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Archive for the ‘Trades’ Category

A candidate to replace Bill White as Cardinals first baseman, Moose Stubing had his path blocked by Orlando Cepeda for the second time in his career.

Stubing, who went on to have a long career as a coach and manager, died Jan. 19, 2018, at 79.

Nicknamed “Moose” because of his size, Larry Stubing was a Bronx, N.Y., native and a standout high school athlete. He rejected a football scholarship to Penn State and signed a professional baseball contract with the Pirates. A good-natured and popular player, Stubing stood 6 feet 3 and weighed 220 pounds.

After one season (1956) in the Pirates’ system, Stubing was sent to the Giants. He played eight seasons (1957-1964) in the Giants’ minor-league organization. The Giants had two future Hall of Famers, Cepeda and Willie McCovey, who were naturals at first base and there was no room at the big-league level for Stubing, a left-handed batter with power.

In April 1965, the Giants traded Stubing, 27, to the Cardinals for George Williams, a minor-league third baseman. White was the Cardinals’ first baseman then and he was coming off a successful 1964 season, batting .303 with 21 home runs and 102 RBI for the World Series champions. Cardinals general manager Bob Howsam, however, was looking for potential successors to White and Stubing appealed as a candidate.

The Cardinals assigned Stubing to the Jacksonville Suns, their Class AAA affiliate in the International League and made him the starting first baseman. Stubing, however, flopped, batting .209 with 13 home runs in 132 games. He was surpassed by another prospect, George Kernek, as the likely successor to White.

After the 1965 season, White was traded to the Phillies and Kernek was picked to replace him. Stubing was demoted to the Arkansas Travelers, the Cardinals’ Class AA club in the Texas League.

After a slow start in 1966, Stubing began hitting with consistent power and production for Arkansas. In a 51-game stretch in June and July, he hit .381. Of his first 19 home runs, 18 came in games won by Arkansas. By then, however, Cepeda was the Cardinals’ first baseman. He was acquired in May and Kernek was sent back to Class AAA.

Stubing finished the 1966 season with a .274 batting average and 25 home runs for an Arkansas team, managed by Vern Rapp, that won the pennant in its first season in the Texas League. A team photo in the Sept. 17, 1966, edition of The Sporting News showed Stubing standing between future Cardinals pitchers Wayne Granger and Mike Torrez.

Though Stubing did well at Arkansas, he no longer fit in the Cardinals’ plans. Howsam departed for the Reds and Stan Musial replaced him as general manager. Before the start of the 1967 season, the Cardinals sent Stubing to the Angels.

Joining the Angels was the biggest break of Stubing’s career. He made his major-league debut with them in 1967, but went hitless, with four strikeouts, in five at-bats. Stubing stayed in the Angels’ organization and eventually became a minor-league manager for them for many years.

From 1985-1990, Stubing was back in the major leagues as an Angels hitting coach. In 1988, when the Angels fired manager Cookie Rojas near the end of the season, Stubing filled in with eight games remaining, but the Angels lost all eight.

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In the first eight months of 1988, Bob Forsch rejoined the Cardinals, turned in one of his best stretches as a starting pitcher and was traded when they determined he no longer fit their plans.

Forsch’s roller-coast 1988 season was set in motion by the actions of the Cardinals in December 1987. Though Forsch tied for the team lead in regular-season wins (11) and also earned a win apiece in the National League Championship Series and the World Series in 1987, the Cardinals released him in a cost-cutting move just before Christmas.

Baseball rules said a club could cut the salary of a player on the roster by no more than 20 percent, but the Cardinals wanted to reduce Forsch’s pay by much more than that. By releasing him and making him a free agent, the Cardinals could re-sign him without restrictions.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals offered Forsch a 1988 base salary of $200,000, a reduction of 73 percent from the $750,000 he made in 1987.

“I can’t think of too many players who won 11 games and they gave them a 73 percent cut,” Forsch said. “I can’t think of too many players who won 11 games and got released.”

Said Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill: “I felt his performance last year, even though he tied for the lead in wins, was such that we didn’t feel we should pay him $750,000.”

Preferring to stay in St. Louis, Forsch, 38, negotiated a compromise. He would pitch for the 1988 Cardinals at a base salary that was 47 percent less than what he made in 1987. Twenty years ago, in January 1988, he signed a $400,000 contract with the Cardinals. The deal also gave Forsch the chance to earn more if certain incentives were met.

“I really want to stay here, but I’m not going to play very many more years and I plan to get as much money as I can before I retire,” Forsch said. “The whole Cardinals organization has been super to me, but you just get to a point where you get tired at the whole process … You get tired of hearing how old you are.”

Good enough to trade

Though he made 30 starts for them in 1987, the Cardinals projected Forsch to be a reliever in 1988. However, because injuries depleted the rotation, Forsch made 12 starts for the 1988 Cardinals, including six in August when he had a 5-1 record and a 2.25 ERA.

“Forsch’s secret has been consistency,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “He’s endured with the strength of a marathon runner, the fortitude of a mountain climber.”

Said Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog: “Just when you count the son of a buck out, he fights back. He’s something.”

By the end of August, Forsch was 9-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 30 appearances for the 1988 Cardinals. As a starter, he was 5-2 with a 2.97 ERA. Nonetheless, the Cardinals told Forsch they couldn’t commit to him being on the team in 1989.

“I know (Forsch) has pitched well, but he’s going to be 39 years old,” Maxvill said.

When Forsch signed in January, he and Maxvill had discussed the possibility of a trade late in the season, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Still wanting to pitch, Forsch said he would agree to a trade to a contender. As a player who spent five years with one team and 10 in the league, Forsch, under baseball rules, needed to approve any proposed deal involving him.

Business deal

The second-place Astros, managed by former Cardinals coach Hal Lanier, showed the most interest in Forsch. They saw him as a starter who could help them in their pursuit of the NL West-leading Dodgers.

Forsch agreed to the trade when the Astros guaranteed him a contract for 1989.

On Aug. 31, 1988, after 15 seasons with the Cardinals, Forsch was traded to the Astros for utility player Denny Walling.

“I hate leaving, but I’m going to someplace where I’m going to enjoy it,” Forsch said.

Said Forsch’s friend, Cardinals trainer Gene Gieselmann: “I was hoping he would always be a Cardinal, but baseball is a business and all of us in baseball have to look at it that way.”

Calling Forsch “a great teacher and a great person,” Maxvill told him the Cardinals would give him a job in the organization in 1989 if he was unable to pitch for the Astros. “I feel good about that,” Forsch responded.

Forsch won his first start for the 1988 Astros, shutting out the Reds for eight innings and contributing a three-run double. Boxscore  However, in six starts for them, Forsch was 1-4 with a 6.51 ERA and the Astros finished in fifth place.

In 1989, his last season in the big leagues, Forsch was 4-5 with a 5.32 ERA for the Astros.

Forsch, who ranks third all-time among Cardinals pitchers in wins (163) and second in games started (401), was elected to the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2015.

Previously: Why Bob Forsch didn’t end his career as a Cardinal

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Unable to resolve his differences with manager Tony La Russa, third baseman Scott Rolen requested to be traded by the Cardinals.

Ten years ago, on Jan. 14, 2008, Rolen got his wish when the Cardinals sent him to the Blue Jays for third baseman Troy Glaus.

The deal brought an unsatisfying end to the Cardinals career of a productive, popular player.

It also continued a shakeup of the Cardinals by first-year general manager John Mozeliak. After the 2007 season, when Mozeliak replaced Walt Jocketty, the Cardinals traded Rolen and center fielder Jim Edmonds, and shortstop David Eckstein was allowed to leave as a free agent. All three had been prominent contributors to the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series championship team. Like Rolen, Eckstein went to the Blue Jays.

Cardinals core

Rolen came to the major leagues with the Phillies and was named winner of the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1997. Rolen hit with power and fielded superbly, but he eventually clashed with manager Larry Bowa and the Phillies looked to deal him.

In July 2002, the Philies traded Rolen and pitcher Doug Nickles to the Cardinals for infielder Placido Polanco and pitchers Bud Smith and Mike Timlin.

Rolen, Edmonds and Albert Pujols formed the core of a lineup that powered the Cardinals to four division titles (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), two NL pennants (2004 and 2006) and a World Series championship (2006).

In 2004, his best Cardinals season, Rolen produced a .314 batting average, a .409 on-base percentage and a .598 slugging percentage. He had 34 home runs, 124 RBI and scored 109 runs.

Rolen also earned a Gold Glove Award four times while with the Cardinals.

Looking to leave

An injury to his left shoulder limited Rolen to 56 games in 2005. That’s when his troubles with La Russa surfaced. Rolen believed the Cardinals misled him about the severity of the injury, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. La Russa objected to Rolen’s claim and an iciness developed between the two.

In 2006, the rift widened when La Russa benched Rolen during the NL Division Series. The two attempted a reconciliation in 2007, but the relationship suffered a setback when La Russa sent Rolen a four-page letter after the season, expressing his opinions of the player.

When La Russa signed a contract in October 2007 to remain Cardinals manager through 2009, Rolen contacted the club and requested a trade.

Though Rolen was an accomplished player, dealing him created a challenge for Mozeliak. Potential trade partners were limited because Rolen had $36 million and three years remaining on his contract and he had undergone three shoulder surgeries since 2005. Also, because it was no secret Rolen wanted out of St. Louis, Mozeliak’s negotiating options appeared restricted and clubs weren’t inclined to offer much in return.

Rolen has “to understand what our return must be to even consider moving someone of Scott’s talent,” Mozeliak said.

Trade talk

At the December 2007 baseball winter meetings in Nashville, the Brewers showed the most interest in trading for Rolen and met multiple times with the Cardinals, who wanted pitcher Chris Capuano. The Cardinals ended negotiations when the Brewers wouldn’t come up with an acceptable offer.

Meanwhile, La Russa told reporters Rolen should give back to the Cardinals rather than ask the club to accommodate him. The comments deepened the animosity between the two.

The public seemed fed up with the drama. In a Post-Dispatch poll asking whose side are you on, 36 responded in favor of La Russa, 11 percent were for Rolen and 53 percent chose no side, saying the hostilities were unbecoming and unnecessary.

Before the winter meetings ended, the Blue Jays quietly approached the Cardinals and expressed interest in Rolen. Glaus, the Blue Jays’ third baseman, underwent foot surgery in September and told the club he no longer wanted to play on the artificial surface in the Toronto stadium. The Blue Jays asked the Cardinals if they’d swap Rolen for Glaus.

The Cardinals were interested in the proposal but wanted Glaus to exercise his contract option for 2009, eliminating the possibility he could depart St. Louis after the 2008 season. Glaus agreed to the arrangement.

The Cardinals eliminated another potential obstacle to the deal when Glaus checked out clean regarding drug use. In 2007, a published report said banned performance-enhancing drugs had been delivered to Glaus at home in 2003 and 2004. Major League Baseball investigated and found insufficient evidence.

Happy slugger

Glaus five times hit 30 home runs in a season and he achieved 100 RBI four times. In 2002, he was named recipient of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award with the Angels. Glaus batted .262 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI in 115 games for the 2007 Blue Jays.

“He has off-the-chart power,” said Mozeliak.

After Blue Jays doctors checked out Rolen, 32, and Cardinals doctors did the same with Glaus, 31, and gave their approvals, the trade was completed.

“St. Louis is a city that I’ve dreamed about playing in since I was a kid (in Southern California),” Glaus said.

Said Mozeliak: “When you look at them player by player, at the end of the day what breaks the tie is a happy player versus an unhappy player.”

When Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch visited Rolen at Blue Jays spring training camp in Dunedin, Fla., Rolen said of the trade, “It came to a point where it had to happen.”

Regarding his dispute with La Russa, Rolen said, “A personal issue … There was nothing professional about it.”

Glaus did well for the 2008 Cardinals, batting .270 with 27 home runs and 99 RBI in 151 games. He was injured in 2009 and limited to 14 games near the end of the season.

Rolen batted .262 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI for the 2008 Blue Jays. In July 2009, the Blue Jays traded him to the Reds and he finished his playing career with them in 2012.

Previously: Scott Rolen and his strange stat line in 2004 NLDS

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In July 2015, Marcell Ozuna, considered an emerging standout for the Marlins, appeared to be regressing. Mired in a slump, Ozuna was demoted to the minor leagues.

The wakeup call worked.

Though Ozuna was unhappy with the move and questioned the Marlins’ motives, he reported to the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League and immediately began hitting with renewed consistency and power.

Ozuna returned to the Marlins in mid-August and hit well the remainder of the season. Ever since, his career has been on an upswing. In 2016 and 2017, Ozuna was named a National League all-star.

On Dec. 14, 2017, the Marlins traded Ozuna to the Cardinals for pitcher Sandy Alcantara, outfielder Magneuris Sierra and pitching prospects Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano.

Two years after his career was at a crossroads, Ozuna, 27, is regarded a premier player who still hasn’t reached his peak.

Refresher course

Ozuna debuted in the major leagues with the Marlins in 2013. After he produced 23 home runs and 85 RBI in 2014, expectations were for more of the same.

Ozuna, 24, had a promising start to the 2015 season. On June 23, he had three hits against the Cardinals, putting his batting average at .280. Then he went into a tailspin. By July 5, his batting mark was down to .249. He had produced one hit in his last 36 at-bats.

That’s when the Marlins sent him to New Orleans. The goal, they said, was to fix his swing and his outlook.

“Marcell is an energy player with power and we love him and love what he brings,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said to the Miami Herald. “There are some things he needs to iron out and that could be mental. He needs to feel good, feel like he can put up the numbers he did last year.”

Said Marlins president Michael Hill: “There were adjustments that needed to be made mechanically with his swing.”

Jail break

Ozuna hit .351 in his first nine games for New Orleans. When the Marlins made no move to bring him back, his agent, Scott Boras, accused the club of keeping Ozuna in the minors to delay his eligibility for salary arbitration. Marlins management denied the charge.

In 33 games for New Orleans, Ozuna batted .317. Of his 38 hits, 18 were for extra bases.

Ozuna returned to the Marlins’ lineup on Aug. 15 against the Cardinals and went 1-for-4.

“From what we hear, he did a great job down in triple-A, figured some stuff out, so we’re excited to have him back,” said Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. “He’s the type of hitter where at any point in the game he can take the ball out of the ballpark.”

Asked about his stint in the minors, Ozuna told reporters, “It’s like a jail.”

Ozuna added, “They tell me you’re going down for work, get your feeling back and you come back … I don’t need the work. One-for-36, 1 for-100, every big-league player has it.”

Ozuna hit .299 for the Marlins in September and finished the 2015 season at .259 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI.

Better with age

In 2016, Ozuna had 23 home runs and 76 RBI. He followed that with a breakout year in 2017, batting .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI and earning a Gold Glove Award for his play in left field.

If his performances versus the Cardinals are an accurate gauge, Ozuna is improving each year as a big-league hitter.

His season-by-season marks against the Cardinals:

_ 2013: .100 batting average (2-for-20), no RBI.

_ 2014: .200 batting average (4-for-20), two RBI.

_ 2015: .211 batting average (4-for-19), no RBI.

_ 2016: .292 batting average (7-for-24), seven RBI.

_ 2017: .357 batting average (10-for-28), 11 RBI.

Granted, the better numbers could be because Cardinals pitching has declined, but the statistics do appear to show Ozuna is a better hitter since his return from the minors.

In a four-game series July 3-6, 2017, at St. Louis, Ozuna batted .368 (7-for-19) with eight RBI. Among his big hits were a three-run double against Adam Wainwright on July 3, a home run and a RBI-double against Mike Leake on July 5 and a pair of RBI-singles against Michael Wacha on July 6.

Previously: How Rene Arocha turned Marlins fans into Cards fans

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After eight years as the center fielder for the Cardinals, Jim Edmonds had no intention of taking a reduced role with the team. If the Cardinals couldn’t commit to him, Edmonds told them, he’d rather play somewhere other than St. Louis.

Concerned Edmonds no longer was durable and convinced they had candidates within the organization to replace him, the Cardinals decided the time was right to part with a player who had been among their most popular and productive.

Ten years ago, in December 2007, John Mozeliak made his first trade as Cardinals general manager, sending Edmonds to the Padres for minor-league third baseman David Freese.

The deal sent away a player who had performed a key role in helping the Cardinals win a World Series title in 2006 and brought them a player who would perform a key role in helping them win another World Series championship in 2011.

Special talent

Edmonds, acquired by the Cardinals from the Angels in March 2000, was a central figure in the franchise’s success from 2000 to 2007. In that period, the Cardinals won a World Series crown and two National League pennants and qualified for the postseason six times.

With the Cardinals, Edmonds won the Gold Glove Award six times and was named an all-star three times.

In his eight seasons with St. Louis, Edmonds produced 1,033 hits and batted .285. He had an on-base percentage of .393.

Edmonds hit 241 home runs for St. Louis, placing him fourth all-time among Cardinals. Only Stan Musial (475), Albert Pujols (445) and Ken Boyer (255) hit more. Musial is the lone left-handed batter with more career home runs as a Cardinal than Edmonds.

Also, Edmonds had a .555 slugging percentage for St. Louis. Only six others _ Mark McGwire, Pujols, Johnny Mize, Chick Hafey, Rogers Hornsby and Musial _ have higher slugging percentages as Cardinals than Edmonds.

“If we consider the combination of offense and defense, Edmonds was the best overall center fielder in Cardinals history,” wrote Bernie Miklasz, columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

That’s high praise considering the franchise has had standout center fielders such as Curt Flood, Ray Lankford, Willie McGee and Terry Moore.

Time takes toll

In 2007, however, Edmonds showed signs his health and his skills were eroding. He had surgery on his right shoulder and left foot after the 2006 World Series. During the 2007 season, Edmonds was on the disabled list from June 16 to July 18 because of back problems. Late in the season, he had a groin injury and made just one start after Sept. 17.

Edmonds played in 117 games in 2007 and batted .252 with 12 home runs and 53 RBI. He hit .198 against left-handers.

In the off-season, Edmonds, 37, heard speculation the Cardinals might reduce his playing time in 2008 and shift him to right field.

“After running down all of those line drives in the gaps, he couldn’t outrun his age,” Miklasz wrote of Edmonds.

Edmonds approached Cardinals management and asked about their plans for him. “Basically, the feedback wasn’t so great, and they couldn’t guarantee anything,” Edmonds said to the Associated Press.

The Cardinals believed Rick Ankiel, the converted pitcher, was ready to take over in center field. “I think Rick Ankiel has emerged as a force,” said Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. The Cardinals thought their top minor-league prospect, Colby Rasmus, could compete for the center field job, too.

Edmonds, believing he still could be a starter in center, agreed to relinquish the no-trade clause in his contract. He gave the Cardinals a list of teams. His preference was a Southern California club because he had a home in Irvine, Calif.

“I wanted a chance to play every day,” Edmonds said.

California dreaming

The Padres were in the market for a center fielder. Their 2007 starter, Mike Cameron, had become a free agent. San Diego was interested in Japanese League import Kosuke Fukodome, but he signed with the Cubs. Cameron went to the Brewers.

Edmonds became the Padres’ best option. “We felt it was a risk worth taking,” said Padres general manager Kevin Towers.

The Cardinals and Padres agreed to a deal on Dec. 14, 2007. The Post-Dispatch broke the news on its Web site that night. The trade formally was announced the next day, Dec. 15.

“I’m kind of shocked but excited because I get to be in Southern California next to my family and play for a contending team in a beautiful ballpark,” Edmonds said.

Towers predicted to the San Diego Union-Tribune that Edmonds would bat .270 and hit 15 to 20 home runs for the Padres in 2008.

Return on investment

The Cardinals were glad to get a player for Edmonds before he became eligible for free agency after the 2008 season.

Freese, who grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Lafayette High School, had been chosen by the Padres in the ninth round of the 2006 amateur draft. In 2007, playing for the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class A California League, Freese batted .302 with 96 RBI and scored 104 runs.

Asked his reaction to being traded for Edmonds, Freese said, “It’s been a dream of mine to play for the Cardinals. Now it may become a reality.”

Freese debuted with the Cardinals in 2009 and became their primary third baseman in 2010.

Ankiel was the Cardinals’ primary center fielder in 2008 and Rasmus became the starter in 2009.

Edmonds played in 26 games for the 2008 Padres, batted .178 and was released in May. He spent the rest of the season with the Cubs and hit 19 home runs for them.

After sitting out the 2009 season, Edmonds played for the Brewers and Reds in 2010, producing 11 home runs and 23 RBI. He attempted a comeback with the Cardinals the following year at spring training, but announced his retirement on Feb. 18, 2011.

Freese earned a permanent place in Cardinals lore with his postseason performance in 2011. He had 21 RBI _ five in the NL Division Series versus the Phillies, nine in the NL Championship Series against the Brewers and seven in the World Series versus the Rangers.

With the Cardinals on the brink of elimination in the World Series, Freese’s two-run triple with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 6 tied the score and his home run leading off the 11th gave St. Louis the win.

Previously: Jim Edmonds ignited Cardinals with hot start

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From the Cardinals’ perspective, hard-throwing Mark Littell was a younger, clean-cut, right-handed version of Al Hrabosky. So, when given the chance to swap Hrabosky for Littell, the Cardinals acted.

Forty years ago, on Dec. 8, 1977, the Cardinals traded their left-handed closer, Hrabosky, to the Royals for Littell and catcher Buck Martinez.

Littell, 24, was nicknamed “Country.” He had a low-key personality, an all-American look and he excelled at striking out batters with an impressive fastball.

Hrabosky, 28, was nicknamed “Mad Hungarian.” He was a high-strung showman who liked to grow a Fu Manchu, performed self-psyching theatrics on the field and he excelled at striking out batters with an impressive fastball.

Both relievers had become available on the trade market for different reasons.

Littell slumped in the second half of the 1977 season and lost the closer role.

Hrabosky feuded throughout the year with Cardinals manager Vern Rapp and openly defied franchise owner Gussie Busch on the club’s facial hair ban.

Made in Missouri

Littell was born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and grew up in the town of Gideon in the southeast corner of the state. “Population 800,” Littell told The Sporting News. “Soy beans, cotton and wheat.”

His father was a farmer and his mother was a nurse. Littell worked on his father’s farm and developed strength. “I plowed, planted and loaded soy beans _ 60-pound sacks, 500 or 600 a day,” Littell recalled. “I liked farm work.”

When he was 9 and 10 years old, Littell went to Cardinals games in St. Louis with his family. Among the players who made the most memorable impression on him were Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Curt Simmons, Minnie Minoso and Bill White.

“We used to come to see the Cardinals six, maybe 10, times a year,” Littell told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “… I saw Musial get a game-winning hit with two out in the ninth inning … I can still visualize him hitting that ball. He went the opposite way with it, between shortstop and third base.”

Ups and downs

At age 20, Littell debuted in the major leagues with the Royals in 1973.

Littell became their closer in 1976. The Royals won the American League West Division title that year under manager Whitey Herzog. Littell was 8-4 with 16 saves and a 2.08 ERA.

With the score tied 6-6 in the decisive Game 5 of the 1976 AL Championship Series, Littell yielded a ninth-inning home run to Chris Chambliss that clinched for the Yankees their first pennant since 1964.

Littell recovered from that setback. He was dominant in the first half of 1977, posting a 2.59 ERA with 12 saves.

He struggled, however, in the second half of the season. Littell had a 5.20 ERA and no saves after the all-star break. Doug Bird replaced him as the closer.

“I just wasn’t as consistent,” Littell said. He also was slowed by back muscle spasms and a sore rib cage.

Still, in 104.2 innings, Littell struck out 106 batters and yielded 73 hits.

“His ratio of strikeouts and hits to innings pitched is remarkable,” said Cardinals general manager Bing Devine.

Quality swap

At the 1977 baseball winter meetings in Honolulu, the Royals were seeking a left-handed power pitcher to pair with Bird, a right-hander, in the bullpen. The Cardinals were willing to trade Hrabosky, who was 6-5 with 10 saves and a 4.38 ERA for them in 1977.

“I talked to all the National League managers and they told me Hrabosky was messed up last season because of his troubles with Rapp,” Herzog said. “They told me he still is an outstanding pitcher. We think he is.”

When the Royals offered Littell for Hrabosky, the Cardinals agreed.

“Now we have a left-hander coming out of the bullpen who can blow people away,” Herzog said. “We didn’t go to Hawaii with an idea of trading Mark Littell, but we knew the Cards liked him.”

Admitting he and Rapp “definitely had personality conflicts,” Hrabosky said of the trade, “The only sad thing about the whole thing is I’m leaving St. Louis as a bad guy.”

Asked his reaction to the deal, Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons told columnist Dick Young, “In the past, when there was a personality difference, this team would unload a man for a song and a prayer. This time we at least got value for Hrabosky.”

Said Devine of Littell: “If we need a strikeout, he’s the man to bring in.”

Results are in

Littell requested uniform No. 17 from the Cardinals, but the club had retired that number in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean. Littell took No. 32 instead.

In 1978, Littell was 4-8 with 11 saves and a 2.79 ERA for the Cardinals. He struck out 130 batters in 106.1 innings. He also was second in the NL in appearances (72).

Hrabosky was 8-7 with 20 saves and a 2.88 ERA for the 1978 AL West champion Royals.

In 1979, Littell was 9-4 with 13 saves and a 2.19 ERA for the Cardinals. Hrabosky was 9-4 with 11 saves and a 3.74 ERA for the Royals.

After that, the careers of both pitchers declined.

Hrabosky ended his playing days with the Braves, totaling seven saves in three years (1980-1982).

Littell had four total saves in his final three seasons (1980-1982) with the Cardinals.

Overall, in five years with St. Louis, Littell was 14-18 with 28 saves, a 3.31 ERA and 233 strikeouts in 261 innings.

Previously: How Al Hrabosky stood up to Gussie Busch

Previously: 100 Ks: Mark Littell, Trevor Rosenthal, Seung Hwan Oh

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