Archive for the ‘Trades’ Category

For a player labeled a utility man, Dick Schofield left a prominent mark.

He helped the Pirates, Dodgers and Cardinals win National League pennants. He played 19 seasons in the majors. He was the second of four generations in his family to play pro baseball.

An infielder who reached the majors with the Cardinals at 18, Schofield had three stints with them in three different decades.

All in the family

Dick Schofield’s father, John Schofield, played in the minor leagues for 10 seasons and was nicknamed Ducky. At home in Springfield, Ill., John taught baseball to his son. “We’d go out and he’d hit nine million ground balls to me,” Dick told author Danny Peary for the book “We Played the Game.”

When Dick was 8, his father showed him how to bat from both sides of the plate and Dick, a natural right-hander, remained a switch-hitter in the pros.

John Schofield also took Dick on trips to St. Louis to see the Red Sox play the Browns because Ted Williams was Dick’s favorite player. Dick became a Red Sox fan, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

During his senior baseball season in high school, Dick Schofield drew the interest of most big-league teams. A shortstop, he hoped to sign with the Red Sox, but the highest offers came from the Cardinals and White Sox.

Big bonus

On June 3, 1953, Schofield signed with the Cardinals, even though, as he told Danny Peary, they were a team “I had always rooted against.”

The $40,000 he received was then the largest bonus paid by the Cardinals. “He’s got a great arm,” Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky told the Post-Dispatch after seeing Schofield work out with the team. “His hands are extremely quick.”

Under the rules then, an amateur player signing for more than $6,000 was required to spend his first two seasons with the big-league team.

Schofield, 18 and looking younger, joined the Cardinals in New York. “I was scared to death,” he recalled to Peary. “The team was playing Brooklyn and I checked into the Commodore Hotel in Manhattan. Then I rode to the ballpark with Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst. They asked me to come along. Imagine that!”

Schofield was assigned to room on the road with the Cardinals’ backup catcher, Ferrell Anderson, 35. “He was like my dad and took good care of me,” Schofield told Peary. “He made it easier for me.”

Learning curve

Schofield was called Ducky by Cardinals players after they were introduced to his father and learned it had been his nickname.

He didn’t get into a game during his first month with the Cardinals, and spent his days being mentored by Stanky and shortstop Solly Hemus.

Stanky “knew baseball better than anybody I ever met,” Schofield told Peary. “Stanky and Hemus helped me learn to play shortstop in the majors, especially turning the double play.”

On June 25, in a game at St. Louis, Stanky complained that Giants pitcher Jim Hearn wasn’t coming to a stop in his delivery. After losing his argument with umpire Augie Donatelli, Stanky threw a towel from the dugout and got a warning from the ump, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Not wanting to back down, but not wanting to get ejected, Stanky turned to Schofield. Knowing the rookie wouldn’t get into the game, Stanky told him to toss a towel, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. Schofield obeyed, and Donatelli ejected him from a game before he’d ever played in one. Boxscore

Hello and goodbye

When Schofield made his big-league debut, on July 3, 1953, against the Cubs at Chicago, it was as a pinch-runner. Boxscore

His first hit came two weeks later, a single versus Johnny Podres at Brooklyn. Boxscore 

Used primarily as a pinch-runner, Schofield hit .179 for the Cardinals in 1953 and .143 in 1954.

With the two mandatory seasons on the big-league club completed, Schofield spent most of the 1955 and 1956 seasons playing for manager Johnny Keane at minor-league Omaha.

(Schofield married his wife Donna in Omaha in 1956. Tyrone Power and Kim Novak, in town to promote their movie, “The Eddy Duchin Story,” sent them a cake, the Post-Dispatch reported, and that’s why the Schofields’ first child, a daughter, was named Kim.)

A backup to Cardinals shortstop Al Dark in 1957, Schofield was a reserve again in 1958 when he was traded to the Pirates in June for infielders Gene Freese and Johnny O’Brien.

“I was totally surprised,” Schofield said to Peary. “I thought the world had come to an end. Nobody wanted to play on the Pirates then. They were a last-place team and Forbes Field was a tough park.”

(According to Schofield, Freese’s reaction to the deal was: “They traded two hamburgers for a hot dog.”)

Key contribution

Schofield, strictly a shortstop with the Cardinals, also was used at second and third by Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh. With Bill Mazeroski at second and Dick Groat at short, Schofield got few starts, but grew to like the Pirates.

On Sept. 6, 1960, with the Pirates contending for a National League pennant, Groat suffered a broken left wrist when hit by a pitch from the Braves’ Lew Burdette. Schofield, hitless since May, was Murtaugh’s choice to replace Groat.

Steady on defense, Schofield surprised with the bat. He hit .375 in September and his on-base percentage for the month was .459.

“He was as fine a utility infielder that ever played this game,” Groat said to Peary. “He could give you two or three weeks of great play at any one of those positions.”

The Pirates won the pennant, but Groat was reinserted at shortstop for the World Series against the Yankees. In Game 2, a Yankees rout, Schofield entered in the sixth and got a single and a walk versus Bob Turley. Boxscore

Helping hand

Groat was traded to the Cardinals after the 1962 season and Schofield, at last, became a starting shortstop. He was the Pirates’ starter in 1963 and 1964. When rookie Gene Alley was deemed ready to take over in 1965, Schofield was dealt to the Giants in May and started for them that season.

Another rookie, Tito Fuentes, became the Giants shortstop in 1966 and Schofield was shipped to the Yankees in May.

On Sept. 10, 1966, the Dodgers acquired Schofield to help them in their pennant drive. He took over for Jim Gilliam and John Kennedy at third base, and stabilized the position, helping the Dodgers win the pennant.

According to The Pittsburgh Press, Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale said, “He’s been making the big play for us ever since we got him. If it isn’t his glove, it’s his bat. If it isn’t his bat, it’s his base running.”

Because Schofield joined the Dodgers after Sept. 1, he wasn’t eligible to play in the World Series. He watched on TV as the Dodgers got swept by the Orioles.

“The Dodgers couldn’t have won the league flag without him, and they collapsed in the World Series because he wasn’t eligible,” Los Angeles Times columnist Sid Ziff wrote.

Long, winding road

Released by the Dodgers after the 1967 season, Schofield, 33, was signed by the reigning World Series champion Cardinals to be a backup to Dal Maxvill at shortstop and Julian Javier at second base.

Fifteen years after he accompanied Schofield on his ride to the ballpark on the rookie’s first day in the big leagues, Red Schoendienst, manager of the 1968 Cardinals, told the Post-Dispatch, “Schofield is the finest all-round utility infielder we’ve got on the club.”

Schofield made 17 starts at second base and 13 starts at shortstop for the 1968 Cardinals, who repeated as National League champions. On May 4, he contributed four hits and three RBI against the Giants. Boxscore

Schofield got into two games of the 1968 World Series against the Tigers but didn’t have a plate appearance.

Two months later, the Cardinals traded Schofield to the team he rooted for as a boy, the Red Sox. Schofield spent two seasons with the Red Sox and was dealt back to the Cardinals in October 1970.

In July 1971, the Cardinals traded Schofield, 36, for the third and last time, packaging him with Jose Cardenal and Bob Reynolds to the Brewers for Ted Kubiak and a prospect.

A son, also Dick Schofield, played 14 seasons as an infielder in the majors, and a grandson, Jayson Werth (Kim’s son), was a big-league outfielder for 15 seasons.

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Ed Bauta overcame a difficult beginning to his big-league career with the Cardinals and gained the confidence of his manager.

A right-handed sinkerball specialist, Bauta was a Pirates prospect when the Cardinals acquired him and second baseman Julian Javier in 1960.

The Cardinals wanted Bauta, even though they knew his right knee was injured.

Frustrated by the slow healing process, Bauta nearly quit before pitching a game for the Cardinals. When he finally made his debut with them, it went badly.

Bolstered by the support of trainer Bob Bauman, Bauta persevered and went on to pitch in 80 games over four seasons with the Cardinals. 

Pitching prospect

Eduardo Bauta was raised on a family farm in central Cuba. Doing farm chores and cutting sugar cane as a youth enabled him to develop a strong work ethic, according to his obituary.

Bauta was a catcher as an amateur until a ball struck him in the throat. “I could take only liquids for 15 days,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Attending a Pirates tryout camp, he got a chance to pitch and impressed scout Howie Haak, who signed him. Bauta was 21 when he played his first season in the Pirates’ system at Clinton, Iowa.

In 1960, Bauta had an 0.95 ERA in 12 relief appearances for the Pirates’ Columbus (Ohio) affiliate. Eddie Stanky, special assistant to Cardinals general manager Bing Devine, scouted Bauta and recommended him.

Soon after, Bauta made a wager with a Columbus teammate that he could get a base hit during batting practice. Swinging mightily at a pitch and missing, Bauta fell and tore ligaments in his right knee, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Cardinals had agreed to send pitcher Vinegar Bend Mizell and infielder Dick Gray to the Pirates for Julian Javier and a pitching prospect. Bauta was one of four pitchers the Pirates offered. Aware of his knee injury, the Cardinals chose him on the strength of Stanky’s scouting report.

Welcome to The Show

Bauta joined the Cardinals on June 12, 1960, and reported to trainer Bob Bauman for treatment of the damaged knee. Frustrated with being sidelined, Bauta said Bauman helped restore his confidence as well as strengthen his knee.

“Doc talked me out of quitting,” Bauta told the Post-Dispatch. “Doc spent a lot of time with me every day. He said, ‘Eddie, you’re not going to quit as long as I’m around here.’ “

On July 6, 1960, the Cubs were routing the Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago when Bauta was called into the game to make his major-league debut. He hadn’t pitched in a game since injuring his knee in May.

Bauta gave up a three-run home run to George Altman in the seventh, and then another three-run home run to Altman in the eighth. Boxscore

“I got Altman out most of the time in the (Caribbean) winter league,” Bauta said to the Post-Dispatch, “but I couldn’t put the ball where I wanted it today.”

True grit

A month later, on Aug. 10, after three consecutive scoreless outings, Bauta was brought in to protect a one-run lead against the Phillies in the bottom of the 10th at Philadelphia.

He retired two batters, but gave up a single and walked two, loading the bases and prompting manager Solly Hemus to visit the mound.

“I had Ronnie Kline warmed up and I was thinking of making a move,” Hemus told the Post-Dispatch.

Hemus asked Bauta, “How do you feel?’ The rookie replied, “I can get them, Skip.”

“Go get them,” Hemus said before returning to the dugout.

Clay Dalrymple swung at Bauta’s first pitch and lofted a fly to center for the final out. Bauta had his first save in the majors. “He showed me something,” Hemus said to the Post-Dispatch. “Anyone who can do that can pitch for me.” Boxscore

Back and forth

Assigned to minor-league Portland (Ore.) in 1961, Bauta was 9-1 with a 1.95 ERA when he got called up to the Cardinals in July. He got his first big-league win on Aug. 23 against the Dodgers. Boxscore

In 13 relief appearances for the 1961 Cardinals, Bauta was 2-0 with five saves and a 1.40 ERA.

Based on that performance, Bauta was in the Cardinals’ plans for 1962. The season began promisingly for him. On April 25, he pitched eight scoreless innings of relief against the Houston Colt .45s. Boxscore

(The game ended in a tie after 17 innings because of a local curfew in Houston that forbid starting an inning after 12:50 a.m. The game was replayed on another date but all the statistics counted.)

After 11 relief appearances in 1962, Bauta had an 0.93 ERA, but then he had a terrible June. After he gave up two home runs to Smoky Burgess of the Pirates on June 30, the Cardinals demoted Bauta to their Atlanta farm club. Boxscore

On the road again

Bauta was back with the Cardinals in 1963. He was 3-4 with three saves when the Cardinals dealt him to the Mets on Aug. 5 for reliever Ken MacKenzie.

(MacKenzie was a Yale graduate. One time, when MacKenzie was brought in at a critical point in a game, Mets manager Casey Stengel said to him, “Make like those guys are the Harvards.”)

In four seasons (1960-63) with the Cardinals, Bauta was 6-4 with 10 saves.

When Bauta faced the Cardinals for the first time after the trade, he pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and struck out Stan Musial. Boxscore

With the Mets, Bauta pitched in the last game played at the Polo Grounds Boxscore and the first game played at Shea Stadium. Boxscore

The 1964 season was Bauta’s last in the majors, but he continued to play until 1974, primarily in the Mexican League. In 1973, Bauta, 38, was a starting pitcher for Petroleros de Poza Rica and was 23-5 with a 2.25 ERA.

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A journeyman reliever developed into an integral contributor to two contending Cardinals clubs.

On July 31, 2012, the Cardinals acquired pitcher Edward Mujica from the Marlins for minor-league third baseman Zack Cox.

A right-hander with command of the strike zone, Mujica stabilized the Cardinals’ bullpen in 2012 and helped them reach the National League Championship Series. The next year, he filled a void in becoming their closer and helped position them to win a National League pennant.

Great Caesar’s Ghost…

Born and raised in Venezuela, Mujica was the son of a factory worker and a homemaker in the town of Yagua in the northwest part of the country.

He signed with the Cleveland Indians in October 2001 when he was 17, reached the majors with them in June 2006 and was traded to the Padres in April 2009.

Using a split-fingered pitch and a change-up, he developed a reputation for throwing strikes. In 59 games for the 2010 Padres, Mujica had 72 strikeouts and six walks, a ratio of 12 strikeouts for every walk issued.

In November 2010, the Padres traded him to the Marlins.

The Marlins changed managers in June 2011, replacing Edwin Rodriguez with an 80-year-old, Jack McKeon, who took a 1930s approach to player relations. It was McKeon who gave Mujica the nickname “The Chief.”

“He said to me one day, ‘I can’t say your name. Are you American Indian?’ ” Mujica recalled to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I said, ‘No, I’m from Venezuela.’ He said, ‘It’s better for me to call you The Chief. You’re the last of the Mohicans.’ “

Mujica said, “That was crazy, but I said OK, and everybody started calling me The Chief.”

(When Mujica got traded to the Cardinals, he said he was surprised when their general manager, John Mozeliak, called him and said, “Chief, how are you doing?” Mujica told the Post-Dispatch, “I said, ‘What? How did you know that?'”)


In 67 relief appearances for the 2011 Marlins, Mujica was 9-6 with a 2.96 ERA and earned a reputation as a clubhouse comedian. “He’s the class clown,” teammate Heath Bell told the Miami Herald. “He loves to have fun.”

Another teammate, Steve Cishek, told the Palm Beach Post, “In the bullpen, he’s a swordsman. I’ll look over and all of a sudden he has a stake that he pulled out of the ground and he’s fighting an imaginary person. It’s hilarious.”

Cishek, who took fencing classes in college, rewarded Mujica with a fencing foil and mask. Mujica kept those above his locker.

“I’m a funny guy,” Mujica told the Miami Herald. “I just try to enjoy my time because this job only lasts 10 or 15 years, and you have to enjoy the moment.”

Mujica also was known to take naps in the bullpen during early innings of games. After a TV camera showed him napping at Wrigley Field in Chicago, he came to the ballpark the next day with a hand-written sign: “Cameraman, Please Do Not Disturb.”

Helping hand

Happy to play for fellow Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen, who took over as Marlins manager in 2012, Mujica told the South Florida Sun Sentinel “it was a big surprise” to be traded to the Cardinals.

The Marlins made the deal to get Zack Cox “with the thought he could be our third baseman in the near future,” president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told the Miami Herald. “We really like the bat.”

Cox was chosen by the Cardinals in the first round of the June 2010 amateur draft. Other 2010 first-round picks included Bryce Harper (Nationals), Manny Machado (Orioles), Christian Yelich (Marlins) and Nick Castellanos (Tigers).

(Cox never reached the majors.)

Noting that Mujica, 28, had an above-average split-fingered pitch, Cardinals pro scouts Mike Juhl and Mike Jorgensen recommended the club trade for him.

On the day of the deal, the Cardinals (55-48) were in third place, seven games behind the division-leading Reds, and their bullpen was in disarray. Relievers were making a mess of the seventh inning and that was creating chaos in the eighth and ninth, too.

Manager Mike Matheny designated Mujica to pitch the seventh. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and catcher Yadier Molina urged Mujica to feature his spit-fingered pitch instead of the slider, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The results were immediate and impressive. Mujica didn’t allow a run in his first 18 games pitched for the Cardinals. With Mujica locking down the seventh inning, Matheny was able to stick with Mitchell Boggs as a setup reliever in the eighth and Jason Motte as closer in the ninth.

The consistent combination of Mujica, Boggs and Motte stabilized the bullpen. In 29 games pitched for the 2012 Cardinals, Mujica had a 1.03 ERA, allowing three earned runs in 26.1 innings. He struck out 21 and walked three.

The Cardinals finished 88-74, second in their division and fifth overall in the National League, but in the watered-down system approved by team owners and the players’ union, fifth is good enough to qualify for the playoffs.

After dispatching the Braves and Nationals, the Cardinals were in the National League Championship Series against the Giants. Mujica was the winning pitcher in Game 1, striking out the side in a scoreless seventh. Boxscore

Mujica pitched four scoreless innings in the series, but the Giants prevailed, winning four of seven games to clinch the pennant.

Fun while it lasted

Near the end of spring training in 2013, Motte suffered an elbow injury. Matheny began the season with Boggs as the closer, but he faltered.

Mujica took over as closer and converted his first 21 consecutive save chances, earning a spot on the National League all-star team.

By August, fatigue set in. Mujica pitched three consecutive days six times in 2013. He pitched in six games in seven days from July 4-10.

Mujica strained his shoulder, causing numbness in his neck. He also had a groin injury. Unable to push off the mound the right way, his arm slowed down and so did his pitch speed, the Post-Dispatch reported.

In mid-September, with Mujica struggling, Trevor Rosenthal replaced him as closer. Mujica finished the season with 37 saves. He struck out 46 and walked five. The only Cardinals pitchers with more saves in a season are Rosenthal, Jason Isringhausen, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Motte and Ryan Franklin.

The 2013 Cardinals, who posted the best record in the National League at 97-65, won the pennant, eliminating the Pirates and Dodgers in the playoffs, before falling to the Red Sox in the World Series.

Granted free agency after the World Series, Mujica signed with the Red. Sox. By 2016, he was back in the minors.

The Cardinals signed Mujica to a minor-league contract in 2018. At spring training, he earned a save with a scoreless inning against the Braves. “How about that? Blast from the past,” Matheny said to the Post-Dispatch.

Sent to Memphis, Mujica, 34, led the team in saves (13) and games pitched (48). He struck out 35 and walked six in 51.1 innings, but wasn’t called up to the Cardinals.

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Scott Rolen worried about the Phillies’ commitment to winning. He didn’t have the same concerns about the Cardinals.

On July 29, 2002, the Cardinals traded for Rolen, acquiring the third baseman, along with pitcher Doug Nickle, from the Phillies for infielder Placido Polanco and pitchers Bud Smith and Mike Timlin.

Having struck out in their efforts to get Rolen to sign a contract extension before he could become eligible to enter free agency after the 2002 season, the Phillies sought to trade him.

The Cardinals were the beneficiaries, adding Rolen to an imposing lineup with Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols and Edgar Renteria.

The Phillies had losing records in six of Rolen’s seven seasons (1996-2002) with them and never qualified for the playoffs. With the Cardinals, Rolen played in two World Series, helping them to a championship in 2006.

Hoosier hot shot

Rolen was born in Evansville, Ind., and raised in Jasper, Ind. When he was a youth in the 1980s, his parents would make the 200-mile drive with him from Jasper to St. Louis to attend Cardinals games at Busch Memorial Stadium. “It’s the place I always dreamed of playing,” Rolen told ESPN.com years later.

At Jasper High School, Rolen won the state’s Mr. Baseball honor given to the best prep player. He also received basketball scholarship offers from schools such as Georgia and Oklahoma State. Georgia recruiters promised he’d start in the backcourt as a freshman, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Rolen was 18 when the Phillies picked him in the second round of the June 1993 amateur draft. After he signed with them that summer, Phillies scouting director Mike Arbuckle brought Rolen to St. Louis and had him take grounders at third base during infield practice before a game against the Cardinals.

“Dave Hollins, then the Phillies’ third baseman, took one look at the eager Indiana schoolboy standing at his position and said, ‘Get lost,’ ” according to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jim Salisbury.

Described by the Inquirer as “a spectacular fielder with gap power,” Rolen, 21, made his big-league debut for the Phillies against the Cardinals at Philadelphia on Aug. 1, 1996. To open a spot for him at third base, the Phillies shifted the positions of a pair of former Cardinals, moving Todd Zeile from third to first and Gregg Jefferies from first to left.

With his parents and high school coach in attendance, Rolen got his first hit, a double against Donovan Osborne. Boxscore 

Hurt feelings

In 1997, his first full season in the majors, Rolen earned the National League Rookie of the Year Award. The next season, he had 31 home runs, 110 RBI and won a Gold Glove Award, the first of eight he would receive in his career. Video

During the 2001 season, Rolen’s relationship with Phillies management soured. In June, after Rolen went hitless with three strikeouts in the Phillies’ one-run loss to the Red Sox, manager Larry Bowa told the Philadelphia Daily News that Rolen was “killing us” in the middle of the lineup.

(Rolen hit .350 with runners in scoring position for the 2001 Phillies. Overall, for the season, he had 25 home runs and 107 RBI.)

“Rolen believes that his manager should be like a family member, there to protect, encourage and nurture,” Jim Salisbury noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He felt betrayed by Bowa, felt like the man who should have been building his confidence was tearing it down.”

Two months later, Phillies adviser Dallas Green, who had managed the club to a World Series title in 1980, said in a radio interview that Rolen “can be greater but his personality won’t let him.”

“Scotty is satisfied with being a so-so-player” Green said.

Stung by the criticism, Rolen told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I don’t feel as welcome here in this organization as I have in the past.”

Phillies general manager Ed Wade wanted to sign Rolen to a long-term contract extension and keep him from opting for free agency after the 2002 season. In November 2001, Wade told the Philadelphia Daily News he offered Rolen $90 million guaranteed over seven years, plus three option years that could bring the total contract value to $140 million, but Rolen rejected it because he questioned whether the team was committed to winning.

Almost an Oriole

With Rolen showing no intention of signing a contract extension, the Phillies tried to trade him at the December 2001 baseball winter meetings. The Cardinals were interested until the Phillies asked for Rookie of the Year Award winner Albert Pujols to be included in a package of players, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The Phillies and Orioles “came agonizingly close” to a nine-player deal involving Rolen, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles agreed to send pitchers Sidney Ponson, Buddy Groom, Erik Bedard and Sean Douglass plus utility player Jeff Conine to the Phillies for Rolen, pitcher Chris Brock, infielder Kevin Jordan and a prospect.

When Orioles general manager Syd Thrift called club owner Peter Angelos to tell him about the trade, Angelos asked what it would take to sign Rolen to a contract extension. “Thrift suggested at least a 10-year, $150 million bid,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

Angelos nixed the trade.

Done deal

When the 2002 season began, Rolen still was with the Phillies. He played well, but the Phillies didn’t, and they shopped him.

The Cardinals made a proposal on July 25, but it nearly fell apart on July 28, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The Cardinals initially insisted Rolen had to agree on terms of a contract extension with them before a trade could be made, the Post-Dispatch reported. They also wanted the Phillies to pay the remaining portion of Rolen’s 2002 salary.

On July 29, the Phillies came close to trading Rolen to the Reds, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Reds general manager Jim Bowden told WLW radio he had a trade in place for Rolen but couldn’t make it work financially, The Cincinnati Post reported.

The Phillies went back to the Cardinals, who relented on their demands after the Phillies agreed to take Mike Timlin along with Placido Polanco and Bud Smith in the trade. Unloading Timlin opened room on the payroll for the Cardinals to pay the remainder of Rolen’s 2002 salary.

Happy days

Rolen, 27, went from a last-place team to a first-place team. “I feel as if I’ve died and gone to heaven,” he told ESPN.com.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Bowa said he called Rolen after the trade and left a message. “I told him, ‘It’s been a pleasure managing you. If everybody played the game like you do, there would be no problems. Careers are short. Try to be happy wherever you end up.’ “

In his Cardinals debut, on July 30, 2002, at Miami, Rolen was 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI. Boxscore

“I’ve been given an opportunity right now and I’m going to run through a wall to try to take advantage of it,” Rolen said to the Philadelphia Daily News.

On Aug. 16, 2002, Rolen played in Philadelphia for the first time since being traded. Enduring what the Philadelphia Inquirer described as “an evening of boos and insults,” Rolen had two hits against Randy Wolf. Boxscore

A month later, Rolen agreed to a $90 million eight-year contract extension with the Cardinals. “It wasn’t a chase for the last dollar,” Rolen told the Post-Dispatch. “It was a chase for happiness.”

Bad vibes return

In 2004, the Cardinals won the National League championship and Rolen had his best season: .314 batting average, .409 on-base percentage, 34 home runs, 124 RBI and 109 runs scored.

The happiness began to fade the next year when an injury to his left shoulder limited Rolen to 56 games. Rolen believed the Cardinals misled him about the severity of the injury, the Post-Dispatch reported, and it caused a strain in his relationship with manager Tony La Russa.

In 2006, La Russa benched a slumping Rolen during the National League Division Series. After Rolen hit .421 and helped the Cardinals prevail against the Tigers in the World Series, La Russa sent him a letter, expressing his opinions of the player, and Rolen didn’t like it.

When La Russa signed in October 2007 to remain Cardinals manager, Rolen requested a trade. He was dealt to the Blue Jays for Troy Glaus in January 2008.

In six seasons with St. Louis, Rolen had a .286 batting average and .370 on-base percentage. In 17 years in the majors with the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds, he produced 2,077 hits, 316 home runs and 1,287 RBI.

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In a year of turmoil in his personal life, pitcher Chuck Finley experienced satisfying success in his professional life when he joined the Cardinals.

On July 19, 2002, the Cardinals acquired Finley from the Cleveland Indians for minor-league first baseman Luis Garcia and a player to be named. Three weeks later, the Cardinals sent another prospect, outfielder Coco Crisp, to the Indians, completing the deal.

Though Crisp went on to produce 1,572 hits and 309 stolen bases in 15 seasons in the American League, the Cardinals got a double benefit from obtaining Finley. He was the starting pitcher they needed to replace Daryl Kile, who died a month earlier. The trade also kept the Cardinals’ closest competitor, the Reds, from getting Finley.

Bright lights

Born and raised in Monroe, La., Finley attended Louisiana Tech for a year, dropped out and went to work for his family’s nursery and landscaping businesses, planting trees and tilling soil, according to Sports Illustrated.

A year later, he enrolled at Northeast Louisiana University (now named University of Louisiana Monroe). A left-handed pitcher, he lacked command but had an exceptional fastball. The Angels drafted him in January 1985 and sent him to their farm system to be a reliever.

Finley developed a curve to go with his fastball, and in May 1986 he made the jump from Class A Quad Cities in Davenport, Iowa, to the majors.

The Angels were home at Anaheim Stadium when Finley made his big-league debut in relief of future Hall of Famer Don Sutton. “I got to the mound and I couldn’t believe how bright it was,” Finley recalled to Sports Illustrated. “A night game in A ball, you turn on the porch lights.” Boxscore

In 1988, Finley joined the Angels’ starting rotation. Adding a split-fingered pitch, or forkball, to his arsenal, he posted double-figure win totals in 10 of his 12 seasons as an Angels starter.

After Finley had back-to-back 18-win seasons in 1990 and 1991, Angels executive Whitey Herzog rewarded him with a four-year $18.5 million contract, largest in franchise history. Sports Illustrated declared Finley “the best left-handed pitcher in baseball.”

Match game

In November 1997, Finley married actress Tawny Kitaen. She appeared with Tom Hanks in the 1984 movie “Bachelor Party.” Cast as the fiancee of Hanks’ character, Kitaen played the part “fetchingly,” according to the New York Times review.

She also performed in music videos for the British hard-rock band Whitesnake. Kitaen married band member David Coverdale in 1989 and they divorced in 1991.

After Finley married Kitaen, he told Paul Gutierrez of Sports Illustrated in 1998, “I found a great girl that put up with me. I couldn’t be with anybody better. We’re so much alike it’s incredible.”

Finley earned 14 consecutive wins for the Angels from July 1, 1997, to April 27, 1998. Granted free agency after the 1999 season, he signed a three-year $27 million contract with the Indians. Finley remains the Angels’ franchise leader in career wins (165), innings pitched (2,675) and starts (379).

Domestic violence

In 2002, the Indians opened the season at Anaheim, giving Finley a chance to be at home in Newport Beach with Kitaen and their two children.

On April 1, Finley and Kitaen argued while having dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Irvine, according to the Los Angeles Times. When they got home, Finley said, “his wife hit, kicked and scratched him and then called 911 before hurling a telephone through the window of their car,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Police said, when they arrived, they saw cuts and bruises on Finley, the Associated Press reported. Kitaen was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors _ corporal injury on a spouse, and battery.

In exchange for her pleading guilty and after completing a counseling program, the case was dismissed, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Finley and Kitaen soon divorced. She died in May 2021 at age 59.

Cost factors

On the morning of July 19, 2002, the Cardinals were atop their division, 3.5 games ahead of the second-place Reds. Though Finley, 39, was 4-11 with a 4.44 ERA for the 2002 Indians, both the Cardinals and Reds envisioned him as a starter who could tip the balance of the title chase.

According to The Cincinnati Post, the Indians agreed in principle to trade Finley to the Reds for minor-league pitcher Josh Hall. 

Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. volunteered to defer $1 million of his 2002 salary to clear payroll room for the $2 million still to be paid Finley for the season, The Cincinnati Post reported. Reds general manager Jim Bowden thought he had a done deal, but the club’s chief operating officer, John Allen, vetoed the trade. “We can’t add payroll,” Allen told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

According to ESPN.com, the Reds were close to sending outfielder Brady Clark and three prospects to the Red Sox for the cash to pay Finley, but that also fell through.

The Indians then turned to the Cardinals.

“We went back and forth,” Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This morning, I didn’t think it was going to happen. This afternoon, it fell back into our laps.”

With Woody Williams sidelined by injury, Finley joined a rotation of Matt Morris, Andy Benes and Jason Simontacchi.

“The Cardinals addressed their most pressing problem” and got a starter “who may alter the balance of power within a depleted division,” Joe Strauss wrote in the Post-Dispatch.

Said Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds, who had been Finley’s teammate with the Angels: “He’s the ultimate workhorse. He’s one of the best professionals I’ve ever seen. When you play a big game, you want him to have the ball.”

Getting it done

Finley made his first Cardinals start on July 21, 2002, at Pittsburgh. With Mike Matheny as his catcher, Finley got the win, striking out eight in six innings.

His pitching was only part of the story. Finley doubled to left off Josh Fogg in the fourth and scored the go-ahead run on Fernando Vina’s single. The double was Finley’s first hit in 27 big-league at-bats. Boxscore

“I like what I’ve seen of this team in the two days I’ve been here,” Finley said. “When you look around and see very good players all around you, it really picks you up.”

Finley also won his second Cardinals start, beating the Cubs at St. Louis. Boxscore and Video

Three days later, Jocketty swung a deal for Scott Rolen, acquiring the third baseman, along with pitcher Doug Nickle and cash, from the Phillies for infielder Placido Polanco and pitchers Mike Timlin and Bud Smith.

The Cardinals, who entered July 2002 tied with the Reds for first place in the Central Division, closed July with a five-game lead over second-place Cincinnati.

On Aug. 27, Finley shut out the Reds on a two-hitter and Rolen hit a three-run home run in the game. Boxscore

With Finley and Rolen, the Cardinals were 17-14 in August and 21-6 in September, finishing 13 games ahead of the runner-up Astros. The Reds limped in at 78-84.

Finley finished 7-4 in 14 regular-season starts for the 2002 Cardinals, giving him a career record of 200-173.

In his last game of a 17-year big-league career, Finley started and won Game 3 of the 2002 National League Championship Series at San Francisco. Boxscore


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Diego Segui brought much-needed relief to the Cardinals.

On June 7, 1972, the Cardinals bought the contract of Segui from the Athletics.

A right-hander whose best pitch was a forkball, Segui gave the Cardinals a quality closer. Before acquiring him, the 1972 Cardinals totaled one save. The year before, their save leader had eight.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted, Segui “arrived to breathe life into a bullpen that had been horrible.”

From ranch to diamond

Segui was born and raised in southeastern Cuba near the seaport city of Santiago. His father was a ranch foreman who taught his son to rope horses and cattle. “I was pretty good with a lasso,” Segui told the Post-Dispatch.

The work strengthened his hands and helped Segui become a pitcher able to grip a variety of pitches.

He was 20 and pitching for the Tucson Cowboys of the Arizona-Mexico League when the Kansas City Athletics signed him on the recommendation of their scout, former big-league outfielder Al Zarilla. Segui entered their farm system in 1959 and reached the majors with the Athletics in 1962.

While with Kansas City, Segui met the woman he married, Emily. They were introduced by the mother of Athletics catcher Joe Azcue.

Segui developed a forkball, so named because the ball was held in the fork of the hand, between the forefinger and middle finger.

“A pitcher must have reasonably long and flexible fingers to throw the forkball, which is one reason it is not a common pitch,” the Kansas City Star noted. “The forkball is thrown with the same motion as a fastball, but the velocity is much slower and the ball breaks down as it reaches the plate.”

Segui pitched at a deliberate pace. As the Oakland Tribune observed, “He rubs up the ball between every pitch _ even during intentional walks _ straightens out the Virgin Mary medallion he wears around his neck, counts his fielders, steps off the mound to blow on his hand, and smooths the dirt in front of the rubber.”

Come and go

Segui pitched for Kansas City from 1962-65, got traded to the Senators, spent 1966 with them and was reacquired by the Athletics.

After two more seasons with the Athletics, Segui was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the American League expansion draft, pitched in their first regular-season game and finished the season with 12 wins and 12 saves. Boxscore

The Athletics, who had relocated to Oakland, reacquired him again, and Segui posted a 2.56 ERA, best in the American League, for them in 1970.

Rich with starting pitching (Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Ken Holtzman) and relievers (Rollie Fingers, Bob Locker, Darold Knowles) in 1972, their first of three consecutive World Series championship seasons, the Athletics didn’t have enough work for Segui, prompting the deal with the Cardinals.

When informed he’d be leaving the Athletics for the third time, Segui told the Oakland Tribune, “Maybe I’ll get a chance to pitch for St. Louis, but I would rather have stayed on this club and not pitched.”

Good impression

Segui’s perspective changed after he experienced immediate success with the Cardinals. In his National League debut, he pitched three scoreless innings against the Giants and got the win. Boxscore

“He has a hard slider that breaks at the last second,” Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons told the San Francisco Examiner. “His forkball is murder on a left-handed batter, dropping off the table.”

Two nights later, Segui got his first Cardinals save with 1.2 scoreless innings versus the Padres. Boxscore

“When a guy can throw strikes and has an out pitch like his forkball, you’re in business,” Simmons told the Post-Dispatch. “Segui has a fantastic forkball. It looks like a fastball to the batter, and before you know it, wham, the ball is by you.”

Orioles scout Jim Russo told columnist Bob Broeg, “In Segui, they’ve got one of their best pickups of late. He’s a nice guy, a good man on a club, and he knows how to pitch.”

Segui, who turned 35 two months after joining the Cardinals, finished the 1972 season as the team leader in saves (nine) and relief outings (33). He was 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA. Batters hit .184 against him with runners in scoring position. Video at 30-second mark

Say hey, Segui

Segui followed up with a strong season for St. Louis in 1973. He led the club in saves (17) and games pitched (65), posting a 7-6 record and 2.78 ERA. He struck out 93 in 100.1 innings and allowed a mere 78 hits.

“You wish you had 25 men like him,” Cardinals player personnel director Bob Kennedy told the Post-Dispatch. Kennedy was Segui’s manager with the 1968 Athletics.

“You couldn’t ask for a better guy,” Kennedy said. “He’s one of the finest men I’ve known in baseball.”

Segui had a couple of interesting matchups in 1973 with Willie Mays, 42, who was with the Mets in the final season of his Hall of Fame career.

On July 26 at St. Louis, with the Cardinals ahead, 2-1, in the ninth, the Mets had a runner on base, two outs, when Segui struck out Mays on a forkball to end the game. Boxscore

A week later, on Aug. 3 at New York, Mays, batting .207 for the season, faced Segui in the seventh, with two on, two outs and the Mets ahead, 4-3. Mays got a low inside fastball from Segui and hit it over the wall in center for a three-run home run. Boxscore

“I was just looking for something fast, and there it was,” Mays said to the Associated Press.

The home run was the 659th of Mays’ career. He hit his last, No. 660, two weeks later against Don Gullett of the Reds.

Family and fishing

After the season, the Cardinals swapped Segui, pitcher Reggie Cleveland and infielder Terry Hughes to the Red Sox for pitchers John Curtis, Mike Garman and Lynn McGlothen.

“Segui really did a job for us,” Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst told the Boston Globe, but he said Segui became expendable with the emergence of Al Hrabosky as a potential closer.

Segui pitched in a World Series with the Red Sox in 1975.

His final season in the majors was in 1977 with the expansion Seattle Mariners. Segui, who turned 40 that year, was their Opening Day starting pitcher. Naturally, he was called the “Ancient Mariner.” Boxscore

Segui is the only player to appear in games for both the Seattle Pilots and Seattle Mariners.

He continued to pitch professionally until 1984, when he turned 47 and earned 10 wins for Leon, a Mexican League team managed by ex-Cardinal Benny Valenzuela.

Diego and Emily Segui raised four children. One of them, David, played 15 seasons in the majors, just like his father did. Primarily a first baseman, David hit .291 for his career.

When David was a youngster, his father played baseball all year, including winters in the Caribbean. To fill the void, Emily would “play catch in the backyard and hit fungoes to David to help him work on his defensive skills,” the New York Times reported.

“All the credit must go to my wife,” Diego told the New York Daily News. “If my wife never takes him to play, and hitting ground balls, he would never be what he is.”

After seven years as a minor-league pitching coach for the Giants, Diego Segui retired in Kansas City and pursued his lifelong passion for fishing. He became an accomplished bass fisherman who excelled in local tournaments.

“In March, I won $2,200 for catching one fish,” Segui told the Kansas City Star in 1998. “When I broke into the big leagues, I made $6,000 a year. I made more in one cast than I would make in four months back in those days.”

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