Archive for the ‘Prospects’ Category

If not for an injury, Cloyd Boyer might have been to Cardinals pitching what his brother, Ken Boyer, was to Cardinals hitting and fielding.

A right-handed pitcher, Cloyd Boyer had an exceptional fastball when he got to the big leagues with the Cardinals, drawing comparisons to ace Mort Cooper, but he wasn’t the same after hurting his shoulder.

Boyer pitched in four seasons for the Cardinals and had a record of 15-18 with a 4.24 ERA. After his playing days, he had a long career as a major-league pitching coach and minor-league manager. Boyer died Sept. 20, 2021, at 94.

Baseball family

Born in Missouri’s Jasper County near Joplin, Cloyd was the oldest son of the 14 children of Vern and Mabel Boyer.

Cloyd and his six brothers all became professional baseball players. Cloyd, Ken and Clete reached the majors. Wayne, Lynn, Ron and Len spent all their time in the minors.

Ken and Clete were standout third basemen. Ken earned five Gold Glove awards with the Cardinals and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1964 when the Cardinals were World Series champions. Clete played for the Yankees in five World Series, including in 1964 against Ken and the Cardinals.

The Boyer boys got their passion for baseball from their father Vern, who worked a variety of jobs, including marble-cutter and blacksmith, and helped build a lighted baseball diamond across the street from the family house in Alba, Mo.

“He bought us a couple of gloves that were nothing bigger than your hand and we used corn cobs for balls,” Cloyd recalled to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He loved the game. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have never been in baseball.”

In 1944, when Cloyd was 17 and working for a farmer, Vern learned the Cardinals were conducting a tryout camp at nearby Carthage, Mo. “My father came and took me off the hay baler and carried me to the tryout camp,” Cloyd said in the book “Ken Boyer: All-Star, MVP, Captain.”

Cardinals scout Runt Marr and administrator Walter Shannon, who were running the tryout camp, became impressed “the minute Boyer powered a throw to the plate from the outfield,” the Post-Dispatch reported. They met with Cloyd and his father in Alba that night and signed the teen to a contract.

Hard thrower

After his first season in the Cardinals’ farm system in 1945, Cloyd enlisted in the Navy when he turned 18 in September that year. He served for almost a year, including three months aboard the USS Iowa, and was discharged in time to pitch in five games in the minors at the end of the 1946 season.

Cloyd began an ascension in the Cardinals’ farm system with consecutive 16-win seasons in 1947 and 1948.

“Boyer has a terrific fastball,” Cardinals farm director Joe Mathes told The Sporting News in 1948.

Cloyd, 21, earned a spot on the Cardinals Opening Day roster in 1949.

Comparing Boyer to Johnny Beazley, who had 21 wins as a rookie for the 1942 Cardiinals, Bob Broeg of the Post-Dispatch wrote, “Cloyd was shy, almost bashful, when he came up to the Cardinals, but was not too shy to knock down a hitter who dug in too earnestly against his swift, side-armed fastball.”

Cloyd made his major-league debut on April 23, 1949, with two scoreless innings of relief against the Cubs, but was returned to the minors after three appearances. Boxscore

Tough guy

Boyer stuck with the Cardinals in 1950, beginning the season as a reliever and moving into the starting rotation in late July.

“There isn’t a veteran pitcher on my squad who can match the speed of Cloyd Boyer,” Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer told The Sporting News.

Dyer was impressed as much by Cloyd’s courage and poise as he was with his fastball.

On July 17, 1950, the Dodgers’ Carl Furillo lined a pitch that struck Boyer “hard on the right thumb, glanced off and slammed against his throat,” Dick Young of the New York Daily News reported.

Boyer retrieved the ball and threw to first base in time to get Furillo, but “almost fainted a moment later, gasping for breath,” the Daily News reported. “His mates had him lie on the hill for several minutes, regaining his wind.”

Once he could breathe freely, Boyer got to his feet and walked off the field. X-rays disclosed a ruptured blood vessel at the heel of his hand. “He’s lucky he’s alive,” the Daily News declared. “Getting his hand in the way of Furillo’s comeback bullet just in time to prevent it from tearing into his neck probably saved the guy’s life, or at least his voice.” Boxscore

Four days later, Boyer pitched 11 innings in a start against the Giants. Boxscore

On July 27, 1950, 10 days after being struck by the Furillo liner, Boyer faced the Dodgers again and pitched a complete game for the win, holding Furillo hitless. Boxscore

“The kid’s got moxie,” Cardinals scout Fred Hawn said to the Post-Dispatch.

Pitching in pain

Two months later, on Sept. 15, 1950, Boyer hurt his right shoulder on the last pitch of his warmup before a start against the Dodgers and couldn’t continue. Cardinals trainer Doc Weaver described the injury as “an inflamed nerve,” the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported.

According to the book “Ken Boyer: All-Star, MVP, Captain,” Cloyd “likely damaged his rotator cuff, but the mentality of managers and pitching coaches at the time was to pitch through the pain.”

Incredibly, Boyer started against the Braves five days later, on Sept. 20, and pitched a four-hit shutout. Boxscore

The performance took a toll, though. On Sept. 29, while warming up before a start versus the Cubs, Boyer’s pitches “lacked the usual zip.” the Post-Dispatch reported.

He started the game and, “flinching on several throws,” got the count to 3-and-2 before yielding a double to leadoff batter Randy Jackson. Dyer ran to the mound and removed the ailing pitcher. Boxscore

Boyer finished the season 7-7 with a 3.52 ERA. He was 3-0 against the Dodgers.

Helping others

First-year Cardinals manager Marty Marion figured on Boyer for a spot in the starting rotation in 1951, but his arm wasn’t right. Ineffective, he was sent to the minors in July. Though brought back to the Cardinals at the end of the month, Boyer finished 2-5 with a 5.26 ERA for them in 1951.

“Boyer, until he suffered arm trouble, was considered another prospect like Mort Cooper,” The Sporting News noted.

Boyer was 6-6 with a 4.24 ERA for the Cardinals in 1952, then spent the next two seasons in the minors.

The Athletics acquired him and he pitched his last season in the majors for them in 1955, posting a 5-5 record and 6.22 ERA. 

Cloyd never got to play a big-league game with brother Ken, but he did with brother Clete, who was 18 when he made his debut in the majors with the 1955 Athletics.

Cloyd became a big-league coach for the Yankees (1975 and 1977), Braves (1978-81) and Royals (1982-83). Otherwise, from the 1960s to the 1990s, he was a scout, coach and manager in the minors.

Among the pitchers he managed in the minors were 17-year-old Pat Hentgen, who became an American League Cy Young Award recipient and a 15-game winner with the 2000 Cardinals.

Cloyd also managed a couple of 18-year-old pitchers, Steve Avery and Mark Wohlers, who became key members of 1990s pennant-winning Braves teams.

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For a team that finished out of contention in fifth place, the Cardinals had a lot of players others valued.

Sixty years ago, on Oct. 10, 1961, seven Cardinals were chosen in the National League expansion draft. No other club lost more players in filling the rosters of the Houston Colt .45s and New York Mets.

“I think it proves we have a lot of good players in our organization,” Cardinals general manager Bing Devine told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Two of the seven selected from the Cardinals went on to become National League all-stars, and another would play in three World Series.

Cash transactions

The expansion draft was held at the Netherland-Hilton Hotel in Cincinnati the day after the Yankees and Reds completed the 1961 World Series at Crosley Field.

The draft was held in two phases:

_ In Phase One, the Colt .45s and Mets drafted players left unprotected by the eight existing National League clubs. The expansion club paid from $50,000 to $75,000 for each player it took. The money went to the club that lost the player.

_ Phase Two was described as a premium draft. Each existing National League club had to offer two players who had been protected from the regular draft. The Colt .45s and Mets each could take four players in the premium draft, but no team could lose more than one player. Each premium player taken cost the expansion club $125,000.

The Cardinals, who finished with an 80-74 record, 13 games out of first in 1961, lost pitcher Bob Miller to the Mets in the premium draft.

Of the six Cardinals chosen in the regular draft, pitcher Craig Anderson, catcher Chris Cannizzaro and outfielder Jim Hickman went to the Mets, and infielder Bob Lillis and outfielders Ed Olivares and Don Taussig went to the Colt .45s.

As compensation, the Cardinals received $525,000 _ $125,000 for Miller, $75,000 each for Anderson, Cannizzaro, Lillis and Taussig, and $50,000 each for Hickman and Olivares.

“The $525,000 will be needed to balance the books on a red ink season at the gate,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Among the available Cardinals not taken in the draft were utility player Red Schoendienst, outfielder Don Landrum and infielder Alex Grammas.

Like Miller, Grammas was made available in the premium draft. After Miller was chosen, the Cardinals were able to protect Grammas, a valued utility player.

“Grammas is important until Jerry Buchek is completely ready to take over at shortstop,” Cardinals manager Johnny Keane told the Globe-Democrat.

As for Landrum, who hit .313 in the Cardinals’ farm system in 1961, Keane said to the Post-Dispatch, “I’ll be glad to have him available as center field insurance in case anything happens to Curt Flood.”

Pitching potential

The players the Cardinals disliked losing in the draft were the two right-handed pitchers, Miller, 22, and Anderson, 23.

Miller “has all the tools to be a real good pitcher,” Keane told the Globe-Democrat. He said Anderson “has a fine potential.”

Solly Hemus, who was replaced by Keane as Cardinals manager in July 1961, had become a Mets coach and advocated for the drafting of the Cardinals pitchers.

As a rookie in 1961, Anderson was 4-3 with a save and a 3.26 ERA in 25 relief appearances for the Cardinals.

Miller, a St. Louis native, was 18 when he signed with the Cardinals on June 20, 1957, after graduating from Beaumont High School. Cardinals scout Joe Monahan rated Miller “the finest pitching prospect in the St. Louis area in all the years I’ve scouted,” The Sporting News reported.

A week after turning pro, Miller made his big-league debut with the Cardinals. Boxscore

Miller was one of two 18-year-olds on the 1957 Cardinals’ pitching staff. The other was Von McDaniel.

In four seasons (1957 and 1959-61) with the Cardinals, Miller was 9-9 with three saves and a 3.83 ERA.

Talent search

The first player selected by the Mets in the regular draft was Giants catcher Hobie Landrith, a former Cardinal. Giants shortstop Eddie Bressoud was the first choice of the Colt .45s. Bressoud finished his career in 1967 as a utility player for the World Series champion Cardinals.

The Reds, Dodgers and Pirates lost six players apiece in the draft. The Giants, Phillies and Cubs each had five players drafted.

Here, in alphabetical order, is a look at what became of the seven players drafted from the Cardinals:

_ Craig Anderson: On May 12, 1962, Anderson won both games of a doubleheader for the Mets against the Braves. Then he lost his next 16 decisions, finishing the season with a 3-17 record. Anderson’s four saves led the Mets’ staff.

_ Chris Cannizzaro: The 1962 Mets used seven catchers, but Cannizzaro played more games than any of them. Cannizzaro threw out 55.6 percent of the runners attempting to steal against him in 1962. Seven years later, Cannizzaro was with another National League expansion team, the Padres, and was their representative on the all-star team.

_ Jim Hickman: He spent five seasons with the Mets and was the franchise’s first player to hit for the cycle and to hit three home runs in a game. With the Cubs in 1970, Hickman was an all-star and hit 32 home runs with 115 RBI. He finished his career with the 1974 Cardinals.

_ Bob Lillis: He started the most games at shortstop for the 1962 Colt .45s. As Astros manager from 1982-85, Lillis had a .514 winning percentage.

_ Bob Miller: He was one of two Bob Millers who pitched for the 1962 Mets. The former Cardinal was 1-12 that season. The other Bob Miller was 2-2. St. Louis’ Bob Miller went on to pitch 17 seasons in the majors for 10 teams. With the 1964 Dodgers, he led National League pitchers in appearances (74). Miller pitched in the World Series for the Dodgers in 1965 and 1966, and for the Pirates in 1971.

_ Ed Olivares: He never got to play for the Colt .45s, or any other team in the majors, after leaving the Cardinals, but his son, Omar Olivares, pitched for the Cardinals from 1990-94. Ed and Omar Olivares were the first father and son to play for the Cardinals.

_ Don Taussig: His one home run for the 1962 Colt. 45s came against the Cardinals’ Larry Jackson and was the winning run in a 4-3 victory. Boxscore

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When the body of Cardinals scout Les Wilson was found bloodied and battered in a hotel room, police suspected murder. Turns out, the victim killed himself.

Seventy-five years ago, on Aug. 17, 1946, Wilson, 35, died after a hellish night of hallucinations and destructive drinking.

The demons that tormented him took a terrible toll.

Farm work

Edward Leslie Wilson was born in St. Louis on Aug. 15, 1911, according to baseball-reference.com. He relocated with his family from St. Louis to Fayetteville, Ark., when he was 8, the Associated Press reported.

Wilson excelled at baseball in high school in Fayetteville. A catcher and infielder, he went on to play multiple seasons in the minors.

He broke his hand when Dom Dallessandro, a future big-leaguer, accidently stepped on it during a play at first base, according to the Associated Press.

After the hand injury, Wilson returned to Fayetteville and ran a cab company, the Associated Press reported.

He attempted a comeback as a player, then became an umpire in the minors from 1938-41.

Wilson enlisted in the Army Air Forces on Dec. 12, 1941, five days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Soon after his honorable discharge on Jan. 15, 1946, the Cardinals hired Wilson to be a scout.

At the Cardinals’ minor-league spring training camp at Albany, Ga., in 1946, Wilson worked with Wally Schang, manager of the Marion, Ohio, team, in selecting a roster, the Marion Star reported.

Early in the season, Wilson spent nearly a week in Marion, “helping shape the team,” according to the Marion newspaper.

Wilson “discovered and signed several of the players now on the active list, including catcher Vern Rapp,” the Marion Star reported. Rapp would manage the Cardinals in 1977 and 1978.

Mystery visit

After his work with Marion, Wilson’s other assignments included helping run Cardinals tryout camps in Canada, Nebraska and Missouri, according to the Ottawa Citizen and the Associated Press.

Eventually, Wilson was assigned to scout in Texas, United Press reported.

During the first week of August, Joe Mathes, head of the Cardinals’ farm and scouting systems, said he spoke to Wilson in Houston, the Associated Press reported. Mathes said he assigned Wilson to be in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the American Legion Tournament Aug. 11-14.

“He wasn’t supposed to be in Dallas,” Mathes told the Dallas Times-Herald.

Wilson checked in to a Dallas hotel on Aug. 13. The next night, Aug. 14, he was told to leave because he became intoxicated and destroyed several pieces of furniture in his room, the hotel manager told United Press.

Wilson was arrested on a charge of drunkenness on the night of Aug. 14 and spent his 35th birthday, Aug. 15, in jail. He was released the morning of Aug. 16 after paying a $10 fine.

Dark night

At 6:05 on the morning of Aug. 16, Wilson checked in to the Savoy Hotel and was given a room on the fourth floor, the Associated Press reported. United Press described it as “a third-rate Dallas hotel.”

That night, Wilson had a hotel porter, William Brown, bring him two bottles of whiskey and a bottle of wine, United Press reported. Brown said Wilson was alone in the room.

Hours later, at 3:15 a.m. on Aug. 17, another porter, Johnny Lee Joe, was summoned to Wilson’s room. The porter “found the room wildly disarranged” and Wilson was “bloody and battered,” United Press reported.

Wilson, alone in the room, wanted ice water. The porter asked Wilson if he needed help. “Wilson said no, he had hurt himself in a fall, but would be all right,” United Press reported.

About six hours later, at 9:45 a.m. on Aug. 17, housekeeper Opal Cooper entered the room and discovered Wilson dead.

Gruesome scene

“His blood-stained, bruised body was found in a sitting position, propped against the wall,” The Sporting News reported.

Police suspected Wilson “died in a desperate battle with robbers in his room,” United Press reported.

“The walls were splattered with blood from baseboards to shoulder height,” according to United Press. “Blood even was splattered on the ceiling. Furniture was broken and blood soaked the broken bed.”

The first physician on the scene saw gashes on Wilson’s head and shoulders and determined those were knife wounds, United Press reported.

“A coroner’s investigation disclosed Wilson had been slashed across the throat and stabbed in the head and shoulders by an unknown assailant,” according to United Press.

“Wilson’s body was a mass of bruises, indicating he also was engaged in a fistfight with his attacker before the fatal wounds were inflicted.”

According to the Associated Press, detective chief Will Fritz “said he believed Wilson had been knocked unconscious in a fight, regained his senses and staggered about the room in a dazed condition. He said that could explain blood stains on the wall.”

Detective Fritz estimated the time of death to be 5:30 a.m.

No weapons were found in the room. On the dresser was a wallet, but the only money found were a few scattered coins, United Press reported.

According to the Associated Press, “on the floor of the wrecked room police found fragments of a torn photograph of a woman.”

An empty whiskey bottle and one half-full were on a window sill when officers arrived, United Press reported.

“Police had not the slightest doubt they were confronted with a murder,” United Press noted. “It promised to be a murder mystery.”

According to the Associated Press, two men dressed in khakis were sought by police in connection with the murder. The men were seen walking down the hotel’s fourth-floor hallway with Wilson the afternoon of Aug. 16.

Police also held three persons for questioning: the late-night porter, and two hotel guests _ a 33-year-old man Detective Fritz said had been arrested many times, and a 30-year-old woman.

Drunken violence

The case took an unexpected twist after an autopsy was ordered by a justice of the peace.

The autopsy was conducted by two physicians at Parkland Hospital in Dallas: Dr. Morton Mason, a toxicologist, and Dr. Charles Ashworth, a pathologist.

Dr. Mason ruled cause of death was “acute alcoholism.”

Wilson “killed himself with alcoholic gluttony in a wild, all-night wrestle with whiskey-produced phantoms,” United Press concluded. “Not one of his many wounds, all evidently inflicted when he flung himself against the walls of his hotel room in pursuit of bottle demons, was sufficient to have caused death,” the doctors said.

Dr. Ashworth said Wilson suffered a smashed nose and swollen upper lip, International News Service reported.

Detective Fritz said Wilson lost considerable blood from nose bleeding, the Associated Press reported.

According to The Sporting News, friends attributed Wilson’s “mental condition to reaction from the war and the death of his father last year.”

Wilson, unmarried, was survived by a cousin and an aunt, both of St. Louis, the Associated Press reported.

Cardinals owner Sam Breadon authorized a Dallas mortician, Vernon O’Neal, to hold funeral services and burial in Dallas Aug. 20 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, according to the Associated Press.

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Stan Javier seemed destined to become a Cardinals player, but although he had the name, pedigree and skills, it didn’t happen.

On March 26, 1981, Javier signed with the Cardinals as an amateur free agent.

Stan was the son of Julian Javier, a second baseman who helped the Cardinals to three National League pennants and two World Series championships in the 1960s.

Julian named his son in honor of Stan Musial, who was Julian’s Cardinals teammate from 1960-63.

An outfielder and first baseman who batted from both sides, Stan Javier went on to play 17 seasons in the majors for eight teams, but not the Cardinals.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch aptly noted, “Stan Javier would have been an ideal Cardinals player, a switch-hitter who can run and play more than one position.”

A good name

Stan Javier was born on Jan. 9, 1964, and raised in the Dominican Republic. He was one of five children of Julian and Ynez Javier. Stan’s older brother, Julian Jr., became a doctor.

Asked why he named a son Stan, Julian Sr. told the Post-Dispatch, “I wanted my son to be like Stan Musial. Stan Musial is a gentleman.”

Musial was playing in his last season in 1963 when Julian Sr. told him that Ynez was pregnant and the child would be a boy. “He said, ‘Why don’t you name him after me?’ ” Julian Sr. told the Post-Dispatch. “I said, ‘Yeah, why not?’ Stan’s a good name for him.”

In 1990, Stan Javier said of Stan Musial, “I don’t know him that well, but I knew who he was and knew all about him when I was growing up in the Dominican.”

When Stan Javier was a toddler, he spent some summers visiting his father in St. Louis and went with him to Busch Memorial Stadium. In 1988, Stan Javier told the Post-Dispatch, “I remember the stadium, the clubhouse, the players _ Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.”

Making an impression

Stan Javier developed into a talented youth baseball player in the Dominican Republic. In 1981, soon after Stan turned 17, he and his father showed up at Cardinals spring training camp in Florida. Julian Sr. wanted the Cardinals to take a look at his son and offer him a contract.

Impressed, the Cardinals signed Stan and told him to report in June to their farm team in Johnson City, Tenn., following his graduation from high school in the Dominican Republic.

Stan hit .250 in 53 games for Johnson City in 1981. At home after the season, he worked with his father to improve his game. “He pitched batting practice to me a lot and worked on my stance,” Stan said to The Sporting News.

When Stan reported to Johnson City in 1982, he hit “with authority,” said director of player development Lee Thomas.

Wearing No. 6, the same as Musial had, and playing on a Johnson City team with Vince Coleman and Terry Pendleton, Stan hit .276 in 57 games. “Stan definitely is a major-league prospect,” Johnson City manager Rich Hacker told The Sporting News.

All business 

On Jan. 24, 1983, the Cardinals and Yankees traded minor leaguers. The Cardinals sent Javier and infielder Bobby Meacham to the Yankees for outfielder Bob Helson and pitchers Steve Fincher and Marty Mason.

The Post-Dispatch reported the deal was to appease Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who held hard feelings toward the Cardinals for sending him an injured player, Bob Sykes, in exchange for Willie McGee 15 months earlier.

In 1988, looking back on the deal, Stan Javier told the Post-Dispatch, “That trade was the hardest thing for me … I really was just starting to learn how to play.”

The Yankees brought Stan to the majors in April 1984. Eight months later, he was part of a package sent by the Yankees to the Athletics for Rickey Henderson.

Be yourself

Stan became a role player for the Athletics under manager Tony La Russa.

In 1988, Julian Sr. told the Post-Dispatch, “My son has been playing good ball and he’ll be a good player, but not like Stan Musial.”

“I wish I could hit like Stan Musial and catch the ball like Julian Javier,” Stan Javier said to reporter Dave Luecking. “That would be nice. I admire those players, but there’s no way I can be those two. You have to be your own person. If you try to be like someone else, you’re in trouble. I hit like Stan Javier and catch like Stan Javier.”

Stan got to play in two World Series (1988 and 1989) with the Athletics. According to the Post-Dispatch, Julian and Stan Javier were the third father and son to get World Series hits. The others were Jim and Mike Hegan, and Bob and Terry Kennedy.

Happy homecoming

In May 1990, the Athletics traded Stan to the Dodgers for Willie Randolph. When the Dodgers went to St. Louis that month for a series against the Cardinals, Stan got to play at Busch Memorial Stadium for the first time as a major leaguer. He hadn’t been to the ballpark since he was a child.

On May 26, he entered the game as a substitute and hit a three-run triple against Scott Terry. Boxscore

The next night, Stan, starting in center field and batting second, was 4-for-6 against the Cardinals. He scored three runs and drove in one. Boxscore

For the series, Stan was 5-for-8 with four RBI.

“It felt gratifying to have a good game here,” Stan told the Post-Dispatch.

Swing and miss

After La Russa left the Athletics to manage the Cardinals, he and general manager Walt Jocketty tried to acquire Stan.

The Cardinals had “considerable interest” in making a trade with the Giants for Stan in November 1998, the Post-Dispatch reported, but the Astros got him instead.

When Stan became a free agent after the 1999 season, the Post-Dispatch predicted the Cardinals would “go hard after Stan.”

“I think he can play a lot and protect us in the outfield,” Jocketty said.

Instead, Stan signed with the Mariners and finished his playing days with them. Video

Stan produced 1,358 career hits. He batted .270 against left-handers and .269 versus right-handers.

His career numbers against the Cardinals included a .366 on-base percentage and .271 batting average.

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Though the Cardinals put Lindy McDaniel on their team because they had to, he showed he deserved to be there.

A right-hander who developed into a quality reliever and pitched 21 seasons in the major leagues, McDaniel was 19 when he got to the big leagues with the Cardinals as a teammate of Stan Musial in 1955. He was 39 when he pitched his final game with the Royals as a teammate of George Brett in 1975.

In addition to Cardinals (1955-62) and Royals (1974-75), McDaniel pitched for Cubs (1963-65), Giants (1966-68) and Yankees (1968-73). 

McDaniel led the National League in saves three times: twice with the Cardinals (1959 and 1960) and once with the Cubs (1963). He had a career record in the majors of 141-119 with 174 saves.

One of his most important wins was his first. It came when he was 20 years old and it helped convince the Cardinals his spot on the club was warranted.

Prime prospect

McDaniel was 19 when he signed with the Cardinals for $50,000 on Aug. 19, 1955. Because of the amount he received, the Cardinals were required by a baseball rule at the time to keep McDaniel on the big-league club for at least the next two years.

The Cardinals signed McDaniel on the recommendation of scout Fred Hawn, who called him “the best pitching prospect, maybe the best player, I’ve ever scouted for the Cardinals.,” the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported. “His fastball and his curve are alive and he gets them over the plate.”

An amateur baseball standout in Oklahoma, McDaniel had been pursued by the Cardinals since he was 16 in 1952. He attended the University of Oklahoma for a year, but left to join the Cardinals, “fulfilling a childhood ambition to play with Dizzy Dean’s old club and alongside his idol, Musial,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The Phillies, Dodgers, Reds, Yankees, Indians and Red Sox also wanted to sign McDaniel, but “when I found out the Cardinals were interested, I told the others not to bother,” McDaniel said to The Sporting News. “They’re a team of the future with a young staff. I’ll get more chances to pitch with them than with other clubs.”

When Lindy and his father, Newell McDaniel, an alfalfa and cotton farmer, went to St. Louis for the contract signing, Lindy let his dad do most of the talking.

“He don’t talk much,” Newell said to the Post-Dispatch. “You won’t get much out of him. He concentrates on training. He’s one of those boys just born that way, not interested in girls or anything. Exercises every night before retiring. He’s a fanatic.”

According to The Sporting News, Lindy invested part of the signing bonus in purchasing a 160-acre farm near his home in Hollis, Okla., and turning it over to his father to tend.

Teen dream

McDaniel reported to the Cardinals on Sept. 1, 1955, and he made his debut in the majors the next day at Chicago. McDaniel, 19, entered in the seventh inning with the Cubs ahead, 11-1, and the second batter he faced, Walker Cooper, 40, hit a home run. McDaniel regrouped and didn’t allow another run over two innings. Boxscore

“That boy may never have to go down to the minors,” Cardinals manager Harry Walker told the Post-Dispatch.

On Sept. 19, 1955, McDaniel got his first start in the majors against the Cubs at St. Louis. He gave up a grand slam to Ernie Banks, making him the first player in the majors to hit five in one season. McDaniel gave up five runs, 10 hits and four walks in seven innings, but didn’t get a decision after the Cardinals rallied to win. Boxscore

McDaniel made four September appearances for the 1955 Cardinals and was 0-0 with a 4.74 ERA. According to The Sporting News, he “demonstrated he might be just more than ornamental in 1956.”

On his way

The Cardinals changed managers after the 1955 season, hiring Fred Hutchinson, a former pitcher, to replace Harry Walker.

McDaniel didn’t pitch much at spring training in Florida, but Hutchinson told The Sporting News, “I saw enough of him to know he had good stuff.”

As the Cardinals headed north from Florida to open the season, they were scheduled to play an exhibition game against the White Sox at Oklahoma City. McDaniel was supposed to pitch before a big crowd in his home state, but the game was canceled because of bad weather.

In the Cardinals’ final exhibition game at Kansas City two days before the season opener, McDaniel pitched two scoreless innings against the Athletics.

After losing two of their first three games of the regular season, the Cardinals were home to play the Braves on April 21, 1956, a Saturday afternoon.

With the Braves ahead, 5-3, McDaniel made his first appearance of the season, entering in the fifth inning in relief of starter Willard Schmidt.

Hutchinson “appeared to be taking a long gamble by bringing in a kid” whose “total professional experience consisted of 19 innings last September,” the Post-Dispatch reported, but Hutchinson “had been impressed with Lindy’s poise and potential.”

McDaniel rewarded his manager’s faith in him, retiring 12 of the 15 Braves batters he faced and pitching five scoreless innings. The Cardinals rallied for a 6-5 victory, giving McDaniel his first win in the majors.

A turning point came in the eighth inning. Eddie Mathews led off with a single and Hank Aaron walked, but catcher Bill Sarni made a snap throw to first baseman Wally Moon, picking off Aaron. McDaniel struck out Bobby Thomson and got Joe Adcock to ground out, ending the threat. He retired the side in order in the ninth.

“The kid did great,” Hutchinson said. Boxscore

Plate umpire Babe Pinelli told the Sporting News, “He showed one of the best curves I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in baseball 40 years. He doesn’t scare. He looks nerveless.”

Family affair

The win gave McDaniel a considerable boost. He was 4-0 with a 2.83 ERA entering June. Hutchinson tried him as a starter, but it didn’t work out. McDaniel finished the season at 7-6. He was 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 32 relief appearances and 2-4 with a 5.25 ERA in seven starts.

The next year, the Cardinals signed Lindy’s brother, Von McDaniel, 18, for $50,000 and he joined Lindy on the big-league club.

Von won his first four decisions with the 1957 Cardinals, finished 7-5 and flamed out.

Lindy was 66-54 with 66 saves in eight seasons with the Cardinals before he was traded with Larry Jackson and Jimmie Schaffer to the Cubs for George Altman, Don Cardwell and Moe Thacker on Oct. 17, 1962.

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Rich Hacker, a protege of Whitey Herzog, developed and coached players for championship Cardinals clubs.

Hacker managed teams in the St. Louis farm system for four years and was a big-league coach on Herzog’s staff for five seasons, including 1987 when the Cardinals were National League champions. Hacker also was a coach for the Blue Jays when they won consecutive World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

From boyhood in southern Illinois to his days as a big-league shortstop and later as a scout, manager and coach, Hacker was strongly influenced by Herzog.

Early learner

Hacker was born in Belleville, Ill., and raised in New Athens, Ill., Herzog’s hometown. Rich’s uncle, Warren Hacker, pitched in the majors for 12 seasons and was a 15-game winner for the 1952 Cubs.

Herzog was a big-league outfielder from 1956-63 and “when he would come home to New Athens, there would be a freckle-faced, redheaded kid waiting on his front porch, hoping for a game of catch. The kid’s name was Richie Hacker,” wrote Kevin Horrigan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“We always knew when he was home,” Hacker recalled. “He drove this big, old Edsel and you couldn’t miss it. He’d bring home bats and balls for us to play with and we’d get a game up out in the street. We’d play pepper and the kid who caught the most balls got to take the bat and ball home.”

Hacker played baseball and basketball at New Athens High School. The Cardinals selected him in the 39th round of the 1965 amateur draft but he enrolled at Southern Illinois University. After his sophomore year, the Mets, whose director of player development was Herzog, took him in the eighth round of the 1967 draft and signed him.

Hacker fielded well but couldn’t hit much. On March 31, 1971, the Mets traded Hacker and Ron Swoboda to the Expos for Don Hahn. Hacker began the season at minor-league Winnipeg, but got called up to the Expos in late June when shortstop Bobby Wine went on the disabled list.

Reaching the top

On July 2, 1971, Hacker made his big-league debut, starting at shortstop in both games of a doubleheader versus the Phillies at Montreal. In the first game, Hacker went hitless against Rick Wise but played flawless defense for winning pitcher Dan McGinn. Boxscore

“Hacker is just a great shortstop,” McGinn told the Montreal Gazette. “He should find it a cinch here after fielding balls on the bumpy infield at Winnipeg.”

In the second game, Hacker got his first big-league hit, a double versus Woodie Fryman to drive in Coco Laboy from third, and “showed the fans why the Expos feel he has a major-league glove,” the Gazette reported. Boxscore

A few days later, when Wine returned, Hacker went back to Winnipeg with instructions to try switch-hitting.

Hacker rejoined the Expos in September. His last hit in the majors came Sept. 26, 1971, when he singled versus Cardinals reliever Dennis Higgins at St. Louis. Boxscore

After spending 1972 and 1973 in the minors, Hacker, 26, was finished as a player. “I knew I wasn’t a prospect anymore,” Hacker said.

Earning respect

Out of baseball for two years, Hacker wanted back in. He spent three seasons (1976-78) as head baseball coach at Southeastern Illinois College and two years (1979-80) as a Padres scout. In 1981, the Blue Jays hired him to scout and to manage their Gulf Coast League team.

Herzog, who joined the Cardinals in 1980, had the dual roles of general manager and manager, and his influence was substantial. The Cardinals hired Hacker to manage their farm club at Johnson City, Tenn., in 1982. Among the prospects at Johnson City were Vince Coleman and Terry Pendleton.

Hacker managed three seasons at Johnson City and one at Erie, Pa.

In November 1985, Hacker was named to the Cardinals’ coaching staff, replacing Hal Lanier, who became Astros manager. Hacker got the job after rejecting a chance to be Astros director of player development, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Herzog regarded Hacker “as one of the brightest minds in the organization,” the Post-Dispatch noted.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” Herzog said. “I wouldn’t have made a guy coach just because he comes from New Athens. Otherwise, I would have brought the bartender in here. He was better to me than anyone else.

“Rich Hacker has a hell of a future in baseball,” Herzog said. “He was a smart player, a smart minor-league manager and a smart scout.”

Hacker was Cardinals first-base coach from 1986-88. When Nick Leyva left the Cardinals’ coaching staff to become Phillies manager, Hacker replaced him as third-base coach in 1989.

Accident victim

After Herzog abruptly quit in July 1990, Joe Torre became manager and wanted to bring in different coaches for 1991. Hacker departed and became third-base coach on the staff of Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston. The Blue Jays won a division title in 1991 and a World Series championship in 1992.

In 1993, when the Blue Jays were on their way to a second straight World Series crown, Hacker made plans to visit his family at home in Belleville, Ill., during the all-star break.

On Sunday, July 11, 1993, Hacker took a flight to St. Louis and arranged to drive himself home. At about 11:45 p.m., Hacker was driving across the Martin Luther King Bridge from downtown St. Louis “when one of two speeding cars that were drag racing across the bridge from Illinois crashed into Hacker’s eastbound vehicle head-on,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Hacker suffered head injuries and a broken right ankle.

“He was wearing his seat belt,” said Dr. Marc Shapiro, director of trauma services at the St. Louis University Medical Center. “If Mr. Hacker was not wearing his seat belt, his injuries would be much more serious. We might not even be talking about him now.”

Hacker told the Post-Dispatch his condition “was touch and go for a while.” Regarding the accident, Hacker said, “I don’t remember a darn thing. I guess that is the body’s way of protecting us.”

Hacker was in a rehabilitation hospital until Sept. 3, 1993. Among his visitors were Blue Jays team doctor Ron Taylor, the former Cardinals pitcher, and Cardinals coach Red Schoendienst and his brother Elmer. When Elmer Schoendienst was a Cardinals prospect in 1948, he was injured and five teammates were killed when their team bus was hit head-on by a truck near St. Paul, Minn. “He’s been very kind to me,” Hacker told the Post-Dispatch.

On Oct. 8, 1993, Hacker threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Toronto.

With Hacker unable to work on the field, the Blue Jays, in a fitting twist, hired Leyva to replace him as third-base coach. Hacker remained on the Blue Jays’ coaching staff in 1994 and was given special assignment duties, including charting every pitch of each game from the press box, Toronto’s National Post reported.

Hacker was out of baseball in 1995, though the Blue Jays paid him his full salary of $75,000, the Post-Dispatch reported. In 1996, he became a Padres scout, a position he held until he retired after the 2003 season.

Several retired Cardinals players posted tributes to Hacker on his obituary page.

John Tudor called Hacker “a class act and great person” and said “he was such an unheralded part of those 1980s teams.”

Ozzie Smith said, “Rich was one of the nicest people I have ever met. We spent a lot of time talking baseball and him hitting me ground balls.”

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