francisco native, Hernandez was chosen by the Cardinals in the 42nd round of the big-league draft in 1971. “I would have been someone’s first-round draft choice if I hadn’t quit the (high school) team my senior year,” Hernandez told the San Mateo County Times in 2009. “A lot of scouts were scared off.”

The Cardinals were one of only five teams still selecting players in the 42nd round. The final round was the 48th. Hernandez would be the only player taken after the 36th round of the 1971 draft to reach the major leagues.

Hernandez began the 1974 season playing for manager Ken Boyer on the Cardinals’ Class AAA Tulsa team in the American Association. The Sporting News described Hernandez and teammate Marc Hill, a catcher, as the “best major-league prospects to grace the Association in 1974.”

Hernandez was batting .351 with 124 hits in 102 games and an on-base percentage of .425 for Tulsa when Boyer informed him at the team hotel during a trip to Oklahoma City that he had been promoted to the Cardinals.

“I must have spent $50 on the telephone calling my parents, relatives and friends from Oklahoma City when I found out I was going up,” Hernandez told The Sporting News.

Meanwhile, Hernandez determined he needed a wardrobe upgrade before joining the Cardinals. “All that was open in Oklahoma City … in fact, all they had, was western-wear stuff,” Hernandez told Josh Lewin for the book “You Never Forget Your First Time” (2005, Potomac). “But I needed travel clothes, so that’s what I did. I looked like the polyester Roy Rogers heading off to the big leagues.”

No place like home

With the Giants 15 wins below .500 and 25 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West, only 3,111 spectators witnessed Hernandez’s debut on a cold Friday night at Candlestick Park. “My family sat right behind home plate, near our dugout,” Hernandez said.

In his first plate appearance, he drew a third-inning walk. He followed that with a strikeout in the fifth and another walk in the seventh.

With the Giants ahead, 8-1, in the ninth, Hernandez got his first big-league hit, a single to right that scored Bake McBride from second. Boxscore

“It was a dream come true breaking into the major leagues in your hometown,” Hernandez told The Sporting News.

Hernandez started at first base in all three games of the weekend series at San Francisco. He produced three hits in 10 at-bats.

Learning the ropes

“Joe (Torre) and Lou Brock took me aside and made me feel welcome when I got there,” Hernandez told Lewin for his book. “… I was 20 on a team of nothing but 33-year-old veterans. But the guys were nice enough to try and make me feel part of what they were doing.”

In 14 games for the 1974 Cardinals, Hernandez hit .294 (10-for-34) with seven walks.

Hernandez opened the 1975 season as the Cardinals’ everyday first baseman. But he struggled to hit. With his batting average at .203 on June 3, Hernandez was demoted to Tulsa. Reunited with Boyer, Hernandez batted .330 with 107 hits in 85 games and a .440 on-base percentage for Tulsa. The Cardinals brought him back in September.

Four years later, with Boyer managing the Cardinals, Hernandez won the National League batting title (at .344) and was named co-winner of the NL Most Valuable Player Award with the Pirates’ Willie Stargell.

In 10 seasons with St. Louis, Hernandez produced 1,217 hits in 1,165 games, batting .299 with an on-base percentage of .385. He twice was named an all-star while with the Cardinals and won the first five of his 11 consecutive Gold Glove awards.

Previously: Why Cardinals dealt Keith Hernandez in 1983

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