Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

Needing to win one of three games against the Mets to block them from taking a share of first place in the National League East, the Cardinals finally achieved the goal in the finale of an intense October series at St. Louis.

jeff_lahtiThirty years ago, on Oct. 1, 1985, the Mets trailed the first-place Cardinals by three games entering a weeknight series at Busch Stadium II.

With the tension building after Mets wins in each of the first two games, the Cardinals got a one-run victory and held on to first place alone. Two days later, on Oct. 5, they clinched the division title with a win against the Cubs.

Here is a look at that critical Mets-Cardinals series:

Game 1

The Oct. 1 game was scoreless through 10 innings. John Tudor, the Cardinals’ starter, pitched 10 shutout innings. Mets starter Ron Darling went nine innings and Jesse Orosco pitched the 10th.

In the 11th, Ken Dayley relieved Tudor and struck out the first two batters, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter.

Darryl Strawberry batted next.

With the count 1-and-1, Dayley delivered a breaking pitch. Strawberry hit a towering drive that slammed into the scoreboard clock for a home run.

“He hit a curveball _ a hanging curveball,” Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog told Larry Harnly of The State Journal-Register of Springfield, Ill. Video

In the Cardinals’ half of the 11th, Orosco struck out Willie McGee. The next batter, Tommy Herr, lofted a fly ball to shallow center. Mookie Wilson got a late jump and attempted a basket catch, but dropped the ball for a two-base error.

Brian Harper, pinch-hitting for Darrell Porter, grounded out to second, advancing Herr to third with two outs.

Orosco ended the drama by getting Ivan De Jesus, pinch-hitting for Andy Van Slyke, to fly out to Wilson, giving the Mets a 1-0 victory.

“Tell me,” Mets manager Davey Johnson asked reporters in discussing the Strawberry home run, “is the clock still working?” Boxscore

Game 2

The pressure still was on the Mets, who trailed the Cardinals by two with five games remaining on Oct. 2.

The Mets responded to the challenge.

Starter Dwight Gooden went the distance. He allowed nine hits and issued four walks, but he struck out 10 and the Cardinals stranded 10.

The Mets scored five runs off Cardinals starter Joaquin Andujar and won, 5-2, slicing the St. Louis lead to one with four games to play.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals nearly rallied. Trailing 5-1, they scored a run and loaded the bases with two outs against Gooden.

“I knew he was tired and I knew it was draining him,” Johnson told reporters. “At the same time, I thought Gooden was our best bet. He bends a little, but he doesn’t break.”

The move nearly backfired.

Herr laced a line drive that was caught by second baseman Wally Backman, ending the game. Video

“When Herr first hit the ball, I thought it was going to be over Wally’s head,” Gooden said. “It was panic time.” Boxscore

Game 3

After the Mets won Game 2 of the series, Davey Johnson said, “We’ve done what we had to do so far. We’ve got two-thirds of the job done. The pressure is on them now.”

If the Mets won the Oct. 3 series finale, completing the sweep, they’d be tied with the Cardinals and would have the momentum.

Instead, the Cardinals won, 4-3. Vince Coleman was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Ozzie Smith contributed two hits, two runs and a RBI. Starter Danny Cox held the Mets to two runs in six innings and the bullpen, especially Ricky Horton and Jeff Lahti, preserved the lead.

Horton retired the last two batters of the eighth and the first two batters of the ninth before Hernandez singled, representing the tying run. It was Hernandez’s fifth hit of the game.

“He broke his bat on the hit,” Horton told Harnly. “It was a fastball down and in. He makes a living on hitting good pitches.”

Lahti relieved and faced Carter. “We figured Carter might be looking for a slider,” Lahti said. “I asked (catcher) Darrell Porter what he wanted and he wanted a fastball. I go along with his suggestions.”

Lahti’s first pitch was a fastball away. Carter swung and drove a fly ball to right. Said Lahti: “When Carter hit it, I was screaming, ‘Catch it. Catch it.’ He’s beaten me to right field before.”

The ball carried to Van Slyke, who made the catch, ending the game and giving the first-place Cardinals a two-game lead with three to play. Boxscore

Said Herr of the Mets to the San Diego Union-Tribune: “They’re like the bowler who needed three strikes in the 10th (frame) to win. They got the first two, but they left the 10-pin standing on the third.”

On Oct. 4, the Cardinals beat the Cubs (Bob Forsch over Dennis Eckersley) and the Mets defeated the Expos, leaving St. Louis two ahead with two to play.

The Cardinals clinched on Oct. 5, beating the Cubs Boxscore while the Mets lost to the Expos.

Previously: Cesar Cedeno and his amazing month with Cardinals

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Randy Wiles was the pitcher the Cardinals traded to acquire Tony La Russa.

randy_wilesIn a deal made with the intention of jump-starting a pair of stalled minor-league careers, the Cardinals sent Wiles to the White Sox in exchange for La Russa on Dec. 15, 1976.

From there, the careers of the two players took different paths.

La Russa played one season as an infielder in the Cardinals system before beginning a long and successful second career as a manager, including 16 years (1996-2011) with St. Louis. His two World Series titles, three National League pennants and a franchise-leading 1,408 wins with the Cardinals helped get him elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Wiles, a left-hander, pitched briefly with the White Sox in 1977, got traded back to the Cardinals after the season and was out of baseball by the end of 1978.

His death on Sept. 15, 2015, at age 64 prompted me to research his story and tell it here.

Good potential

Randy Wiles was selected by the Cardinals in the fifth round of the 1973 draft after earning all-Southeastern Conference honors at Louisiana State University.

He was drafted just ahead of another pitcher, LaMarr Hoyt, who went on to become a big-league all-star.

In his first two seasons in the Cardinals’ system, Wiles established himself as a prospect with big-league potential.

He spent 1973 with the Gulf Coast Cardinals (managed by Ken Boyer) and Class A St. Petersburg, posting a 2.81 ERA in 16 games.

In 1974, Wiles had one of the best seasons of any pitcher in the Cardinals organization, with eight wins and a 2.56 ERA in 30 games at Class AA Arkansas. Wiles won seven of his last eight decisions, yielding two runs for the month of August.

“Everything just clicked,” Wiles told The Sporting News. “I was consistent every time out.”

Reverse course

Wiles opened the 1975 season at Class AAA Tulsa, playing again for Boyer. Instead of positioning himself for a promotion to the big leagues, Wiles took a step back, posting a 5.92 ERA in 11 games.

“I was so inconsistent … I couldn’t keep the ball down,” said Wiles.

The Cardinals demoted him to Arkansas. Dejected, Wiles was 4-5 with a 3.45 ERA in 12 games for the Class AA club.

“I probably had an attitude problem when I was sent down to Arkansas from Tulsa,” Wiles said. “I tried to shake it, but I couldn’t. I gained a lot of weight, too. I wasn’t in shape.”

At spring training in 1976, Wiles pitched well. “I had the best spring I’ve ever had,” he said. “I gave up only one run. Ken Boyer said I would be with him (at Tulsa).”

Instead, the Cardinals sent Wiles to Arkansas. The Cardinals had signed a batch of former big-league pitchers _ Lloyd Allen, Roric Harrison, Lerrin LaGrow and Harry Parker _ and assigned them to Tulsa, leaving no spots available for Wiles.

Relying primarily on a fastball and slider, Wiles rebounded, with a 2.72 ERA in 21 games for Arkansas. “He should be in Tulsa,” said Arkansas manager Jack Krol. “He just got caught up in the numbers game this year. The organization is still high on him. He’s a good pitcher.”

Wiles did get promoted to Tulsa during the 1976 season and, reunited with Boyer, had a 3.90 ERA in 12 games.

Minor deal

After the season, his fourth in the Cardinals system, Wiles, 25, was traded to the White Sox for La Russa, who had batted .259 at Class AAA Iowa in 1976.

La Russa, 32, no longer was considered a big-league prospect, but he appealed to the Cardinals as a player-coach who could mentor infielders such as Jim Riggleman and Ken Oberkfell at Class AAA New Orleans.

“He was kind of looking out for me a little bit,” Riggleman said in the book, “Tony La Russa: Man on a Mission.” “He became like a big brother to me. He gave me a lot of advice and you knew there was a lot of respect for him among the players.”

The White Sox sent Wiles to Iowa for the 1977 season. In August, seeking a left-handed reliever, the White Sox promoted Wiles to the big leagues.

Wiles appeared in five games for Chicago, with a 1-1 record and 10.12 ERA. After two weeks with the White Sox, Wiles was placed on waivers and claimed by the Cardinals, who sent him to join La Russa in New Orleans.

After the season, the Cardinals traded Wiles again _ to the Astros for minor-league pitcher Ron Selak, a former Cardinals prospect who had been selected by St. Louis three rounds ahead of Wiles in the 1973 draft.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals talked with La Russa about becoming manager of their rookie league club at Johnson City, Tenn. Though flattered, La Russa said he’d rather seek a position at a higher level of the minor leagues.

In 1978, Wiles, 27, pitched his final season of professional baseball, with the Astros’ Class AAA club in Charleston, W.Va. La Russa launched his career as a manager that season, with the Class AA Knoxville affiliate of the White Sox. A year later, La Russa, 34, became White Sox manager.

Previously: The story of how Tony La Russa got his 1st Cards win

Previously: Tony La Russa and the night he got to be No. 3

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At each significant step in the Cardinals career of pitcher Barney Schultz, Johnny Keane played a prominent role.

barney_schultz2Keane was the minor-league manager who helped Schultz reach the majors for the first time with the 1955 Cardinals. Eight years later, when Schultz was placed on waivers by the 1963 Cubs, Keane, then manager of the Cardinals, convinced general manager Bing Devine to make the deal that returned Schultz to St. Louis. A year later, in August 1964, when the Cardinals appeared to have slipped out of contention, Keane made Schultz the closer. The knuckleball specialist rewarded his mentor with a stretch of outstanding relief that carried St. Louis to a National League pennant and a World Series championship.

After his playing career, Schultz remained with the Cardinals as a minor-league instructor and then pitching coach on the big-league staff of manager Red Schoendienst.

Schultz, 89, died on Sept. 6, 2015, in his native New Jersey.

His story is one of how being prepared for opportunity and not giving up can lead to success.

Long journey

Schultz was 17 when he debuted as a professional player in the Phillies system in 1944. The right-hander played for five organizations _ Phillies, Tigers, Braves, Cubs and Pirates _ without getting to the big leagues.

After the 1953 season, Schultz was acquired by the Cardinals from the Pirates’ Denver farm club. The Denver executive who made the deal was Bob Howsam.

The Cardinals assigned Schultz to their Class AAA club in Columbus, Ohio, for 1954. The Columbus manager was Keane.

Schultz, 27, no longer was considered a prime prospect. Keane decided to use him mostly in relief. Schultz posted an 8-8 record and 3.86 ERA in 41 games for Columbus. “Barney had a good fastball then, too, and I’d urge him to use it often with his knuckler,” Keane told The Sporting News.

Convinced that Schultz had found his role as a reliever, Keane recommended that the Cardinals give Schultz a good look at spring training in 1955. The Cardinals agreed and Schultz delivered. At 28, he made the Opening Day roster of the 1955 Cardinals, joining another rookie knuckleball pitcher, Bobby Tiefenauer, in the bullpen.

In 19 games with the Cardinals, Schultz was 1-2 with four saves and a 7.89 ERA. On June 16, about three weeks after Harry Walker had replaced Eddie Stanky as manager, Schultz was demoted by the Cardinals to their Class AA Houston affiliate. He was 5-7 with a 3.46 ERA there for manager Mike Ryba.

Back with Keane

Schultz spent the next two seasons, 1956 and ’57, playing for Keane with the Cardinals’ Class AAA club at Omaha. He was 9-12 with a 4.19 ERA in 1956 and 8-7 with a 2.83 ERA in 1957.

Schultz, 31, began his third consecutive season under Keane with Omaha in 1958. His career clearly was stalled. On May 26, 1958, the Cardinals traded him to the Tigers for Ben Mateosky, a minor-league outfielder.

Freed from the Cardinals’ organization, Schultz worked his way back to the big leagues. He pitched for the 1959 Tigers and then for the Cubs from 1961-63.

In June 1963, the Cubs placed Schultz, 36, on waivers. Keane, in his third season as Cardinals manager, urged Devine to acquire the pitcher. The Cardinals submitted a bid to claim Schultz on waivers, then sweetened the deal by offering utility player Leo Burke in exchange. On June 24, 1963, the transaction was made, reuniting Schultz with Keane and the Cardinals.

“We had talked about Schultz all spring,” Devine said. “We were the only ones to put in a bid for him when the Cubs asked waivers on him.”

The only players remaining on the 1963 Cardinals who were with St. Louis when Schultz debuted in 1955 were Stan Musial, Ken Boyer and Schoendienst.

Schultz was 2-0 with a save and a 3.57 ERA in 24 games for the 1963 Cardinals, who placed second in the NL to the Dodgers.

Closer in waiting

Based on their 1963 performances, the Cardinals were expected to contend in 1964 and Schultz, with his connections and experience, was considered a probable fit for the bullpen. Instead, the Cardinals sent Schultz to Class AAA Jacksonville before leaving spring training. The Cardinals sputtered and by mid-June their record was below .500.

Schultz, meanwhile, was pitching spectacularly for Jacksonville and his former Cardinals manager, Harry Walker. Schultz had an 8-5 record and 1.05 ERA in 42 games when the Cardinals recalled him from Jacksonville on July 31, 1964 _ two weeks before his 38th birthday.

Reunited again with Keane, Schultz yielded no runs in his first nine appearances for the 1964 Cardinals, earning five saves in that stretch.

Meanwhile, impatient Cardinals owner Gussie Busch fired Devine and replaced him with Howsam, who had sent Schultz to the Cardinals a decade earlier.

With Schultz confidently protecting leads and closing out games, the Cardinals rallied to win the pennant on the final day of the regular season. Schultz had six saves in his final eight appearances, all scoreless. Overall, Schultz was 1-3 with 14 saves and a 1.64 ERA in 30 games over the last two months of the 1964 season for St. Louis.

After the Cardinals defeated the Yankees in a seven-game World Series, Keane resigned and became Yankees manager.

Pitching for rookie manager Schoendienst, Schultz was 2-2 with two saves and a 3.83 ERA in 34 games for the 1965 Cardinals before he was demoted to Jacksonville.

In 1966, Schultz was a player-coach for the Cardinals’ minor-league Tulsa team. He was a Cardinals minor-league instructor from 1967-70 and served as Cardinals pitching coach under Schoendienst from 1971-75. Among those who praised him as a mentor were Cardinals pitchers Bob Forsch and John Denny.

In 1977, Schultz was pitching coach for the Cubs. His prize pupil was Bruce Sutter, who developed into a standout closer under Schultz and capped a Hall of Fame career by helping the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series title.

Previously: Why the Cardinals played baseball in Delaware on D-Day

Previously: 20th win for Ray Sadecki put 1964 Cardinals into 1st place

Previously: 5-game sweep of Pirates positioned Cardinals for pennant

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Because of the rate at which he strikes out batters, Alex Reyes clearly is a special talent. That’s why he’s my choice as the top prospect in the Cardinals’ organization.

Members of the United Cardinal Bloggers were invited to rate the top seven Cardinals prospects. For this exercise, I define a prospect as a player who hasn’t appeared in the big leagues.

My selections:


alex_reyesIn 22 combined starts for Springfield, Palm Beach and the Gulf Coast Cardinals during 2015, Reyes, 21, struck out 151 in 101.1 innings pitched. The right-hander had a 2.49 ERA.

Reyes’ rise to the top among Cardinals prospects is a story of perseverance. He wasn’t selected by any team in the amateur draft. The Cardinals signed him as a free agent in 2012 after he was graduated from Elizabeth (N.J.) High School.


The right-handed pitcher was 8-5 with a 1.62 ERA in 19 starts for Palm Beach in 2015. Weaver, 22, allowed two home runs in 105.1 innings pitched.

Unlike Reyes, Weaver was highly touted. The Cardinals chose him in the first round of the 2014 draft after a stellar college career at Florida State.


The shortstop appears to be the heir apparent to Cardinals veteran Jhonny Peralta.

Diaz, 25, had 118 hits in 116 games combined for Springfield and Memphis in 2015. He produced 28 doubles and 13 home runs.

The native Cuban signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2014.


An outfielder and left-handed batter, Tilson, 22, has the potential to thrill fans and ignite an offense. At Springfield in 2015, Tilson batted .295 with 46 stolen bases. He had 159 hits in 134 games and an impressive .351 on-base percentage.

Tilson, a second-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2011 draft, also is a splendid defensive outfielder.


The left-handed pitcher was an ace for Peoria in 2015. In 22 starts, Gomber, 21, was 15-3 with a 2.67 ERA, striking out 140 in 135 innings.

The former Florida Atlantic University standout was a fourth-round choice of the Cardinals in the 2014 draft.


After being named Cardinals 2014 minor league player of the year, Sierra, 19, experienced some struggles at Johnson City and Peoria in 2015. Still, the outfielder produced 102 hits in 104 games, with 19 stolen bases.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sierra was signed as a free agent by the Cardinals in 2012.


The infielder is an explosive base runner. With Peoria in 2015, Mercado, 20, had 120 hits in 117 games, with 50 stolen bases. He has 88 steals in three years in the St. Louis system since being taken in the second round of the 2013 draft.

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Bob Gibson capped one of his best seasons as a hitter by slugging a grand slam against a fellow future Hall of Famer.

gaylord_perryFifty years ago, on Sept. 29, 1965, Gibson hit his first career grand slam. It came against Gaylord Perry at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, lifting the Cardinals to a victory that severely damaged the National League pennant hopes of the Giants.

The home run was the fifth of the season for Gibson, who batted .240 with 19 RBI in 1965. The year before, when the Cardinals won the pennant and World Series crown, Gibson had batted .156 with no home runs.

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “I was pleased that my stroke had returned after an off year in 1964.”

During his Cardinals career, Gibson hit 26 home runs _ 24 in the regular reason and two in the World Series. Each came against a different pitcher. Perry was the only one who, like Gibson, would be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Doing it all

The Giants entered their Wednesday afternoon game against the Cardinals in second place, a game behind the Dodgers, with five remaining.

It was their misfortune to be matched against Gibson. He dominated the Giants for eight innings that day with his pitching and hitting.

Gibson singled twice and scored the Cardinals’ first two runs.

In the eighth, with the Cardinals ahead, 4-0, runners on second and third and one out, Perry relieved starter Bob Shaw.

With Gibson on deck, Giants manager Herman Franks instructed Perry to issue an intentional walk to Bob Skinner, pinch-hitting for Julian Javier.

Perry, 27, hadn’t yet mastered the spitball that would transform him into an ace. He would yield a team-high 105 runs with the 1965 Giants, posting an 8-12 record and 4.19 ERA.

The first pitch from Perry to Gibson was a strike. The next was a high slider. Gibson lined it over the fence in left-center, giving the Cardinals an 8-0 lead.

“I’m not going to find fault with my pitchers at this late stage,” Franks said to the Associated Press. “Maybe they haven’t been going so well lately, but they’ve been good all year. I’ve got no complaints.”

Unhappy exit

Gibson took a two-hit shutout into the ninth.

Seeing their pennant chances slipping away, the Giants rallied. They scored five runs off Gibson on three singles, a walk and Jim Davenport’s three-run home run.

With one out and the bases empty, rookie pinch-hitter Bob Schroder was sent by Franks to face Gibson. The first pitch to the left-handed batter was a ball.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst decided to make a pitching change, bringing in left-hander Curt Simmons. Gibson was “seething” as he walked off the mound, the Oakland Tribune reported.

Simmons retired the first batter he faced, Bob Barton, who had replaced Schroder, for the second out of the inning.

The Giants, though, weren’t done. Cap Peterson reached second on an error by shortstop Dick Groat and scored on Jesus Alou’s single, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to 8-6.

That brought Willie Mays to the plate, representing the potential tying run.

High drama

Schoendienst removed Simmons and brought in the closer, Hal Woodeshick, a left-hander. Schoendienst told him to throw only fastballs at Mays’ fists. Explained Gibson: “He’d murder the ball if he could straighten his arms.”

Mays turned on one of the inside deliveries and pulled a single off the glove of third baseman Ken Boyer.

With Alou on second and Mays on first, slugger Willie McCovey was up next. A double likely would bring home both runners, tying the score. A home run would give the Giants a victory after being eight runs down entering the ninth.

The tension built with each pitch. McCovey slashed one long, but foul.

With the count 3-and-2, Woodeshick threw a curve. It broke down and away from the left-handed batter.

“The pitch was bad,” said Woodeshick. “I thought it was ball four.”

Said McCovey: “Everybody in the park could see it was a ball. I knew it, too _ too late.”

McCovey swung and missed.

“When you’re tensed up and excited like those guys are, that kind of thing happens,” Woodeshick said.

The Giants’ loss combined with a Dodgers victory over the Reds dropped San Francisco two behind with four to play. The Dodgers would go on to win the pennant. Boxscore

Previously: Cardinals pitchers enjoy grand slam streak

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Hub Kittle provided the Cardinals with the insight to see the potential in Joaquin Andujar and transform him into a consistent winner.

joaquin_andujar7Kittle was the pitching coach for the 1981 Cardinals who recommended to Whitey Herzog that he acquire Andujar.

“Crazy as a loon, but he could throw,” Kittle said of Andujar to George Vecsey of the New York Times. “Make you want to weep, he had so much talent.”

The story of how Andujar became a Cardinal is recalled here in honor of the pitcher, who died on Sept. 8, 2015, at 62 in his native Dominican Republic.

Dominican connection

Kittle, a longtime pitching coach and instructor, managed clubs in the Dominican Republic during the winters from 1967-76. It was there he got to know Andujar, who was a prospect in the Reds organization.

Andujar became Kittle’s protégé.

Kittle, an Astros coach from 1971-75, recommended that Houston acquire Andujar. In October 1975, the Reds traded Andujar to the Astros.

By then, Kittle had departed. The Astros had finished in last place in the National League West in 1975 and Bill Virdon, brought in to replace Preston Gomez as manager, reshaped the coaching staff.

Kittle joined the Cardinals in 1976 as a roving pitching instructor. He remained in the Cardinals minor-league system until Herzog, performing the dual role of manager and general manager, named Kittle pitching coach of the Cardinals in 1981.

Let’s make a deal

In June 1981, the Cardinals were looking to deal center fielder Tony Scott. He was eligible to become a free agent after the season and the Cardinals concluded they likely wouldn’t be able to re-sign him.

Kittle suggested a swap of Scott for Andujar and told Herzog, “I know how to handle him.”

”Don’t make it sound like I told anybody what to do, but I knew this kid could help us,” Kittle said. “His mechanics were all fouled up, but we knew he could pitch.”

It was considered a risky move. Andujar debuted with the Astros in 1976 and earned 11 wins in 1977 and 12 wins in 1978. His behavior, though, sometimes was bizarre.

Wrote Vecsey: “After Kittle left Houston, Andujar spent from 1976 into 1981 showing potential for speed and eccentricity _ taking a shower with his uniform on, pouring a carton of cold milk over his head to cool off in the clubhouse, blowing smoke off his imaginary six-shooter, running the bases with a one-armed jacket, coming up with injuries that could not always be diagnosed.”

On June 6, 1981, in the seventh inning of an Astros game versus the Mets, Virdon approached Andujar in the dugout and informed him he’d been traded to St. Louis for Scott.

“He (Virdon) told me he hoped I would do well,” Andujar told the Associated Press. “He told me I could go take a shower right then if I wanted. I said, ‘No, I want to stay here and be an Astro as long as I can.’ This is like leaving your family.”

Reclamation project

Andujar was 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA for the 1981 Astros.

When Andujar got the Cardinals, Kittle went to work on restoring Andujar’s slider.

“He’s a guy that needs three pitches _ fastball, change and slider,” Kittle said. “After that, we’ll have to get him sound physically. He’s a big, strong guy and has to work hard.”

Andujar responded to Kittle’s mentoring. He was 6-1 with a 3.74 ERA for the Cardinals in 11 appearances in strike-shortened 1981.

“I used to kick my leg high and look up,” Andujar said in a profile of Kittle by the Society for American Baseball Research. “I wasn’t looking at home plate.”

Kittle got him to stop that.

Andujar also would repeatedly lift an iron ball between innings when he pitched.

Kittle got him to stop that, too.

“He’s strong, but not that strong,” Kittle said.

Championship caliber

Andujar became a free agent after the 1981 season and, after seeking $2 million for three years, signed a $1.2 million, three-year contract.

“I decided to sign with the Cardinals because I like Whitey Herzog and the way he manages,” said Andujar. “All I want to do is pitch and help the Cardinals win the pennant.”

In 1982, Andujar earned 15 wins in the regular season, got the win in the decisive Game 3 of the NL Championship Series against the Braves and was the winning pitcher in Games 3 and 7 of the World Series versus the Brewers.

In 1984-85, Andujar became the first Cardinals pitcher to have consecutive 20-win seasons since Bob Gibson in 1969-70.

Andujar was 68-53 with a 3.33 ERA in five years with the Cardinals.

Previously: How Joaquin Andujar made like Babe Ruth for Cards

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