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A grand start to his Cardinals career culminated with a grand slam for pitcher Brad Penny before an injury described as minor became something major.

Ten years ago, on Dec. 7, 2009, the Cardinals signed Penny, a free agent, and projected him to join a 2010 starting rotation with Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia.

The move initially seemed to be a masterstroke by the Cardinals. Penny was 3-0 with an 0.94 ERA after four starts for them.

On May 21, 2010, three days before he turned 32, Penny hit a grand slam against ex-Cardinal Joel Pineiro of the Angels, but couldn’t continue pitching because of pain near his right shoulder. Originally described as a muscle strain, the injury turned out to be a muscle tear and Penny never played in another game for the Cardinals.

Hard thrower

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Penny followed the Cardinals as a boy.

“I grew up a Cardinals fan,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I grew up an Ozzie Smith fan.”

A pitcher at Broken Arrow High School, Penny was selected by the Diamondbacks in the fifth round of the 1996 amateur draft. He spent four seasons in the Diamondbacks’ farm system before he was traded to the Marlins.

In 2003, Penny was 14-10 for the Marlins and also won both his starts against the Yankees in the World Series.

The Marlins traded Penny to the Dodgers for outfielder Juan Encarnacion and others in July 2004.

A right-handed power pitcher, Penny thrived with the Dodgers and became part of the Hollywood scene. He dated actress Alyssa Milano and bought thoroughbred horses to race at Hollywood Park. One of his winners was named Excess Temptations.

Penny had back-to-back 16-win seasons for the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, but his right shoulder ached in 2008 and he finished 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA. Dodgers coach Larry Bowa said Penny was out of shape, but Penny said, “I was hurt all year. I didn’t have one game where my shoulder didn’t hurt.”

Granted free agency, Penny rejected surgery, signed with the Red Sox and started a shoulder strengthening program. Penny made 24 starts for the 2009 Red Sox, consistently fell behind in counts and was 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA.

Released by the Red Sox in August 2009, Penny signed with the Giants and experienced a turnaround. He was 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six starts for the Giants and entered free agency.

Learning new tricks

With three starting pitchers, Pineiro, Todd Wellemeyer and John Smoltz, becoming free agents, the Cardinals went shopping for a veteran to add to the rotation.

The Giants made a bid to keep Penny, but their one-year offer was tied to incentives. When the Cardinals proposed a one-year contract with a base salary of $7.5 million, plus a hotel suite on all road trips, Penny accepted.

“We’ve liked him ever since he was with Florida,” said Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.

Penny’s reputation was he threw as hard as he could and built high pitch counts. “There would be games where he would throw 18 or 20 straights fastballs,” Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told the Boston Globe. “You just can’t overpower everybody.”

Duncan and catcher Yadier Molina worked to get Penny to throw fewer pitches and use a sinker, or split-fingered pitch, to get groundball outs rather than strikeouts.

When Penny fell behind in the count, Molina urged him to trust the sinker instead of throwing the predictable pitch, a fastball.

The results were encouraging. After Penny beat the Giants on April 25, Duncan said, “He won the game without throwing a single pitch as hard as he could. He thought his way through that game. He’s pitching. He threw strikes, but he rarely gave them what they wanted.”

Penny was 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA in April and the Post-Dispatch declared he “may be the most impressive starter thus far.”

Penny said Duncan “gives me things that I’ve never even been talked to about as far as groundball outs to flyball outs, hits to runs.”

Regarding Molina, Penny said, “What makes it real easy on you is having a guy like Yadi behind the plate. He’s a real important part of it.”

Hit or miss

Penny lost his first three decisions in May, but pitched poorly in only one of those games and had a 2.73 ERA entering his start against the Angels at St. Louis.

In the third inning, with the score tied at 4-4, the Cardinals had runners on second and third, two outs, when Pineiro issued an intentional walk to Skip Schumaker, bringing Penny to the plate.

Penny swung at the first pitch and hit it over the wall in left for a grand slam, his first big-league home run in seven years. Video

When Penny went out to toss his warmup pitches in the fourth, Duncan noticed something was wrong and stopped him from continuing. Boxscore

Penny told the Post-Dispatch he wasn’t injured on the home run swing. He said he felt soreness since his previous start versus the Reds and didn’t tell anyone.

The Cardinals placed Penny on the 15-day disabled list and expected him to be ready for the second half of the season.

On July 7, Penny was pitching a simulated game in Denver when he complained of renewed pain in the right shoulder. A week later, Penny revealed tissue was torn from the bone.

Unable to pitch the remainder of the season, he finished his short Cardinals stint at 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA.

After the season, Penny was granted free agency and signed with the Tigers, joining a rotation with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Penny was 11-11 with a 5.30 ERA in 31 starts for the 2011 Tigers.

Outfielder Bob Nieman, who made an unprecedented debut with the Browns, returned to St. Louis as an accomplished hitter with the Cardinals.

Sixty years ago, on Dec. 2, 1959, the Cardinals acquired Nieman from the Orioles for outfielder-catcher Gene Green, plus minor-league catcher Chuck Staniland.

Eight years earlier, Nieman became the first player to hit home runs in his first two major-league at-bats. Since then, the only other player to do it is the Cardinals’ Keith McDonald.

A right-handed batter, Nieman appealed to the Cardinals because he hit left-handers well and “southpaws have been a constant plague” to them, The Sporting News reported.

Marty Marion, the former Cardinals shortstop who was Nieman’s teammate with the Browns, said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “He’s only a mediocre outfielder and he’s a hypochondriac, but, man, he can whale that ball.”

Overcoming hurdles

Nieman was born in Cincinnati and began going to Reds games when he was 3 with his father, a semi-pro catcher.

Nieman developed into a baseball catcher and football fullback in high school. After graduation, he joined the Army, was stationed in France and got pneumonia. The drugs used to treat him damaged his kidneys and he developed nephritis. Given a medical discharge, Nieman returned home, recovered, married his high school sweetheart and tried out with the Reds.

After Nieman signed a minor-league contract with the Reds, a tumor was discovered in his right arm and he underwent surgery. When he healed, the Reds converted him from catcher to outfielder. In 1948, his first minor-league season, Nieman hit .367.

During his off-seasons in the minors, Nieman pursued a college education at Kent State. Nieman was studying journalism in the hope of being a sports reporter and his wife, Patricia, was majoring in advertising.

“Next to actual participation, I can think of no life more enjoyable than watching games and being paid to do so,” Nieman said.

In June 1951, the Reds determined they had a surplus of outfielders in the minors and placed Neiman on waivers. He was claimed by Oklahoma City, an unaffiliated team in the Texas League. Nieman led the league in hitting (.324) and his contract was purchased by the Browns.

Boston fireworks

Nieman, 24, joined the Browns in Boston. Manager Zack Taylor didn’t plan to play him, but changed his mind when the Red Sox started a left-hander, Mickey McDermott. Nieman played left field and batted fifth in the Friday afternoon game on Sept. 14, 1951, at Fenway Park.

When he came to bat for the first time as a big-leaguer in the second inning, Nieman hit a solo home run. In his second at-bat in the third, he hit a two-run home run. According to the Post-Dispatch, those were the only pitches he swung at in those at-bats.

“This is really the day of my life,” Nieman said.

He almost got upstaged in the eighth when Satchel Paige, 45, relieved for the Browns and faced Ted Williams. With the count 0-and-2, Williams moved up in the batter’s box, expecting an off-speed pitch. Paige fired a fastball and Williams swung and missed, striking out.

When Williams got to the dugout, he “smashed his bat into pieces,” the Boston Globe reported. “He first whacked it against the railing leading to the dressing room. When that didn’t suffice, Williams flung the bat toward the rack. He still wasn’t satisfied, so he smashed it on the floor of the dugout. That ended the bat’s worth for good.”

Watching from the mound, Paige “was laughing his head off,” the Globe noted.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in the big leagues,” Paige said. “He was sore because I crossed him up.”

Asked about Nieman’s performance, Paige said the burly rookie “is just a lot of boy. Leans into that ball pretty good and hits the pitch where it is.” Boxscore

Designated hitter

Nieman hit .372 in 12 games for the 1951 Browns. The next year, he led the 1952 Browns in batting average (.289), home runs (18) and RBI (74), but they traded him to the Tigers after the season. Nieman played for the Tigers (1953-54), White Sox (1955-56) and Orioles (1956-59). He batted .322 for the Orioles in 1956 and .325 in 1958.

In 1959, when Nieman hit .292 with 21 home runs for the Orioles, The Sporting News described him as “a terror at the bat but sometimes frightful in the field.” Bob Broeg of the Post-Dispatch suggested Nieman “thought defense was the time to rest.”

The Cardinals got Nieman for his hitting, not his fielding. He batted .287 in 81 games in 1960 and had an on-base percentage of .372.

Among his highlights:

_ A home run against Sandy Koufax in a 2-0 triumph over the Dodgers on Aug. 21. Boxscore

_ A double, triple and home run for four RBI against Dick Ellsworth in a 4-3 victory versus the Cubs on Sept. 4. Boxscore

_ A ninth-inning home run against Johnny Podres to force extra innings against the Dodgers on Sept. 21. Boxscore

In 1961, Nieman, 34, was hitting .471 (8-for-17) when the Cardinals traded him to the Indians on May 10. The Cardinals made the deal because they wanted to give more playing time to Charlie James, 23, who they were grooming to replace Stan Musial in left.

“At least Nieman has the consolation of being one of the few .471 hitters ever traded,” the Post-Dispatch concluded.

Nieman said, “I certainly hate to leave this club. I mean it when I say this is the finest outfit I’ve ever been associated with.”

As he departed, Nieman wrote a message on the blackboard in the Cardinals’ clubhouse: “Good luck, boys, see you in the World Series.”

The Cardinals didn’t reach the World Series in 1961, but Nieman did a year later. After hitting .354 in 39 games for the Indians in 1961, they traded him to the Giants the next year and Nieman appeared in the 1962 World Series.

Jim Leyland needed a break from managing, but he wasn’t done with baseball.

Twenty years ago, on Nov. 30, 1999, the Cardinals hired Leyland to be a special assignment scout.

The move came two years after Leyland managed the 1997 Marlins to a World Series championship and two months after he managed the Rockies to a last-place finish.

In leaving the Rockies with two years left on his contract, Leyland said he wanted to spend more time with family and never would manage again.

Who you know

Leyland began managing in the Tigers’ farm system in 1972 when he was 27. In 1979, Leyland was managing Evansville of the American Association when he and rival manager Tony La Russa of the White Sox’s Iowa farm team developed a mutual respect.

In August 1979, La Russa became White Sox manager. Leyland was stuck in Evansville because the Tigers were content with their manager, Sparky Anderson. After the 1981 season, Leyland became a coach on La Russa’s White Sox staff and they bonded. They also connected with a young White Sox executive, Dave Dombrowski.

The Pirates hired Leyland in 1986. He managed them for 11 seasons and won three division titles before Dombrowski, who’d become general manager of the Marlins, lured him to Miami. In 1997, Leyland’s first season as their manager, the Marlins won the World Series championship, a stunning feat for a franchise which entered the National League just four years earlier. The joy quickly faded when Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga ordered player payroll slashed. With the roster depleted, the Marlins were 54-108 in 1998 and Leyland wanted out.

Burned out

Leyland became Rockies manager but it wasn’t a good fit. The 1999 Rockies finished 72-90 and Leyland grew disinterested. He missed his wife and two children, who were home in suburban Pittsburgh, and after 14 consecutive seasons as a big-league manager he’d had enough. Leyland told the Rockies he was retiring from managing and would forfeit the $4 million remaining on his contract.

Years later, he told the Associated Press he walked out because “it would’ve been more of a disaster and morally wrong to go back and take their money for two more years.”

Leyland said he did “a lousy job” of managing the Rockies. “I stunk because I was burned out,” he said. “When I left there, I sincerely believed I would not manage again.”

Leyland signed with the Cardinals two weeks before he turned 55. The arrangement called for him to scout National League teams in Pittsburgh and American League clubs in Cleveland. Leyland also would attend Cardinals spring training and evaluate players.

Though Leyland reported directly to general manager Walt Jocketty, he also had the support of La Russa, who said he was comfortable having his friend in the organization. “I’m not going to be the manager of the Cardinals,” Leyland said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He knows that. I know that.”

Baseball whisperer

When Leyland attended his first Cardinals spring training in 2000, the club wanted to issue him a uniform with No. 10, the same number worn by La Russa and the number Leyland wore when he managed. La Russa said he was OK with it, but Leyland declined, the Post-Dispatch reported.

“I thought it would have made a joke out of it,” said Leyland. “I thought it would have called too much attention and it wasn’t necessary to draw that kind of attention.”

Leyland requested and got a uniform with no name or number.

In September 2000, when the Cardinals were nearing a return to the postseason for the first time in four years, La Russa was asked how much Leyland had helped. “He set the tempo in spring training (with) evaluations and suggestions about strategy,” La Russa replied.

Leyland spent six seasons (2000-2005) as Cardinals special assignment scout and they got to the postseason in five of those. During spring trainings, La Russa and Leyland sat together at games. Leyland also managed or coached intra-squad and “B” games on the back fields at the Jupiter, Fla., complex.

“Jim Leyland is the best baseball man I’ve ever been around in my life,” La Russa said in April 2005. “He’s got this special feel for the game and that includes his giving you his honest evaluation.”

In October 2005, Dombrowski, who’d become Tigers general manager, fired manager Alan Trammell and hired Leyland to replace him. Getting the chance to return to the organization where he started was one reason Leyland accepted the job. Another is he felt haunted by the way he left the Rockies. “I did not want my managerial career to end like that,” Leyland said.

In a storybook twist, Leyland, 61, led the Tigers to the American League pennant in 2006 and a World Series matchup with La Russa’s Cardinals.

“It’s actually the greatest situation you could imagine _ to be in a situation against somebody you respect so much,” La Russa said.

The Cardinals won four of five against the Tigers and became World Series champions for the first time in 24 years.

Leyland managed the Tigers for nine seasons and won another pennant in 2012. He came close to having a World Series rematch with La Russa and the Cardinals in 2011, but the Tigers were ousted by the Rangers in the American League Championship Series.

The franchise of Dizzy Dean and Bob Gibson gave Bryn Smith the most lucrative contract of any Cardinals pitcher.

Thirty years ago, on Nov. 28, 1989, Smith, a free agent, signed a three-year $6 million contract with the Cardinals.

“It’s more money than I ever dreamed of,” Smith told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Smith’s contract was the second-highest in Cardinals history, behind only shortstop Ozzie Smith, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Looking for a proven winner to join Joe Magrane (18-9 in 1989) and Jose DeLeon (16-12) in their starting rotation, the Cardinals chose Smith, 34, who produced six consecutive seasons of double-digit wins with the Expos but who also lost eight of his last nine decisions in 1989 and finished with a losing record (10-11).

Show time

Smith grew up in Santa Maria, Calif. His mother and father were introduced to one another by actress Jane Russell while working at RKO Pictures in Hollywood. Smith’s mother dated actor Cary Grant before she married.

Smith’s unusual first name was derived from the initials of his maternal grandfather, Baxter Robert Young Nisbet.

When Smith was 15, his mother took him to a Dodgers game and he decided he wanted to play baseball. He tried out for the high school team and discovered he could play.

Smith, 17, was selected by the Cardinals in the 49th round of the 1973 amateur draft but chose to enroll in junior college. A year later, he signed with the Orioles.

“I got $1,000 to sign and I spent half of it on an engagement ring and I went out and blew the rest,” Smith said.

He spent three seasons in the Orioles’ farm system, got traded to the Expos and made his major-league debut with them in 1981. His best season was in 1985 when he was 18-5 with a 2.91 ERA.

A fan of the rock group Rush, Smith joined them on tour for a week and credited the lead singer with teaching him how to deal with crowds.

A right-hander, Smith pitched to contact, issued few walks and relied on changing speeds. The palmball was a favorite pitch. “I’m not a power pitcher,” he said. “I have to be a control pitcher and make use of the park.”

Money ball

After finishing seven games behind the first-place Cubs in the National League East in 1989, the Cardinals decided to find a starting pitcher in the free agent market and focused on two Expos defectors, Smith and left-hander Mark Langston.

The Giants and Braves also were interested in Smith and the Angels wanted Langston. When the Yankees signed another Expos defector, free-agent pitcher Pascual Perez, to a three-year, $5.7 million contract in November 1989, it established the market value and prompted the Cardinals to make their offer to Smith.

“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Smith.

Soon after, Langston signed with the Angels for five years and $16 million.

Stung by the departures of Perez, Smith and Langston from their starting rotation, Expos owner Charles Bronfman told the Associated Press, “People are being financially irresponsible. I mean, you can have bidding for players, but you don’t have to be a damned fool about it. Right now, some people are.”

Noting Smith’s career record of 81-71, Expos president Claude Brochu said, “Bryn is a good, average pitcher. That’s what he is _ a .500 pitcher. If you triple his salary, it’s not suddenly going to make him a 20-game winner.”

Unfazed, Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill said Smith “probably has the best control of any pitcher in the National League. Whitey (Herzog) and I both think that with Bryn pitching in Busch Stadium, with an outstanding defense behind him, he can be a big winner.”

Injury issues

Smith made his Cardinals debut on April 10, 1990, against the Expos at St. Louis, got the win and drove in a run. Boxscore

A shoulder ailment prevented Smith from pitching from late July to early September and he finished the 1990 season at 9-8 with a 4.27 ERA.

In 1991, Smith got the start on Opening Day, earned a win against the Cubs in Chicago and went on to finish 12-9 with a 3.85 ERA. He led the 1991 Cardinals in wins (12), starts (31) and innings pitched (198.2).

The 1992 season was a bust for Smith. He made one start in April, had elbow surgery and was used as a reliever when he returned in September. Smith was 4-2 with a 4.64 ERA for the 1992 Cardinals, became a free agent after the season and signed with the Rockies.

In three seasons with St. Louis, Smith was 25-19 with a 4.06 ERA.

The Cardinals had visions of featuring a lineup of Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark McGwire.

Twenty years ago, in November 1999, the Cardinals sought to acquire Griffey from the Mariners.

Though Griffey was swapped to the Reds instead, the Cardinals’ pursuit of him was sincere.

Deal me out

After the 1999 season, Griffey, nearing his 30th birthday, told the Mariners he wanted to be traded to a team closer to his home in Orlando, Fla.

Griffey, a center fielder who won 10 Gold Glove awards and four times led the American League in home runs with the Mariners, was eligible to become a free agent in another year.

The Mariners offered him an eight-year contract worth about $140 million, but Griffey rejected it. Unable to keep him beyond 2000, the Mariners opted to trade him rather than lose him to free agency.

Griffey, who debuted with the Mariners when he was 19, had the right to approve or reject any proposed trade. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Griffey’s first choice was to go to Atlanta, “but the Braves decided a deal wouldn’t fit their situation.”

If the National League champion Braves weren’t interested, the Associated Press speculated, the Reds and Mets were the leading contenders. Though Griffey was born in Donora, Pa., the same hometown as Cardinals icon Stan Musial, he grew up in Cincinnati, where his father played as an outfielder on the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s. Ken Griffey Sr. was a Reds coach in 1999.

Twin towers

The Cardinals were intrigued with the idea of acquiring Griffey and putting him in a lineup with McGwire, who in his two full seasons with St. Louis hit 70 and 65 home runs. Griffey twice hit 56 home runs in a season (1997 and 1998) and slugged 48 in 1999.

“We’ve discussed it with the owners and we’re going to look into it,” Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty told the Post-Dispatch. “We’re going to at least take a look at it to see if we can do it realistically. It might be very tough to do, but people thought we were crazy when we traded for McGwire.”

A few days later, at the general managers meetings in California, Jocketty and manager Tony La Russa met McGwire for dinner and asked him whether he would like the Cardinals to obtain Griffey, who would get a more lucrative contract than the one McGwire had, the Post-Dispatch reported.

“He thought it was great,” Jocketty said.

No go

According to the Seattle Times, the Cardinals were one of four teams “having serious discussions” with the Mariners about Griffey. The others were the Reds, Mets and Astros.

“The Cardinals might be on the short list of teams entertaining serious dreams of obtaining superstar Ken Griffey Jr.,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Mariners “would be certain to ask” for pitcher Rick Ankiel, the Seattle Times reported, but the Post-Dispatch declared, “Jocketty isn’t likely to give him up in any trade.”

According to the Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals might consider dealing to the Mariners some combination of third baseman Fernando Tatis, outfielder J.D. Drew, second baseman Adam Kennedy and pitcher Chad Hutchinson.

Eventually, the Mariners’ asking price was too high and the Cardinals backed off.

“We’ve had a couple of discussions, but player-wise it was going to be too rich for us,” Jocketty said. “They were looking for a killing on this deal.”

At the baseball winter meetings in December 1999, the other suitors for Griffey also broke off talks with the Mariners. Refusing to include infielder Pokey Reese in a trade for Griffey, Reds general manager Jim Bowden said, “There’s no chance at all” for a deal.

A month later, the Reds and Mariners resumed trade talks. The Reds insisted a deal would be contingent on Griffey agreeing to a long-term contract and giving up his chance to become a free agent after the 2000 season.

On Feb. 10, 2000, after Griffey accepted a nine-year contract proposal worth $116.5 million, the Mariners traded him to the Reds for four players, including outfielder Mike Cameron and pitcher Brett Tomko.

A month later, on March 23, 2000, the Cardinals acquired Jim Edmonds from the Angels to be their center fielder.

With one swing of his exceptionally hot bat, Irv Noren struck back at the team that cast him aside and kept the Cardinals in the thick of the 1957 National League pennant race.

Noren died Nov. 15, 2019, at 94. He was an outfielder for 11 seasons in the major leagues, including five (1952-56) with the Yankees and three (1957-59) with the Cardinals.

A left-handed batter, Noren, 32, was claimed by the Cardinals on Aug. 31, 1957, when he was placed on waivers by the Athletics.

Thought by some to be washed up after undergoing surgeries on both knees and hitting .213 for the 1957 Athletics, Noren went on a tear with the Cardinals and helped them make a run at the first-place Braves in the final month of the season.

American Leaguer

After serving in the Army during World War II, Noren signed with the Dodgers in 1946 and excelled in their farm system for four years.

In 1949, playing for manager Fred Haney with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League, Noren batted .330 with 29 home runs and 130 RBI, but the Dodgers sold his contract to the Washington Senators after the season.

As a rookie with the 1950 Senators, Noren hit .295 with 98 RBI. The Yankees acquired him in May 1952 and Noren was valuable, playing all three outfield spots as well as first base. In 1954, he led the Yankees in batting (.319).

Noren played for the Yankees in three World Series, all against the team that rejected him, the Dodgers.

Hunger to win

The Cardinals were 7.5 games behind the front-running Braves when they acquired Noren. “As long as we’ve got an outside chance to win the pennant, or for that matter, increase our chances of finishing second, we are going to do all we can,” Cardinals general manager Frank Lane told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Braves were managed by Fred Haney, who eight years earlier had managed Noren with the Hollywood Stars.

After being swept by the Reds in a Labor Day doubleheader on Sept. 2, 1957, the Cardinals fell 8.5 games out of first. Then they won 11 of their next 13. Noren helped, getting seven hits in his first 15 at-bats as a Cardinal.

On Sept. 17, 1957, the Dodgers, who had made public their plans to abandon Brooklyn after the season and relocate to Los Angeles, came to St. Louis to open a two-game series against the Cardinals.

For Noren, it would be his first chance to face his original franchise in a regular-season game.

In the seventh inning, the Cardinals led, 6-5, and had the bases loaded with one out. Ken Boyer was due to bat against right-hander Ed Roebuck.

Seeking a hit to break open the game, Cardinals manager Fred Hutchinson sent Noren to the plate for Boyer, preferring to have a batter from the left side face Roebuck.

Noren swung at Roebuck’s first pitch and lined it into left-center, clearing the bases with a three-run triple and giving the Cardinals a 9-5 lead.

The Cardinals went on to a 12-5 victory and were three games behind the Braves with 10 play. Boxscore

The triple gave Noren, the Dodgers’ castoff, a .529 batting average as a Cardinal.

“We are a hungry team,” Lane said to the Associated Press.

Helping hand

The Cardinals split their next four games, dropping five behind the Braves. The Braves then won two of three against them in Milwaukee and the deflated Cardinals lost their last three to the Cubs, finishing in second place.

Noren batted .367 (11-for-30) for the 1957 Cardinals and had an on-base percentage of .429. He had 10 RBI in 17 games.

After the season, Noren opened a bowling alley in Pasadena, Calif. When the Cardinals played the Dodgers in their first season in Los Angeles in 1958, Noren had several of his teammates as his guests at the bowling lanes.

Noren hit .264 in 117 games for the 1958 Cardinals. He was traded to the Cubs in May 1959.

Noren was the third-base coach for the Athletics when they won three consecutive World Series championships (1972-74).