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Before he settled in as a second baseman, Rogers Hornsby was moved all over the field by the Cardinals. The one constant amid the shuffling was Hornsby’s hitting.

One hundred years ago, in 1921, Hornsby was the Cardinals’ Opening Day left fielder. Before then, Hornsby had taken turns as the Cardinals’ starter at shortstop, third base, second and first.

His stint as an outfielder didn’t last long. Moved back to second base, Hornsby went on to have his peak seasons with the Cardinals.

Multiple moves

Hornsby made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in 1915. He played in 18 games, all at shortstop, after he was called up from the minors in September. At St. Louis on Sept. 30, the starting shortstops were a field of dreams matchup: Hornsby, 19, and Honus Wagner, 41, on the same field for the first time. Boxscore

In 1916, manager Miller Huggins made Hornsby the Cardinals’ Opening Day shortstop, but shifted him to third base in May. Hornsby started 79 games at third, 44 at short and 14 at first base for the 1916 Cardinals.

Hornsby was back at shortstop for Huggins in 1917 and stayed there all season, but he committed 52 errors. The next year, when Jack Hendricks managed the Cardinals, Hornsby made 46 errors at shortstop in a season shortened because of World War I.

Branch Rickey was Cardinals manager in 1919. He opened the season with Hornsby at shortstop, but shifted him to third base in June. Hornsby made 71 starts at third base in 1919, 36 at shortstop, 26 at second base and five at first.

In 1920, Hornsby opened a season at second base for the first time and remained there all year. Perhaps it is no coincidence that he led the National League in hitting (.370), on-base percentage (.431), hits (218), total bases (329), doubles (44), RBI (94) and extra-base hits (73).

In the foreword of Hornsby’s autobiography, “My War With Baseball,” a contemporary, Casey Stengel, said, “Most people, when they talk about Hornsby, just talk about his hitting. Well, he was just amazing on the double play, terrific as a runner, and his judgment on the field was keen.”

First rate at 2nd

Cardinals third baseman Milt Stock also had a big season in 1920, batting .319 with 204 hits. Unhappy with the Cardinals’ contract offer, Stock sat out spring training in 1921.

Uncertain when, or if, Stock would end his holdout, manager Branch Rickey planned to open the season with Hornsby at third base and rookie Specs Toporcer at second. Toporcer is believed to be the first player other than a pitcher to wear eyeglasses in a major-league game.

The lineup plan changed on the eve of the season opener when Stock signed with the Cardinals, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Rickey’s 1921 Opening Day lineup had Stock at third, Toporcer at second and Hornsby in left field. Until then, Hornsby’s outfield experience in the big leagues consisted of three games in 1918. Boxscore

Hornsby started in left in the Cardinals’ first six games of the season, made no errors and hit .391.

Rickey “is highly pleased with the splendid showing Rogers Hornsby has made” as an outfielder, the St. Louis Star-Times reported. “Hornsby is delighted with his transfer … He has always aspired to hold down an outfield berth.”

The St. Louis Globe-Democrat noted Hornsby “has made some pretty plays in the pasture.”

At second base, Toporcer hit .300 in the Cardinals’ first six games, turned four double plays and made two errors.

The Cardinals, though, lost five of their first six games and were held to two runs or less in three of the defeats. Rickey wanted to get outfielder Les Mann’s bat into the lineup, so he opened a spot by moving Hornsby to second and benching Toporcer.

“It is firmly believed Hornsby’s potency will rate higher if he is given one position on the diamond, a permanent one,” the Globe-Democrat suggested.

Sticking primarily to second base for the rest of the 1921 season, Hornsby led the National League in hitting (.397), on-base percentage (.458), runs (131), hits (235), total bases (378), doubles (44), triples (18), RBI (126) and extra-base hits (83). He struck out a mere 48 times in 674 plate appearances.

He never again played in the outfield.

After the 1920 season, the Giants offered $200,000 and four players for Hornsby, The Sporting News reported. The Cardinals said they would make the deal only if second baseman Frankie Frisch was one of the players they received. The Giants, “suffering from shock” from the Cardinals’ rejection, said they wouldn’t trade Frisch for Hornsby even up, according to The Sporting News.

Staying primarily at second base, Hornsby became the Cardinals’ all-time best right-handed hitter. As player-manager in 1926, he led them to their first World Series championship.

After a falling out with Cardinals owner Sam Breadon, Hornsby was traded to the Giants _ for Frankie Frisch and pitcher Jimmy Ring.

The Cardinals decided nights in red satin weren’t for them.

Seventy-five years ago, in 1946, the Cardinals planned to take a bold departure from their traditional look. They bought red satin uniforms to wear during night road games.

When it came time to don the shiny red fabric in a game, however, the Cardinals backed out and stuck with their flannels.

Pajama game

Satin baseball uniforms made a sensation at the American Association All-Star Game at Toledo in 1938. The minor-league all-stars, including Ted Williams, wore red, white and blue satin uniforms for the night game, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In the 1940s, with night games becoming more commonplace, a few National League teams decided to try satin uniforms because the material reflected the ballpark lights.

Satin is a fabric weave that produces a smooth, soft, glossy material with a luxurious look. It is made of silk, polyester or nylon.

According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Dodgers, Braves and Reds experimented with satin uniforms in the 1940s.

Innovative executive Branch Rickey chose to have the Dodgers wear satin uniforms in 1944. The former Cardinals administrator got the idea from watching All-American Girls Professional Softball League teams play in satin uniforms under the lights in 1943, Newspaper Enterprise Association reported.

Rickey planned for the 1944 Dodgers to wear white satin uniforms with blue piping for night home games, and blue satin uniforms with white piping for night road games.

“Rickey decided to make Them Beautiful Bums even more colorful,” Newspaper Enterprise Association declared.

United Press described the Dodgers’ outfits as “satin pajamas” and “Little Lord Fauntleroy uniforms.” 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle called the uniforms “satin nightgowns” and rated the home whites as looking better than the road blues. “The flashy white undies with the blue stripes stood out particularly well,” the Brooklyn newspaper noted.

According to Brooklyn Daily Eagle columnist Tommy Holmes, “The players were expecting a lot of razzing from the wisecrackers, but witticisms from the cash customers were conspicuous by their absence.”

Newspaper Enterprise Association concluded, “The next thing you know they’ll be playing baseball without spikes and with chewing tobacco checked in the clubhouse.”

Fashion faux pas

Two years later, in 1946, the Cardinals purchased bright red satin uniforms for road night games, The Sporting News reported, but the duds never got worn by the big-leaguers.

The St. Louis Star-Times reported Cardinals players “refused to wear” the satins. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat claimed the Cardinals “considered the new satin suits too effeminate.” According to The Sporting News, manager Eddie Dyer determined “the uniforms were too fancy for the Cardinals.”

The Cardinals sold the red satins to Fred C. Steffens, a St. Louis sportsman, who donated the brand-new uniforms to the North Side Teen Town baseball team of St. Louis, the Star-Times reported.

On June 12, 1946, Cardinals pitcher Ken Burkhart presented the uniforms to the youth team at St. Louis’ Sherman Park.

Comfortable in their own skin, as well as in their familiar uniforms, the Cardinals went on to win the 1946 National League pennant and beat the Red Sox for the World Series championship.

Sharp-dressed men

While the 1946 Cardinals balked at wearing satin, the 1946 Braves embraced the idea.

On May 11, 1946, the Braves debuted their satin uniforms in a Saturday night home game against the Giants. It was the first time a big-league night game was played in Boston. Boxscore

The Boston Globe described the Braves’ outfits as “a slithery uniform of white satin with scarlet piping, which shine like lingerie in a department store window.”

Among the Braves swathed in satin were a group of former Cardinals, including manager Billy Southworth, center fielder Johnny Hopp and first baseman Ray Sanders. “A sight to behold,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared.

The Reds wore satin uniforms in 1948. After playing the Cardinals on a steamy Friday night in St. Louis on July 9, the Reds switched to gray flannels the following night.

According to The Sporting News, Reds players “complained the satins were too uncomfortable during the sweltering heat.”

After Reds general manager Warren Giles, acting on the recommendation of manager Johnny Neun, approved the scrapping of satin for flannel for the Saturday, July 10 game, “the fancy monkey suits went out.” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Soon after, satin uniforms, like top hats and knickers, faded out of style.

Popeye the Sailor had his spinach. The Cardinals had Vitamin B1 tablets.

Eighty years ago, in 1941, Cardinals owner Sam Breadon became convinced Vitamin B1 would enhance the performance of his players.

According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Breadon bought 5,000 Vitamin B1 capsules to distribute to his players during spring training and the regular season.

In a popular comic strip at the time. Popeye boasted, “I’m strong to the finish because I eats me spinach.”

Spinach contains many nutrients, including Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, but rather than load up on the greens, Breadon opted for the pills.

Getting a boost

Vitamin B1 was produced in tablet form starting in 1936. According to specialists at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, “the tablets have been used frequently in England to quiet war nerves,” The Sporting News explained. “Furthermore, the pills are said to be effective in aiding eyesight.”

The Cardinals wanted their players to take B1 “because this vitamin has shown great effectiveness in aiding the relief of nervousness, indigestion and the lack of energy,” the Globe-Democrat reported, “and therefore should help build up the players’ health, poise and staying qualities.”

Breadon, 65, was described as “a vitamin enthusiast” who “believes Vitamin B1 is just the thing for the athletes to help build up their appetites, health and the resistance they need for the physical effort they put forth,” according to the Globe-Democrat.

According to United Press, Breadon called B1 the “morale vitamin.”

Pep talk

When Cardinals players arrived for 1941 spring training at St. Petersburg, Fla., each player was given a bottle of the Vitamin B1 pills, the Chicago Daily News reported. The recommended dosage was three a day for 10 days, two a day for the next 10, and one a day thereafter.

The Sporting News hailed it as “a revolutionary step in training camp methods,” but also cautioned that “until the time when it is definitely established that capsules will provide all the energy needed after a hard workout, Cardinals players probably will pin their faith on Kansas City steak with French fries and a double order of pie.”

Cardinals vice-president Bill Walsingham Jr., a nephew of Breadon, said every player on the club would receive the Vitamin B1 capsules and would be encouraged to digest the medicine.

“We can’t force the players to swallow the capsules,” Walsingham said to the Globe-Democrat, “but, naturally, the club would like to have the players in line regularly for the B1 issue.”

According to United Press, “Bottles of the things were lying around the clubhouse in such profusion that baseball writers wondered whether they were in a spring training camp, or had blundered into the biennial convention of the American Pharmaceutical Association.”

In an editorial, the St. Louis Star-Times declared, “Breadon’s experiment of feeding his young stalwarts vast quantities of Vitamin B1 tablets, to give them vitality and pep, was the most courageous exhibition of crawling out on a limb since Babe Ruth bragged in the World Series of 1932 that he would hit a home run in the center field bleachers.”

Vitamin B1 didn’t hurt the Cardinals, but how much it helped is inconclusive. The Cardinals got off to a strong start, winning 31 of their first 42 games, and finished the season in second place at 97-56. The Dodgers won the pennant with a record of 100-54.

Years later, Webmd.com noted that naturally ingested “Vitamin B1 plays an important role in the body. It is needed to maintain the health of the nerves and the heart,” but added, “Most people who eat a normal diet do not need extra Vitamin B1.”

Dubbed by Sports Illustrated as the “busiest and brainiest relief pitcher in baseball,” Mike Marshall usually was effective against the Cardinals, but they also had some spectacular successes, twice beating him with walkoff home runs.

A right-hander with remarkable stamina, Marshall was the first relief pitcher to win a Cy Young Award. It happened in 1974, when he pitched for the Dodgers in 106 games, a major-league record for most appearances in a season by a pitcher.

A student of body movement who earned a doctorate in exercise physiology, Marshall developed an approach that enabled him to pitch often and well throughout most of the 1970s. An innovator, educator and baseball rebel, he died May 31, 2021, at 78.

Changing course

At age 11, Marshall was a passenger in a car that was struck by a train near his home in Adrian, Mich. Marshall’s uncle was killed in the accident and Marshall suffered a back injury, according to Sports Illustrated.

Despite an aching back, Marshall became a standout high school athlete in multiple sports, including as a baseball shortstop. He was 17 when he signed with the Phillies in September 1960.

While playing shortstop in the Phillies’ farm system, Marshall enrolled at Michigan State and attended classes during the baseball off-seasons.

Marshall hit for average in the minors, but his back bothered him, making it difficult for him to field grounders, and he told the Phillies he wanted to pitch, the Detroit News reported.

Marshall had a 3.39 ERA in 44 games for Phillies farm clubs in 1965. The Tigers purchased his contract in April 1966 and brought him to the big leagues in 1967. He pitched for the Seattle Pilots, an American League expansion team, in 1969 and the Astros in 1970. 

At Michigan State, Marshall earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1965 and a master’s degree in 1967. His mentor was William Heusner, a professor in kinesiology, the study of body movement. Heusner made Marshall an assistant, giving him a chance to teach.

Describing himself as an educator first and ballplayer second, Marshall told The Sporting News that as a teacher, “I feel I am performing a function that makes me feel vital as a human being.”

Marshall’s academic work helped him develop an approach to pitching. He taught himself to throw a screwball without straining his arm, but the Tigers, Pilots and Astros prohibited him from throwing the pitch.

“Those three were linked by a common denominator of insecurity,” Marshall told The Sporting News. “They couldn’t accept someone trying anything different, or admit that another man’s way might be right.”

Good match

Marshall’s baseball career took an upturn in June 1970 when the Astros traded him to the Expos. Gene Mauch was Expos manager and he encouraged Marshall to throw the screwball.

“It was Mauch who allowed Marshall to develop the concepts, the artistry, the free expression Marshall exhibits on the mound,” The Sporting News noted.

Marshall said, “Our relationship was poetry. I felt we talked as peers.”

Mauch showed faith and patience. Marshall was 3-7 with the 1970 Expos. The first time he faced the Cardinals was as a starter on Aug. 8 and he gave up five runs in 2.1 innings. Boxscore

The turning point came the next year when Marshall focused on relieving and earned 23 saves for the 1971 Expos.

“I’d say 1971 was my most satisfying season,” Marshall told The Sporting News. “That was the year I realized I was a major-league player.”

Marshall had a spectacular August for the 1971 Expos, with five saves and an 0.83 ERA, but suffered a setback against the Cardinals in September.

On Sept. 24, 1971, Joe Hague hit a walkoff grand slam against Marshall in the 10th inning, giving the Cardinals a 10-6 victory. It was the first walkoff home run allowed by Marshall in the majors. Boxscore

Head of the class

In the next two seasons with the Expos, Marshall had 14 wins, 18 saves and a 1.78 ERA in 1972, and 14 wins, a league-leading 31 saves and a 2.66 ERA in 1973. He led the league in games pitched _ 65 in 1972 and 92 in 1973.

During those two seasons, Marshall either won or saved 77 of the Expos’ 149 victories.

The Sporting News noted, “Marshall has revolutionized the thinking about relief pitchers, about their conditioning, about their concepts while on the mound.

“He has applied his understanding of kinesiology to the screwball, which he can make move in more than one direction, and to a conditioning program that makes it possible for him to pitch with a frequency and consistency that is beyond the capabilities of all other pitchers.”

Speaking out

After the 1973 season, Marshall was named Expos player of the year by the Montreal chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The honor came with a $5,000 check from O’Keefe Brewery, a sponsor of Expos games, but Marshall refused to accept the money.

“I don’t feel I should compete against my own teammates for money like this,” Marshall said to The Sporting News.

Marshall requested in writing that the brewery donate the money to sickle cell anemia research. When he learned the brewery instead gave the $5,000 to an amateur baseball program, Marshall objected and pressured the brewery to honor his request, The Sporting News reported.

Marshall created another controversy when, in an interview with a Michigan reporter, he criticized the Expos’ defensive play.

“Who the hell wants to go back and pitch for that defense any more?” Marshall said. “Second base was terrible. There’s no way we can play another year with Ron Hunt … Third base was terrible. We have absolutely no defense with Bob Bailey. Zero. You can put a high school kid out there and get the same production out of our defense.”

Marshall apologized, but the controversies lingered. Described by Sports Illustrated as a “brooding intellectual of the bullpen” with a “mantle of Kierkegaardian gloom,” Marshall was traded by the Expos to the Dodgers for outfielder Willie Davis in December 1973.

Special season

Dodgers manager Walter Alston let Marshall pitch as much as he wanted. Marshall pitched in 13 consecutive Dodgers games and was 6-0 with two saves and 1.67 ERA in that stretch.

“What he has done is against everything that I ever felt was physically possible,” Dodgers pitcher Jim Brewer told The Sporting News.

Another Dodgers pitcher, Andy Messersmith, said to Sports Illustrated, “He’s a unique and complex individual. There is no one like him in this game. He’s small and rotund, but I haven’t seen anything athletic he can’t do if he puts his mind to it. I’ve never known Mike to go into anything, even Frisbee throwing, without some thought about the muscles involved.”

Marshall was 15-12 with a 2.42 ERA for the 1974 Dodgers and led the league in games pitched (106) and saves (21). He pitched 208.1 innings in relief. The Dodgers won the pennant, and in the World Series against the Athletics, Marshall pitched in all five games, allowing one run in nine innings. Video

Sports Illustrated said of the 1974 National League Cy Young Award winner: “It is his knowledge of his own body, its strengths and limitations, that allows him to pitch in as many as 100 games a season.”

Magic numbers

At his peak, Marshall was dominant against the Cardinals, with ERAs of 1.10 in 1972, 1.69 in 1973 and 1.06 in 1974. In 1976, Marshall made three appearances versus the Cardinals and got wins in all three, posting a 1.08 ERA.

After being traded by the Dodgers in June 1976, Marshall pitched for the Braves, Rangers, Twins and Mets. With the Twins, he was reunited with Mauch and was the American League leader in saves (32) and games pitched (90) in 1979.

In 96 career innings versus the Cardinals, Marshall gave up only two home runs to them. The first was the walkoff grand slam by Joe Hague in 1971. The other came in Marshall’s final season, 1981, with the Mets.

On Sept. 12, 1981, Julio Gonzalez hit a two-run walkoff homer run versus Marshall in the 13th inning, giving the Cardinals a 4-2 triumph. It was Gonzalez’s first homer in the big leagues in three years. Boxscore

Marshall finished with a career record of 97-112 and 188 saves. Against the Cardinals, he was 6-7 with 33 saves.

Marshall is one of five pitchers to pitch in 90 or more games in a big-league season. The list:

_ Mike Marshall: 106 (1974 Dodgers), 92 (1973 Expos) and 90 (1979 Twins).

_ Kent Tekulve: 94 (1979 Pirates), 91 (1978 Pirates), 90 (1987 Phillies).

_ Salomon Torres: 94 (2006 Pirates).

_ Pedro Feliciano: 92 (2010 Mets).

_ Wayne Granger: 90 (1969 Reds).

When his arm was sound, Ernie White had the talent to be an ace on the Cardinals’ pitching staff.

Eighty years ago, in June 1941, White pitched consecutive two-hit shutouts for the Cardinals against the Dodgers and Giants.

The back-to-back gems were the centerpieces in a stretch of 27.2 scoreless innings pitched by White, a left-hander who threw hard with an easy motion.

White earned 17 wins for the 1941 Cardinals, but arm ailments kept him from ever having another double-digit win season.

Turning pro

In 1937, White, 20, was pitching for a textile mill team in his native South Carolina when he was discovered and signed by Cardinals scout Frank Rickey, brother of club executive Branch Rickey, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.

White made his Cardinals debut in 1940 and was a prominent part of the pitching staff in 1941.

Besides White, the 1941 Cardinals pitching staff for manager Billy Southworth included Lon Warneke, Mort Cooper, Max Lanier, Harry Gumbert and Howie Krist. All posted double-digit win totals for the 1941 Cardinals.

On June 7, 1941, the Cardinals started Sam Nahem against the Giants at the Polo Grounds. A New York native, Nahem had a law degree from St. John’s University and enjoyed classical music and literature.

A right-hander, Nahem gave up three runs and was relieved by White with none out in the second. Referring to Nahem as the “boy lawyer,” J. Roy Stockton of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote dismissively, “The Brooklyn barrister didn’t have his usual stuff. Southworth told Sam to spend the rest of the afternoon reading, or something.”

White pitched eight scoreless innings of relief and got the win as the Cardinals prevailed, 11-3. Boxscore

Right stuff

White’s next appearance came on June 15 in a start versus the Dodgers in the second game of a doubleheader at St. Louis.

With two outs and none on in the third inning, pitcher Hugh Casey doubled for the Dodgers’ first hit of the game. White hit Pee Wee Reese with a pitch and walked Billy Herman, loading the bases.

“Ernie was plainly rattled,” W. Vernon Tietjen of the St. Louis Star-Times observed.

Up next was Pete Reiser, who hit a hard grounder to the right side toward Don Padgett, a hulking catcher and outfielder who was making a rare start at first base.

“Padgett threw his 215 pounds at the ball, stuck out his glove and, sure enough, when he picked himself up the ball was stuck in it,” Tietjen wrote in the Star-Times.

Padgett tossed to White, covering first, for “a sensational putout.”

In the bottom half of the third, White doubled, sparking a three-run Cardinals uprising.

White allowed one other hit, a double by Reese in the sixth, and finished with a two-hit shutout in the Cardinals’ 3-0 victory. Boxscore

Special talent

The shutout of the Dodgers ran White’s scoreless innings streak to 17.

His next appearance came June 21 in a start versus the Giants at St. Louis. White pitched another two-hit shutout. The Giants’ hits were singles by Billy Jurges in the second and Mel Ott in the fourth.

In the sixth, White stroked a RBI-single against Bill Lohrman, “a drive that took Lohrman’s cap right off his head and made him wonder, no doubt, if perhaps he wasn’t wearing his protective helmet during the wrong part of the game,” the Post-Dispatch noted. Boxscore

Four days later, on June 25, White started against manager Casey Stengel’s Braves at St. Louis.

In the second, with two outs and Braves runners on second and third, Sibby Sisti grounded a ball just out of the reach of second baseman Creepy Crespi. The hit scored both runners, ending White’s scoreless streak at 27.2 innings.

White held the Braves scoreless in the last seven innings and got the win as the Cardinals triumphed, 6-2. White also drove in one of the Cardinals’ runs with a sacrifice fly.

The win boosted White’s record for the season to 5-1 and kept the Cardinals in first place, a half-game ahead of the Dodgers. Boxscore

In the Star-Times, W. Vernon Tietjen wrote, “Everybody knows baseball pennants are rarely, if ever, won without a Paul Derringer or Bucky Walters, a Dizzy Dean, a Carl Hubbell or a Red Ruffing. Everybody knows, too, that the Cardinals are still leading this race without a substantial facsimile thereof. A good many persons strongly suspect, however, that the Cardinals have one in the making in Ernest Daniel White.”

White “has all the attributes of pitching greatness,” Tietjen declared. “His fastball, delivered with no more apparent effort than a warmup pitch, leaves batters wondering where it went.”

Career curtailed

The Cardinals (97-56) finished in second place, 2.5 games behind the champion Dodgers (100-54). White was 17-7 and was third in the National League in ERA at 2.40. He had 12 complete games and three shutouts.

An arm ailment sidelined White for part of the 1942 season, but he pitched a shutout in Game 3 of the World Series, leading the Cardinals to a 2-0 victory over the Yankees at New York. The Yankees’ lineup featured four future Hall of Famers: Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon and Phil Rizzuto. Boxscore

According to the Society for American Baseball Research, White was the first pitcher to shut out the Yankees in a World Series game since the Cardinals’ Jesse Haines did it in 1926.

White had a shoulder injury in 1943. He entered the Army in January 1944, fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II and was discharged in January 1946.

He returned to baseball, but his arm wasn’t right. The Cardinals released White in May 1946 and he signed with the Braves, rejoining his former Cardinals manager, Billy Southworth. His final season in the majors was 1948 and he departed with a career mark of 30-21 with a 2.78 ERA.

White went on to manage teams in the farm systems of the Braves, Reds, Athletics, Yankees and Mets for 15 seasons.

In 1963, 22 years after his scoreless innings streak ended against Casey Stengel’s Braves, White became a coach on the staff of Stengel’s Mets. 

Al Santorini was a pitcher who confounded the Cardinals with his up-and-down performances for them.

Fifty years ago, on June 11, 1971, the Cardinals acquired Santorini from the Padres for outfielder Leron Lee and pitcher Fred Norman.

A right-hander, Santorini’s three seasons with the Cardinals were highlighted by the three shutouts he pitched in 1972, but frustrations too often overshadowed the successes. Overall with the Cardinals, Santorini was 8-13.

Prized prospect

A son of a truck driver for Ballantine beer, Santorini was born in Irvington, N.J., and excelled at high school athletics in Union Township, N.J.

Santorini was a standout prep quarterback and bowler, but his best sport was baseball. As a pitcher, his high school record was 35-1. A high school teammate, Elliott Maddox, also went on to play in the majors.

Santorini, 18, was considered a prime prospect entering the June 1966 amateur baseball draft. The Cardinals, with the seventh selection in the first round, drafted Leron Lee. The Phillies had the ninth pick in the first round and their scout, Paul Owens, hoped they’d take Santorini.

“I scouted Santorini quite a bit,” Owens told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He had a great fastball and looked so good that I recommended we select him as No. 1.”

Instead, the Phillies used their first-round pick to draft Mike Biko, a pitcher who never reached the majors.

With the 11th pick in the first round, the Braves chose Santorini and assigned him to the minors. The next year, he underwent an operation on his right elbow.

After posting a 2.68 ERA for Class AA Shreveport in 1968, Santorini was called up by the Braves and made his major-league debut in a start against the Giants on Sept. 10 at Atlanta. The Braves’ starting catcher, Walt Hriniak, also was playing his first game in the majors. The regular catcher, Joe Torre, shifted to first base.

Santorini held the Braves scoreless for two innings, but gave up four runs in the third. The big blow was Willie McCovey’s decisive three-run home run. McCovey never got another hit versus Santorini, finishing 1-for-17 against him in his career. Boxscore

A month later, the Braves failed to protect Santorini in the National League expansion draft and he was picked by the Padres.

Fun and games

In three seasons with the Padres, Santorini was 9-24. He was 0-1 against the Cardinals but with a 2.86 ERA in 28.1 innings.

On May 26, 1971, Santorini started both games of a doubleheader for the Padres against the Astros at San Diego.

In Game 1, Padres manager Preston Gomez thought he would outmaneuver the Astros, who started a lineup of mostly left-handed batters. As Santorini warmed up in the Padres’ bullpen before the game, left-hander Dave Roberts secretly got loose in the San Diego Chargers’ football clubhouse.

“When they saw Santorini warming up, they had all those left-hand hitters ready to hit against him,” Gomez said to the Associated Press.

After Santorini retired leadoff batter Roger Metzger, Roberts relieved. He pitched the remainder of the game, but the Astros won, 2-1. Boxscore

In Game 2, Santorini started, went six innings and gave up four runs. His counterpart, Larry Dierker, pitched a one-hitter and the Astros prevailed, 8-0. Boxscore

Two weeks later, Santorini was dealt to the Cardinals.

Hard to win

Used as both starter and reliever, Santorini was 0-2 with two saves and a 3.81 ERA for the 1971 Cardinals. He had a 2.10 ERA in 14 relief appearances and a 5.62 ERA in five starts. In his first start for the Cardinals, Santorini lost, 1-0, to Don Gullett and the Reds. Boxscore

With the Cardinals, Santorini was reunited with Joe Torre, his former Braves teammate. Helped by weight loss, Torre won the National League Most Valuable Player Award with the Cardinals in 1971. He urged Santorini to lose weight, too.

Santorini went from 202 pounds to 190 after the 1971 season. He and Torre shared an apartment in north St. Louis County at the start of the 1972 season.

“Every time Joe caught me having a high-calorie soft drink or eating anything, he’d call me things like fatso or slob,” Santorini told the Post-Dispatch. “Joe is like a guy who gave up smoking finally and then can’t stand to see anyone else smoking.”

Santorini began the 1972 season as a reliever and spot starter. On April 17, 1972, with his parents in attendance at Philadelphia, Santorini got his first Cardinals win in a relief stint versus the Phillies. Boxscore

The win snapped a streak of 12 consecutive losses for Santorini, dating back to April 1970. “It was beginning to get to me,” Santorini told The Sporting News. “It has to make you wonder some.”

Throwing zeroes

On July 4, 1972, Cardinals starting pitcher Scipio Spinks injured a knee in a plate collision with Reds catcher Johnny Bench and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Santorini (4-6) replaced Spinks in the rotation.

Santorini pitched the first of his three Cardinals shutouts on Aug. 6, 1972, in a 6-0 victory against the Phillies. He told the Philadelphia Daily News his arm stiffened in the sixth inning, “but you don’t want to come out when you’re pitching a shutout.” Boxscore

On Sept. 16, Santorini shut out the Pirates in a 4-0 win. A key moment occurred in the seventh when, with two outs and runners on second and third, Santorini struck out Richie Zisk, a former New Jersey prep rival, on three pitches. “Those were the three hardest pitches I threw all day,” Santorini told the Post-Dispatch. Boxscore

Two weeks later, on Wednesday afternoon Sept. 27 in the Cardinals’ final home game of the season, 3,380 spectators, the smallest crowd to attend a Cardinals game since Busch Memorial Stadium opened in May 1966, watched Santorini spin a shutout in a 4-0 triumph over the Mets.

Santorini threw 149 pitches and struck out a career-high 12 batters, extending his scoreless innings streak to 20.

“My buddies back in New Jersey were probably watching the game on TV, just off the golf course and drunk,” Santorini said to the Post-Dispatch. “They don’t work.” Boxscore

Santorini finished 8-11 with a 4.11 ERA for the 1972 Cardinals.

The next year, he had a 5.50 ERA in six relief appearances when the Cardinals traded him to the Royals for pitcher Tom Murphy on May 8, 1973.

Santorini spent the rest of the 1973 season in the minors. In 1974, he was in the Phillies’ system, but was released in July.

Santorini called the Cardinals and they signed him to pitch for their Tulsa affiliate. “I was lucky to latch onto a club for the remainder of the season,” Santorini told The Sporting News. “I feel I still can do the job in the major leagues as a reliever.”

After posting a 5.57 ERA for manager Ken Boyer’s Tulsa team, Santorini was bypassed when the Cardinals called up players in September. At 26, his pitching career was finished.