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Archive for the ‘Trades’ Category

Johnny Lewis, a prospect considered to have more potential than Lou Brock, overcame personal tragedy, rebounded from setbacks in his playing career and became a pioneering coach for the Cardinals.

Lewis, who died July 29, 2018, at 78, was an outfielder with a strong throwing arm, speed and a powerful hitting stroke. He got to the major leagues with the Cardinals in 1964 and was given prominent playing time in right field the first two months of the season, but by June he was back in the minor leagues.

Traded to the Mets two months after the Cardinals won the 1964 World Series championship, Lewis played three more seasons in the major leagues before returning to the Cardinals and building a second career with them as an administrator, coach, manager and instructor.

Heavy heart

Lewis was born in Greenville, Ala., and moved to Pensacola, Fla., as a toddler. At 19, he entered the Cardinals’ organization in 1959.

Advancing through the St. Louis system, Lewis played his best for manager Whitey Kurowski, a former Cardinals third baseman. Lewis played for Kurowski at Winnipeg in 1960 and at Tulsa in 1961 and 1962. In 1960, Lewis hit .299 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI for Winnipeg and he followed that with a .293 batting mark, 22 home runs and 85 RBI for Tulsa in 1961.

While in the minor leagues, Lewis got married and he and his wife, Ola Mae, began raising a family. In the winters, Lewis played baseball in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Lewis, 22, was in Venezuela when his wife was killed in an automobile crash in the United States.

“My wife went to a church convention and on the way back the car she was in got into an accident and all five people in it were killed,” Lewis said to Milton Gross of the North American Newspaper Alliance. “I came back from Venezuela and there I was with two little babies, one wasn’t a year old, and I said to myself, ‘What do I do now?’

“I wasn’t going to quit baseball, get a job, stay home and take care of the babies, but my mother said she’d take care of them. She’s a good woman, my mother, and I got to keep remembering that my babies are with somebody who loves them.”

Spring sensation

In 1964, Lewis, 24, reported to spring training with the Cardinals and competed with several other prospects, including Mike Shannon, for an outfield spot. Lewis played splendidly in the exhibition games, hitting .333, and was named the Cardinals’ top prospect in a poll of writers and broadcasters.

Stan Musial, who became a club executive after retiring as a player, called Lewis the Cardinals’ “best outfield prospect since Bill Virdon,” who won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1955.

The Sporting News described Lewis’ success as “the Cinderella epic of the spring.”

“I haven’t seen anybody like him in the last 10 years,” Cardinals manager Johnny Keane said.

Lewis “rates high in all five categories. He can run, throw, field, hit and also hit for power,” Keane said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to Keane, the five-tool players in the National League in 1964 were Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson and Roberto Clemente.

Learning curve

Lewis was shy and quiet and his teammates nicknamed him “Gabby” because he said so little, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Cardinals first baseman Bill White, who became Lewis’ mentor, said, “What we got to do is make Lewis think more aggressively, but it will take time. He knows nothing but Florida, where he’s lived, and Alabama, where he was born. Where could he have learned anything else?”

As the season neared, Keane decided to platoon Lewis and Carl Warwick in right field. Lewis, a left-handed batter, would play against right-handed pitchers and Warwick, who batted right-handed, would play against left-handers.

Though Lewis had the talent, some offered caution.

“Lewis has all the potential, but the boy has an inferiority complex,” Cardinals senior consultant Branch Rickey told The Sporting News. “I wish he’d believe in himself as much as all of us believe in him.”

Said third baseman Ken Boyer: “The kid should be a good player. I just hope they don’t expect him to break down the fences the first few years.”

Short stay

On April 15, 1964, Lewis got his first big-league hit, a RBI-single against Don Drysdale of the Dodgers. Boxscore Three days later, on April 18, Lewis slugged his first big-league home run, a solo shot against Bobby Bolin of the Giants. Boxscore

Lewis hit .207 in April and .278 in May. On June 10, he injured an ankle and had to leave the game. Three days later, on June 13, the Cardinals acquired outfielder Bob Skinner from the Pirates and sent Lewis to their Jacksonville farm team. Lewis hit .234 in 40 games for St. Louis, making 28 starts in right field.

On June 15, the Cardinals made another trade, getting outfielder Lou Brock from the Cubs.

“We hope Brock will fill the category of one of our regular outfielders until someone in the future, perhaps Johnny Lewis, comes along,” Cardinals general manager Bing Devine said to The Sporting News.

In an interview with the Post-Dispatch, Devine said, “I feel Lewis probably has more potential than Brock. He fields better and he throws better.”

Brock, however, took hold of the left field job and Shannon, recalled from the minors, became the right fielder. Meanwhile, Lewis floundered at Jacksonville until an X-ray on Aug. 6 revealed he had a hairline fracture of his ankle. Lewis “had been bothered by the ankle for some time,” The Sporting News reported.

In September, after Lewis returned to the lineup and helped Jacksonville win the International League championship, he was called up to the Cardinals but didn’t get into a game. The Cardinals clinched the National League pennant on the last day of the season and won four of seven games against the Yankees in the World Series.

Meet the Mets

The Cardinals tried converting Lewis into a switch-hitter at the Florida Instructional League in October 1964, but the experiment failed. On Dec. 7, 1964, the Cardinals traded Lewis and pitcher Gordon Richardson to the Mets for pitcher Tracy Stallard and infielder Elio Chacon. Devine, fired by the Cardinals in August 1964, had joined the Mets as assistant to president George Weiss and advocated for Lewis.

“Playing with the Cardinals, it was a case of making good instantly or you were gone,” Lewis said. “I don’t blame them for that. They were pennant contenders and they couldn’t afford to wait, but for me it meant I always was more conscious of making mistakes. I couldn’t take chances. I was constantly tight.”

Lewis hit .245 with 15 home runs in 148 games for the 1965 Mets. On June 14, 1965, he broke up a no-hit bid by the Reds’ Jim Maloney with a home run in the 11th inning at Cincinnati. Boxscore

After the 1965 season, Lewis remarried. However, while his personal life improved, his playing career declined. He played parts of two more seasons with the Mets, batting .193 in 1966 and .118 in 1967, and finished with a year in the minors in 1968.

Second career

By 1970, Devine was back with the Cardinals as general manager and he gave Lewis a chance to return to St. Louis, too. Lewis was hired to be Cardinals assistant promotions and sales director and he spent two years (1970-71) in the role.

In 1972, Lewis became administrative coordinator of player development and scouting for the Cardinals.

After a year in that job, Lewis became the first African-American to serve on the Cardinals’ coaching staff. Lewis was the Cardinals’ first-base coach on manager Red Schoendienst’s staff for four seasons (1973-76).

For the next five years (1977-81), Lewis was a Cardinals’ minor-league manager at Calgary (1977-78), Gastonia (1979) and Johnson City (1980-81). Among the future major-leaguers managed by Lewis were pitchers Danny Cox and outfielders Curt Ford and Stan Javier.

From 1982-84, Lewis was a Cardinals’ minor-league hitting instructor.

In 1985, Lewis became the hitting coach for the Cardinals and was a special mentor to rookie speedster Vince Coleman. Lewis was the hitting coach on manager Whitey Herzog’s staff for five seasons (1985-89) and the Cardinals won two National League pennants in that time. Another Lewis pupil, Willie McGee, won the NL Most Valuable Player Award and the league batting title in 1985.

From 1990-98, Lewis was a Cardinals minor-league hitting instructor. He finished his career as the minor-league hitting coordinator for the Astros from 1999-2001.

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Tony Cloninger, a prominent National League starting pitcher in the 1960s, was given an opportunity by the Cardinals to extend his major-league career as a reliever in the 1970s, but it didn’t work out.

Cloninger, who died July 24, 2018, at 77, was acquired by the Cardinals from the Reds for second baseman Julian Javier on March 24, 1972.

A right-hander, Cloninger pitched well for the Reds in 1971, posting a 3.33 ERA in 20 relief appearances and a 3.88 ERA overall, but he didn’t fit into their plans in 1972 and the Reds made him available.

The Reds showcased Cloninger, 31, in a spring training start against the Cardinals on March 23, 1972, and he delivered, yielding one hit in six innings. The next day, the Cardinals, seeking relief help, made the deal for him.

Reliable starter

The trade reunited Cloninger with his friend, Cardinals third baseman Joe Torre. They were teammates with the Braves from 1961-68 and Torre was Cloninger’s catcher during the pitcher’s heyday. Torre caught more of Cloninger’s games, 141, than any other catcher.

Cloninger signed with the Braves as an amateur free agent in May 1958 and, when he made his major-league debut with them at age 20 on June 15, 1961, in a start against the Giants at Candlestick Park, Torre was his catcher. Boxscore

A month later, on July 13, 1961, at St. Louis, Cloninger faced the Cardinals for the first time and catcher Tim McCarver, 19, hit his first big-league home run against him. Boxscore

The next year, on Sept. 5, 1962, Cloninger pitched his first major-league shutout in a 1-0 Braves victory over the Cardinals at St. Louis. Bill White, with a single and double, had two of the Cardinals’ five hits against Cloninger. Boxscore

On Aug. 11, 1963, at Milwaukee, Cloninger pitched another gem against the Cardinals, striking out 11 in a four-hitter won by the Braves, 9-1. Boxscore

From 1964-66, Cloninger was a productive, durable ace for the Braves. He was 19-14 with 242.2 innings pitched in 1964, 24-11 in 279 innings in 1965 and 14-11 in 257.2 innings in 1966. Cloninger was 3-0 against the Cardinals in 1965.

Cloninger also could hit. On July 3, 1966, he produced nine RBI, with two grand slams and a run-scoring single, in a game against the Giants at Candlestick Park. He hit the first grand slam against Bob Priddy and the second against Ray Sadecki, the former Cardinal, and pitched a complete game in a 17-3 Braves victory. Boxscore

In June 1968, the Braves traded Cloninger to the Reds and, though he no longer was an ace, he contributed, earning nine wins for the pennant-winning 1970 Reds. Cloninger also started and lost Game 3 of the 1970 World Series against the Orioles. Boxscore

Taking a chance

The 1972 Cardinals gave a look at another former Reds starter, Jim Maloney, in spring training, but didn’t like what they saw, released him and acquired Cloninger.

“Even though I like Cloninger personally and admire his perseverance, I can’t get excited over the addition of a struggling pitching veteran who has been beset by arm, eye and back troubles,” sports editor Bob Broeg wrote in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Reds manager Sparky Anderson said if the Cardinals “pitch him enough so that he can keep his control, he’ll deliver for them.”

“He still throws hard and his attitude is the best,” Anderson added.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst said Cloninger told him he was “ready to start, to relieve or hit fungoes” to help.

“I’ve never talked to a ballplayer yet who played for the Cardinals organization who didn’t think it was fantastic,” Cloninger said to the Dayton Journal Herald.

In his first spring training appearance for the Cardinals, Cloninger yielded two hits in five innings against the Mets and ensured himself a spot on the Opening Day pitching staff.

The Cardinals opened the 1972 season with seven relievers: right-handers Moe Drabowsky, Dennis Higgins, Al Santorini and Cloninger, and left-handers Joe Grzenda, Don Shaw and Lance Clemons.

Gopher balls

Cloninger had a good outing on May 24, 1972, against the Pirates, pitching 3.2 scoreless relief innings, but five days later he took a big step backwards.

On May 29, 1972, the Cardinals carried a 6-3 lead into the ninth inning against the Mets at St. Louis and Schoendienst called on Cloninger to be the closer. After Jerry Grote singled and Bud Harrelson walked, Ken Bowell, batting with one out, hit a three-run home run, tying the score at 6-6. Tommie Agee followed with a single before Schoendienst lifted Cloninger. Agee eventually scored from third on a passed ball by catcher Ted Simmons, the Mets won, 7-6, and Cloninger took the loss.

The home run was the first of the season for Boswell, who entered the game batting .177. Boxscore

Cloninger unveiled a knuckleball and bounced back with some good outings, including a three-inning scoreless stint against the Braves on July 11, 1972, at St. Louis.

His Cardinals career, however, came to a sudden close with one bad pitch.

On July 22, 1972, against the Braves at Atlanta, Cloninger entered in the 10th inning with the score tied at 7-7. His first pitch to the first batter, Dusty Baker, was belted for a walkoff home run and an 8-7 Braves victory.

Before going to the plate, Baker told teammate Oscar Brown, “I think I’ll take a pitch and see what he’s got.” Brown replied, “No, man, go up there swinging,” and Baker did.

Denny McLain, who pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, got his first National League win and the loss went to Cloninger. Boxscore

Four days later, on July 26, the Cardinals released Cloninger, who was 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA in 17 relief appearances. On Aug. 1, Cloninger signed with the Braves, who sent him to their minor-league club at Richmond, Va., where he became a teammate of second baseman Tony La Russa.

Cloninger was 1-1 in seven appearances for Richmond, ending his playing days. He had a 113-97 record in 12 big-league seasons.

Twenty years later, in 1992, Cloninger was hired to be a coach on the staff of Yankees manager Buck Showalter. In 1996, Showalter departed and Cloninger’s old friend, Torre, became Yankees manager. Cloninger was a coach for five pennant-winning teams and four World Series championship clubs with the Yankees under Torre.

In 2002 and 2003, Cloninger was a Red Sox coach for manager Grady Little.

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With their third baseman, Gary Gaetti, about to turn 40, the Cardinals went looking for a successor and came up with Fernando Tatis.

Twenty years ago, on July 31, 1998, the Cardinals traded pitcher Todd Stottlemyre and shortstop Royce Clayton to the Rangers for Tatis, pitcher Darren Oliver and a player to be named, outfielder Mark Little.

The move upset Gaetti, who wasn’t ready to give up his starting role, and surprised Tatis, who was happy being with the Rangers.

Though his stay in St. Louis turned out to be short, Tatis made it memorable, accomplishing an unusual feat within the most productive season of his career.

Vying for value

The 1998 Cardinals were 50-57 and out of playoff contention entering the last day of the interleague trade deadline on July 31. With Stottlemyre and Clayton eligible to become free agents after the season, the Cardinals looked to trade them rather than have them depart without getting any players in return.

The Cardinals tried to sign Stottlemyre to a long-term contract that summer, proposing three years for $21 million, but he wanted a four-year contract, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The Cardinals don’t have to apologize for offering $7 million a season,” Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz wrote.

Stottlemyre was sought by several contenders, including the Rangers, who were neck-and-neck with the Angels in the American League West Division. Stottlemyre had extensive postseason experience, pitching in the 1992 and 1993 World Series for the Blue Jays and the 1996 National League Championship Series for the Cardinals.

The Rangers offered Oliver, a left-hander, for Stottlemyre. Oliver, 27, was younger than Stottlemyre, 33, and wouldn’t be eligible for free agency until after the 1999 season. The Cardinals liked Oliver, but also wanted Tatis. Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty told his counterpart, Doug Melvin, the Rangers would have to take Clayton, 28, in exchange for Tatis, 23, if they wanted Stottlemyre. Melvin agreed, projecting Clayton as an upgrade over Kevin Elster at shortstop.

After replacing Ozzie Smith as Cardinals starting shortstop in 1996, Clayton was a National League all-star in 1997, but he slumped in 1998 (.234 batting average) and the Cardinals weren’t interested in offering him a contract before he entered free agency.

“Clayton represented everything wrong with this disappointing team: moodiness and stubbornness,” wrote Miklasz. “He pouted when he didn’t bat leadoff. He never embraced the suggestions to hit smarter with two strikes. Clayton never tried to hit the ball the opposite way.”

All-star potential

While rating Oliver as “a solid third or fourth starter and probably better than that,” Jocketty acknowledged, “The guy we liked is Tatis. We needed to find a third baseman and he was the best guy available.”

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Tatis had “an above-average arm. He’s got the talent to become an impact-type third baseman.”

Said Melvin: “We don’t like giving him up because we really think he’ll be an all-star third baseman.”

Tatis made his major-league debut with the Rangers in 1997 and he was batting .270 in 95 games for them in 1998 when he was traded.

After joining the Cardinals, Tatis said of the trade, “When I knew about it, I felt really bad. I was just in shock … I loved it over there.”

Gaetti was unhappy about being benched for Tatis. Gaetti, 39, was batting .263 with 23 doubles and 10 home runs when Tatis was acquired. “The third baseman was not the weakest link on this team,” Gaetti said. “It’s just frustrating.”

On Aug. 14, the Cardinals released Gaetti and he signed with the Cubs five days later, on Aug. 19, his 40th birthday.

Ups and downs

Tatis got off to a terrible start with the Cardinals, committing three errors in his first three games and going hitless in his first 11 at-bats.

“It’s asking a lot for him to make plays like Brooks Robinson and hit like Mike Schmidt, but when he settles in he’ll be fine,” La Russa said.

Tatis got on track and batted .287 for the 1998 Cardinals. Oliver made 10 Cardinals starts that season and was 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA.

After dealing Tatis, the Rangers acquired Todd Zeile, the former Cardinal, from the Marlins to play third base. Stottlemyre (5-4), Clayton (.285) and Zeile helped the 1998 Rangers finish in first place in the AL West and reach the postseason.

In 1999, Tatis had the best season of his 11-year career in the big leagues. Tatis had single-season career highs in runs (104), hits (160), home runs (34), RBI (107), walks (82), stolen bases (21), batting average (.298) and on-base percentage (.404) for the 1999 Cardinals.

On April 23, 1999, he became the only major-league player to hit two grand slams in an inning, achieving the feat in the third against Chan Ho Park of the Dodgers. Boxscore

In 2000, Tatis was limited to 96 games, none from April 30 to June 29 because of a groin injury. With Placido Polanco available to play third base, the Cardinals traded Tatis and pitcher Britt Reames to the Expos in December 2000 for pitchers Dustin Hermanson and Steve Kline.

Oliver led the 1999 Cardinals in innings pitched (196.1) and was 9-9. He became a free agent after that season and returned to the Rangers.

Free agents Stottlemyre and Clayton took different paths after the Yankees eliminated the Rangers in the 1998 AL Division Series. Stottlemyre signed with the Diamondbacks and Clayton stayed with the Rangers.

Little, 26, the player to be named in the Rangers-Cardinals deal, made his major-league debut with St. Louis in September 1998 and had one hit in 12 at-bats. After spending 1999 and 2000 with minor-league Memphis, Little was granted free agency and signed with the Rockies.

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Two years after he established the tone for the 2006 World Series, pitching a Game 1 gem and propelling the club toward a championship, Anthony Reyes and the Cardinals were eager for a divorce.

Ten years ago, on July 26, 2008, the Cardinals traded Reyes to the Indians for minor-league reliever Luis Perdomo and cash.

Reyes, 26, was with the Cardinals’ farm club at Memphis when the deal was made. He began the 2008 season with the Cardinals, clashed with pitching coach Dave Duncan, sprained his right elbow and got demoted to the minor leagues.

Disillusioned, Reyes was ready to be traded and the Cardinals were prepared to accommodate him.

“He needs a change of scenery,” Cardinals outfielder Skip Schumaker said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Said Reyes: “When you get overlooked and you feel you’re pitching well, you want to go to a place that’s a better fit.”

Hot prospect

Reyes pitched at the University of Southern California and was selected by the Cardinals in the 15th round of the 2003 amateur draft. In 2004, Reyes pitched for two clubs in the Cardinals’ system and had an overall record of 9-2 with 140 strikeouts in 111 innings.

Before the 2005 and 2006 seasons, Reyes was named the top pitching prospect in the Cardinals’ organization by Baseball America magazine.

He made his major-league debut on Aug. 9, 2005, in a start against the Brewers at Milwaukee and got the win, yielding two runs in 6.1 innings of a 5-2 Cardinals victory. Boxscore On June 22, 2006, Reyes pitched a one-hitter for the Cardinals against the White Sox, but lost, 1-0, on a Jim Thome home run. Boxscore

Though he was 5-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 17 starts for the 2006 Cardinals, Reyes was the Game 1 starter in the World Series because veterans Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver were unavailable after pitching in a seven-game National League Championship Series against the Mets.

Matched against Tigers ace Justin Verlander in Detroit, the odds didn’t favor Reyes, but he delivered a masterpiece, limiting the Tigers to two runs in eight innings and earning the win in a 7-2 St. Louis victory. Reyes retired 17 consecutive Tigers batters. Boxscore The Cardinals went on to win four times in five games and clinch their first World Series title in 24 years.

Steps backward

After the postseason, the Cardinals allowed Suppan, Weaver and another starter, Jason Marquis, to leave as free agents, figuring Reyes would help fill the void, but Reyes lost his first 10 regular-season decisions with the 2007 Cardinals and finished the season at 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA.

The Cardinals and Phillies discussed a trade of Reyes for outfielder Michael Bourne, but the proposed deal unraveled, Joe Strauss reported in the Post-Dispatch.

Reyes was prone to using high fastballs to entice batters to swing and miss. Duncan wanted him to pitch to contact rather than try for strikeouts. Reyes didn’t embrace the concept and “became a point of frustration” for Duncan, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said reports of a disconnect between Duncan and Reyes were “nonsense” and caused a distraction. “I regret the fact people mentioned he was not a Dave Duncan style of pitcher,” La Russa told the Post-Dispatch.

The Cardinals moved Reyes to a reliever role in 2008 and he was 2-1 with a save and a 4.91 ERA before spraining his right elbow. After a stint on the disabled list, Reyes was sent by the Cardinals to their Class AAA farm club at Memphis.

“Reyes came to represent the risks of holding on to a young player too long,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “Aware of Duncan’s frustrations with Reyes, some within the organization advocated trading the pitcher after his celebrated win in the first game of the 2006 World Series.”

Fresh start

After the Indians acquired Reyes from the Cardinals, they sent him to their Class AAA affiliate at Buffalo. Working with pitching coach Scott Radinsky, a former Cardinals reliever, Reyes was 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts for Buffalo before getting called up to the Indians.

Reyes made his Indians debut in a start on Aug. 8, 2008, against the Blue Jays at Toronto and got a win, yielding a run in 6.1 innings of a 5-2 Cleveland victory. Boxscore

“He had a good heartbeat, made pitches when he needed to and was very efficient,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said to the Akron Beacon Journal.

Reyes used the media attention his win attracted to express his frustrations with Duncan and the Cardinals.

“When I’d get sent down in St. Louis, no one ever told me what I was supposed to work on,” Reyes said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It wasn’t like it was anything mean, but I was going crazy trying to figure out if I did something wrong. Did I step on someone’s toes?”

In comments to the Beacon Journal, Reyes said, “I felt like I didn’t fit in over there. They didn’t like anything I was doing. It made for some long years.”

After Reyes earned a win in a start at Cleveland against the Royals on Aug, 19, he told the Beacon Journal, “I think I’m getting there. I got in a lot of bad habits the last couple of years, so coming here gives me a chance to get rid of them.”

Elbowed out

Reyes continued pitching well for the 2008 Indians, but on Sept. 5 he was pulled from a start at Kansas City because of elbow pain. Sidelined for the remainder of the season, Reyes was 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts for the 2008 Indians.

In 2009, Reyes made eight starts for the Indians and was 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA before his right elbow gave out. On June 12, 2009, Reyes underwent reconstructive elbow surgery and never again pitched in the major leagues.

Reyes pitched in the Indians’ farm system in 2010 and 2011. At 30, his final professional season was in 2012 when he pitched for the Padres’ Class AAA Tucson club managed by former Cardinals catcher Terry Kennedy.

In 67 big-league games, Reyes was 13-26 with a 5.12 ERA.

Reyes became a firefighter for the Los Angeles County Fire Department in California in 2017, following in the footsteps of his father, also a firefighter.

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Wayne Garrett, who had some of his best games against the Cardinals, finished his major-league playing days with them, producing a sustained stretch of solid hitting for St. Louis and positioning himself to earn an opportunity to extend his career in Japan.

Forty years ago, on July 21, 1978, the Cardinals purchased Garrett’s contract in a waiver deal with the Expos. The Cardinals envisioned Garrett, a left-handed batter, for a pinch-hitting role, but he performed well when given the chance to substitute for slumping third baseman Ken Reitz and ended up being used in a platoon with Reitz the remainder of the season.

Playing almost exclusively against right-handed pitchers, Garrett batted .333 for the 1978 Cardinals, generating 21 hits in 63 at-bats. He hit .389 (7-for-18) with runners in scoring position.

The Cardinals were impressed and wanted Garrett, 30, to return in 1979 as a utility player, but when he and the club couldn’t agree on contract terms, Garrett departed as a free agent.

Cards connections

In 1965, Garrett was selected by the Braves in the sixth round of major-league baseball’s first amateur draft. During his stint in the Braves’ system, Garrett caught the attention of Mets scout Bob Scheffing, who recommended him to management. In December 1968, the Mets took Garrett in the Rule 5 minor-league draft and he opened the 1969 season with the major-league club.

Garrett made his big-league debut for the Mets on April 12, 1969, against the Cardinals at New York. Batting third and playing second base, Garrett had a single and walk against Dave Giusti, who pitched a shutout in a 1-0 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

The next day, April 13, Garrett again got the start at second base and had a double and walk against Bob Gibson, who pitched the Cardinals to a 3-1 triumph. Boxscore

Garrett eventually was shifted to third base and platooned there with Ed Charles.

On July 2, 1969, Garrett had his first four-hit game in the big leagues. Batting fifth and playing third base, Garrett was 4-for-6 with four RBI, a walk and a run scored in the Mets’ 6-4 victory over the Cardinals in 14 innings at St. Louis. Garrett drove in two runs against Giusti with a double and a single, added a RBI-single against Chuck Taylor in the eighth and drew a bases-loaded walk from Ron Willis in the 14th. Boxscore

Garrett started 63 games at third and 34 games at second for the 1969 Mets, who supplanted the Cardinals as National League champions, and batted .218. The rookie got into two games in the 1969 World Series against the Orioles.

Big hits

On Sept. 1, 1970, Garrett had another four-hit game for the Mets against the Cardinals. He was 4-for-5 with a walk against Gibson and scored twice in a 4-3 Mets victory in 12 innings at St. Louis.

In the 12th, with the score tied at 3-3, Garrett led off with a single against Gibson. With Cleon Jones up next, the Mets signaled for a hit-and-run, but Jones swung and missed at a high fastball from Gibson. Garrett swiped second and continued on to third when catcher Ted Simmons’ throw clanked off the glove of Milt Ramirez for an error on the shortstop. Jones followed with a sacrifice fly, driving in Garrett with the go-ahead run. Boxscore

Garrett hit .333 versus Gibson in his career, with 22 hits in 66 at-bats and 10 walks, and had a .421 on-base percentage against the Cardinals ace.

In 1973, Garrett had his best big-league season, batting .256 with 16 home runs and 58 RBI as the third baseman for the Mets, who won their second National League pennant. Facing the Athletics in the World Series, Garrett hit solo home runs against Vida Blue in Game 2 and Catfish Hunter in Game 3. Batting leadoff in all seven games of the World Series, Garrett produced five hits, five walks and was hit by a pitch, but he struck out 11 times and batted .167.

The Mets traded Garrett to the Expos in July 1976 and he platooned at second base with Pete Mackanin the remainder of the season. In 1977, Garrett was plagued by shoulder and leg injuries and was a backup to Larry Parrish at third and Dave Cash at second.

Packing a wallop

By July 1978, Garrett seldom played for the Expos. He was batting .174 for the season when the Cardinals acquired him in a transaction that attracted little attention.

Soon after, Cardinals manager Ken Boyer decided to start Garrett against right-handed pitching because Reitz batted .183 overall in June and .226 in July.

On Aug. 13, 1978, Garrett was 3-for-4 with a walk, a RBI and a run scored in a 6-1 Cardinals triumph over the Mets at New York. Boxscore

A couple of weeks later, on Aug. 31 at St. Louis, Garrett batted for pitcher Aurelio Lopez and hit a ninth-inning grand slam against Reds reliever Doug Bair, though Cincinnati won, 11-6. The ball Garrett hit landed 20 rows deep in the bleacher seats beyond the right-field wall, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Boxscore

It was Garrett’s second major-league grand slam. The first occurred on Sept. 29, 1976, against former Mets teammate Tom Seaver in a 7-2 Expos victory at New York.

Overseas adventure

Garrett played his final big-league game on Sept. 26, 1978, going 2-for-4 in a 3-1 Cardinals win over the Mets at New York. Boxscore

“We got to make some decisions on him,” Boyer said. “He’s looking for a long-term contract, like three years, and we want to see whether we should enter into that kind of deal with him.”

The Cardinals decided to pursue free-agent Pete Rose rather than invest in a multi-year deal for a utility player. Garrett became a free agent and drew interest from the Brewers, but his best offer came from Japan.

Adrian Garrett, Wayne’s brother, went to Japan in 1977 after eight seasons as a utility player in the major leagues with the Braves, Cubs, Athletics and Angels. Adrian hit 35 home runs for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 1977 and 40 home runs for them in 1978.

Wayne Garrett followed his brother’s career path, signed with the Chunichi Dragons in the Japan Central League and played for them in 1979 and 1980.

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Chuck Stobbs was a left-hander who made his major-league debut at age 18, pitched for three American League franchises, yielded an epic home run to Mickey Mantle, experienced a streak of 16 consecutive losses and was given a chance to extend his career with the Cardinals.

Sixty years ago, on July 9, 1958, Stobbs, 29, was claimed by the Cardinals from the Senators for the waiver price of $20,000.

The Cardinals utilized Stobbs as a reliever the remainder of the season, but he didn’t fit their plans and they released him. He returned to the Senators, reviving his career after discovering and correcting an eye problem.

Young pro

Stobbs was a standout athlete at Granby High School in Norfolk, Va., and was recruited by several college football programs. He chose to pursue a professional baseball career and was signed in May 1947 by Red Sox scout Specs Toporcer, a former Cardinals infielder.

Stobbs was 18 when he made his major-league debut with the Red Sox in a relief role on Sept. 15, 1947, against the White Sox. He became a starter in 1949 and had one of his best season in 1950, posting a 12-7 record.

After the 1951 season, the Red Sox traded Stobbs to the White Sox and he spent one season with them before he was dealt to the Senators in December 1952.

“Stobbs suffers from asthma and the changeable spring weather makes him weak,” columnist Bob Addie reported in The Sporting News. “Once the weather gets hot and dry, Chuck feels human again and becomes a better pitcher.”

Stobbs made his first regular-season appearance for the Senators on April 17, 1953, in a start against the Yankees at Griffith Stadium in Washington and it was memorable. In the fifth inning, Mantle hit a pitch from Stobbs out of the ballpark, a home run estimated to have traveled more than 500 feet and the only ball to clear the left field bleachers at Griffith Stadium. Boxscore

In 1956, Stobbs was 15-15 for the Senators, but lost his last five decisions. The losing streak stretched to 16 when Stobbs lost his first 11 decisions in 1957.

Stobbs was 8-20 with a 5.36 ERA for the Senators in 1957 and 2-6 with a 6.04 ERA for them in 1958 when he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Cardinals.

Seeking relief

Cardinals manager Fred Hutchinson had pitched and managed in the American League for the Tigers, was familiar with Stobbs and thought the breaking-ball specialist could help in the bullpen.

“I suppose I’ll be called in to pitch to Duke Snider, Eddie Mathews and some of those other sluggers,” Stobbs said. “Maybe I’ll get past them by walking them.”

Stobbs disliked airplane travel and was dismayed to learn the Cardinals took flights on longer road trips. “I didn’t know the train was so obsolete,” Stobbs said. “I thought I was in baseball, but it seems somewhere along the way I joined the Air Force.”

Stobbs made his Cardinals debut on July 13 against the Pirates at St. Louis. Entering the game in the fifth inning with a 6-5 lead, he yielded a two-run home run to Bill Mazeroski and took the loss. Boxscore

On July 16, in a four-inning relief stint against the Braves at St. Louis, Stobbs gave up back-to-back home runs to Mathews and Hank Aaron and took another loss. Boxscore

A week later, on July 23 at Milwaukee, Stobbs relieved starter Larry Jackson and shut out the Braves for six innings. Boxscore

When the Cardinals fell into an eight-game losing streak from July 27 to Aug. 3, Stobbs offered to contribute the rabbits feet and other good-luck charms fans sent him when he experienced his 16-game skid with the Senators. “The charms apparently are easier to find than prospects from Redbird farms who can help right away,” wrote Neal Russo of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Stobbs lost his first three decisions with the Cardinals before earning his lone win on Aug. 6 with five scoreless relief innings against the Giants at St. Louis. Stobbs also walked, scored a run and executed a sacrifice bunt. Boxscore

On Sept. 9, Stobbs earned a save against the Cubs at St. Louis, entering with two on, two outs and an 8-7 lead in the ninth and retiring Walt Moryn on a fly out. Boxscore

Stobbs finished with a 1-3 record, a save and a 3.63 ERA in 17 relief appearances for the 1958 Cardinals. Left-handed batters hit .300 (15-for-50) against him.

Eye opener

Described by The Sporting News as a “carefree bachelor,” Stobbs got married in November 1958 and was preparing to report to spring training before the Cardinals released him in January 1959 after he went unclaimed on waivers.

Stobbs was home in Washington, D.C., when he went to renew his driver’s license and nearly flunked the eye test. He saw an optometrist and learned he had weak vision in his right eye. The eye problem “seriously affected his depth perception and could easily account for his increasing inability in recent years to find home plate with his pitches,” Shirley Povich reported in The Sporting News.

After being fitted for glasses, Stobbs met with Calvin Griffith and convinced the Senators owner to give him a chance to compete for a job in spring training. Able to hit his spots with his improved vision, Stobbs had a string of 16 scoreless innings in 1959 spring training games and opened the regular season as a Senators reliever.

Stobbs was 1-8 with seven saves and a 2.98 ERA for the 1959 Senators. In 1960, Stobbs had one of his best Senators seasons, finishing 12-7 with a 3.32 ERA.

When the Senators relocated to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961, Stobbs went with them and pitched his final season there. In 15 years in the majors, Stobbs was 107-130 with a 4.29 ERA.

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