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The NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals may have rejected a chance to acquire running back Jim Brown.

On Feb. 4, 1961, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported the Cleveland Browns twice offered to trade Brown to the Cardinals for running back John David Crow, but were turned down.

The Cardinals confirmed the story and the Browns denied it.

In retrospect, the Cardinals should have done the deal if given the chance, but at the time the decision wasn’t so obvious.

First-round picks

The potential blockbuster featured two of pro football’s premier players.

Brown, who played college football at Syracuse, was selected by the Browns in the first round of the 1957 draft and went on to lead the NFL in rushing in eight of his nine seasons.

Crow, the 1957 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, was selected by the Chicago Cardinals in the first round of the 1958 draft. He was the first Heisman Trophy winner to play for the Cardinals, who moved to St. Louis after the 1959 season.

Crow had a permanent scowl he “received upon birth when a midwife struggled to remove the 18-inch umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, resulting in nerve damage that prevented him from closing his left eye, even when sleeping,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

Laughing matter

In 1960, Brown, 24, led the NFL in rushing for the fourth consecutive season, gaining 1,257 yards on the ground in 12 games. Crow, 25, had a breakout season for the 1960 Cardinals, with 1,071 yards rushing in 12 games. He also made 25 catches for 464 yards and completed nine of 18 passes for two touchdowns.

Crow led the NFL in yards per carry (5.9) in 1960, edging Brown (5.8).

Two months after Crow completed the 1960 season by rushing for 203 yards on 24 carries against the Steelers, the Globe-Democrat broke the story of the proposed offer for Brown.

According to the Globe-Democrat, the Cardinals “refused” to trade Crow. Paul Brown, head coach and general manager of the Browns, proposed a Crow-for-Brown swap twice in 10 days, the Globe-Democrat reported. The first time was in person to Cardinals managing director Walter Wolfner at the NFL meetings and the second time was by telephone.

When contacted by the Associated Press about the report, Paul Brown replied, “Pardon me while I laugh.”

Paul Brown suggested the Globe-Democrat story was based on “jesting conversations” he had with Wolfner at the NFL meetings.

“We were talking about Crow not starting in the Pro Bowl game,” Paul Brown said. “Walter seemed put out about it and I asked him if he wanted to trade Crow. So he kept the kidding going by bringing up the name of Jim Brown.”

Paul Brown added, “Jim is not up for trade.”

Do or don’t

Walter Wolfner and his wife, Violet, the Cardinals’ majority owner, “still insist Paul Brown offered his great fullback, Jimmy Brown, for Crow, even up,” Bob Broeg reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to published reports, the Browns could have been shopping Jim Brown because he was unhappy in Cleveland.

Syndicated columnist Murray Olderman of the Newspaper Enterprise Association noted Jim Brown was discouraged by Paul Brown’s “robot system” of offense and was threatening to play out his option after the 1961 season. Jim Brown also failed to show at some public team functions and was challenging authority.

According to Philadelphia Daily News columnist Larry Merchant, Jim Brown “has warned the Browns he intends to play out his option” and “realizes his worth on the open market.”

(Years later, in the 1979 book “PB: The Paul Brown Story,” Paul Brown said, “Before the 1962 season, we were considering trading Jim, but all of us agreed we could never get comparable value for him.”)

Asked his opinion of the Cardinals’ rejection of a proposed deal, Chicago Bears quarterback Bill Wade told the Hagerstown (Md.) Daily Mail, “The Cardinals did the right thing. Brown is a great runner, but Crow is the better all-around player. I would say Crow is the complete football player who does everything well.”

At a sports banquet in Wilmington, Del., several NFL players were asked their reactions to the proposed trade. According to the Wilmington News Journal, the responses included:

_ Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker: “They’re almost equally hard to tackle. Crow can run almost _ and I say almost _ as hard as Brown. He’s a terrific passer and a better blocker. I like Crow more because of his versatility.”

_ Ben Scotti, Washington Redskins defensive back: “Brown undoubtedly is the best ball carrier in the league, but Crow could do more things well. Crow is an excellent runner, better blocker and better pass receiver, and he can pass as well.”

_ Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packers running back: “I don’t believe they’d make such a trade. I think each team is satisfied with what it has.”

_ Nick Pietrosante, Detroit Lions running back: “I wouldn’t trade either. They’re too valuable in their particular type of offenses. Brown is the best runner. Crow is a great all-around player.”

Bad breaks

Crow told the Post-Dispatch he “was flattered” the Cardinals turned down an offer for Brown.

Crow was close to Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams, fueling speculation he might consider playing out his option and joining them, but he told the Post-Dispatch he didn’t want to leave the Cardinals.

“The Wolfners not only have treated me well, but the Cardinals are a great gang and I like St. Louis,” Crow said.

Crow broke his left leg in 1961 and was limited to eight games. He came back strong in 1962, scoring 17 touchdowns for the Cardinals, but underwent right knee surgery in 1963.

In January 1965, Crow, dissatisfied with the amount of playing time he got, asked to be traded, the Post-Dispatch reported. A month later, the Cardinals dealt him to the San Francisco 49ers for defensive back Abe Woodson. Crow played four years with the 49ers. Video highlights of Crow with Cardinals

Jim Brown remained with the Browns and went on to earn induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Lou Brock and Carl Yastrzemski, catalysts for their teams in the 1967 World Series, were linked again 12 years later as all-stars.

Forty years ago, on July 17, 1979, Brock, 40, played in an All-Star Game for the last time. He and Yastrzemski, who turned 40 a month later, were the oldest position players among the 1979 all-stars.

In his one at-bat in the game, Brock’s hard groundball against Nolan Ryan of the Angels bounced high on the artificial surface of Seattle’s Kingdome and over the head of Yastrzemski, the American League first baseman, for a single.

Yastrzemski was accustomed to seeing Brock reach base. In the 1967 World Series, won by the Cardinals against the Red Sox in seven games, Brock and Yastrzemski were the left fielders and excelled at the plate. Brock batted .414 with 12 hits, eight runs scored and seven stolen bases for the Cardinals. Yastrzemski batted .400 with 10 hits, including three home runs, and four walks.

Force at 40

After batting .221 for the Cardinals in 1978, Brock said the 1979 season would be his last as a player. Based on his 1978 performance, Brock wasn’t among the outfielders on the ballot for fan voting to select the 1979 National League all-stars.

“The pallbearers stepped out last year,” Brock said to the Fort Lauderdale News. “They had the coffin and the nails in, too.”

Brock returned to form in 1979, hitting .314 in April and .433 in May, and got the most write-in votes of any National League all-star candidate. At the all-star break, Brock was batting .322 and was within 27 hits of reaching 3,000.

National League manager Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers selected Brock as a reserve outfielder.

“Lou Brock has been an inspiration to everyone in baseball,” Lasorda said to Fort Lauderdale News columnist Bernie Lincicome. “This is our way of saying thanks for all the years you’ve given baseball.”

Yastrzemski and Red Sox teammates Fred Lynn and Jim Rice were voted by the fans to be the starting outfielders for the American League, but Yastrzemski had a strained right Achilles tendon, so manager Bob Lemon moved him to first base, replacing injured starter Rod Carew of the Angels, and put the Angels’ Don Baylor in the outfield with Lynn and Rice.

Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool told the Los Angeles Times he admired Brock and Yastrzemski for working to stay in playing shape.

“The body is obviously the key to longevity,” said Kranepool, “but mental outlook is the key to conditioning.”

At an all-star banquet the night before the game, Brock said, “We’re not here to live history, but to make history,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Signs of respect

Lasorda gave Brock the honor of presenting the National League lineup card to the umpires at home plate before the game.

After the National League scored twice in the first on a RBI-triple by the Phillies’ Mike Schmidt and a RBI-double by the Reds’ George Foster against Ryan, the American League countered with three in the bottom half of the inning on Baylor’s RBI-double and Lynn’s two-run home run against the Phillies’ Steve Carlton.

In the second, with one out and Bob Boone of the Phillies on first, Carlton was due to bat. Lasorda again honored Brock by selecting him to be the first pinch-hitter of the game. Stepping to the plate for Carlton, his former Cardinals teammate, Brock came through with the single.

(In regular-season games versus Ryan in his career, Brock produced a .516 on-base percentage, with five hits, 11 walks and a sacrifice fly in 31 plate appearances, according to baseball-reference.com.)

Boone stopped at second rather than advance to third on Brock’s hit to right. NBC broadcaster and three-time all-star Tony Kubek credited shortstop Roy Smalley of the Twins and second baseman Frank White of the Royals with “decoying Boone into thinking the ball was coming back to the infield quickly,” the Associated Press reported.

After an infield hit by the Dodgers’ Davey Lopes loaded the bases, Boone scored from third on a sacrifice fly by the Pirates’ Dave Parker. Steve Garvey of the Dodgers popped out to Yastrzemski, ending the inning and finishing Brock’s stint. Video of Brock at 1:00.15 mark

The hit gave Brock, a six-time all-star, a career .375 batting average in the five All-Star Games he played.

Bygone era

Another National League reserve outfielder, the Mets’ Lee Mazzilli, led off the eighth with a home run against the Rangers’ Jim Kern, tying the score at 6-6. In the bottom half, the Angels’ Brian Downing tried to score from second on a single to right by Graig Nettles of the Yankees, but was nailed at the plate by a rocket throw from Parker to Expos catcher Gary Carter.

In the ninth, the Yankees’ Ron Guidry walked Mazzilli with the bases loaded, and the National League got its eighth consecutive all-star victory, winning 7-6. Boxscore

“I’m glad I was a part of it,” Brock said to United Press International. “It’s going to be a little hard to watch all this on television next July.”

As he packed his uniform, Brock told the Fort Lauderdale News, “Just as one knows when to start something, one should know when to end it. I recognize the time has come for me.

“I’m probably the last link to an era, an era that relates to tradition,” said Brock. “Pete Rose, Carl Yastrzemski, we go way back, back to an attitude that is not present today. We’re the last products of ‘you get what you paid for,’ and not ‘you get paid for what you might do.’ “

Baseball experienced Saturday night fever on a Thursday in Chicago and it resulted in a disco inferno.

Forty years ago, on July 12, 1979, the White Sox staged a Disco Demolition Night promotion for a doubleheader with the Tigers at Comiskey Park.

The stunt called for disco record albums to be blown up between games, but the situation got out of control when thousands of people poured out of the stands and damaged the field.

Umpire crew chief Dave Phillips called off the second game, ruling the field unplayable, and the next day the American League granted a forfeit win to the Tigers.

Rock n’ roll will never die

Disco dance music became popular in the 1970s and was highlighted by performers such as Donna Summer, Village People, and KC and the Sunshine Band. The soundtrack to the hit movie, “Saturday Night Fever,” featured disco songs such as “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees and “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps.

In an attempt to capitalize on the trend, Chicago radio station WDAI changed its format from rock music to disco. The switch caused the departure of disc jockey Steve Dahl, who resented the rise of disco.

Dahl ended up at WLUP, a Chicago FM radio station focused on rock music. Dahl, 24, developed a following by bashing disco.

The White Sox, looking to build an audience for a weekday doubleheader between two teams with losing records, arranged with Dahl and WLUP for the Disco Demolition Night. Anyone bringing a disco album would be admitted to the doubleheader for 98 cents. The price was chosen because WLUP’s location on the FM dial was 97.9.

“When baseball has to rely on that kind of bush promotion to get people in the park, we’re all in trouble,” Tigers general manager Jim Campbell said to the Detroit Free Press.

The scheme called for the disco albums to be burned and exploded under fire department supervision in center field between games.

White Sox owner Bill Veeck, whose 1979 antics included a Greek Night featuring what The Sporting News described as belly dancers “of all shapes, sizes and ages,” was surprised when the anti-disco promotion attracted far more spectators than he expected. Attendance was 47,795 in a ballpark with a seating capacity of 44,492 and many more reportedly were turned away at the gates.

“We had more security than we ever had before, but we had as many people in here as we ever had,” Veeck said to the Chicago Tribune.

The first game was played “under a constant bombardment of records and firecrackers,” according to the Tribune, and play was halted several times. Spectators flung the record albums onto the field like Frisbees.

“How’d you like to get hit in the eye with one of those?” said White Sox designated hitter Wayne Nordhagen. “These people don’t realize it only takes one to ruin a guy’s career.”

Tigers center fielder Ron LeFlore said a golf ball thrown from the stands bounced between his legs while he was catching a fly ball.

“These were not baseball fans tonight,” Veeck said.

After the Tigers won the game, 4-1, it was time for the disco demolition to begin. Boxscore

Wild bunch

Dahl blew up a crate of disco records and the fiery explosion sent spectators into a frenzy. An estimated 7,000 spectators stormed the field, the Free Press reported. Video

“I was scared,” said White Sox pitcher Ken Kravec, who was in the bullpen to warm up for Game 2.

Veeck and White Sox broadcaster Harry Caray each used the public address system to urge people to leave the field, but their pleas mostly were ignored.

“Beer and baseball go together,” Tigers manager Sparky Anderson told the Tribune. “I think those kids were doing things other than beer.”

With little to do other than run around the field, the interlopers eventually began leaving. When helmeted police arrived, fewer than 1,000 people remained on the field and officers cleared it in five minutes, The Sporting News reported.

According to the Tribune, 39 people were arrested and six were injured.

One hour and 16 minutes after its scheduled start, Phillips called off Game 2.

“Ten years after Woodstock, there was Veeckstock,” wrote Tribune columnist David Israel, who called it baseball’s “first rock riot.”

Paying the consequences

On July 13, 1979, American League president Lee MacPhail ruled the canceled game a forfeited win for the Tigers and a loss for the White Sox “because of inadequate crowd control and damage to the playing field, both of which are the responsibility of the home team.”

“We have found a lot of ways to lose games this year,” said White Sox manager Don Kessinger, “but I guess we’ve added a new wrinkle. It’s tough to lose two games when you played only one.”

For Anderson, who joined the Tigers a month earlier after managing the Reds in the National League, Disco Demolition Night was his first time at Comiskey Park.

“If I could get every team in the league to put on a promotion like that, I might win a few games,” Anderson said.

Veeck disagreed with MacPhail’s decision, saying, “I think the grounds for forfeiting are specious at best. It’s true there was some sod missing. Otherwise, nothing was wrong.”

On its editorial page, the Tribune called Veeck’s antics “an outrageous example of irresponsible hucksterism that disgraced the sport of baseball, endangered the White Sox and Tigers, and cheated and insulted the genuine fans who came to Comiskey Park.”

In The Sporting News, columnist Dick Young suggested, “Let them hold it in the studio and burn down the radio station.”

Dahl said to the Free Press, “Everybody over 40 is freaked out.”

Veeck called Disco Demolition Night “a regrettable incident” and an “ill-advised promotion,” apologized to White Sox fans and players, and said, “All I know is we’ll make certain we don’t try anything like this again.”

WLUP production director Russ James shot back, “Tonight was like the Toyota commercial: You asked for it, you got it. What did Veeck expect? He sanctioned this.”

Said White Sox pitcher Rich Wortham: “This wouldn’t have happened if they had country-and-western night.”

(This post has been updated based on information supplied by a commenter)

Cardinals shortstop Garry Templeton, who played baseball like poetry in motion when he was at his best, was associated with some creative rhyme to express his displeasure with the all-star team selection process.

Forty years ago, on July 10, 1979, Templeton was chosen as a reserve on the National League all-star team, but turned down the opportunity because he said he should have been the starting shortstop.

“If I ain’t starting, I ain’t departing,” Templeton reportedly said.

I’m No. 1

Templeton made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in August 1976 and was named an all-star in 1977 at age 21 as a reserve behind starter Dave Concepcion of the Reds. Templeton made one plate appearance in the 1977 game at Yankee Stadium, hit a double against Sparky Lyle and scored. He also made an error, allowing Graig Nettles to reach base and opening the door to an unearned run. Boxscore

Templeton wasn’t an all-star in 1978, when he made 40 errors. At spring training in 1979, he asked to be traded because of a pay dispute, but was ready to play when the season began, batting .302 in April, .281 in May and .377 in June. Templeton, who had 43 hits in 25 June games, topped all National League shortstops in batting average.

Fan voting determined the All-Star Game starters and when the final results were released on July 9, 1979, the top vote-getter at shortstop in the National League was Larry Bowa of the Phillies. Concepcion placed second, Ozzie Smith of the Padres was third and Templeton came in fourth.

“Templeton should be starting,” Concepcion said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s having a better year than anybody.”

National League all-star manager Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers selected Templeton and Concepcion to be reserve shortstops, but Templeton was miffed with the fans for voting Bowa as the starter.

“I ain’t playing second fiddle to nobody,” Templeton said to the Associated Press.

When asked whether he considered himself to be the best shortstop, Templeton replied, “I don’t think I am; I know I am. Others know it, too.”

Right and wrong

Cardinals general manager John Claiborne spoke to Templeton about his decision and told the Post-Dispatch, “I didn’t argue, quarrel or make a pitch,” but admitted he was disappointed.

“To me, it’s an honor and he should make every effort to go,” Claiborne said.

Templeton’s refusal to attend the July 17 game in Seattle prompted varied reaction, including:

_ Rick Hummel, Post-Dispatch: “The All-Star Game is merely a showcase, an exhibition game, and somebody who doesn’t want to be there shouldn’t have to go.”

_ Dick Young, The Sporting News: “Does anybody tell the young shortstop how to vote when he steps into the polling booth?”

_ Johnny Bench, Reds catcher: “He has his reasons … He obviously knows what he’s doing.”

_ Bing Devine, former Cardinals general manager: “I think he talks too quickly and puts himself out on a limb. Then it becomes a matter of pride.”

Concepcion said, “I don’t blame him. He’s hitting .320.”

Templeton told Hummel, “A human has rights. You’ve got to show your rights. The way I see it, it’s up to the individual. I don’t want to go.”

Templeton said he wouldn’t watch the game on television and would spend the three-day break with his wife and son.

“I’d rather spend the three days getting my mind off baseball and be a little more ready mentally for the second half,” Templeton said. “I want to go hard in the second half. I need a couple of days to get my mind straight.”

Best of the rest

A few days later, the New York Times released results of a player poll, taken before the final fan balloting, and Concepcion was the top vote-getter among National League shortstops, with Templeton placing second. Concepcion got 52 percent of the player votes.

On July 11, Concepcion said he also would sit out the All-Star Game because of a groin injury. With Templeton and Concepcion unavailable, Lasorda chose Craig Reynolds of the Astros to back up Bowa.

Besides Templeton, three other 1979 Cardinals were named all-stars: outfielder Lou Brock, first baseman Keith Hernandez and catcher Ted Simmons.

Brock, who said he’d retire after the season, was selected to his sixth all-star team, all as a Cardinal, and Hernandez was an all-star for the first time. Hernandez would be selected an all-star five times in his career, twice with the Cardinals and three times with the Mets.

Asked about Templeton’s refusal to participate in the 1979 game, Brock said, “There is a lot of pride in this game and I’m sure he was hurt by not being voted in. He is the best shortstop in the league.”

Hernandez said, “I don’t pry into Tempy’s affairs. He knows what he’s doing.”

Simmons was voted the 1979 National League starting catcher by the fans, but he was unable to play because of a broken left wrist. Since fan voting for the all-star teams was reinstated in 1970, Simmons was the first National League catcher other than Bench to be voted as the starter.

Simmons would be named an all-star eight times, six with the Cardinals and twice with the Brewers.

Show must go on

The National League won the 1979 All-Star-Game, 7-6. The highlight was a defensive gem by Pirates right fielder Dave Parker, whose throw on the fly to catcher Gary Carter nailed Brian Downing attempting to score from second on a Graig Nettles single. Video

The National League shortstops, Bowa and Reynolds, batted a combined 0-for-4 with a walk.

Brock, batting for former teammate Steve Carlton, rapped a single against Nolan Ryan.

Hernandez also got one at-bat and struck out against Jim Kern. Boxscore

Templeton, a switch-hitter, finished the year with 211 hits, becoming the first player to get 100 hits from each side of the plate in the same season. He hit .314 and led the league in hits and triples (19).

Templeton was selected an all-star for the third and final time in 1985 with the Padres. Chosen as a backup to the Cardinals’ Ozzie Smith, for whom he was traded after the 1981 season, Templeton got one at-bat and singled against Bert Blyleven. Boxscore

After going two weeks without a win, the Cardinals broke their skid by scoring a week’s worth of runs in one game.

Ninety years ago, on July 6, 1929, the Cardinals set a franchise record for most runs in a game when they beat the Phillies, 28-6, in the second game of a doubleheader at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia.

The win was the Cardinals’ first since June 22, 1929, and snapped an 11-game losing streak.

Since then, no National League team has scored as many runs in a game as the Cardinals did against the Phillies. Before then, the National League record for most runs scored by one team in a game was set on June 29, 1897, when the Chicago Colts beat the Louisville Colonels, 36-7, according to MLB.com. The American League record was established on Aug. 22, 2007, when the Rangers beat the Orioles, 30-3, in the first game of a doubleheader at Baltimore. Boxscore

10 in the 1st

The Cardinals-Phillies doubleheader was played on a steamy Saturday afternoon. “Swarms of Japanese beetles added to the discomfort of players and spectators,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

In the first game, Cardinals cleanup batter Jim Bottomley hit a pair of two-run home runs, but the Phillies won, 10-6. It was the 11th consecutive loss for the defending National League champions and it gave them a 36-36 record. Boxscore

The second game matched starting pitchers Fred Frankhouse of the Cardinals against Phillies ace Claude Willoughby.

A right-hander from the farm town of Buffalo, Kansas, Willoughby would finish with 15 wins for the 1929 Phillies, but he struggled against the Cardinals.

Willoughby faced six batters, yielding three singles and walking three, and was lifted without recording an out.

Elmer Miller, a rookie left-hander who later in the season was converted into a right fielder, relieved, faced two batters and walked both.

Phillies manager Burt Shotton, a former Cardinals outfielder and coach, pulled Miller and replaced him with Luther Roy, who started two days earlier against the Dodgers. Roy gave up singles to the first two Cardinals batters he faced.

Rookie second baseman Carey Selph made the first out of the inning, on a sacrifice bunt, after the first 10 Cardinals batters reached base.

The Cardinals scored 10 runs in the first inning on six singles and five walks.

Given a 10-0 lead, Frankhouse, pitching with a sore thumb, “didn’t have to bear down” and “merely lobbed the ball over the plate,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

The Cardinals scored a run in the second and two in the fourth, and led, 13-4.

Pour it on

In the fifth, the Cardinals produced their second 10-run inning of the game. Bottomley got the big hit, a grand slam against the Phillies’ fourth pitcher, June Greene. Bottomley’s home run cleared the right-field wall and carried into Broad Street, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The Cardinals led, 23-4, after five innings. They scored again in one more inning, getting five runs in the eighth. The big blow was Chick Hafey’s grand slam into the left-field seats against Greene.

The grand slams by Bottomley and Hafey were the only Cardinals home runs in the game.

The Cardinals generated 28 hits and also received nine walks and had one batter hit by a pitch.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Cardinals also hit two line drives off the shins of Greene, but the balls caromed to infielders, who made the outs.

Every Cardinals player who made a plate appearance got a hit.

Leadoff batter Taylor Douthit was 5-for-6 with two walks. He scored four runs and drove in two. Bottomley was 4-for-5 with two walks. He scored four runs and drove in seven. For the doubleheader, Bottomley was 7-for-10 with 11 RBI and six runs scored. Hafey was 5-for-7 in Game 2 with five RBI and four runs scored.

Frankhouse was as effective a hitter as he was a pitcher. He was 4-for-7 with four RBI and, though he pitched a complete game and got a win, he yielded 17 hits and walked three.

Most of the damage was done against Roy (13 hits, nine runs in 4.1 innings) and Greene (12 hits, 11 runs in 4.2 innings). Boxscore

Willoughby, the losing pitcher, played seven seasons in the big leagues and continued to have trouble versus the Cardinals. His career record against the Cardinals: 2-12 with a 8.62 ERA.

After their record-setting performance, the Cardinals lost five of their next seven, falling to 39-41. Billy Southworth, in his first stint as Cardinals manager, was fired in late July and replaced by Bill McKechnie, who’d managed the Cardinals to the National League pennant in 1928.

Credible journalists adhere to a self-imposed policy of no cheering in the press box. John Denny wanted his Cardinals teammates to do the same in the dugout.

Forty years ago, on July 1, 1979, Denny got into an animated argument with teammate Roger Freed, whose rah-rah spirit annoyed the Cardinals’ pitcher.

Manager Ken Boyer intervened before Freed and Denny exchanged punches.

After the game, Freed was demoted to the minor leagues, though the Cardinals said the decision wasn’t related to the flareup with Denny.

Pipe down

Denny and Dick Ruthven of the Phillies were the starting pitchers in the first game of the Sunday doubleheader at St. Louis.

In the first inning, Denny walked three batters, loading the bases, before yielding a three-run triple to Gary Maddox and a RBI-single to Manny Trillo.

After getting the third out of the inning, Denny, who hadn’t won since May 15, was in a foul mood as he headed off the field.

In the dugout, Freed, who wasn’t in the lineup, was “trying to rally the troops,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, and loudly urged his teammates to fight back from the 4-0 deficit.

When Denny got to the dugout, the clatter caused by the fiery Freed got on his nerves.

“John told everybody on the bench to shut up,” Freed said.

Freed told Denny, “I’ll say what I want to say.”

Denny and Freed got into a heated discussion and they moved toward the bat rack.

“Boyer and a couple of players stepped in to prevent push from becoming shove,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Said Boyer: “Roger is a pretty strong man. I didn’t want him breaking Denny’s jaw.”

Though Boyer didn’t take sides in the dispute, he noted Denny had a reputation for being moody and “guys who have been around long enough should know to lay off him.”

Denny declined comment to the Post-Dispatch.

Moving on

While Denny held the Phillies scoreless over the next five innings, the Cardinals came back against Ruthven, getting three runs in the third and one in the sixth to tie the score at 4-4.

In the seventh, the Phillies scored twice against Denny, taking a 6-4 lead, but the Cardinals responded with three runs off Warren Brusstar in the bottom half of the inning to go ahead, 7-6.

The Cardinals prevailed, 13-7, with the win going to reliever Mark Littell. Boxscore

After the game, the Cardinals demoted Freed to Class AAA Springfield to open a roster spot for Game 2 starting pitcher Roy Thomas, who had been in the minors. Thomas was throwing in the bullpen when Boyer informed Freed he was being optioned.

“Roger sat on the bench, staring into space in deep shock,” according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Freed told the Post-Dispatch, “I don’t deserve it … It hurts.”

A right-handed batter who primarily was used as a pinch-hitter, Freed returned to the Cardinals on July 11, got sent back to Springfield two weeks later and was recalled again when big-league rosters expanded in September.

In 1977, his first season with the Cardinals after stints with the Orioles, Phillies, Reds and Expos, Freed hit .398 (33-for-83), including .421 versus left-handers. He dropped to .239 in 1978, but hit .379 (11-for-29) as a pinch-hitter.

Freed got 31 at-bats with the 1979 Cardinals, hit .258, including a walkoff grand slam, and was released on April 2, 1980.

After finishing the 1979 season with an 8-11 record and 4.85 ERA, Denny was traded by the Cardinals to the Indians for outfielder Bobby Bonds.