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Archive for the ‘Trades’ Category

Born and raised near Pittsburgh, John Stuper wanted to pitch for the hometown Pirates, went to the Cardinals instead and became a World Series winner as a rookie.

Forty years ago, on Jan. 25, 1979, the Pirates traded Stuper to the Cardinals for infielder Tommy Sandt.

The minor-league move turned into a big deal for the Cardinals, but not before Stuper had to revive a career headed in reverse.

Hometown hopeful

A native of Butler, Pa., 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, Stuper was a baseball and basketball standout in high school. In three seasons as a college pitcher, he had a 34-3 record. The right-hander was 25-3 in two years at Butler County Community College and 9-0 for Point Park College in downtown Pittsburgh.

The Pirates chose Stuper in the 18th round of the June 1978 amateur draft, offered a $2,500 bonus and signed him that night.

“It’s been my lifelong dream to be a professional baseball player,” Stuper said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I know the odds are against making it to the majors, but I’m not thinking about that now.”

Years later, asked by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch why he wasn’t drafted in a higher round, Stuper replied, “The rap on me in high school and later in college was I labored too much and didn’t have a smooth enough delivery.”

Stuper was assigned to the Pirates’ Class A club at Charleston, S.C., and posted a 4-8 record and 5.33 ERA.

“He still has a few mechanical problems he has to correct,” said Pirates farm director Murray Cook.

Said Stuper: “I learned a lot. It was an adjustment getting used to being away from home and playing against better talent.”

Climbing the ladder

Four months after his first professional season ended, Stuper was called at home by Cook, who told him of the trade to the Cardinals.

“I was a little disappointed when I was traded, but my friends encouraged me to think positively that the Cardinals wanted me, not that the Pirates didn’t,” Stuper said to The Pittsburgh Press.

In the Cardinals’ minor-league system, Stuper had ERAs of 2.71 in 1979 and 2.41 in 1980. After the 1979 season, he enrolled at LaRoche College in McCandless, Pa., and earned a degree in English. After the 1980 season, he pitched winter baseball in Mexico.

When Stuper got to Cardinals spring training camp in 1981, he was “in midseason form,” he later told the Post-Dispatch, because of his work in Mexico.

Stuper impressed the Cardinals, who conceded he pitched well enough to deserve a role on the Opening Day roster, but they sent him to Class AAA Springfield, Ill., so he could pitch regularly as a starter.

“He’s going to be a good pitcher,” said Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog. “He’s been awfully impressive.”

A step back

Stuper struggled at Springfield and couldn’t get untracked. When the major-league players went on strike in June 1981, Herzog said he intended to go to Springfield “to see what’s wrong with Stuper,” who had lost seven of nine decisions.

Turns out the toll of pitching in Mexico, followed by a spring training workload, left Stuper out of sorts during the 1981 season. He finished with a 6-14 record and 4.92 ERA.

“In the long run, pitching in the winter hurt me,” Stuper said. “My arm was very fatigued all season.”

Stuper went home and worked to get his arm in shape, but he had a poor spring training in 1982 and the Cardinals sent him to Class AAA Louisville in mid-March.

A year after being the surprise of spring training camp, Stuper went to Louisville knowing he needed a good showing to get back in the Cardinals’ plans.

Mission accomplished

“One of my goals this year is to show that last season was a fluke,” Stuper said to the Associated Press.

After taking the loss on Opening Night, Stuper won seven consecutive decisions for Louisville and was 7-1 with a 1.46 ERA when he was called up to the Cardinals on May 28, 1982.

“I was shooting for September,” Stuper said to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I would have been happy with that, so obviously I’m elated with this.”

Stuper made his major-league debut on June 1, 1982, in a start against the Giants at St. Louis. He pitched eight innings, allowing three runs, tripled against Atlee Hammaker and scored the tying run, but the Giants prevailed, 4-3, in 11. Boxscore

Giants first baseman Reggie Smith, a former Cardinal, said, “I liked the young guy’s guts. He challenges you.”

Said Stuper: “I thought my stuff was OK, but I wasn’t real sharp. I was getting behind on too many hitters. My location wasn’t as good as I like it to be.”

Homeward bound

Stuper won four of his first five decisions with the Cardinals.

On Aug. 14, 1982, Stuper pitched in Pittsburgh for the first time as a big-leaguer, getting the start against the Pirates. He yielded one run in 7.1 innings, earning the win in a 4-1 Cardinals triumph. Boxscore

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t kind of special. Very special,” Stuper said. “I always dreamed about coming here to pitch for the Pirates. The day I got traded, I started dreaming about coming here to pitch against them.”

Stuper finished his rookie season with a 9-7 record and 3.36 ERA, helping the Cardinals win the National League East Division title.

In the postseason, he made three starts and the Cardinals won all three, though he didn’t get a decision in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the Braves or in Game 2 of the World Series versus the Brewers.

Stuper did win Game 6 of the 1982 World Series, pitching a four-hitter in a 13-1 Cardinals victory and setting up a decisive Game 7 won by St. Louis.

Stuper was 12-11 for the Cardinals in 1983 and 3-5 in 1984 before he was traded to the Reds for outfielder Paul Householder.

In 1989, Stuper earned a master’s degree in English from Slippery Rock University. He was a Cardinals minor-league pitching instructor in 1991 and 1992 before becoming head baseball coach at Yale in 1993.

Stuper was entering his 27th season as head coach at Yale in 2019.

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Six months after he damaged his personal reputation, Vince Coleman got a chance to extend his baseball career because he maintained a valued professional reputation.

Twenty-five years ago, on Jan. 5, 1994, the Royals traded one problem player, Kevin McReynolds, to the Mets for another, Coleman.

McReynolds was a bust in two seasons with the Royals, who got him from the Mets after the 1991 season, and they were glad to send him back. McReynolds was an underachiever, but, unlike Coleman, he didn’t get in trouble with the law for injuring people.

Coleman disgraced himself when, as a prank, he tossed an explosive device similar to a grenade toward a group of baseball fans, injuring three. He was charged with a felony and the Mets wanted no part of him.

The Royals took a public relations risk in acquiring Coleman, but justified the move because of their need for a premier leadoff batter.

Big trouble

Coleman made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in 1985, established a rookie record with 110 stolen bases, sparked the club to a pennant and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. He led the league in stolen bases in each of his six seasons with St. Louis (1985-90).

After the 1990 season, Coleman became a free agent and signed with the Mets.

On July 24, 1993, Coleman tossed a M-100, described by authorities as a military device used to simulate grenades, into a Dodger Stadium parking lot where people gathered to seek autographs from players. The M-100, which packed the equivalent power of a quarter-stick of dynamite, exploded and injured a 2-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy and a 33-year-old woman, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

A month later, on Aug. 26, 1993, the Mets cut their connection to Coleman. Club co-owner Fred Wilpon said Coleman “will not play here again as a Met” regardless of the legal outcome of the case.

On Nov. 5, 1993, Coleman pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of possession of an explosive device, a misdemeanor. A one-year jail term was suspended. He was given three years of probation and assigned 200 hours of community service. He also agreed to make restitution to the people he injured.

Limited market

After the plea bargain was reached, the Royals contacted the Mets about a trade, the New York Daily News reported. Felix Jose and Brian McRae were the Royals’ primary leadoff batters in 1993 but both were better suited for other spots in the order. The Royals saw Coleman, 32, as being similar to Willie Wilson, the leadoff man for their pennant-winning clubs in 1980 and 1985.

Until the Royals got interested in Coleman, “I didn’t think we would be able to trade him,” Mets general manager Joe McIvaine said to the Los Angeles Times.

Coleman’s former Cardinals manager, Whitey Herzog, who was in charge of baseball operations with the Angels, explored the possibility of acquiring him, but the Royals were more aggressive.

The Royals wanted the Mets take McReynolds, who was described by Kansas City Star columnist Jonathan Rand as a “sluggish underachiever” and “a player who didn’t seem to care how he looked on the field.”

When he played for the Mets from 1987-91, McReynolds was booed by fans and criticized by media. Before he was dealt to the Royals as part of a package for pitcher Bret Saberhagen, McReynolds, an Arkansas native, said New Yorkers “like to kick someone when they’re down.”

Eager to rid themselves of Coleman, the Mets agreed to take back McReynolds.

Opinions and explanations

Media mocked the trade. A headline in the New York Daily News called it, “Slop Swap,” and the New York Post countered with, “Tradin’ Fools.”

Daily News columnist Vic Ziegel declared the Mets got the best of the deal “because McReynolds will not have to spend the coming season splitting his time between the playing field and visits to his probation officer.”

“The Royals are the last organization in baseball you should have expected to obtain Coleman,” Jonathan Rand observed in the Kansas City Star. “Ever since their drug scandal of 1983, they have bent over backward to avoid problem players, and Coleman has the worst reputation of any player in the major leagues.”

Royals general manager Herk Robinson and vice president of baseball operations George Brett met with Coleman and talked with people who knew him before making the deal.

“We cannot condone Vince’s past conduct off the field, but George and I have spent a lot of time with Vince,” Robinson said. “We’re convinced Vince can be a solid citizen on the field and make a contribution in the community. We strongly believe he deserves an opportunity.”

Coleman “recognizes what he did was stupid and is genuinely sorry about it and highly motivated to resume his career,” Robinson said.

“We were convinced Vince Coleman is not a bad person,” Robinson said. “I think there’s a difference between somebody who’s a bad person and someone who made a mistake.”

Brett told The Sporting News, “If the reports had come back negative, I don’t think we would have made the trade.”

Coleman said, “What I did was wrong and I’m very sorry.”

At home in KC

Cardinals fans saw irony in Coleman landing with the Royals. During the 1985 National League Championship Series, an automatic tarpaulin at Busch Stadium in St. Louis accidently rolled over Coleman’s left leg and chipped a bone. The injury prevented Coleman from playing in the 1985 World Series against the Royals, who won four of seven from the Cardinals.

“I think if he’d have been healthy in the ’85 Series, we would have lost,” Brett said to the Kansas City Star on the day the Royals acquired Coleman.

The Royals opened the 1994 season with two games at Baltimore before playing their home opener on April 8 versus the Indians. Coleman “received a hearty welcome” from the 38,496 in attendance, according to the Kansas City Star.

Cheers grew louder in the fifth inning when Coleman got a single, his first hit as a Royal, and stole second base. In the eighth, Coleman hit a home run against Derek Lilliquist. Boxscore

“It was very special to hear the response from the fans,” Coleman said. “The way they cheered, it was all very motivating. Even when I was in left field, they were shouting encouraging things.”

Coleman batted .240 for the 1994 Royals and ranked second in the American League in both triples (12) and stolen bases (50) in the strike-shortened season.

McReynolds batted .256 with four home runs for the Mets in 1994, his final season as a player.

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Jim Campanis was ready to leave the Dodgers and Al Campanis was ready to make it happen.

Fifty years ago, on Dec. 15, 1968, Jim, a catcher, was traded by the Dodgers to the Royals for cash. The Royals also agreed to loan two players to the Dodgers’ minor-league club in Spokane.

The deal was made by Jim’s father, Al, the Dodgers’ director of player personnel.

Jim had been in the Dodgers’ system since 1962, no longer was prominent in their plans and had said during the 1968 season his best chance for an extended shot at the big leagues probably was with another organization.

Al, longtime Dodgers scouting director, took over the duties of general manager in November 1968 and did his son a favor by sending him to the Royals, who were entering the American League as an expansion team in 1969 and seeking experienced players.

However, because the transaction was the first made by Al in his new role and because it featured his son, it created a media sensation.

The Los Angeles Times headline blared, “Campanis Peddles Son, Jim, to KC,” and The Sporting News featured a headline of, “No Room For Sentiment _ A Daddy Sells His Son.”

The trade was “further evidence supporting the premise that baseball and sentiment are not synonymous,” the Los Angeles newspaper reported.

All in the family

Al Campanis was born in 1916 in Kos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, and came to New York City with his family as a youth. After graduating from New York University, he joined the Dodgers as an infield prospect in 1940 and played briefly for the big-league club in 1943. Al was the second baseman for the Dodgers’ minor-league club at Montreal in 1946 when Jackie Robinson was the shortstop.

Al became Dodgers scouting director in 1960 and two years later, in 1962, when his son, Jim, was graduating high school, the Dodgers were one of the clubs in pursuit of the prospect. According to The Sporting News, when Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley asked whether the club was likely to sign Jim, Al responded, “I think I have a good chance. I’m pretty close to his mother.”

O’Malley approved a $10,000 bonus offer and Jim accepted.

Jim made his major-league debut with the Dodgers on Sept. 20, 1966.

Cardinals connections

In 1967, Jim began the season as a backup to Dodgers starting catcher John Roseboro. On April 24, 1967, Jim got his first big-league hit, a double down the left-field line against Cardinals reliever Joe Hoerner in the 13th inning at Los Angeles. The hit sparked a comeback by the Dodgers, who erased a 5-4 deficit and won, 6-5. Boxscore

“The kid saved our necks,” Dodgers manager Walter Alston said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Four months later, on Aug. 9, 1967, Jim was a central figure in a bizarre ending to a game against the Cardinals at St. Louis.

In the eighth inning, batting for Don Drysdale, Jim hit a solo home run high over the Busch Stadium wall in left against Larry Jaster, tying the score at 2-2, and stayed in the game as the catcher.

In the 11th, after the Cardinals loaded the bases with none out against Phil Regan, Eddie Bressoud popped out to first baseman Wes Parker. Mike Shannon, the runner on third, bluffed an advance toward the plate. Parker should have held the ball and run toward Shannon until he retreated to third. Instead, Parker lobbed a throw to Campanis.

“I was off balance … I didn’t trust myself to get set,” Parker said.

Said Alston: “Instead of throwing the ball like an old woman, he should have put something on it.”

The ball bounced in front of the plate, skidded between the legs of Campanis and rolled away. Shannon hesitated before making a dash to the dish and scored the winning run. Boxscore

“The catcher should not have let such an easy roller get away from him,” Alston scolded.

New roles

Campanis batted .161 for the 1967 Dodgers. Before the 1968 season, the Dodgers dealt Roseboro to the Twins and acquired Tom Haller from the Giants to be the starting catcher. Campanis spent most of the 1968 season in the minor leagues. At 24, he acknowledged he was looking ahead to the November 1968 National League expansion draft when the Padres and Expos would stock their rosters with players from existing franchises.

“Although I would like to play on a winner like the Dodgers, I would just be happy to be in the big leagues with any club,” Jim told The Sporting News in May 1968.

Asked whether his father being Dodgers scouting director was a help or hindrance, Jim replied, “I know it’s slowed me down. I know a couple of times I feel I should have gone to a higher classification, but didn’t because I don’t think they wanted it to look like they were showing favoritism.”

In June 1968, Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi left to become president of the Padres. The Dodgers promoted farm director Fresco Thompson to replace him. Five months later, Thompson, 66, died. O’Malley gave Al Campanis the title of player personnel director and assigned him the same responsibilities of a general manager.

Jim wasn’t chosen in the expansion draft, but Royals director of player procurement Charlie Metro rated him a prospect and contacted Al to propose a deal.

“I said this was a very difficult situation for me to be involved in,” Al responded.

Al discussed it with O’Malley and they agreed the trade should be made because it would give Jim “an opportunity to go to a club he can play for regularly,” Al told the Los Angeles Times.

Jim was playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic for a team managed by Cardinals second baseman Julian Javier when Al called and told him of the trade. “He was pleased,” Al said. “He has been told he’ll get a shot at being the first-string catcher.”

The transaction was the first one Al made in his new role, according to The Sporting News. “If it means the boy is going to get a chance, this is one time I won’t mind too badly if the Dodgers made a bad deal,” Al said.

Controversial comments

Jim made the 1969 Royals’ Opening Day roster as the backup to catcher Ellie Rodriguez. In the franchise’s first regular-season game, April 8, 1969, versus the Twins at Kansas City, Jim batted for pitcher Tom Burgmeier in the sixth inning and delivered a RBI-single. Boxscore

Jim played for the Royals in 1969 and 1970 and ended his major-league career with the 1973 Pirates. He batted .147 in six big-league seasons.

Al remained the top executive of Dodgers baseball operations until April 1987 when he resigned under pressure for making insensitive racial comments during an interview with Ted Koppel of the ABC News show “Nightline.”

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After making a pitch for Barry Larkin of the Reds, the Cardinals, shopping for a shortstop, turned to a younger, less expensive model, Edgar Renteria of the Marlins.

Twenty years ago, on Dec. 14, 1998, the Cardinals traded pitchers Braden Looper and Armando Almanza, plus infielder Pablo Ozuna, to the Marlins for Renteria.

The Cardinals went to the baseball winter meetings at Nashville determined to acquire a shortstop to replace Royce Clayton, whom they traded to the Rangers five months earlier.

Larkin and Renteria were atop the Cardinals’ shopping list and, if they couldn’t get either one, Pat Meares of the Twins was an alternative, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Seeing red

Larkin was unhappy with the Reds and asked to be traded. The Reds had their second consecutive losing season in 1998 and Larkin, who had a Hall of Fame resume, wanted to be with a contender. Reds general manager Jim Bowden had vowed to rebuild the roster around Larkin and second baseman Bret Boone, so when Bowden traded Boone to the Braves in November 1998, Larkin felt betrayed.

“I’ve been lied to consistently,” Larkin said to the Dayton Daily News. “I’ve heard rebuild, rebuild, rebuild to get better. If that’s the case, I should see some light at the end of the tunnel. All I see is a tunnel filled with water.”

Because he had spent 10 years in the major leagues, including the last five with the same club, Larkin could veto any trade. He gave the Reds a list of five teams to which he would accept a trade: Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Padres and Rangers.

“If they can move me, please do it now,” Larkin told the Dayton newspaper on the eve of the winter meetings.

“I feel as if I’m being held hostage by a team with no immediate plans to be competitive.”

Trade talk

Larkin batted .309 with 34 doubles for the 1998 Reds, earning his eighth of nine Silver Slugger awards. The three-time Gold Glove Award winner ranked second among National League shortstops in fielding percentage that year.

The Cardinals “keep inquiring about Larkin,” the Dayton newspaper reported.

Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty offered the Reds a package of players, including pitcher Manny Aybar, who in 1998 was 10-0 for minor-league Memphis and 6-6 for the Cardinals.

Bowden’s response to Jocketty was: “You know who I want.”

According to the St. Louis and Dayton newspapers, the players Bowden wanted in exchange for Larkin were outfielder J.D. Drew and pitcher Rick Ankiel.

Bowden said the Cardinals and Mariners, who made a bid on behalf of Larkin’s friend, Ken Griffey Jr., were the clubs most interested in Larkin “but neither offered quality big-league players or top-notch prospects. We listened, but nothing was substantial. Teams felt they could steal him for nothing.”

Big catch

Unable to reach an agreement with the Reds, the Cardinals turned to the Marlins.

Renteria became a Marlins hero in 1997 when he delivered a championship-clinching RBI-single against Charles Nagy of the Indians in the 11th inning of World Series Game 7. Video

In 1998, Renteria batted .282 with 41 stolen bases for the Marlins and was named to the National League all-star team.

Renteria, 22, was younger than Larkin, 34, and Larkin was under contract to make $5.3 million in 1999 compared with $2 million for Renteria.

The Marlins were agreeable to trading Renteria because they had a highly regarded shortstop prospect, Alex Gonzalez, who was ready to play in the big leagues.

Initially, the Cardinals and Marlins discussed a deal of Renteria for Looper and another pitcher, Mike Busby, the Palm Beach Post reported, but Marlins general manager Dave Dombrowski, looking to get three players instead of two, opted for Almanza and Ozuna, along with Looper, rather than Busby.

“I want to play for the Cardinals,” Renteria said. “I want to show the fans I can play hard for a team that can win.”

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he planned to bat Renteria in the leadoff spot, with Drew second and Mark McGwire third.

Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz rated the acquisition of Renteria a plus for the Cardinals. “He’s magic in the field and will take excellent care of Ozzie Smith’s cherished ground,” Miklasz concluded.

Good as expected

Renteria played six seasons (1999-2004) for the Cardinals and helped them to four postseason appearances. His best season for St. Louis was 2003 when he hit .330 with 47 doubles, 100 RBI and 34 stolen bases.

Overall with the Cardinals, Renteria won three Silver Slugger awards, two Gold Glove awards and posted a .290 batting average with 148 steals. He batted .333 for the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series against the Red Sox.

After that World Series, Renteria became a free agent and signed with the Red Sox.

In 2010, playing for the Giants against the Rangers, Renteria was the recipient of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award, hitting .412 with two home runs.

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Wally Moon shined for the Cardinals for four years, but wore out his welcome in a single season when he slumped at the plate and displayed what some perceived as an indifferent attitude toward his outfield play.

Sixty years ago, on Dec. 4, 1958, the Cardinals traded Moon and reliever Phil Paine to the Dodgers for outfielder Gino Cimoli.

Four years earlier, Moon won the 1954 National League Rookie of the Year Award when he batted .304 and scored 106 runs for the Cardinals. He followed that by batting .295 with 19 home runs in 1955, .298 with a league-leading 11 triples in 1956 and .295 with 24 home runs in 1957.

Moon, a left-handed batter, posted consistently high on-base percentages, including a .390 mark in 1956. He combined with Stan Musial and Ken Boyer to give the Cardinals a formidable attack.

Though he went into a tailspin in 1958 and hit .238 with seven home runs, he didn’t start a game for a month after injuring his left elbow.

After the 1958 season, Moon joined the Cardinals on their goodwill tour of Japan, impressed new manager Solly Hemus and appeared to be back in the club’s plans, but the Dodgers, who’d shown interest in Moon all year, convinced general manager Bing Devine to trade him.

The deal revived Moon’s career and sparked the Dodgers to a World Series championship.

Season of struggles

During spring training in 1958, the Cardinals got trade offers for Moon from the Phillies and Reds, but Devine was reluctant to give up a power hitter, according to The Sporting News.

Moon never got untracked at training camp and Cardinals manager Fred Hutchinson was disappointed in his “light hitting and uninspiring defensive play,” The Sporting News reported.

In April, the Dodgers offered to deal outfielder Duke Snider to the Cardinals for Moon and Boyer, the Post-Dispatch reported, but Devine didn’t want to give up both players.

Moon’s funk carried through the first two months of the regular season. He was batting .246 with no home runs entering a May 31 game against the Giants at St. Louis. In the fifth inning, Moon, playing center field, and left fielder Joe Cunningham collided at the outfield wall while chasing a line drive by Orlando Cepeda. Moon suffered severe bruises to his left elbow and didn’t start another game until June 29. Boxscore

Moon hit .211 in July, rebounded in August with five home runs and 20 RBI and slumped again in September, batting .204.

Full Moon rising

The Cardinals finished 72-82 in 1958 and Hemus replaced Hutchinson after the season.

On Oct. 3, 1958, the Los Angeles Times reported Devine met with Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi and discussed a deal of Moon for Cimoli. The Times described Cimoli as “a gifted athlete but something less than a favorite” of manager Walter Alston. Cimoli was in and out of the Dodgers lineup in 1958 “and made no attempt to veil his dissatisfaction with the situation,” the Times reported.

The Cubs wanted Cimoli, too, and Bavasi was in no rush to deal. “We’re being offered players for Cimoli that would help our farm clubs, but they wouldn’t strengthen the Dodgers,” Bavasi said.

As the Cardinals prepared to embark on their trip to Japan, trade talks with the Dodgers cooled, the Times reported, because “there are other St. Louis players Bavasi would prefer to Moon.”

Also, Hemus wanted to keep Moon and told The Sporting News, “You just can’t give up on a guy like that.”

Devine became less receptive to offers for Moon and noted, “A poor year sometimes is a challenge to a player and he comes back with a great season. We feel Moon can do it.”

After the goodwill tour, Hemus said Moon “looked good, improved … He looked like the Moon of old at times.”

Determined to deal

At the 1958 baseball winter meetings, the Braves made a bid to acquire Moon and the Cardinals were talking to the Cubs about left-handed power hitter Walt Moryn. The Cardinals also resumed negotiations with the Dodgers, and when Devine offered to include Paine, the Moon-for-Cimoli deal was made.

“The Cardinals made a mistake in letting me go because Cimoli isn’t the longball hitter they need,” Moon said.

Devine admitted the Cardinals sought a power threat in return for Moon, but opted for Cimoli because he “not only is better defensively, but also his ability to hit to right-center will be useful at Busch Stadium.”

According to Post-Dispatch sports editor Bob Broeg, Moon “disappointed consistently afield, both fly chasing and throwing. He seemed so satisfied with his inadequacies that his lean and hungry look appeared merely an unfortunate illusion.”

Alston acknowledged Moon “isn’t a great defensive outfielder,” but said he enhanced the Dodgers’ lineup because “he’s aggressive, he can run and what I like best about him is his power.”

The Dodgers projected Moon to be their left fielder and the Cardinals planned for Cimoli to start in center.

Cimoli said he looked forward to joining the Cardinals because “I can sit next to Stan Musial and pick up some hitting pointers.”

That’s a winner

Actually, Musial advised Moon, suggesting he develop an inside-out swing to take advantage of the short distance from home plate to the left-field screen at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Moon got off to hot start for the 1959 Dodgers, batting .352 in April. He also finished strong, hitting 11 home runs in the last two months of the season, including six in a six-game September stretch.

Moon concluded the season with a .302 batting mark, 19 home runs, 93 runs scored and an on-base percentage of .394. The Sporting News described him as “a dedicated hustler whose inspiration lifted the entire team.”

The Dodgers clinched the National League pennant and beat the White Sox in the World Series. Moon hit a two-run home run in the decisive Game 6. Boxscore

Cimoli batted .279 with 40 doubles for the 1959 Cardinals, who finished next-to-last at 71-83. After a torrid start, when he hit 30 doubles in three months, Cimoli tailed off in the second half and was traded to the Pirates in December.

Moon produced two more big seasons for the Dodgers, batting .299 with a .383 on-base percentage in 1960 and .328 with a .434 on-base percentage in 1961.

He was a role player from 1962-65 and concluded his playing career with another World Series championship with the 1965 Dodgers.

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Chuck Essegian, a Renaissance man who played the violin, studied to be a doctor, became a lawyer, and excelled at baseball and football, began the 1959 major-league season as a Cardinals reserve and ended it as a World Series hero for the Dodgers.

On Dec. 3, 1958, the Cardinals acquired Essegian from the Phillies for shortstop Ruben Amaro.

Essegian was an outfielder with a weak throwing arm, but the Cardinals were intrigued by his power.

After a short stint with them, Essegian was demoted by the Cardinals to the minor leagues in June 1959 and nearly quit baseball to pursue a medical career, but reconsidered after the club offered to relocate him to a West Coast franchise.

Four months later, Essegian achieved an unprecedented feat in the World Series.

Stanford standout

Essegian (pronounced Uh-see-jee-un) was born in Boston and moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was a boy. Essegian’s father was an Armenian immigrant who became a mail carrier.

Essegian was a standout baseball and football player at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles as well as a promising violinist. “If he could belt a tune the way he batters that baseball, the Philharmonic missed a hot bet,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

He enrolled at Stanford, played baseball and was a linebacker and fullback in football, appearing in the 1952 Rose Bowl game against Illinois. Essegian earned a degree in biology and considered pursuing a career as a doctor or dentist, but first tried professional baseball.

From 1953-55, Essegian played mostly for unaffiliated minor-league clubs. In 1956, he led the Northwest League in batting at .366 for Salem (Ore.).

Essegian asked the National Association, the organization overseeing minor-league baseball, to declare him a free agent because of irregularities in the handling of his 1956 contract. On Dec. 4, 1956, National Association president George Trautman ruled in favor of Essegian, granting him free agency and giving Salem 30 days to appeal, The Sporting News reported.

The next morning, Dec. 5, 1956, the minor-league draft was held and the Cardinals’ Rochester farm team, unaware Essegian was a free agent, selected him off Salem’s roster.

Rochester was allowed to cancel its selection and choose another player, but stuck with Essegian, hoping the free agency ruling was reversed on appeal.

While awaiting the results of the appeal, Essegian took graduate courses, “which may lead to a career in dentistry,” the Capital Journal in Salem reported.

On Feb. 15, 1957, an executive committee of the minor leagues rejected Salem’s appeal.

Free to make his own deal, Essegian signed with the Phillies.

Cards come calling

Essegian spent 1957 in the Phillies’ farm system and led the Eastern League in batting at .355 for Schenectady.

In 1958, Essegian reached the major leagues, batted .246 for the Phillies and hit his first big-league home run on May 6 against Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers. Essegian became a friend of Phillies second baseman Solly Hemus, who after the season was named manager of the Cardinals. Hemus suggested the club acquire Essegian.

Essegian, 27, displayed impressive power for the 1959 Cardinals in spring training. On March 15, he hit two home runs against Dick Donovan of the White Sox in an exhibition game at Tampa and the next day he hit another home run off the Yankees’ Don Larsen at St. Petersburg.

Essegian “doesn’t have a good throwing arm, a result of a football injury,” but “is eager to give baseball a good try before returning to medical school at his alma mater,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Essegian made the Opening Day roster and in his second regular-season game for the Cardinals he drove in three runs against the Dodgers. Boxscore

Highlights were few, however. Essegian hit .179 and on June 3, 1959, the Cardinals assigned him to Rochester.

Essegian balked at reporting and “talked of quitting baseball unless he could spend more time on the West Coast,” according to The Sporting News.

After the Cardinals assured him they’d try to accommodate him, Essegian went to Rochester and hit four home runs in 10 games. Good to their word, the Cardinals traded Essegian and pitcher Lloyd Merritt to the Dodgers on June 15, 1959, for infielder Dick Gray.

Series slugger

Essegian was sent to Spokane and hit nine home runs before being called up to the Dodgers on Aug. 4, 1959. Batting .304 over the last two months of the season, Essegian earned a World Series roster spot against the White Sox.

In Game 2 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, the White Sox led, 2-1, in the seventh when Essegian, batting for pitcher Johnny Podres, got a high slider from Bob Shaw and drove it deep into the upper deck in left for a home run, tying the score. “It had to be the best ball I ever hit,” Essegian said. The Dodgers won, 4-3, and Essegian was credited with sparking the comeback. Boxscore

The Dodgers led the decisive Game 6, 8-3, in the ninth at Chicago when manager Walter Alston, playing a hunch, had Essegian bat for Duke Snider. Essegian lined the first pitch from Ray Moore into the lower left-field stands, capping a 9-3 championship-clinching triumph.

“He broke his bat on that homer, you know,” said Dodgers coach Pee Wee Reese. “How about that for power?” Boxscore

Essegian became the first player to hit two pinch-hit home runs in a World Series. Another former Cardinal, Bernie Carbo, matched the feat in 1975 for the Red Sox against the Reds.

Essegian also became the second athlete to play in a Rose Bowl and a World Series. The other, Jackie Jensen, appeared in the 1949 Rose Bowl for Cal and the 1950 World Series for the Yankees.

Law and order

Even with his World Series heroics, Essegian barely survived the last roster cut at spring training in 1960 and his name was omitted from the Opening Day game program.

A crowd of 67,550 filled Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to see the defending World Series champions open the 1960 season against the Cubs. With the score tied 2-2 in the 11th, Essegian batted for pitcher Don Drysdale and hit a slider from Don Elston high into the left-field seats for a walkoff home run. Boxscore

The 1960 season was Essegian’s last with the Dodgers. In 1961, he played for three American League teams _ Orioles, Athletics and Indians. He became an everyday player for the first time in the big leagues in 1962 and hit 21 home runs for the Indians. “Because of his medical school aspirations, (teammates) are calling him Dr. Essegian and Ben Casey,” The Sporting News reported. “He’s handsome and has the scowl. All he needs is the stethoscope.”

Traded back to the Athletics, Essegian played his last year in the big leagues in 1963. He spent 1964 with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes of the Japan Pacific League and hit 15 home runs.

Essegian never did become a doctor or dentist. Instead, he earned a law degree and became a prosecutor in Pasadena before entering private practice.

Though often asked about the World Series home runs, Essegian downplayed the feat.

“I didn’t think that was so spectacular,” he told the Baltimore Sun. “I was just doing a job. Luck has a great deal to do with something like that. You have to have the right situation, the right pitch and be lucky enough to hit it.”

In a 2006 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Essegian said, “I’m not sure, but I think those home runs probably hurt my career. You kind of get labeled as a certain kind of player. If you’re a pinch-hitter, you’re a pinch-hitter because you’re not good enough to play everyday.”

In 161 regular-season plate appearances as a pinch-hitter in the major leagues, Essegian hit three home runs. In four World Series plate appearances as a pinch-hitter in the 1959 World Series, he hit two.

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