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Six months after experiencing the euphoria of winning a World Series championship, the Cardinals plunged into despair when relief pitcher Josh Hancock was killed in a highway accident.

The contributing factors _ Hancock was driving while intoxicated _ raised questions about the club’s substance abuse awareness and led to the Cardinals changing policies regarding alcohol in the clubhouse and on charter flights.

Ten years ago, on April 29, 2007, Hancock, 29, was killed when his sports utility vehicle crashed into a parked tow truck on a St. Louis road.

As details emerged, the shaken Cardinals struggled to come to grips with the emotional loss of a teammate and the circumstances that led to his death.

Versatile reliever

Hancock debuted in the big leagues with the 2002 Red Sox and also pitched for the Phillies (2003-04) and Reds (2004-05). After being released by the Reds _ they said he was overweight, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported _ Hancock signed with the Cardinals and got a non-roster invitation to spring training in 2006.

Showing an ability to perform multiple bullpen roles, Hancock earned a spot with the 2006 Cardinals. He appeared in 62 regular-season games that year, posting a 3-3 record with one save and a 4.09 ERA.

Hancock didn’t appear in the 2006 World Series _ the Cardinals won four of five against the Tigers to claim the title _ but he earned the respect of manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan, clinching a spot on the 2007 club.

In eight appearances for the 2007 Cardinals, Hancock was 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA. His final appearance was on Saturday afternoon, April 28, when he pitched three innings against the Cubs at St. Louis. Boxscore

After the game, Hancock met friends at Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood restaurant in downtown St. Louis.

When Hancock got ready to leave, restaurant manager Pat Shannon, daughter of Mike Shannon, the Cardinals broadcaster who operated the establishment, told the Post-Dispatch she offered to call a cab for Hancock, but he declined, saying he would walk to the Westin Hotel.

Fatal decisions

At about 12.30 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, Hancock got into his rented 2007 Ford Explorer, left downtown and headed to suburban Clayton, where he was planning to meet teammates Jim Edmonds, Ryan Franklin, Gary Bennett and Adam Kennedy at a cafe, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Hancock, driving on Highway 40, was speeding at 68 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to St. Louis police, and he was talking on a cell phone to a woman who was seeking game tickets. Hancock’s blood alcohol level was 0.157 percent _ nearly twice the legal limit, police said.

As Hancock got near the Forest Park/Grand exit, he came upon a flatbed tow truck that was parked in the left lane. The tow truck, responding to an earlier accident, was flashing its emergency lights.

The driver, Jacob Hargrove, was inside the cab of the tow truck. When he saw Hancock’s vehicle in his rearview mirror, he honked the truck’s horn as a warning. Hancock kept barreling forward. At the last second, police said, Hancock tried to veer right, but was too late.

The Ford Explorer slammed into the right rear of the tow truck. Hargrove wasn’t hurt. Hancock, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, died instantly of massive head trauma, police said.

Joe Walsh, Cardinals director of security, who was called to the scene to provide positive identification, told the Post-Dispatch, “If I hadn’t known him, I would have had a very tough time” identifying Hancock.

A tin of marijuana was found inside Hancock’s vehicle, police said.

“Evidently, whether it was the cell phone usage, the impairment of the alcohol, or the speed, he didn’t try to change lanes” in time, said St. Louis police chief Joe Mokwa.

Shock in St. Louis

At about 4 a.m., Walsh informed Cardinals president Mark Lamping and general manager Walt Jocketty of Hancock’s death. La Russa called Hancock’s father in Mississippi and delivered the news.

“The pain our organization feels today is unspeakable,” said Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt.

The Cubs agreed to the Cardinals’ request to call off their April 29 game that Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Hancock, single, was survived by his parents, a sister and a brother. A memorial service was scheduled for Thursday, May 3, in Tupelo, Miss. DeWitt arranged for a charter flight to take the team to the service after they played a three-game series against the Brewers at Milwaukee.

Signs of trouble

While the Cardinals were in Milwaukee, the Post-Dispatch reported that Hancock had been involved in another accident three days before his death.

At 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, Hancock was driving a GMC Denali when, according to a police report, he edged the vehicle into an intersection in Sauget, Ill., and was struck by a tractor-trailer truck. The front bumper of Hancock’s vehicle was torn off.

Hancock, uninjured, arrived late in the Cardinals clubhouse for that afternoon’s game against the Reds at Busch Stadium. La Russa later said he reprimanded Hancock for being late, but didn’t know about the accident.

In Milwaukee, as reporters dug for details, a defensive La Russa said he would swing a fungo bat at any journalist he believed was asking questions with “insincerity.”

A month earlier, La Russa had been arrested in Jupiter, Fla., the Cardinals’ spring training home, and charged with driving under the influence. His situation was drawing media scrutiny about his ability to effectively deal with players regarding alcohol issues.

The Post-Dispatch revealed that some of Hancock’s teammates had spoken to the pitcher about his drinking.

Rest in peace

The shell-shocked Cardinals lost all three of their games in Milwaukee and returned to St. Louis on May 2. The next morning, the Cardinals flew to Mississippi for Hancock’s memorial service.

DeWitt gave the Hancock family a framed photo of the pitcher, a replica of the 2006 World Series ring and an American flag that flew over Busch Stadium during Hancock’s final game, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Relief pitcher Randy Flores was the only member of the Cardinals to speak during the service.

A day later, May 4, Cardinals management said the club would ban alcohol from their Busch Stadium clubhouse and on charter flights returning to St. Louis.

Previously: Aaron Miles keyed Cardinals’ comebacks of 2006

Given a pair of assignments that took him outside his customary role, Bob Tewksbury delivered on both and produced an intriguing victory for the Cardinals.

Twenty-five years ago, on April 25, 1992, Tewksbury, a starting pitcher, was brought into a game against the Expos as an emergency reliever for a depleted Cardinals bullpen.

He also was tasked with making a plate appearance with two outs and the potential winning run at third base, a situation which usually would have called for a pinch-hitter.

Defying the odds, Tewksbury pitched two innings of scoreless relief and got the hit that brought St. Louis a walkoff win.

April drama

Looking to jump-start their season after losing nine of their first 15, the Cardinals opened a three-game series against the Expos at St. Louis on April 24, 1992. Trailing 3-2 with two outs and none on in the ninth, the Cardinals scored two runs off closer John Wetteland and won, 4-3. Boxscore

The next night, the starting pitching matchup was Ken Hill, the former Cardinal, for the Expos against Jose DeLeon. The Cardinals tied the score, 1-1, in the eighth on a Ray Lankford home run off Hill.

Relief pitching for both teams was sharp and the score remained tied through 15 innings.

In the 16th, after having used all six pitchers in his bullpen, Cardinals manager Joe Torre called on Tewksbury, who hadn’t made a relief appearance since May 5, 1990.

Tewksbury held the Expos scoreless in the 16th and 17th, allowing one base runner, Marquis Grissom, who singled.

Batter up

In the bottom half of the 17th, with Mel Rojas in his fourth inning of relief for the Expos, Rex Hudler and Gerald Perry opened with consecutive singles, but Brian Jordan grounded into a double play.

With Hudler on third and two outs, Torre, out of position players on the bench, let Tewksbury bat.

Tewksbury had produced nine hits and two RBI for the 1991 Cardinals and seven hits and two RBI for the 1990 Cardinals. He got his first big-league RBI in 1989 with a single for the Cardinals at Montreal against the Expos’ Andy McGaffigan.

In 1992, Tewksbury was hitless in six at-bats before facing the Expos.

Confident swing

Tewksbury took the first pitch from Rojas for ball one.

On the next delivery, Tewksbury swung and lined the ball over the head of left fielder John Vander Wal for a game-winning single.

“That’s the hardest ball I’ve ever hit,” Tewksbury told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I felt confident going to the plate. I went to the batting cage three times today to hit.”

The RBI was Tewksbury’s sixth in 120 career at-bats in the big leagues. He would finish his career with a .132 batting average and 19 RBI. To put into perspective the rarity of his hitting feat, consider that Tewksbury batted .073 (3-for-41) in his career against the Expos.

For his effort, Tewksbury also earned the win, the first and only one he would get in relief in his 13 years in the major leagues. His other 109 big-league wins all came as a starter. Boxscore

Previously: Cards turned from skeptics to supporters of Bob Tewksbury

Proving he was recovered from major surgery and still possessed the ability to alter the outcome of a game, Ray Lankford dazzled the Dodgers in an epic ninth-inning performance that delivered a victory for the Cardinals against one of their former standouts.

In his first game since undergoing an off-season rotator cuff operation on his left shoulder, Lankford sparked a Cardinals comeback against the Dodgers and their closer, Todd Worrell, 20 years ago on April 22, 1997.

The Cardinals trailed by a run with two outs and none on in the ninth when Lankford performed his magic.

Help wanted

The Cardinals went to Los Angeles to complete a road trip that began with three games in Miami against the Marlins and continued with three versus the Padres in Honolulu.

Lankford, working his way back to form on an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Class A minor-league affiliate at Prince William, Va., initially wasn’t expected to rejoin the Cardinals until May 1.

However, when the Cardinals struggled to score five total runs over four games _ a pair of 2-1 losses to the Marlins and wins of 1-0 and 2-1 over the Padres _ general manager Walt Jocketty sent Jerry Walker, vice president for player personnel, to watch Lankford at Prince William.

When Jocketty received a glowing report _ “Jerry said he was swinging the bat well and throwing well,” Jocketty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch _ the Cardinals brought Lankford to Los Angeles for the series opener against the Dodgers.

Call the closer

La Russa put Lankford in center field and batted him third in the order, behind Ron Gant and ahead of Brian Jordan, against Dodgers starter Pedro Astacio. Lankford drew a walk in the first inning, grounded out in the third, doubled in the fifth and flied out in the seventh.

In the ninth, Dodgers manager Bill Russell brought in Worrell to protect a 4-3 lead.

Worrell, 37, had pitched six seasons (1985-89 and 1992) for the Cardinals, amassing 129 saves and a 2.56 ERA. He was a key member of their 1985 and 1987 pennant-winning clubs.

The former Cardinal had gotten off to a good start for the 1997 Dodgers, with five saves and a 1.12 ERA.

Speed burns

Worrell appeared on his way to a routine save against the Cardinals. He retired Delino DeShields on a groundout and struck out Gant.

Lankford came up next and reached first safely on an infield single.

With Jordan at the plate, Lankford swiped second. Then he stole third.

“When we let catchers know that we’re running, that can kind of mess them up a little,” Lankford said.

A rattled Worrell walked Jordan.

“The prevailing theory is that when Lankford got to third with the tying run Worrell was reluctant to throw his slider for fear he would bounce it in the dirt,” wrote Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.

The next batter, Gary Gaetti, was 2-for-19 on the season with runners in scoring position. With Jordan running on the pitch, Worrell grooved a fastball that Gaetti pulled into the left-field corner, scoring Lankford and Jordan and giving the Cardinals a 5-4 lead.

John Mabry followed with a double to right-center, scoring Gaetti.

“You don’t see that happen very often when Todd can’t hold the lead,” Russell told the Los Angeles Times.

Said Worrell: “Some nights you have it, some nights you don’t. I can’t get the third out. It makes it hard to swallow.”

Cardinals closer Dennis Eckersley set down the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the ninth, sealing the 6-4 St. Louis victory. Boxscore

Pressure points

“I figured (Lankford) would provide a spark,” said Jocketty. “I think he put some life into the team.”

Said La Russa: “Could it be any better than that? It was just the way he did it. He got base hits, he walked, he stole bases, he played good defense. Wow.”

The next night, April 23, the Dodgers led the Cardinals, 2-1, with one out and the bases empty in the ninth when Russell brought in Worrell. Gaetti greeted him with an infield single and was lifted for a pinch-runner, Steve Scarsone.

Mabry struck out and Scarsone swiped second.

Up next was Gant. He hit a towering fly into a 25-mph wind to left that was caught for the final out. “If the wind hadn’t been blowing in,” said Worrell, “that ball might have gone out.” Boxscore

Worrell, in the last year of an 11-season major-league career, posted 35 saves for the 1997 Dodgers, but had a 2-6 record and 5.28 ERA.

Lankford had one of his best Cardinals seasons in 1997. He batted .295 with 36 doubles, 31 home runs, 98 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 133 games. His on-base percentage of .411 was his single-season career high.

Previously: Ray Lankford found redemption in 5-strikeout game

Embracing the aloha spirit, the Cardinals accepted an opportunity for a Hawaiian adventure and avoided trouble in paradise.

Agreeing to a request by the Padres, the Cardinals participated in the first regular-season major-league games played in Hawaii 20 years ago in April 1997.

The three games against the Padres in Honolulu were part of a 10,200-mile Cardinals road trip that included stops in Miami and Los Angeles.

“There is a special challenge every season. This will be one of them,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The risk was worth the reward. The Cardinals won two of the three games played in Hawaii, drew large crowds to Aloha Stadium and enjoyed the visit.

“If this isn’t heaven, it’s close to it,” Cardinals outfielder Ron Gant said.

Player approval

The Padres, who in 1996 played the Mets in Monterrey, Mexico, in the first big-league regular-season series outside the United States or Canada, were seeking to expand their fan base and marketing reach by scheduling a 1997 series in Hawaii.

Initially, the Padres asked the Astros to move a series from San Diego to Honolulu, but the Houston club declined.

The Padres then turned to the Cardinals.

Cardinals management approached catcher Tom Pagnozzi, the club’s players union representative, and asked him to put the idea to a vote of his teammates. Pagnozzi said Cardinals players voted almost unanimously to play the Padres in Honolulu rather than San Diego.

“It was not a close vote,” Pagnozzi told the Post-Dispatch. “It was completely one-sided. That surprised me a lot.”

Said Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty: “We gave the players the right to say yes or no. We wouldn’t have done it if the players hadn’t agreed to it.”

Jocketty said the Padres “are paying our expenses over what they would have been if we had played in San Diego.”

While in Hawaii, Cardinals players were to get double the usual amount of meal money _ $125 per day.

“Another 100 beans and I’m going to be styling in Hawaii,” Cardinals reliever Dennis Eckersley said.

Cross country trip

After finishing a homestand in St. Louis on Monday, April 14, the Cardinals went to Miami to play three games with the Marlins. After losing the series finale on Thursday afternoon, April 17, the Cardinals boarded a plane in Fort Lauderdale for a 12-hour trip to Honolulu.

The Padres, who finished a road trip in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 16, got to Hawaii on Thursday, April 17, a day ahead of the Cardinals.

“Maybe they’re already drinking Mai Tais,” Cardinals pitcher Todd Stottlemyre said.

The Cardinals arrived in Honolulu at 2 a.m. on Friday, April 18. The Padres scheduled a workout at Aloha Stadium for their players that day. The Cardinals told their players to take the day off.

La Russa told the Post-Dispatch he probably would use the off day to visit the U.S.S. Arizona. Players John Mabry, Mark Sweeney and T.J. Mathews went surfing. Third baseman Gary Gaetti tried snorkeling.

Pitching prowess

The Cardinals and Padres were scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 19, starting at 4:05 pm on the artificial surface of Aloha Stadium.

In the opener, Cardinals starting pitcher Matt Morris was struck on his right hand by a Tony Gwynn line drive in the first inning.

Morris completed a scoreless first and batted in the second, then departed when he couldn’t grip the ball.

Mark Petkovsek relieved and pitched six scoreless innings. Mathews and Eckersley finished with a scoreless inning apiece and the Cardinals won, 1-0. The run was scored in the sixth when, with two outs, Brian Jordan doubled, swiped third and went home on catcher John Flaherty’s wild throw. Boxscore

“I had a good fastball down in the zone,” Petkovsek told the Honolulu Advertiser. “As we progressed into the game, I used my changeup and curve a little more.”

The Cardinals won the second game, 2-1, behind the three-hit pitching of Alan Benes and a RBI apiece by Sweeney and Mabry. Boxscore

Attendance for the doubleheader was 37,382.

The Cardinals became the first team to sweep a doubleheader with three total runs since the Indians beat the Blue Jays by the same scores on May 17, 1981.

Second bananas

In the 2:05 pm series finale on Sunday, April 20, the Padres won, 8-2, before a crowd of 40,050. The Cardinals’ highlight was Gant’s inside-the-park home run.

Gant circled the bases and belly-flopped across home plate after center fielder Rickey Henderson crashed into the wall while pursuing the drive. “I thought I had a pretty good jump on it, but when you get out toward the wall it seems like you’re going downhill _ and then I stumbled a little bit,” Henderson told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Boxscore

Reaction from the Cardinals to the Hawaii experience largely was positive.

“The trip wasn’t really a problem,” La Russa said. “We had plenty of time with the day off. The toughest part of this was playing a doubleheader and then coming back the next day to play when it’s really warm.”

La Russa was surprised the Padres organized the Hawaii weekend, not Major League Baseball (which did endorse it). Thus, the Padres were promoted more heavily and more favorably than the Cardinals.

In his column for the Star-Bulletin, Dave Reardon wrote, “La Russa didn’t like his team being billed as the Washington Capitals to the Padres’ Harlem Globetrotters. Can’t blame him.”

After the finale, the Cardinals went to Los Angeles, had an off day on Monday, April 21, and opened a series against the Dodgers with a 6-4 victory on Tuesday, April 22.

Previously: Before Kolten Wong, Joe DeSa gave Cards Hawaiian punch

In a pivotal Easter weekend showdown with the Mets, the Cardinals proved to the reigning World Series champions they wouldn’t be intimidated, even when the Redbirds _ and their best pitcher _ got a bad break.

Looking to re-establish themselves as contenders, the Cardinals swept a three-game series from the Mets 30 years ago in April 1987.

The glory of that achievement was marred, however, when Cardinals ace John Tudor broke a bone below his right knee in a freak dugout collision with Mets catcher Barry Lyons on Easter Sunday.

“We got a sweep, but the broom broke,” Cardinals trainer Gene Gieselmann said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

With Tudor projected to be sidelined for three months, it appeared the Cardinals’ chances of dethroning the Mets had been damaged.

Instead, the Cardinals pulled together and, with Tudor’s help down the stretch, won their third National League pennant in six years.

Message delivered

In 1986, the Mets had a 108-54 record, finishing 28.5 games ahead of the Cardinals in the NL East, and went on to win the pennant and World Series championship. The Mets won eight of nine games in St. Louis against the Cardinals that season.

The April 17-19 series was the Mets’ first visit to St. Louis in 1987 and the Cardinals wanted to send an early message that they wouldn’t be pushovers.

Tudor started the series opener on April 17 and got the win in a 4-3 Cardinals victory. In the fifth inning, with the Mets ahead, 3-2, Tudor started the comeback with a single off Bob Ojeda. Tommy Herr put the Cardinals in front, 4-3, with a two-run single. Ricky Horton pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Tudor for the save. Boxscore

Herr delivered another key blow in the second game of the series on April 18. After the Cardinals got a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the score at 8-8, Herr hit a grand slam off Jesse Orosco with two outs in the 10th, lifting St. Louis to a 12-8 triumph. Boxscore

Fateful foul

The Easter Sunday pitching matchup on April 19 in the series finale was Greg Mathews for the Cardinals against Sid Fernandez.

In the third, with the Cardinals ahead, 1-0, St. Louis slugger Jack Clark lofted a pop fly that carried toward the home team dugout.

Lyons, making his first start of the season in place of Gary Carter, who was getting a day off, gave chase, barreling full steam in pursuit of the ball.

Looking skyward, Lyons kept running hard as he neared the Cardinals’ dugout.

“I thought I had a play on it, but the ball was right in the sun and I couldn’t judge where I was,” Lyons told the Post-Dispatch.

Reckless chase

Tudor and teammates were standing on the first step of the dugout. As his teammates scattered, Tudor reached out to try to prevent Lyons from tumbling down the steps and onto the dugout floor.

“I tried to catch him,” Tudor said. “I don’t know what the hell he was thinking about. He never even broke stride. If I wasn’t there, I don’t know what would have happened to him.

“I got up on the first step, expecting him to slide. Most catchers come in and slide and you can stop them … He never stopped. When I tried to sidestep him, he took me that way. He kind of pinned me. He caught my foot _ and hip _ against the bench. The bottom of my foot was against the bench.”

The collision snapped Tudor’s right tibia bone. Lyons was unhurt. Video

The ball, uncatchable, landed several rows into the stands.

Said Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog: “Nobody thought Barry was coming in. There wasn’t any play. The Easter Bunny couldn’t have caught that ball _ and he can jump.”

Costly win

Tudor was taken to a hospital and his right leg was placed in a cast.

The Cardinals went on to win the game, 4-2, completing the sweep. Boxscore

“You look at the three games they won and I think the deciding factor in all of them was defense,” said Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson. “… They’re probably the best defensive ball club in baseball. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

A force that would be without Tudor until August.

“Now we’ll see how good I can manage,” Herzog said.

Happy ending

When Tudor returned to the lineup Aug. 1 for a start against the Pirates, the resilient Cardinals were in first place in the NL East at 62-39, four games in front of the Expos and 6.5 ahead of the Mets.

Tudor won eight of nine decisions after he returned, finishing with a 10-2 record for the season.

The last of those wins came on Oct. 2 when Tudor faced Lyons for the first time since Easter. Lyons singled twice in two at-bats against Tudor _ “He hit two changeups that I hung. Bad pitches,” Tudor said _ but the Cardinals won, 3-2. Boxscore

St. Louis finished the regular season atop the NL East at 95-67, three ahead of the runner-up Mets, and clinched the pennant by winning four of seven in the NL Championship Series against the Giants.

Previously: How Cardinals held off Mets in October 1985 drama

Roy Sievers, a St. Louis native who began his major-league career with the American League Browns, nearly ended it with the National League Cardinals.

Sievers, a premier slugger in the 1950s with the Browns and Senators, was 38 years old and primarily relegated to pinch-hitting when the Cardinals invited him to spring training in 1965.

Tempted by the offer because of his friendship with Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst, Sievers instead chose to return to the Senators because of their proven faith in him.

Tabbed for power

Sievers, 90, died April 3, 2017. As a youth, he lived in a house three blocks from Sportsman’s Park, home of the Cardinals and Browns. Both clubs scouted him when he played for the Beaumont High School team.

After he graduated, Sievers signed with the Browns because he thought he had a better chance of playing for them than the Cardinals, he told a biographer for the Society for American Baseball Research.

A right-handed batter who played first base and outfield, Sievers won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with the Browns in 1949. He hit .306 with 16 home runs and 91 RBI for the seventh-place team.

After five seasons (1949-53) with the Browns, Sievers was traded to the Senators. Sievers four times produced 100 RBI or more for the Senators. His best season was 1957 when he batted .301 and led the AL in home runs (42) and RBI (114) for the last-place club.

While with the Senators, Sievers was selected by Warner Brothers to be the double for actor Tab Hunter in the 1958 movie “Damn Yankees.” Hunter portrayed slugger Joe Hardy, who, like Sievers, wore uniform No. 2.

“Because Hunter took his close-up cuts from the left side of the plate,” the New York Times reported, “Sievers is shown as a left-handed batter, thanks to mirror-image technology.”

Cardinals foe

Though he never played for the Cardinals, Sievers played against them when he was acquired by the Phillies. As the Phillies’ everyday first baseman, Sievers had three home runs and nine RBI versus the Cardinals in 1962 and one home run and 10 RBI versus them in 1963.

Sievers was the Phillies’ Opening Day first baseman in 1964, but a month later John Herrnstein took over and Sievers was benched.

Hobbled by a calf injury, Sievers was batting .183 with four home runs when the Phillies sold his contract to the Senators on July 16, 1964. Sievers was grateful to Senators general manger George Selkirk for taking a chance on him and returning him to Washington.

Used primarily as a pinch hitter, Sievers batted .172 with four home runs for the 1964 Senators. He was released after the season.

Sorry, St. Louis

The Cardinals, who overtook the Phillies to clinch the 1964 NL pennant and then defeated the Yankees in the World Series, were seeking a right-handed pinch hitter for 1965.

Sievers, a free agent, was interested in filling the role, according to The Sporting News, but he wanted a contract and a spot on the roster.

Bob Howsam, Cardinals general manager, declined to offer Sievers a contract but he did invite him to go to spring training and try to earn a roster spot. When the Senators made Sievers the same offer, he accepted, turning down a chance to play for the reigning World Series champions in his hometown.

“I felt I owed it to George Selkirk to go to Florida with the Senators,” Sievers said. “They picked me up when the Phillies let me go last year. They knew I had a bad leg at the time, but still paid $25,000 to get me.”

Sievers told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he would have gone to the Cardinals if they had signed him to a contract before spring training.

“The Cardinals have the best-balanced team in the National League,” Sievers said. “They just need some right-handed punch on the bench.”

End of the line

Sievers played well enough in spring training to earn a contract and a spot as a backup to first baseman Bob Chance on the Opening Day roster of the 1965 Senators. Sievers got into 12 games, batted .190 and was released in May 1965.

Returning home to St. Louis, Sievers worked out with the Cardinals on June 8, but he was just trying “to keep in trim,” the Post-Dispatch reported. About a week later, Sievers got a tryout with the White Sox but wasn’t signed.

In 17 big-league seasons, Sievers produced 1,703 hits, 318 home runs and 1,147 RBI.

In November 1965, Sievers was hired by the Reds to be a coach on the staff of manager Don Heffner. Like Sievers, Heffner had played for the Browns. Bill DeWitt Sr., Reds president, had been owner and general manager of the Browns.

Rob Sievers, Roy’s son, played baseball for Hazelwood High School in Florissant, Mo., and was selected by the Cardinals in the sixth round of the 1970 amateur draft. Rob Sievers played two years in the Cardinals’ system, primarily as a third baseman and first baseman. He was a teammate of future Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Forsch with the 1970 Lewiston (Idaho) Broncs and the 1971 Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Cardinals.

Previously: Tito Francona and his Cardinals connections