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What happened to Bob Gibson on a frigid night at Connie Mack Stadium was weird even by Philadelphia standards. Almost as weird as Santa Claus being booed and pelted with snowballs, or a team mascot getting attacked by an opposing manager.

Sixty years ago, on April 16, 1962, Gibson gave away a six-run Cardinals lead in the first and didn’t last the inning against the Phillies.

For a pitcher who usually excelled at protecting leads and dominated the Phillies, the failure by Gibson defied the odds and illustrated just how difficult and unpredictable the game could be, even for those at the top of the profession. 

Frozen tundra

After winning their first three games of the 1962 season, the Cardinals were in Philadelphia to play the Phillies on a Monday night. According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the temperature at game time was “a bone-chilling cold” 32 degrees.

“The ball was slick and cold, just like a piece of ice,” Cardinals manager Johnny Keane told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The starting pitchers were Gibson, 26, and Cal McLish, 36, whose full name was Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish.

Both were making their first appearances of the season. Against the Phillies in 1961, Gibson was 3-0 with an 0.67 ERA, allowing two earned runs in 27 innings. An Oklahoma native who followed the Cardinals as a youth, McLish was making his Phillies debut after being acquired from the White Sox a month earlier. (In 1982, McLish was the pitching coach for the Brewers, who opposed the Cardinals in the World Series.)

An audience of 3,895 settled in to see the show.

Out of control

Struggling to get pitches over the plate, McLish “was in the showers before you could pronounce his whole name,” Neal Russo of the Post-Dispatch observed.

McLish walked the first two batters, Don Landrum and Julian Javier. Bill White doubled, scoring Landrum and moving Javier to third. After Stan Musial was walked intentionally, loading the bases, Ken Boyer walked unintentionally, scoring Javier.

Gene Oliver made the first out, popping up to third. Doug Clemens, who grew up in Leesport, about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia, cleared the bases with a double, making the score 5-0.

Phillies manager Gene Mauch replaced McLish with Dallas Green. “It wasn’t that bad pitching out there,” McLish said to the Post-Dispatch, “but I kept fighting myself and got in a rut.”

Green drilled Julio Gotay with a fastball. “It was a knockdown pitch,” Keane told the Post-Dispatch.

The next batter, Gibson, wasn’t intimidated. He rapped a grounder into the hole on the left side for an infield single, and, when shortstop Ruben Amaro made a wild throw after gloving the ball, Clemens scored, giving the Cardinals a 6-0 lead.

Not worth the wait

“Thirty minutes elapsed before Dallas Green got the side out, and, by that time, Gibson was as stiff as a fungo bat,” Stan Hochman noted in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Keane told the Post-Dispatch, “Gibson was cooled off by the time he got to the mound. Maybe we missed the boat by not sending him to the bullpen while we were at bat so long.”

Like McLish did in the top half of the inning, Gibson walked the first two batters (Tony Taylor and Johnny Callison), but Tony Gonzalez struck out and Wes Covington flied out to center.

Then the next six Phillies batters reached base.

Billy Klaus singled, scoring Taylor. Frank Torre walked, loading the bases, and Clay Dalrymple followed with a two-run single, getting the Phillies within three at 6-3.

Amaro walked, reloading the bases, and Gibson was relieved by Ernie Broglio.

“I have no excuses,” Gibson said to the Post-Dispatch. “I was just wild. My ball was moving real good _ in fact, it was moving a little too much. I had good stuff.”

Keane said, “Gibson, with his fastball, usually knocks the bats out of their hands on a cold night like this one.”

Roy Sievers batted for Dallas Green and drew a walk from Broglio, scoring Torre from third. Tony Taylor followed with a two-run single, tying the score at 6-6.

With Broglio shutting out the Phillies over the last eight innings, the Cardinals rallied for four runs against Don Ferrarese and two versus Jack Baldschun, winning 12-6. Boxscore

(Two weeks later, Ferrarese was traded to the Cardinals for Bobby Locke.)

Back on track

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson recalled, “After that, our pitching coach, Howie Pollet, made me throw more pitches and simulate game conditions in the bullpen, which seemed to help.”

Two weeks later, Gibson pitched a two-hitter to beat the Houston Colt .45s. Boxscore

Gibson was 15-13, including 3-1 versus the Phillies, in 1962 before he broke his right leg during batting practice before a September game against the Dodgers.

For his career, Gibson was 30-12 with a 2.59 ERA versus the Phillies. He had more career wins against the Phillies than he did versus any other club.

On his 37th birthday, Lou Brock hit an inside-the-park home run.

Brock hit nine home runs inside the park _ three with the Cubs and six with the Cardinals. He was 22 when he hit the first and 38 when he hit the ninth.

Brock had the power to hit balls over the walls at any big-league ballpark and also the speed to circle the bases on balls hit inside the park.

Out of the park

The first time Brock hit a big-league home run was on April 13, 1962, for the Cubs in their home opener against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Leading off the bottom of the first inning against rookie Ray Washburn, Brock hit a pitch over the bleachers in right-center and onto Sheffield Avenue. The ball carried at least 450 feet, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Two years ago, I batted against Washburn in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) tournament and all I got were three strikeouts and a little bunt single,” Brock told the Post-Dispatch. “When I told the boys at Southern U. last winter that I would have to face Washburn in the majors, they asked me if I was going to jump behind the water cooler and hide when he pitched.” Boxscore

(Brock had six hits in 14 career at-bats in the big leagues versus Washburn _ a .429 batting mark. Brock and Washburn were Cardinals teammates from 1964-69, playing on three National League pennant winners and two World Series championship teams.)

Friendly Forbes Field

Four days after his homer against Washburn, Brock hit his second home run, and his first inside the park, against the Pirates’ Tom Sturdivant at Wrigley Field. Boxscore

Brock “sped around the bases while Donn Clendenon was chasing the ball in the left field corner,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

Sturdivant again was the pitcher when Brock hit his next inside-the-park homer on April 23, 1963, at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. Boxscore

Brock’s drive to center struck the wire screen of a light tower (the screen, or cage, was in play) and bounded back past center fielder Bill Virdon. Brock circled the bases as Willie Stargell retrieved the ball.

A right-hander who played 10 years in the majors and pitched in six World Series games for the Yankees, Sturdivant was no match for Brock. In seven career plate appearances versus Sturdivant, Brock had four hits and two walks _ an on-base percentage of .857.

Three months later, on July 21, 1963, Brock hit his second inside-the-park homer of the season, and the third of his career, against the Pirates’ Don Cardwell at Forbes Field. The drive hit the center field wall. Boxscore

Igniting the offense

In June 1964, Brock was traded to the Cardinals and transformed the lineup with his hitting, speed and intimidating base running.

Brock’s first Cardinals home run was launched onto the pavilion roof in right at the original Busch Stadium in St. Louis against the Giants’ Jack Sanford on June 21, 1964.

Brock’s second Cardinals home run was inside the park _ again at Forbes Field _ versus the Pirates’ Steve Blass in the first game of a July 13 doubleheader.

Batting second in the order, between Curt Flood and Dick Groat, Brock hit a shot that landed in deep right-center, bounced against an iron gate, and caromed away from right fielder Roberto Clemente. Brock scored without a slide ahead of the relay throw from Bill Mazeroski. Boxscore

Brock’s performance in the doubleheader illustrated his multiple skills. In the second game, he powered a home run into the upper deck in right. He totaled seven hits, a walk, two RBI and five runs scored in the doubleheader. Boxscore

For his career, Brock hit .299 with six home runs in 79 games at Forbes Field, which was the Pirates’ home until July 1970.

(Brock wasn’t alone in finding the large outfield at Forbes Field to be good for hitting homers inside the park. The Cardinals’ Terry Moore hit two in one game there in 1939.)

Hit and run

From 1965 to 1975, Brock hit two homers inside the park _ on May 22, 1965, versus the Mets’ Jack Fisher at the original Busch Stadium, and on May 3, 1970, against the Astros’ Tom Griffin at Busch Memorial Stadium.

In 1976, Brock hit two inside-the-park homers.

The first of those came on June 18, his 37th birthday, and it was the second homer hit inside the park by a Cardinals batter that night at Busch Memorial Stadium.

In the fourth inning, the Cardinals’ Hector Cruz hit a pitch from the Padres’ Randy Jones deep to left-center. As Willie Davis leaped for it, he banged into the wall and the ball careened back toward the infield. Cruz circled the bases as Davis chased the ball, and scored just ahead of the relay throw from Enzo Hernandez.

Brock batted in the next inning against Jones and hit a drive to right-center. The ball got past Dave Winfield, hit a seam in the artificial surface, bounced over Davis, who was backing up the play, and rolled to the wall. Brock raced around the bases before Tito Fuentes could make a relay throw to the plate. Boxscore

“All in a day’s work _ a hard day’s work,” Brock said to the Post-Dispatch.

Asked about achieving the feat at 37, Brock replied to the Associated Press, “Age don’t mean nothing. It’s only when you can’t do the job any more that it counts.”

Three months later, on Sept. 8, 1976, Brock hit another homer inside the park at St. Louis. The pitcher was the Expos’ Chuck Taylor, Brock’s former Cardinals teammate.

Brock’s final inside-the-park homer was hit on Sept. 21, 1977, against the Expos’ Hal Dues at Montreal. Boxscore

The career leader in inside-the-park home runs is Jesse Burkett, who played in the majors from 1890 to 1905. He hit 55 inside-the-park homers, including 19 with the Cardinals and eight with the Browns.

Tommy Davis twice hit home runs to beat Bob Gibson in 1-0 shutouts pitched by Sandy Koufax.

A two-time National League batting champion who amassed 2,121 career hits, Davis batted .167 against Gibson, but made a lasting impression on the Cardinals’ ace with those game-winning home runs.

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “The man on the Dodgers who could beat you _ whom you couldn’t let beat you _ was Tommy Davis.”

Davis died April, 3, 2022, two weeks after he turned 83.

Local guy

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Davis excelled in multiple sports at Boys High School. His basketball teammate was Lenny Wilkens, who launched a Hall of Fame playing career with the St. Louis Hawks.

A right-handed hitter, Davis was a prized baseball prospect. The Phillies and Yankees wanted him, but he chose the Dodgers in 1956 after Jackie Robinson phoned him and made a pitch, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.

The Dodgers departed Brooklyn for Los Angeles after the 1957 season, and Davis made his big-league debut two years later in a game at St. Louis against the Cardinals. Boxscore

In 1960, the Cardinals also were the opponent when Davis got his first big-league hit (against Ron Kline) and his first big-league home run (against Bob Duliba).

Civil rights

in 1961, the Dodgers’ spring training site, Holman Stadium in Vero Beach, Fla., still had segregated seating and segregated bathrooms. According to author Jane Leavy in the book “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy,” Davis led a contingent of Dodgers players to see Peter O’Malley, who was in charge of the facility, and said to him, “We got to change this.”

O’Malley agreed, but at the ballpark the next day the black fans, unconvinced they could sit where they wanted, were in what had been the segregated section near the right field corner. According to Leavy, Davis and his teammates “took them by the hand and led them out of the stands” and showed them it was all right to sit anywhere. “Directing traffic until they got used to it,” Davis said.

Smart hitter

A couple of months later, on May 25, 1961, 6,878 spectators attended a Thursday night matchup between Koufax and Gibson at St. Louis.

Davis, starting at third base and batting fifth, struck out his first two times at the plate. In “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “I had been striking him out with sliders low and away, and I seemed to have the edge on him.”

Gibson was on a roll, having retired seven consecutive batters, when Davis led off in the seventh inning.

“I had noticed that, as I continued to pitch him outside, Davis was gradually sneaking up toward the plate,” Gibson said. “He was practically on top of the plate, and so, out of duty, I buzzed him inside with a fastball.

“I don’t know if he was setting me up, but he must have been looking for the fastball on his ribs, because he backed off a step, turned on that thing, and crushed it over the left field fence.”

In the book “Sixty Feet, Six Inches,” Gibson said, “I think he was just waiting for me to bring one inside, and I was still young and dumb enough to oblige him.”

Cardinals catcher Hal Smith told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “The pitch Davis hit wasn’t even a strike.”

The home run into the bleacher seats in left-center broke a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings for Gibson and was all Koufax needed. He pitched a three-hit shutout for a 1-0 victory. It was the first time Koufax pitched a complete game against the Cardinals. Boxscore

Dodgers pitching coach Joe Becker told the Post-Dispatch, “Finally, after six years of trying, he’s putting all of his baseball abilities together.”

Brooklyn brotherhood

A year later, on June 18, 1962, Gibson and Koufax engaged in another duel before 33,477 attendees on a Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Through eight innings, the Dodgers’ only hits were two singles by ex-Cardinal Wally Moon. Koufax limited the Cardinals to five singles.

The game was scoreless when Davis batted in the bottom of the ninth with one out and none on.

“Smart guy that I am, I remembered that Davis had beaten me the year before when I stopped pitching him outside and came in with a fastball,” Gibson said in “Stranger to the Game.”

“I thought, ‘Now, he remembers that I remember that pitch inside, and so he’s thinking that there’s no way I’m coming inside again in this situation. Just to cross him up, I’m going to do it again.’

“So, I threw the fastball inside again, and goddamn if he didn’t hit it out again to beat me. I learned right then that the dumbest thing you can do as a pitcher is try to be too smart.”

With the count 1-and-0, Davis told the Post-Dispatch, he was looking for a fastball. “Gibson had been getting me out on breaking stuff,” Davis said. “He was throwing the fastball when he got behind.”

Davis’ walkoff home run deep into the bullpen in left gave Koufax and the Dodgers another 1-0 victory. It was the first time Koufax pitched a complete game without allowing a walk. Boxscore

“There are instances, as Tommy Davis taught me twice over, when a pitcher can think too much,” Gibson said in “Stranger to the Game.” “That was a hard lesson for me.”

In “Sixty Feet, Six Inches,” Gibson said, “It was a textbook case of overthinking. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Worse yet, I went against my better judgment. When I started winning big was when I stopped doing stuff like that.”

After the game, according to Jane Leavy, Davis and his wife went to a Los Angeles nightspot and saw Gibson there.

“I walked over to him and he said, ‘Hi, how you doing, Tom?’ ” Davis told Leavy. “My wife says, ‘Oh, is this the guy you hit the home run off?’ I’m thinking, ‘I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m dead.’ “

Hit man

In September 1963, the Dodgers were a game ahead of the second-place Cardinals entering a series at St. Louis. After the Dodgers won the first two games, Gibson started the finale.

With the Cardinals ahead, 5-1, Davis faced Gibson with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and delivered a two-run single, knocking Gibson from the game. The Dodgers rallied and prevailed in 13 innings, sweeping the series on their way to winning the National League pennant. Boxscore

Davis had an amazing season in 1962, leading the National League in batting (.346), hits (230) and RBI (153). Those were the most hits by a National League player since Stan Musial had 230 for the 1948 Cardinals, and the most RBI by a National League player since Joe Medwick had 154 for the 1937 Cardinals.

Davis repeated as National League batting champion in 1963, hitting .326.

In May 1965, Davis broke his right ankle and he wasn’t the same ballplayer after that. Coveted as a designated hitter in the American League in the 1970s, he played 18 seasons in the majors and hit .294.

Scipio Spinks had the talent and charisma to become a renowned player for the Cardinals, but injuries derailed his promising pitching career.

Fifty years ago, on April 15, 1972, in a swap of pitchers, the Cardinals sent Jerry Reuss to the Astros for Spinks and Lance Clemons.

The dispatching of Reuss was initiated by the Cardinals’ petty plutocrat, Gussie Busch, but general manager Bing Devine nearly straightened out the mess when he obtained Spinks.

A right-hander with an exceptional fastball and an ebullient personality, Spinks was as foreign to St. Louis as a hero of antiquity, but he quickly made his mark.

Notable name

Born and raised in Chicago, Scipio Spinks could trace his first name to Scipio Africanus Major, a Roman general who defeated the Carthage leader Hannibal in the Battle of Zama on the north coast of Africa in 202 BC.

“Spinks said the first male child in his father’s family has been named Scipio for a number of generations,” The Sporting News reported.

Spinks told the Associated Press the family name spanned a minimum of six generations. “I’m at least Scipio Spinks the sixth,” he said.

The south side of Chicago, where Spinks was from, was White Sox territory, but he rooted for the Cubs. “I liked Lou Brock a lot, even when he wasn’t hitting, because he could run and so could I,” Spinks told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “but my first favorite was Ernie Banks.”

(When Spinks joined the Cardinals, he and Brock became teammates.)

A standout high school athlete who ran the 100-yard dash in 9.5 seconds, Spinks said he wrote to the Cubs multiple times, asking for a tryout, but they were uninterested. He was 18 when he signed with the Astros as an amateur free agent in 1966.

Spinks made his major-league debut with the Astros in September 1969. He got called up again in May 1970 and made five appearances, including a start against the Cardinals in which he gave up a home run to Dick Allen. Boxscore

The Astros had two terrific prospects, Spinks and 6-foot-8 J.R. Richard, at their Oklahoma City farm team in 1971. Richard was 12-7 with 202 strikeouts in 173 innings. Spinks was 9-6 with 173 strikeouts in 133 innings.

“Oklahoma City foes say Scipio Spinks throws harder than teammate J.R. Richard,” The Sporting News reported.

Spinks pitched in five September games for the 1971 Astros and beat the Braves for his first win in the majors.

Idiot wind

At spring training with the 1972 Astros, managed by ex-Cardinal Harry Walker, Spinks earned a spot in a starting rotation of Don Wilson, Larry Dierker, Dave Roberts and Ken Forsch. Roberts gave Spinks the nickname “Bufferin” because his fastball worked faster than aspirin, The Sporting News reported.

Meanwhile, Reuss, a St. Louisan who had 14 wins for the 1971 Cardinals, came to spring training unsigned in 1972. A petulant Busch threw a fit in February when pitcher Steve Carlton dared to negotiate a contract rather than bend to Busch’s will. Busch ordered Devine to trade Carlton.

Next on Busch’s Schlitz list was Reuss. In addition to trying to negotiate an upgrade on the $20,000 salary offered by the Cardinals, Reuss, 22, made the mortal sin of growing a moustache. Busch was apoplectic. His narrow mind went into bully mode and he pressured Devine to deal Reuss, too.

Devine announced the trade at 6 p.m. following the Cardinals’ Opening Day loss to the Expos before 7,808 spectators at Busch Memorial Stadium. Boxscore

Seven years earlier, when Bob Howsam was general manager, the Cardinals traded another left-hander, Mike Cuellar, to the Astros and came to regret it. The Reuss deal had the same vibe.

Fitting in

Spinks, 24, was put into a starting rotation with Bob Gibson, Rick Wise and Reggie Cleveland. He lost his first start, then won his next three decisions, including a May 9 game against the Astros. Boxscore

“His fastball was just dynamite,” Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons told The Sporting News.

Brock said, “He seems to be able to challenge the hitters consistently better than most pitchers with his experience.”

Brock and Gibson took a liking to Spinks, whom The Sporting News described as “a great crowd-pleaser and a bubbling personality.” Their good-natured needling became a clubhouse staple.

“Big-name stars are the easiest to kid,” Spinks told the Associated Press. “Brock, Gibson, Joe Torre – people of that caliber – take it, then they dish it back. It keeps everybody smiling.”

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “I admired Spinks’ energy and appreciated the fact he apparently thought he could become a better pitcher by hanging around me.”

Spinks bought a large stuffed gorilla in a hotel gift shop, dubbed it “Mighty Joe,” and displayed the good-luck charm in his clubhouse locker. The other players eventually adopted Mighty Joe as a team mascot.

After beating the Phillies on June 30, Spinks was 5-4 with a 2.33 ERA and was being hailed, along with the Mets’ Jon Matlack, as a strong candidate for the 1972 National League Rookie of the Year Award.

“I’ve been in baseball 30 years and I’ve seen a lot come and go, but this guy Spinks is one of the greatest I’ve seen break in,” umpire Ed Sudol told The Sporting News. “Besides that fastball, he has a snapping curve.”

Reds coach Alex Grammas, the former Cardinals shortstop, said, “Spinks can throw as hard as Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson.”

Wounded knee

On July 4 at Cincinnati, Spinks streaked from first base to the plate on a Luis Melendez double and slid into the shin guards of catcher Johnny Bench. The collision knocked the ball from Bench’s glove and Spinks was ruled safe, but he tore ligaments in his right knee. Boxscore

Spinks had knee surgery two days later and was done for the season. At the time of his injury, Spinks ranked third among National League pitchers in strikeouts, behind Carlton and Tom Seaver.

Spinks was 5-5 with a 2.67 ERA in 16 starts for the 1972 Cardinals. In his five wins, his ERA was 1.20 and all were complete games.

In 1973, Spinks returned to the Cardinals’ starting rotation, lost his first four decisions and then got a measure of revenge against the Reds, earning a win with six shutout innings. Boxscore

It would be Spinks’ last win in the majors. In June, he went on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury and was shut down for the season. In eight starts for the 1973 Cardinals, Spinks was 1-5 with a 4.89 ERA.

At spring training in 1974, the Cardinals traded Spinks to his hometown Cubs for pinch-hitter Jim Hickman. On his way out, Spinks gave “Mighty Joe” to Bernie Carbo, a former Cardinals teammate who was with the Red Sox.

Spinks never played in another big-league game. He tore a thigh muscle and spent the 1974 season in the Cubs’ farm system. His last season, 1975, was with minor-league teams of the Astros and Yankees.

Lance Clemons, the other pitcher acquired for Reuss, appeared in three games for the 1972 Cardinals and was traded to the Red Sox in March 1973.

Reuss played 22 seasons in the majors, primarily with the Pirates and Dodgers, and earned 220 wins. He was 14-18 with five shutouts versus the Cardinals.

Early in his Hall of Fame career, Pirates slugger Willie Stargell experienced a humbling stretch of futility against the Cardinals.

Stargell struck out swinging in seven consecutive plate appearances versus the Cardinals in September 1964.

Recalling the embarrassment he felt, Stargell told the Atlanta Constitution, “I literally went home and cried.”

Can’t connect

On Sept. 24, 1964, the Cardinals (84-67) were five games behind the first-place Phillies (90-63) when they opened a five-game series against the Pirates at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

Stargell, 24, was in his second full season with the Pirates. Though he displayed astonishing power, he was vulnerable to left-handed pitching. He also was hampered by torn cartilage in his left knee and bone chips in his left elbow.

The series began with a Thursday doubleheader. Bob Gibson started the opener and pitched a complete game in a 4-2 Cardinals triumph. Boxscore

In his last at-bat in the game, Stargell struck out. (Stargell had more career strikeouts (41) than hits (38) versus Gibson, including a whiff for the last out of Gibson’s 1971 no-hitter.)

Left-hander Ray Sadecki started the second game of the doubleheader and pitched a five-hit shutout in a 4-0 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

Stargell struck out in all four of his plate appearances versus Sadecki, giving him five consecutive whiffs for the night. (Stargell had three hits, all singles, in 50 career at-bats versus Sadecki and struck out 22 times against him.)

“Sadecki completely handcuffed Willie Stargell,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

In Game 3 of the series on Friday night, another left-hander, Gordon Richardson, made his sixth start of the season for the Cardinals.

Stargell fanned his first two times at the plate against Richardson, stretching his strikeout streak to seven.

He ended the futility with a single against right-handed reliever Ron Taylor in the seventh, drawing a mocking ovation from the crowd.

The next time up, in the ninth, Stargell struck out facing right-handed knuckleball specialist Barney Schultz. Boxscore

Sultans of swish

That was Stargell’s last at-bat of the season. He missed the Pirates’ final nine games, including the last two of the Cardinals series.

While the Cardinals completed a five-game sweep of the Pirates, the Reds won five in a row against the Mets, and the Phillies lost four straight to the Braves. With a week left in the season, the Reds were in first place, 1.5 games ahead of the Cardinals.

On the last day of the season, the Cardinals clinched the pennant, finishing a game ahead of the Phillies and Reds.

Stargell underwent knee surgery on Sept. 30, 1964. For the season, he hit 21 home runs and struck out 92 times. He hit .295 against right-handers and .188 versus left-handers. Stargell had 16 hits and 32 strikeouts against left-handers in 1964.

The only time Stargell led the National League in most times striking out in a season was 1971. Stargell whiffed 154 times that year, but also led the league in home runs (48) and extra-base hits (74).

Stargell struck out 1,936 times in his big-league career. The only left-handed batters who struck out more were Reggie Jackson (2,597), Jim Thome (2,548) and Adam Dunn (2,379).

Stargell is tied with another left-handed batter, the Cardinals’ Stan Musial, for career home runs (475), but Stargell struck out almost three times as much as Musial did (696).

According to Baseball Almanac, pitcher Sandy Koufax of the 1955 Dodgers holds the National League record for striking out in the most consecutive plate appearances (12). The last of those 12 strikeouts came against the Cardinals’ Ben Flowers.

The National League record by a batter other than a pitcher for striking out in the most consecutive plate appearances is nine. The three players who did that were Adolfo Phillips of the 1966 Cubs, Eric Davis of the 1987 Reds and Mark Reynolds of the 2007 Diamondbacks.

 

The Cardinals traded the National League batting champion, who also had the best outfield arm in the game, because they didn’t want to pay him.

Ninety years ago, on April 11, 1932, six months after they became World Series champions, the Cardinals dealt left fielder Chick Hafey to the Reds for pitcher Benny Frey, first baseman Harvey Hendrick and cash.

The trade was made by Cardinals executive Branch Rickey, with approval from club owner Sam Breadon, because for the second consecutive year Hafey was prepared to sit out the start of the season in a contract dispute.

At a time when players had little leverage to negotiate other than holding out, Hafey was fed up with being underpaid by the Cardinals and was determined to get what he considered fair compensation for performance that eventually earned him election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Special talent

Born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., Hafey was a 20-year-old pitching prospect when the Cardinals signed him in 1923 on the recommendation of Charles Chapman, a University of California professor and friend of Rickey, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.

Impressed by Hafey’s hitting at Cardinals training camp that spring, Rickey, the club’s manager, made him an outfielder.

Hafey went into the farm system, hit .360 for Houston in 1924, and was called up to the Cardinals in August that year. He took over as the Cardinals’ left fielder in 1927 and went on a torrid five-year run, even though he suffered from severe sinus problems that weakened his vision.

J. Roy Stockton of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described Hafey as “a man who hit line drives against the fences, one of the most powerful hitters ever to wear a Cardinals uniform.”

One of the first players to use eyeglasses, Hafey hit .329 or better each year from 1927 to 1931.

“He was, next to Rogers Hornsby, the best right-handed hitter I ever saw, even though he really couldn’t see well,” Cardinals infielder Andy High told Bob Broeg of the Post-Dispatch.

In the book “The Gashouse Gang,” Spud Davis, a National League catcher for 16 seasons, said in rating the best right-handed hitters, “The greatest I ever saw was Chick Hafey. He was one of the greatest all-around players, too. He could do everything. He had that arm! He could stand against the fence in left in St. Louis and throw strikes to the plate all day long. The ball came in light as a feather. If his eyes had been good, there’s no telling what he could have done.”

Broeg wrote, “His throwing arm might have been the most powerful ever.”

Moneyball

After hitting .336 with 107 RBI for the 1930 Cardinals and helping them reach the World Series for the third time in five years, Hafey sought an increase in his $9,000 salary.

Unimpressed by what Breadon and Rickey offered, Hafey sat out spring training in 1931 before signing for $12,500 after the regular season started. Because he didn’t play his first game until May 16, the Cardinals docked him $2,000, cutting his salary to $10,500, the Post-Dispatch reported.

In his book, “Memories of a Hall of Fame Sportswriter,” Broeg said, “Hafey was most unfortunately underpaid, a victim, in part, of the Great Depression, and the Cardinals’ tendency to play Scrooge.”

Hafey treated the club better than management treated him. He won the 1931 National League batting title, hitting .349 in 122 games, and helped the Cardinals win the pennant. Hafey also contributed 95 RBI and a .404 on-base percentage.

Hafey figured his performance merited a raise. According to the Post-Dispatch, he wanted a $17,000 salary in 1932 _ $15,000 as a base and $2,000 extra for the amount the Cardinals cut him the year before.

The Cardinals offered $13,000 and “labeled him privately as an ingrate who should have been thankful he’d played on four pennant winners in a six-year period, blithely ignoring his contributions,” Broeg noted.

Take a hike

When it became clear to Breadon and Rickey that Hafey wasn’t going to sign before the start of the 1932 season, they decided to trade him against the wishes of manager Gabby Street, the Dayton Daily News reported.

At 8 p.m. on April 10, 1932, Rickey called Reds owner Sidney Weil, who had been trying to acquire Hafey for almost two years, The Sporting News reported. They talked into the wee hours of the morning and came to an agreement.

What the Cardinals wanted most was cash. In addition to offering pitcher Benny Frey and first baseman Harvey Hendrick, Weil agreed to give the Cardinals “a tremendous amount of cash,” The Sporting News reported.

According to the book “The Spirit of St. Louis,” the amount was $50,000.

On April 11, 1932, the eve of the season opener, the crowd “cheered wildly” when Weil announced the trade in Cincinnati at a joint luncheon of the chamber of commerce and Kiwanis Club, according to The Sporting News.

There was no such cheering in St. Louis, just bad vibes.

In the book “The Pilot Light and the Gashouse Gang,” Broeg described the Cardinals’ treatment of Hafey as “pathetic.”

Post-Dispatch columnist John Wray, siding with management, called Hafey “a chronic conscientious objector” who “sulked himself out of a job with a championship outfit.”

Rickey shamelessly portrayed himself the victim.

“I am not saying Hafey owed anything to this club,” Rickey said to Sid Keener of the St. Louis Star-Times. “He made the hits at the plate and I realize I didn’t swing the bat for him. Nevertheless, it’s kind of tough in this business when a ballplayer loses all traces of loyalty. That’s what hurts me in trading Hafey.”

Hafey signed a $15,000 contract with the 1932 Reds and said to the Associated Press, “I’m ready to go back and bear down.”

Coming and going

A first baseman, Rip Collins, opened the season in left field for the Cardinals. Eventually, 10 players started in left for them in 1932.

On April 24, 1932, the Cardinals stumbled into Cincinnati with a 3-7 record. Hafey had asked manager Dan Howley to let him make his Reds debut in the series opener, according to The Sporting News.

Batting cleanup, Hafey had three singles in four at-bats against his former team and snared Pepper Martin’s deep drive to left. Boxscore

Hafey went on to hit .303 against the Cardinals in his career.

In September 1932, the Cardinals called up slugger Joe Medwick, who took over in left. Like Hafey, Medwick would have a Hall of Fame career. He also would run afoul of Breadon and Rickey regarding pay _ and was traded to the Dodgers primarily for cash, of course.

(Rickey had a personal incentive to trade players for cash because his contract called for him to get a percentage of the sale as remuneration in addition to his salary.)

Neither Frey nor Hendrick lasted long with the Cardinals. Within two months of acquiring them, the Cardinals returned both to the Reds for _ you guessed it _ more cash.

Hafey hit .344 for the 1932 Reds but a bout with influenza limited him to 83 games.

In 13 seasons with the Cardinals and Reds, Hafey hit .317. He hit more home runs from the No. 5 spot in the batting order than any player in Cardinals history, according to researcher Tom Orf.