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Al Santorini was a pitcher who confounded the Cardinals with his up-and-down performances for them.

Fifty years ago, on June 11, 1971, the Cardinals acquired Santorini from the Padres for outfielder Leron Lee and pitcher Fred Norman.

A right-hander, Santorini’s three seasons with the Cardinals were highlighted by the three shutouts he pitched in 1972, but frustrations too often overshadowed the successes. Overall with the Cardinals, Santorini was 8-13.

Prized prospect

A son of a truck driver for Ballantine beer, Santorini was born in Irvington, N.J., and excelled at high school athletics in Union Township, N.J.

Santorini was a standout prep quarterback and bowler, but his best sport was baseball. As a pitcher, his high school record was 35-1. A high school teammate, Elliott Maddox, also went on to play in the majors.

Santorini, 18, was considered a prime prospect entering the June 1966 amateur baseball draft. The Cardinals, with the seventh selection in the first round, drafted Leron Lee. The Phillies had the ninth pick in the first round and their scout, Paul Owens, hoped they’d take Santorini.

“I scouted Santorini quite a bit,” Owens told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He had a great fastball and looked so good that I recommended we select him as No. 1.”

Instead, the Phillies used their first-round pick to draft Mike Biko, a pitcher who never reached the majors.

With the 11th pick in the first round, the Braves chose Santorini and assigned him to the minors. The next year, he underwent an operation on his right elbow.

After posting a 2.68 ERA for Class AA Shreveport in 1968, Santorini was called up by the Braves and made his major-league debut in a start against the Giants on Sept. 10 at Atlanta. The Braves’ starting catcher, Walt Hriniak, also was playing his first game in the majors. The regular catcher, Joe Torre, shifted to first base.

Santorini held the Braves scoreless for two innings, but gave up four runs in the third. The big blow was Willie McCovey’s decisive three-run home run. McCovey never got another hit versus Santorini, finishing 1-for-17 against him in his career. Boxscore

A month later, the Braves failed to protect Santorini in the National League expansion draft and he was picked by the Padres.

Fun and games

In three seasons with the Padres, Santorini was 9-24. He was 0-1 against the Cardinals but with a 2.86 ERA in 28.1 innings.

On May 26, 1971, Santorini started both games of a doubleheader for the Padres against the Astros at San Diego.

In Game 1, Padres manager Preston Gomez thought he would outmaneuver the Astros, who started a lineup of mostly left-handed batters. As Santorini warmed up in the Padres’ bullpen before the game, left-hander Dave Roberts secretly got loose in the San Diego Chargers’ football clubhouse.

“When they saw Santorini warming up, they had all those left-hand hitters ready to hit against him,” Gomez said to the Associated Press.

After Santorini retired leadoff batter Roger Metzger, Roberts relieved. He pitched the remainder of the game, but the Astros won, 2-1. Boxscore

In Game 2, Santorini started, went six innings and gave up four runs. His counterpart, Larry Dierker, pitched a one-hitter and the Astros prevailed, 8-0. Boxscore

Two weeks later, Santorini was dealt to the Cardinals.

Hard to win

Used as both starter and reliever, Santorini was 0-2 with two saves and a 3.81 ERA for the 1971 Cardinals. He had a 2.10 ERA in 14 relief appearances and a 5.62 ERA in five starts. In his first start for the Cardinals, Santorini lost, 1-0, to Don Gullett and the Reds. Boxscore

With the Cardinals, Santorini was reunited with Joe Torre, his former Braves teammate. Helped by weight loss, Torre won the National League Most Valuable Player Award with the Cardinals in 1971. He urged Santorini to lose weight, too.

Santorini went from 202 pounds to 190 after the 1971 season. He and Torre shared an apartment in north St. Louis County at the start of the 1972 season.

“Every time Joe caught me having a high-calorie soft drink or eating anything, he’d call me things like fatso or slob,” Santorini told the Post-Dispatch. “Joe is like a guy who gave up smoking finally and then can’t stand to see anyone else smoking.”

Santorini began the 1972 season as a reliever and spot starter. On April 17, 1972, with his parents in attendance at Philadelphia, Santorini got his first Cardinals win in a relief stint versus the Phillies. Boxscore

The win snapped a streak of 12 consecutive losses for Santorini, dating back to April 1970. “It was beginning to get to me,” Santorini told The Sporting News. “It has to make you wonder some.”

Throwing zeroes

On July 4, 1972, Cardinals starting pitcher Scipio Spinks injured a knee in a plate collision with Reds catcher Johnny Bench and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Santorini (4-6) replaced Spinks in the rotation.

Santorini pitched the first of his three Cardinals shutouts on Aug. 6, 1972, in a 6-0 victory against the Phillies. He told the Philadelphia Daily News his arm stiffened in the sixth inning, “but you don’t want to come out when you’re pitching a shutout.” Boxscore

On Sept. 16, Santorini shut out the Pirates in a 4-0 win. A key moment occurred in the seventh when, with two outs and runners on second and third, Santorini struck out Richie Zisk, a former New Jersey prep rival, on three pitches. “Those were the three hardest pitches I threw all day,” Santorini told the Post-Dispatch. Boxscore

Two weeks later, on Wednesday afternoon Sept. 27 in the Cardinals’ final home game of the season, 3,380 spectators, the smallest crowd to attend a Cardinals game since Busch Memorial Stadium opened in May 1966, watched Santorini spin a shutout in a 4-0 triumph over the Mets.

Santorini threw 149 pitches and struck out a career-high 12 batters, extending his scoreless innings streak to 20.

“My buddies back in New Jersey were probably watching the game on TV, just off the golf course and drunk,” Santorini said to the Post-Dispatch. “They don’t work.” Boxscore

Santorini finished 8-11 with a 4.11 ERA for the 1972 Cardinals.

The next year, he had a 5.50 ERA in six relief appearances when the Cardinals traded him to the Royals for pitcher Tom Murphy on May 8, 1973.

Santorini spent the rest of the 1973 season in the minors. In 1974, he was in the Phillies’ system, but was released in July.

Santorini called the Cardinals and they signed him to pitch for their Tulsa affiliate. “I was lucky to latch onto a club for the remainder of the season,” Santorini told The Sporting News. “I feel I still can do the job in the major leagues as a reliever.”

After posting a 5.57 ERA for manager Ken Boyer’s Tulsa team, Santorini was bypassed when the Cardinals called up players in September. At 26, his pitching career was finished.

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Two years after being named an American League all-star, Richie Scheinblum became a Cardinals pinch-hitter, closing out his big-league playing career.

A switch-hitting outfielder, Scheinblum was acquired by the Cardinals to help in their quest for a division title late in the 1974 season. Scheinblum was adept at pinch-hitting and the Cardinals wanted him solely for that role.

Scheinblum never got to play in the postseason. The Pirates edged out the Cardinals for the 1974 National League East title.

Scheinblum had six at-bats, all as a pinch-hitter, and produced two singles for the Cardinals. After the season, the Cardinals sold his contract to a team in Japan.

Known as much for his dry wit as for his baseball skills, Scheinblum hit .263 in eight seasons in the majors with the Indians, Senators, Royals, Reds, Angels and Cardinals. He died on May 10, 2021, at 78.

Live and learn

As Bob Broeg noted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Scheinblum was born in the same New York City hospital in which Babe Ruth died and in which scenes for “The Godfather” were filmed.

Describing his early childhood in the Bronx, Scheinblum told The Sporting News, “They tore down my neighborhood to build slums.”

Scheinblum moved with his family to Englewood, N.J. His Little League coach was a woman, Janet Murke, who taught him to hit from either side of the plate, The Sporting News reported.

After graduating from high school, Scheinblum played baseball at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University in Brookville, N.Y., and earned a degree in business administration.

Playing in the Central Illinois Collegiate Summer League, Scheinblum had a job with an ice cube manufacturer.

“We worked from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Scheinblum told The Sporting News. “We were paid 80 cents an hour for making ice cubes for the Polar Bear Ice Cube Company. They’d wrap two of us in heavy clothes to keep us from freezing and put us in a room where the temperature was 30-below zero.”

Perennial prospect

Scheinblum was 21 when the Indians signed him in 1964 and sent him to the minors. A year later, he made the leap from Class A to the big leagues. Recalling Indians manager Birdie Tebbetts, Scheinblum told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “He used to tell me to go kneel in the on-deck circle until he could think of someone to send up to hit.”

Scheinblum spent most of the next three seasons (1966-68) in the minors. The Sporting News referred to him as “the perennial rookie.”

Lou Piniella also was an Indians outfield prospect. After the 1968 season, the Indians protected Scheinblum, rather than Piniella, from the American League expansion draft.

Scheinblum could hit and throw, but he was neither a graceful fielder nor fast. Asked what gave him the most trouble on defense, Scheinblum told the Kansas City Star, “Everything they hit at me.” Regarding his speed, Scheinblum said, “It takes me five steps to get out of the batter’s box.”

In the Indians’ 1969 spring training opener, Scheinblum “misjudged a fly ball into a triple and fell down fielding a single into a triple,” The Sporting News reported. “He hit an inside-the-park homer, but was called out at third for missing the bag.”

Improbably, Scheinblum began the 1969 season as the Indians’ Opening Day right fielder, batting third in the lineup.

“For four years I’ve been overawed,” he told The Sporting News. “Not anymore.”

He went hitless in his first 34 at-bats.

“The only good thing about playing in Cleveland is you don’t have to make road trips there,” Scheinblum said to Sports Illustrated.

Royal treatment

Demoted to the minors in 1970, Scheinblum hit .337 for Wichita and was dealt after the season to the Senators. Manager Ted Williams had Scheinblum on the 1971 Opening Day roster, but he hit .143 and was sent back to the minors.

“I’ve been sent down more than laundry in a chute,” Scheinblum said to the Los Angeles Times.

Playing for Denver, Scheinblum hit .388 in 106 games. It was the highest batting average in the American Association since Harry Walker hit .393 for the Cardinals’ Columbus farm club in 1951.

The Royals purchased Scheinblum’s contract and he opened the 1972 season with them as a reserve outfielder. In May, after Bob Oliver was traded, Royals manager Bob Lemon platooned Scheinblum and Steve Hovley in right field.

“At first, I was reluctant to go with Scheinblum because I didn’t think he was too good defensively,” Lemon told Sports Illustrated, “but we got to a point where we needed hitting. So I put him in.”

Scheinblum had an unorthodox way he batted. “I pull my head, swing up, and collapse my back leg _ things I shouldn’t do,” Scheinblum said.

The Indians and Senators had tried to change his style, but Royals hitting coach Charlie Lau left him alone. Scheinblum hit .386 in June and took over in right, joining an outfield with Amos Otis in center and former Indians teammate Lou Piniella in left.

“Amos covered everything,” Scheinblum told the Kansas City Star. “I was told to stand on the right field line and don’t move. Lou was told to stand on the left field line and don’t move. What our job was, when the ball was hit, we’d point.”

At the all-star break, the top three hitters in the American League were Scheinblum (.325), Piniella (.319) and Otis (.309). All three were named to the all-star team.

Scheinblum hit .300 for the season and his on-base percentage was .383. He was stunned when the Royals traded him and pitcher Roger Nelson to the Reds after the season for outfielder Hal McRae and pitcher Wayne Simpson.

Seeing red

The Reds were the reigning National League champions and were set in the outfield with Pete Rose, Cesar Geronimo and Bobby Tolan. “I’m probably the only guy in the history of baseball to hit .300, make the all-star team and not have a job the next year,” Scheinblum told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Scheinblum was miserable in the role of reserve outfielder with the 1973 Reds, but attempted to maintain a sense of humor. Asked by teammate Jack Billingham why he always was spitting in the dugout, Scheinblum replied, “That’s the way I keep my weight down.”

Hit king Pete Rose called Scheinblum “the king of the one-liners.”

Scheinblum hit .300 as a Reds pinch-hitter but .222 overall. After the Reds traded him to the Angels in June 1973, Scheinblum told The Sporting News, “They try to discount everything you do over there to hold salaries down …. For the talent they have, they have the most underpaid team in baseball.”

He also took a swipe at the Reds’ manager, saying, “Two pennants have gone to Sparky Anderson’s head.”

In a letter published by The Sporting News, Reds public relations director Jim Ferguson responded, “Scheinblum did more talking than hitting.”

Helping hand

Scheinblum hit .328 in 77 games with the 1973 Angels. At spring training the next year, Angels manager Bobby Winkles assigned coach Whitey Herzog to work daily with Scheinblum on fielding. “We don’t think he’s been as good a defensive outfielder as he can be,” Winkles told the Los Angeles Times.

In April 1974, the Angels traded Scheinblum back to the Royals. Four months later, on Aug. 5, Scheinblum’s contract was purchased by the Cardinals.

Scheinblum, 31, was assigned to Tulsa and hit .247 in 24 games. In September, he was called up to the Cardinals, who entered the month 2.5 games behind the division-leading Pirates.

In his six plate appearances as a Cardinals pinch-hitter, all against right-handers, Scheinblum’s highlights were singles against relievers Gene Garber of the Phillies Boxscore and Dave Giusti of the Pirates. Boxscore

Scheinblum also appeared in the Cardinals’ epic 25-inning game versus the Mets. Batting in the 13th, he flied out to left. Boxscore.

Scheinblum spent the 1975 and 1976 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan.

His son, Monte Scheinblum, became a professional golfer and was the U.S. national long driving champion in 1992.

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Warren Spahn and Ferguson Jenkins, both destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame, had prominent links to Cardinals pitcher Chris Zachary.

Spahn managed Zachary in the minors and recommended him to the Cardinals.

Jenkins was the foe Zachary outdueled when he pitched the best game of his major-league career.

Fifty years ago, on May 27, 1971, Zachary pitched a two-hit shutout for the Cardinals against the Cubs. The gem was the highlight for Zachary during the season he spent as a member of the Cardinals’ starting rotation.

Welcome to The Show

Born and raised in Knoxville, Tenn., Zachary signed with the Houston Colt .45s after he graduated from high school in June 1962.

A right-hander, Zachary was 19 when he made his major-league debut on Thursday night April 11, 1963, against the Giants at Houston. Entering in the ninth, with the Giants ahead 4-1, the first batter Zachary faced was Willie Mays.

Colt Stadium had poor lighting and created dark spots on the field. Hoping to make Mays uncomfortable, catcher Jim Campbell said to him, “This kid is the wildest son of a gun I’ve ever caught,” The Sporting News reported.

As he settled into the batter’s box, Mays replied, “Man, are you putting me on?”

“No, that’s the truth,” Campbell said.

Mays stepped in front of the plate and yelled to Zachary, “Hey, kid, can you see me all right?”

Zachary had no trouble with his vision, but may not have believed what he was seeing: The first three batters he faced in the majors all were headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

After Mays drew a walk, Willie McCovey singled and Orlando Cepeda followed with a three-run home run. Boxscore

Trials and tribulations

From 1963-68, Zachary shuttled back and forth between Houston and the minors. He lost 16 of 22 decisions with Houston.

In 11 appearances, including four starts, for Houston against the Cardinals, Zachary was 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA. He held the Cardinals to a run in 5.1 innings and got the win on Sept. 6, 1966. Boxscore

The Astros were shut out in Zachary’s two losses to the Cardinals. Ray Sadecki and Hal Woodeshick combined for a shutout in 1965. Boxscore. Al Jackson pitched a one-hitter in 1967. Boxscore

Zachary was acquired by the Royals in October 1968. He spent most of the 1969 season in the minors and was back there again in 1970.

On July 1, 1970, the Cardinals traded reliever Ted Abernathy for Zachary and assigned him to their Tulsa affiliate. “I didn’t think it was a break because all I was doing was switching triple-A clubs,” Zachary said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Chance to shine

In April 1971, the Cardinals became disenchanted with starting pitcher Mike Torrez and sought a replacement. Tulsa manager Warren Spahn suggested Zachary, who was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in three starts for the farm club in 1971.

“Spahn said Zachary was as good as a lot of pitchers in the big leagues right now, and better than a lot of them,” Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst told the Post-Dispatch.

Zachary, 27, got his first win for the Cardinals on May 22, 1971, in a start against the Padres at St. Louis. Boxscore

It was his first win in the majors since 1967 when he beat the Mets as an Astro.

A week after the win over the Padres, the Chicago Tribune described Zachary as “sensational” in his shutout of the Cubs. He retired the first eight batters before Ferguson Jenkins doubled. The only other Cubs hit was a single by ex-Cardinal Chris Cannizzaro in the sixth. Zachary retired the last 12 batters “to finish a humiliating evening” for the Cubs, the Tribune reported. Boxscore

“I feel I finally know how to pitch after nine years,” Zachary told the Post-Dispatch. “I was just a thrower when I was with Houston. I’m just glad I got a second and third chance. Some guys don’t get those extra chances.”

The good vibes didn’t last long. Zachary was 0-4 with a 9.37 ERA for the month of June. His last win for the Cardinals came in relief against the Expos on July 23 at Montreal. Boxscore

Zachary finished 3-10 with a 5.32 ERA for the 1971 Cardinals. He was 2-8 with a 5.98 ERA in 12 starts and 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 11 relief appearances.

Time to go

After the season, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine informed Zachary the club intended to remove him from the big-league roster to make room for younger prospects. According to the Detroit Free Press, Zachary said he would prefer to be traded and Devine promised to try to make a deal.

In December 1971, the Cardinals traded Zachary to the Tigers for pitcher Bill Denehy. Zachary opened the 1972 season in the minors, but got called up to the Tigers in May and helped them win a division title. In 24 relief appearances, Zachary was 1-0 with a 0.81 ERA and one save. He also made a start and lost.

Zachary made one more stop in the majors, with the 1973 Pirates. After his playing career, he owned a miniature horse farm in Tennessee.

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Even when he was their teammate, Stan Rojek was battered and bruised by Cardinals pitching.

Seventy years ago, on May 17, 1951, the Cardinals, in need of a shortstop, acquired Rojek from the Pirates for outfielder Erv Dusak and first baseman Rocky Nelson.

Two years earlier, while with the Pirates, Rojek was hit by pitches twice in a game against the Cardinals. The second one struck him in the head and put him in the hospital.

After he got sent to the Cardinals, the danger didn’t dissipate. One of their pitchers plunked him during batting practice, cracking a shoulder blade and ending his season.

Pirate in pain

Born and raised in North Tonawanda, N.Y., near Buffalo, Rojek signed with the Dodgers in 1939 and made his big-league debut with them three years later, but he wasn’t going to displace Pee Wee Reese at shortstop.

In November 1947, the Dodgers dealt Rojek to the Pirates and he became their shortstop. Rojek batted .290 for the 1948 Pirates and ranked third in the National League in hits (186).

The next year, on April 27, 1949, in the Pirates’ first visit of the season to St. Louis, Rojek was hit in the back by a Gerry Staley pitch in the fifth inning. In the bottom half of the inning, while turning a double play, Rojek’s low, underhand toss to first came close to striking baserunner Red Schoendienst. The Cardinals accused Rojek of trying to hit Schoendienst, but Rojek laughed at the suggestion, according to the Pittsburgh Press.

In the seventh, Cardinals baserunner Joe Garagiola slid into Rojek at second and Rojek stepped on him with his spikes, The Sporting News reported.

When Rojek batted in the ninth, the first pitch from Ken Johnson was high and inside, brushing him off the plate.

“I didn’t think he’d try to knock me down a second time after brushing me back on the first pitch,” Rojek said, according to the Pittsburgh Press. “So I dug in for what I thought would be a pitch on the outside corner.”

Instead, Johnson’s second pitch headed toward Rojek’s head. “When I saw the ball coming at me, it was too late to duck out of the way,” said Rojek.

The ball hit Rojek flush on the left ear. He wore neither a batting helmet nor a protective lining in his cap.

According to The Sporting News, Rojek dropped his bat and staggered toward the first-base line “with blood coming out of his ear.” As Pirates rushed from the dugout to his aid, Rojek was a few feet from the plate when he fell into the arms of teammate Eddie Stevens, who gently laid him on the ground.

As the Pirates waited for a stretcher to arrive, they confronted Johnson and Garagiola, accusing the pitcher and catcher of conspiring to bean Rojek.

According to The Sporting News, Johnson replied, “I’m only the pitcher.” To some, his response indicated Garagiola called the pitch. Garagiola “was so nervous and afraid that he almost cried,” The Sporting News reported.

Rojek was taken into the clubhouse to await an ambulance. When the game ended, Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer went to see Rojek and said, “I’m sorry, Stan. I hope it’s nothing serious.”

According to the Pittsburgh Press, a groggy Rojek replied, “Thanks, Eddie.”

Some Pirates were unmoved and exchanged harsh words with Dyer. Outfielder Wally Westlake told Dyer, “Get the hell out of here with your apologies,” the Pittsburgh Press reported. Boxscore

Owning the plate

At the hospital, X-rays showed Rojek suffered a concussion, but no fracture. He had swelling under his ear and two stitches were required to close the wound.

Johnson called Rojek at the hospital the next morning and said he never intended to hurt him.

Some suggested Rojek put himself at risk because he had a batting stance “in which his head is almost over the inside corner of the plate,” the Pittsburgh Press noted.

Phillies pitcher Schoolboy Rowe told The Sporting News that Rojek “hogs the plate, leans over it as if he were trying to count the specks of dust on it.”

National League president Ford Frick said umpires determined Johnson was not throwing at Rojek. “They even pointed out that the ball was almost a strike, but because Rojek was crouched over the plate, it hit him in the head,” Frick said. “Stan just froze up there, they said.”

Rojek returned to the Pirates’ lineup a week later, on May 4. For the season, he hit .244.

In 1950, the Pirates platooned Rojek and Danny O’Connell at shortstop. The next year, at spring training, George Strickland won the shortstop job and Rojek was deemed expendable.

Bad break

The Cardinals needed help at shortstop in 1951. Marty Marion, who played the position from 1940-50, became their manager in 1951 and was unable to continue playing because of a knee ailment.

At spring training, reserve second baseman Solly Hemus volunteered to play shortstop. The Cardinals opened the season with him, but when he struggled to hit they sought an alternative.

The Cardinals acquired Rojek, 32, at Marion’s request.

Platooning with Hemus, Rojek took advantage of the opportunity, hitting safely in 13 of the first 14 games he played for the Cardinals.

Three months later, during batting practice on Aug. 8, Cardinals pitcher Red Munger hit Rojek with a pitch, cracking his left shoulder blade. Done for the season, Rojek was sent home. He hit .274 in 51 games for the Cardinals and .319 with runners in scoring position.

Hemus surged after Rojek departed and hit .281 for the season.

Projecting Hemus to remain their shortstop in 1952, the Cardinals sent Rojek to the Browns for the $10,000 waiver price in January 1952.

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Nine months after they got him from the Cardinals, the Phillies considered trading Steve Carlton, even though he was the dominant pitcher in the National League.

Multiple teams made offers for Carlton after the Phillies said they might deal him in exchange for five or six premium players.

The Dodgers came closest to making a trade, but the tempting offer fell through when the Phillies countered with a demand for Don Sutton.

Fitting with Phillies

Carlton was acquired by the Phillies from the Cardinals in February 1972 for pitcher Rick Wise. Cardinals owner Gussie Busch, angry because Carlton didn’t give in to contract terms, ordered general manager Bing Devine to trade him.

A left-hander who was 77-62 in seven seasons with St. Louis, Carlton pitched phenomenally for the Phillies in 1972. He led the league in wins (27), ERA (1.97), complete games (30), innings pitched (346.1) and strikeouts (310). He was a unanimous choice for the Cy Young Award.

After losing six of his first 11 decisions in 1972, Carlton won 15 in a row and finished with a 27-10 record for the last-place Phillies (59-97). Carlton accounted for 46 percent of the club’s wins. In four starts versus the Cardinals, Carlton was 4-0 with an 0.50 ERA. He allowed them two runs in 36 innings, making Busch pay a price greater than salary for his foolishness.

With the 1972 Phillies, Carlton started every fourth day, a schedule he said he liked.

With the Cardinals, Carlton started every fifth day. “That was because everything revolved around Bob Gibson,” Carlton told The Sporting News. “He was the ace of the staff and Gibby required four days rest between starts. So, to set up a rotation, the rest of the staff had to give way. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but that’s the way it was.

“Just working every fourth day was a big help. I was able to develop a high rate of consistency. I was able to keep my rhythm.”

Headline grabber

Soon after the 1972 season ended, Carlton and three other big-league players, Tim McCarver, Joe Hoerner and Pat Jarvis, were on a hunting trip to Montana when they were ordered off their commercial flight.

Frontier Airline officials said the four players refused a flight attendant’s request to turn off a tape recorder they were playing and stop drinking liquor they brought onboard, United Press International reported.

The pilot landed the plane in Casper, Wyoming, and the four ballplayers were removed for refusing to observe federal regulations. According to United Press International, the group chartered a plane and continued on to Montana.

Carlton made more headlines when columnist Dick Young reported in The Sporting News that the Pirates were pursuing a trade with the Phillies. According to Young, the Pirates were ready to offer second baseman Dave Cash, outfielder Gene Clines, catcher Milt May and pitcher Luke Walker for Carlton. Another version had the Pirates offering May, pitcher Dock Ellis and second baseman Rennie Stennett, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente confirmed to the Associated Press that the Pirates were negotiating with the Phillies for Carlton.

Explaining what it would take for a team to get Carlton, Phillies general manager Paul Owens told the Philadelphia Daily News, “Just to start with, I’d have to have two pitchers capable of winning 25 games between them. From there, I think we’d have to wind up with five or six players we feel can help us.”

The Pirates eventually backed off, but several other clubs showed serious interest.

Ready to deal

During the baseball winter meetings at Honolulu in late November, a headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer declared: “Carlton figures to be ex-Phil before end of week.”

“Carlton represents the Phillies’ only real bargaining power if they decide to make the sweeping changes that would be necessary for them to become a contender,” the Inquirer explained.

Though Owens conceded trading Carlton would be unpopular with Phillies fans, he said, “If I thought I could make a trade for Steve that would help us become a pennant contender, and if I didn’t do it, then I might as well admit I’m in the wrong job. It’s going to take a certain amount of guts to trade Steve Carlton. I’m not necessarily saying I’m going to trade him, but I am saying I have the guts to do it.”

The Athletics, Dodgers, Giants, Padres and Red Sox made offers for Carlton at the winter meetings. According to the Inquirer, the Giants’ offer included outfielder Bobby Bonds and first baseman Willie McCovey, and the Athletics’ bid featured pitcher Ken Holtzman and first baseman Mike Epstein.

The only one that interested Owens came from the Dodgers.

Tempting offer

“You wouldn’t believe the deal the Phillies turned down for Steve Carlton,” Dick Young wrote in The Sporting News.

The Dodgers offered pitchers Claude Osteen and Bill Singer, outfielders Willie Crawford and Bobby Valentine, and second baseman Lee Lacy. “A hell of a package,” the Philadelphia Daily News declared.

Owens countered by asking for pitcher Don Sutton. “The deal would have been made if Sutton’s name had replaced Singer or Osteen,” the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

“We made a valid, honest offer, but trading Sutton was out of the question,” Dodgers general manager Al Campanis said. “He’s our ace, with youth and a great future ahead of him. We wanted Carlton to form a one-two punch like Drysdale and Koufax.

“I can’t criticize Owens for failing to make the deal. It’s going to take a lot of courage for him to make any deal for Carlton, but I think what we offered snapped some eyebrows to attention. We made them sit down and do a lot of soul-searching.”

Reds manager Sparky Anderson told Dick Young, “Carlton was 5-6 at the end of May. If somebody had come up with a couple of good players, they could have had him. His value went from two players to five by the end of the season.”

A few hours after the Phillies rejected the Campanis offer, the Dodgers acquired pitcher Andy Messersmith and third baseman Ken McMullen for Singer, Valentine, outfielder Frank Robinson, infielder Billy Grabarkewitz and pitcher Mike Strahler.

Carlton stayed with the Phillies and helped them win two pennants and a World Series championship. He and Sutton both got elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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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.

Forty years ago, 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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