In November 1947, Sam Breadon was 71 years old and he was thinking about mortality. He had been principal owner of the Cardinals for 27 years, operating the club with a hands-on approach, and he didn’t think he could do the job much longer.

Though his heart favored keeping the business he loved, Breadon chose the path that made the most sense to him. He decided to sell.

By selling, Breadon would acquire the cash to ensure financial security for his wife and two daughters.

A sale also would enable Breadon to handpick buyers who were willing to keep the club in St. Louis and protect the jobs of his top employees.

Seventy years ago, on Nov. 25, 1947, Breadon sold the Cardinals to Robert Hannegan and Fred Saigh. Hannegan, 44, a St. Louis native, was Postmaster General of the United States. Saigh, 42, was a lawyer in St. Louis.

“It is unpleasant for me to dispose of the Cardinals,” Breadon told reporters, “but I believe, in the interest of the Cardinals, a man of the character and ability of Bob Hannegan, a younger man, will be able to do more in keeping the Cardinals in the position they are today than I could do from now on. This is the main reason for disposing of my interests.”

Two years later, both Breadon and Hannegan would be dead and Saigh would be the Cardinals’ majority owner.

Buy low, sell high

Breadon, a car dealer, was part of a group that bought the Cardinals in the spring of 1917. Three years later, he became majority owner and club president.

Together with his top baseball executive, the innovative Branch Rickey, Breadon brought the Cardinals from the brink of bankruptcy to top-tier status as one of baseball’s most successful franchises. From 1926 to 1942, the Cardinals won six National League pennants and four World Series titles.

When Rickey left in late 1942 and joined the Dodgers, Breadon didn’t replace him. Breadon, determined to show he could succeed without Rickey, took on many responsibilities of the top baseball executive. Over the next five seasons, the Cardinals finished first (1943), first (1944), second (1945), first (1946) and second (1947) and won two World Series crowns.

With the franchise’s value at a peak, Breadon made plans to sell. He knew and liked Hannegan. The two began negotiations after the 1947 season, Breadon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Big deal

The purchase price, estimated by both the Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Star-Times to be about $4 million, was the “biggest financial transaction in baseball history,” according to United Press.

The buyers agreed to pay all Cardinals shareholders $400 per share. Breadon owned 77 percent of the stock.

“Sam said he would sell at a certain figure and, naturally, it was up to us to accept that price. We did,” Hannegan said to the Star-Times.

By what Saigh termed a “gimmick” in the tax law, he and Hannegan were able to make the transaction for a cash outlay of only $60,800, according to the Associated Press.

In addition to the major-league franchise, the sale included the Cardinals’ 16 minor-league clubs and property in St. Louis on Chouteau Avenue at Spring Avenue. Breadon had purchased that land as a possible site to build a ballpark for the Cardinals, who rented Sportsman’s Park from the American League Browns.

As majority owner, Hannegan “personally will have controlling interest” in the Cardinals, Breadon told the Star-Times. Hannegan was named club president and chairman of the board of directors. Saigh was given the titles of vice president and treasurer.


Hannegan, son of a St. Louis police captain, grew up a Cardinals fan. As a youth, he sold peanuts at Cardinals games and he was a member of the club’s original Knothole Gang.

After he was graduated from St. Louis University, where he played football and baseball, Hannegan became a lawyer and got into local politics as a ward boss for the Democratic Party.

From there, Hannegan steadily grew his political stature at the state level and he became friends with Harry Truman. President Franklin Roosevelt named Hannegan chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1944. A year later, Hannegan was appointed Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President Truman. Hannegan also stayed involved in sports, becoming a stockholder and board member of the Browns.

On the day he purchased the Cardinals, Hannegan resigned as Postmaster General. “The country is losing the services of a most efficient public servant,” Truman said.

Saigh, whose father operated groceries and department stores in northern Illinois, developed a law practice in St. Louis and “figured in several important real estate deals involving downtown office buildings,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Unhealthy situation

Hannegan said leaving Washington, D.C., and returning to St. Louis to run the Cardinals was “the happiest homecoming of my life.”

“From my boyhood, I have held fast to the belief that Sam Breadon and the Cardinals were champions, not only of a clean sport but in the eyes of the nation,” Hannegan said. “They have become, like our churches, schools, hospitals, parks and press, one of St. Louis’ finest civic assets.”

Good to their word, Hannegan and Saigh made no major changes for the 1948 season. The Cardinals again placed second with basically the same roster that had finished second in 1947, featuring manager Eddie Dyer and players such as Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Terry Moore and Marty Marion.

Hannegan, however, was in poor health. He had a history of high blood pressure.

By 1949, both Hannegan and Breadon, who had prostate cancer, were in rapid decline. In January 1949, Hannegan sold his shares to Saigh, giving him total control of the franchise.

Breadon, 72, died on May 8, 1949. Five months later, on Oct. 6, Hannegan, 46, died of heart disease.

In April 1952, Saigh was indicted on federal charges of income tax evasion. After he was sentenced to 15 months in prison, Saigh sold the Cardinals to Anheuser-Busch.

Previously: How close did Cardinals come to moving to Milwaukee?

Seventeen years after he left Chicago as a player, Lou Brock returned as a broadcaster.

Brock, who transformed from an underachiever to a Hall of Famer after his trade from the Cubs to the Cardinals in 1964, joined the White Sox as a television analyst in 1981.

Brock, 42, was paired with broadcaster Harry Caray to call games for a White Sox team managed by Tony La Russa.

In seeking a role that would keep him involved in baseball two years after he had retired as a Cardinals player, Brock discovered that being a White Sox broadcaster wasn’t right for him.

Idea develops

After playing his last game for the Cardinals in 1979, Brock got involved in several business ventures, including a role doing promotional, marketing and sales work for Anheuser-Busch.

Brock also tried broadcasting. In 1980, he briefly was an analyst on national games for ABC-TV. He also did occasional Cardinals games.

In spring 1981, while in Chicago to present an award to White Sox outfielder Ron LeFlore, Brock met Eddie Einhorn, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf, co-owners of the White Sox, had plans to launch a subscription-based televised sports service in Chicago and were on the lookout for former professional players with broadcasting talent. Einhorn talked with Brock about working White Sox games.

“I listened to some tapes he did for the St. Louis Cardinals and I was impressed,” Einhorn said.

Reinsdorf added, “When we hit on the idea of Brock, I thought it was sensational.”

At that time, Anheuser-Busch was a sponsor of televised White Sox games. According to columnist Dick Young in The Sporting News, “Anheuser-Busch, feeling pressure from Old Style beer in that area, got up the dough for (Brock) to join the ChiSox air crew.”

Softer approach

On June 20, while the 1981 season was on hold because of a players strike, the White Sox announced Brock would join their broadcast team when play resumed.

“We feel very fortunate,” Einhorn told the Associated Press. “We said we had been planning to enlarge our announcing team and this seemed a good time to do it.”

Said Reinsdorf: “I didn’t want to get caught short on announcers. We started looking for someone with stature and credibility. Brock has both.”

Brock’s hiring broke up the White Sox’s television broadcast team of Caray and Jimmy Piersall. The White Sox said Piersall would move to the radio side and work with Joe McConnell.

Caray and Piersall were popular and controversial. Both had been critical of La Russa, irritating the manager. Though Einhorn and Reinsdorf denied Brock’s hiring was intended to change the tenor of the telecasts, many thought otherwise.

“It’s obvious why they’re doing it,” wrote Ron Maly of the Des Moines Register. “They’re tired of hearing Caray and Piersall bombard the Sox manager and players with criticism.”

In his book “The Truth Hurts,” Piersall said, “La Russa went to Einhorn and Reinsdorf and told them that the problem with the White Sox … was the announcers, Harry and myself.”

Piersall added, “La Russa had Reinsdorf wrapped around his little finger … If La Russa was as good a baseball man as he was a politician, the White Sox would have been a lot better for it. I understood that in early 1981.”

Cardinals reunion

Caray had been the voice of the Cardinals when St. Louis acquired Brock in June 1964. As Brock sparked the Cardinals to three National League pennants (1964, 1967 and 1968) and two World Series titles (1964 and 1967), Caray described the speedster’s exploits to the club’s vast audience. To the White Sox owners, pairing them seemed natural.

“He’s a good friend,” Caray said of Brock. “He is an intelligent, articulate man. There’s no way I can object to a Lou Brock in the booth.”

Brock told the Chicago Sun-Times he looked forward to partnering with Caray “because I can learn an awful lot working with him.”

“I’ve always had a good rapport with Harry,” Brock said. “He’s one of the best and most knowledgeable play-by-play men in the country.”

Bad reviews

When the players’ strike ended in August 1981, viewers tuned in to discover the tandem of Caray and Brock was not what they wanted. They missed Piersall’s brashness and the playful exchanges he had with Caray. Brock was measured in his remarks.

“If he were any good, he’d still be behind the mike for the Cardinals, right?” Maly said of Brock in the Des Moines Register.

Ron Alridge, Chicago Tribune TV-radio critic, called Brock “inexperienced and inarticulate.”

Said Caray: “Poor Lou Brock. I feel sorry for him … I just don’t think people are buying Brock.”

Feeling like an outsider on the announcing crew, Brock told Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch, “I’m the fifth wheel out of four.”

After the 1981 season, the White Sox broadcast team got a shakeup. Caray left and joined the crosstown Cubs. Piersall was fired. The club was “disappointed” in Brock’s performance, the Chicago Tribune reported.

For 1982, the White Sox went with a revamped broadcast team of Don Drysdale and Ken “Hawk” Harrelson on television and McConnell and Early Wynn on radio.

With the exception of a few appearances on Cardinals telecasts through 1984, Brock’s broadcasting career basically was finished.

Previously: How Harry Caray survived near-fatal car accident

Previously: Cubs knew Lou Brock was on verge of stardom in 1964

Though knowing Gerry Staley was committed to a stint in the Army during World War II, the Cardinals went ahead and acquired him anyway. The investment paid a significant dividend when Staley emerged as the ace of the Cardinals’ staff in the early 1950s.

Seventy-five years ago, in 1942, Staley was in his second season as a pitcher for the Boise (Idaho) Pilots of the Class C Pioneer League. Boise wasn’t affiliated with any major-league organization.

In September 1942, Staley, 22, was inducted into the Army. Two months later, on Nov. 24, the Cardinals selected Staley in the minor-league draft and assigned him to their Columbus (Ga.) Red Birds farm club in the Class B South Atlantic League.

By then, Staley was deep into military service. He would spend three years in the Army. Most of that time, he was stationed in the South Pacific.

The Cardinals, though, didn’t forget him.

Military veteran

A native of Brush Prairie, Wash., Staley was working in an aluminum plant and playing sandlot baseball when he was signed by Boise in 1941, according to a biography by the Society for American Baseball Research.

A right-handed pitcher, Staley quickly developed into a standout for Boise. He was 22-8 with a 2.79 ERA in 1941 and 20-10 with a 2.73 ERA in 1942.

St. Louis had a farm club, the Pocatello (Idaho) Cardinals, in the Pioneer League. Pocatello and Boise were matched in the league championship series in 1942. Staley won Game 2 of the series just before reporting to the Army. He impressed the Cardinals with his ability.

When the minor-league draft was held, the Cardinals chose Staley and assigned him to Columbus for the 1943 season, The Sporting News reported.

Staley never got to pitch for Columbus. Still in the Army as a sergeant with an evacuation hospital on Bougainville Island of New Guinea, the Cardinals assigned him to their Class AAA Sacramento Solons farm club in the Pacific Coast League in 1944, according to The Sporting News.

Staley continued his active duty in the military in 1945. When the war ended and he was discharged, Staley, 25, reported to Sacramento for the 1946 season.

Impressive return

By then, Sacramento no longer was a Cardinals affiliate. Local owners had purchased the franchise from the Cardinals. Though independent of any big-league affiliation, Sacramento maintained a working agreement with the Cardinals.

Staley got off to a strong start in the 1946 season. On April 18, he pitched a three-hitter and singled in the winning run in Sacramento’s 2-1 triumph over Oakland.

His best performance occurred on May 28 at Portland, Ore., just across the Columbia River from his home in Vancouver, Wash. Staley pitched all 14 innings and limited Portland to four hits in Sacramento’s 1-0 victory.

Under terms of the working agreement, the Cardinals had the right to purchase the contract of one of Sacramento’s returning servicemen for $5,000.

On Aug. 22, 1946, the Cardinals selected Staley (13-12 with a 2.94 ERA) and invited him to their spring training camp in 1947.

Making the grade

The Cardinals went to spring training in 1947 as the defending World Series champions. Staley, 26, wasn’t intimidated. He earned a spot on the Opening Day roster and made his major-league debut on April 20, 1947, with two innings of scoreless relief against the Cubs. Boxscore

Used exclusively in relief, Staley slumped during the summer and had a 5.54 ERA when the Cardinals sent him to their Class AAA Columbus (Ohio) Red Birds club in the American Association in late July.

Staley was 6-1 for Columbus and was called back to the Cardinals in September.

On Sept. 25, 1947, in the second game of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh, Staley got his first major-league start. He pitched a complete game and earned the win in the Cardinals’ 3-1 victory over the Pirates. Boxscore

Staley finished his rookie season with a 1-0 record and 2.76 ERA in 18 appearances for St. Louis. He was on his way to becoming a prominent member of the Cardinals’ staff.

Big winner

Staley pitched eight seasons (1947-54) for the Cardinals and was 89-76 with a 4.03 ERA during that time. He twice was all-star with the Cardinals (1952 and 1953).

In 1949, Staley ranked second in the National League in ERA at 2.73. He led the Cardinals in wins in 1951 (19) and 1952 (17) and was second in 1953 (18).

After a 1954 season when his wins total fell to seven, the Cardinals traded Staley, 34, and third baseman Ray Jablonski to the Reds for pitcher Frank Smith.

Staley eventually transformed himself into a top relief pitcher. In 1959, he helped the White Sox to an American League pennant, with eight wins, 15 saves and a 2.24 ERA in a league-leading 67 appearances.

He earned a save in Game 1 of the 1959 World Series against the Dodgers, but was the losing pitcher in Game 4 when he gave up a game-winning home run to Gil Hodges in the eighth inning.

Staley pitched 15 seasons in the major leagues for six clubs _ Cardinals, Reds, Yankees, White Sox, Athletics and Tigers. He has a career record of 134-111 with 61 saves and a 3.70 ERA.

Seeking a return to professional baseball after a stint in a hospital rehabilitation facility to treat his depression, Jimmy Piersall was given a chance to manage a group of players in the Cardinals’ organization.

The man who hired Piersall to manage the Orangeburg (S.C.) Cardinals in 1973 didn’t know the former big-league outfielder was being treated for a mental health issue at that time, though Piersall’s history certainly was no secret. In 1952, while playing for the Red Sox, Piersall suffered a nervous breakdown. He wrote a book, “Fear Strikes Out,” about that experience and Hollywood made it into a film, starring Anthony Perkins.

Piersall played 17 years in the major leagues, twice won a Gold Glove Award and was notorious for his on-field antics and feuds with umpires.

He never managed a team until getting the chance with the Cardinals prospects.

It would be his only season as a manager.

Road to recovery

In 1972, Piersall worked for the Athletics in group ticket sales and promotions. The 1972 Athletics won the World Series championship and Piersall earned a ring.

However, Piersall clashed with Athletics owner Charlie Finley. Piersall also disclosed in his second book, “The Truth Hurts,” that he was having marital problems at the time.

“So between my wife and the Finley situation, it really hit me, and I got very depressed, into crying and all that, and I went to see a psychiatrist,” Piersall said.

Piersall was admitted to a rehabilitation center at a hospital in Roanoke, Va. He stayed for about a month. “Finally I got back in shape,” Piersall said. “I felt strong and the attitude was good again.”

As his stay at the treatment center neared its end, Piersall said, he got a call from a friend, Red Dwyer, who had become president and general manager of the Orangeburg Cardinals, a fledgling franchise in the Class A Western Carolinas League.

Dwyer asked Piersall to manage the club. Dwyer “didn’t know I was in the rehab center,” Piersall said. “He just thought I was in the hospital for some minor thing.”

Piersall, 43, accepted the offer and on March 13, 1973 _ a month before the season opener _ he was named manager.

Bad behavior

Orangeburg hadn’t had a minor-league team since 1908. The 1973 Orangeburg Cardinals were not officially affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals. The club was a co-op, meaning its roster was composed of players from several big-league organizations. St. Louis, though, supplied the majority of players.

“By the time I linked up with the Orangeburg team, spring training was already over,” Piersall said. “When I got a look at the team, I knew I had a bunch of guys who just weren’t good enough to be professional baseball players … Most of them were getting their last shot at the game.”

On the eve of the opener, Piersall told the Orangeburg Times-Democrat, “I know that I’m going to have to conduct myself properly and make the right decisions.”

Piersall, however, got involved in several scrapes with umpires. In June, he was suspended for two games by the league after he reportedly pushed umpire Bob Nelson, causing him to fall backwards.

Soon after his return, police were called to escort Piersall from the ballpark when he continued to argue with umpires after a game.

“When he gets vehemently loud, he detracts from the concentration of his own players, the guys on the other teams and from the umpires,” said umpire Dave Slickenmyer.

Said Piersall: “What I try to do is fight for my players. I don’t look to get into a show with a hundred people in the stands.”

Handle with care

Piersall took seriously the responsibilities of working with his players and managing games.

“The kids make mistakes _ chiefly in fundamentals _ but they are sharp, have ability and want to learn,” Piersall told the Associated Press.

Piersall said he was learning “how to cope with young people without blowing my top. It’s something I have learned day by day. I keep notes during games to point out to the kids in practice the next day mistakes they have made. With no coaches to help, it’s hard giving instruction.”

The best prospect on the club was 18-year-old outfielder Tito Landrum. “He has all the tools to become a big leaguer,” Piersall said. “He has a lot to learn, but his attitude is good, he has a great arm and speed.”

Landrum told the Times-Democrat how Piersall helped him become a better hitter by having him place more weight on his front foot and less on his back foot.

(Landrum batted .279 in 70 games for Orangeburg. He would be the only member of the Orangeburg Cardinals to play in the major leagues. He spent nine seasons in the majors _ eight with St. Louis _ and played in two World Series.)

Three other players of note on the Orangeburg roster:

_ Dave Bialas, who would become a manager in the Cardinals’ farm system.

_ Rob Sievers, son of former big-league slugger Roy Sievers.

_ Randy Poffo, who would become the professional wrestler known as Macho Man Savage.

One and done

National media _ including the Washington Post and Heywood Hale Broun of CBS News _ came to Orangeburg to do stories on Piersall.

In August, Piersall experienced chest pains and was taken to a hospital. Dwyer said Piersall was diagnosed with bronchitis. Piersall returned to the team. (Two years later, Piersall was found to have blocked arteries and underwent heart surgery.)

Orangeburg finished in last place with a 50-72 record.

In 1974, Orangeburg became an affiliate of the Dodgers. Bart Shirley, a former major-league infielder, was named manager. Among the prospects on the 1974 Orangeburg Dodgers were future big-leaguers Pedro Guerrero and Jeffrey Leonard.

Trying to remain in baseball, Piersall contacted his friend, Billy Martin, who had replaced Whitey Herzog as Rangers manager. Martin helped Piersall get a job in group ticket sales and promotions with the 1974 Rangers.

Previously: Jimmy Piersall and his NL debut against Cardinals

Besides being a principal player in a Cardinals classic, Roy Halladay also factored prominently in other games versus St. Louis.

Halladay, who died at age 40 in a plane crash on Nov. 7, 2017, will be best remembered by Cardinals fans as the Phillies pitcher who dueled St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter in the decisive Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series.

Carpenter and the Cardinals won that game, 1-0, on Oct. 7, 2011, extending a postseason run that led to a World Series championship.

Halladay, who shut out the Cardinals for seven innings after yielding a run in the first, was the hard-luck loser in that drama. He and Carpenter, both Cy Young Award winners, had been teammates on the Blue Jays from 1998-2002.

Usually, though, when Halladay pitched a gem against the Cardinals, he won.

Halladay made seven regular-season starts and two postseason starts against the Cardinals. His regular-season career record versus St. Louis is 4-2 with a 2.68 ERA. In the postseason, Halladay is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA against the Cardinals.

Here is a look at the games in which Halladay got decisions when facing St. Louis:

Swinging at sinkers

Halladay faced the Cardinals for the first time on June 13, 2005, at Toronto. He pitched a complete game in a 4-1 Blue Jays victory.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described Halladay’s effort as “a dominant performance worthy of his resume.”

The Cardinals got five hits _ two apiece by David Eckstein and John Mabry, and one by designated hitter Scott Seabol. Mabry got the Cardinals’ lone extra-base hit _ a home run in the fourth inning.

“He’s out there throwing the ball 94 (mph) with a lot of sink,” Mabry said. “He’s using both sides of the plate, sinking and cutting it. His curveball is awesome. He makes it tough. You just try to stay on top of it.” Boxscore

Simply the best

Five years later, Halladay next faced the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. On May 6, 2010, Halladay pitched seven innings, yielding one earned run, and got the win in a 7-2 Phillies triumph at Philadelphia.

Skip Schumaker, who had two hits for the Cardinals, called Halladay “probably the best pitcher I’ve ever faced.” Boxscore

A breakthrough

On Sept. 19, 2011, Halladay lost to the Cardinals for the first time.

Playing at Philadelphia, Rafael Furcal hit Halladay’s first pitch for a double off the right-field wall. Furcal moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a groundout by Nick Punto. One out later, Lance Berkman followed with a home run, giving St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

The Cardinals won, 4-3, and advanced to within 2.5 games of the Braves for the wild-card spot in the playoffs. Halladay gave up eight hits and walked four in eight innings. Boxscore

Don’t get me mad

Two weeks later, on Oct. 1, 2011, the Cardinals and Phillies played Game 1 of the best-of-five NL Division Series at Philadelphia.

In the first inning, Furcal singled and Albert Pujols walked. With one out, Halladay threw Berkman a two-seam fastball intended to sink away from the left-handed batter. Instead, the pitch was “thigh-high and center cut. About as bad as you can put it,” Halladay told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Berkman connected for a three-run home run.

Halladay “got mad after he gave up the homer,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “That ticked him off and he got going.”

After Schumaker led off the second with a single, Halladay retired the next 21 batters in a row. In eight innings, he gave up three hits and three runs, getting the win in an 11-6 Phillies victory. Boxscore

Dog fight

In his column about Game 5 of the 2011 NL Division Series, Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch wrote, “Carpenter and Halladay, two alpha dogs, could have burned the hitters’ bats with the intensity of their glares.”

After scoring in the first, the Cardinals were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Halladay. Fortunately for the Cardinals, Carpenter was better than Halladay, holding the Phillies scoreless for nine innings.

“You hate to lose in a one-run game,” Halladay said, “but you have to hand it to him (Carpenter). He was unbelievable.”

Furcal led off the game with a triple to center.

“He tried to come inside with a cutter,” Furcal said. “I got a good swing on it and the ball jumped off my bat.” Video

Said Halladay: “The ball was up.”

Schumaker followed with a run-scoring double to right on a curve after fouling off six pitches, including five with two strikes. Video

“I don’t think it was a terrible curveball,” Halladay said. “It was a very good at-bat.” Boxscore

It hurts

The next time Halladay faced the Cardinals was May 27, 2012, at St. Louis. Yadier Molina hit a grand slam in the first and Halladay departed after the second because of a sore shoulder. The Cardinals won, 8-3. Boxscore

Asked about Halladay’s ailment, Manuel said, “Worried? Yeah, definitely I’m concerned.”

Wily veteran

Soon after, Halladay went on the disabled list. When he returned, he made the adjustments needed to be effective again.

On Aug. 10, 2012, Halladay held the Cardinals to two hits in eight innings and got the win in a 3-1 Phillies victory at Philadelphia. A home run by Carlos Beltran accounted for the St. Louis run. Boxscore

“I don’t try to do what I used to do,” Halladay said. “I try to do what I need to do to be successful.”

Science of pitching

Halladay beat the Cardinals for the final time on April 19, 2013, at Philadelphia. He limited them to two hits _ home runs by Beltran and Matt Holliday _ over seven innings in an 8-2 Phillies victory. Boxscore

Halladay retired 14 batters in a row. “When I stay within myself and execute the mechanics the way it should be done, I feel good,” he said.

The Cardinals took a chance on Jeff Brantley and lost.

Needing a closer, the Cardinals traded a prime prospect, Dmitri Young, to the Reds for Brantley, even though the pitcher had spent most of the previous season on the disabled list.

Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty made the deal 20 years ago, on Nov. 10, 1997, when he got assurances Brantley had recovered fully from surgery to repair injuries to his right shoulder and rotator cuff.

The Cardinals, though, should have been as skeptical as columnist Bernie Miklasz, who, at the time of the trade, wrote in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “The Jeff Brantley trade makes me nervous; a 34-year-old pitcher coming off shoulder surgery?”

Brantley flopped with the 1998 Cardinals. Claiming his arm hurt, Brantley pitched poorly, clashed with pitching coach Dave Duncan, was removed from the closer’s role and got traded after the season.

The Cardinals’ misjudgment of Brantley set back the organization in significant ways. The Cardinals had to continue to scramble to find a closer and they had to do so without one of their strongest trade chips. Young, who became a productive hitter, was given away to a division rival without St. Louis getting full value in return.

Price is right

When closer Dennis Eckerlsey opted for free agency after the 1997 season, the Cardinals went in search of a replacement.

Wanting to avoid getting involved in bidding for free agents, Jocketty looked to make a trade. He was willing to part with Young, a first baseman and outfielder, because the Cardinals had top talent at those positions. Mark McGwire was the first baseman and Ron Gant, Ray Lankford and Brian Jordan were the outfield starters.

Though Brantley, 34, had not pitched since May 19, 1997, he appealed to the Cardinals. Brantley had earned 44 saves for the Reds in 1996.

“We knew we had to act quickly because other clubs were interested in him,” Jocketty said to Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.

Given orders by ownership to cut player payroll, Reds general manager Jim Bowden was eager to deal Brantley, who was under contract for salaries of $2.8 million over each of the next two years.

The Reds had another capable closer, Jeff Shaw, on their roster and he was paid less than Brantley.

The $5.6 million owed Brantley over 1998 and 1999 didn’t dissuade the Cardinals from pursuing a deal for him. “Guys who might be available in free agency would have cost twice as much,” Jocketty said.

Special hitter

When Jocketty offered Young, 24, to the Reds, Bowden accepted.

“This deal was made for financial reasons,” Bowden said to the Associated Press, “and is consistent with our commitment to get younger and cheaper.”

Asked by Jeff Horrigan of The Cincinnati Post about Young, Reds manager Jack McKeon replied, “He has a great attitude and a great upside … We might have something special here.”

Young, a switch hitter, was the top pick of the Cardinals in the 1991 amateur draft. He led the Class AAA American Association in batting average (.333) in 1996, producing 153 hits in 122 games.

Young debuted with the Cardinals in August 1996 and hit a key triple for them that fall in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Braves. In 1997, Young hit .258 in 110 games for St. Louis.

Projecting Young to be best-suited as a designated hitter, Jocketty said, “Dmitri is going to be a very good hitter. He’d be a good American League player.”

Regarding Young’s potential role with the 1998 Cardinals, manager Tony La Russa said, “There was a way to wedge him onto the team, but it was not a good fit.”

The acquisition of McGwire by St. Louis in July 1997 “kind of put a damper” on the Cardinals’ plans for him, Young told Mike Bass of The Cincinnati Post. “I didn’t have a clue what the Cardinals were going to do with me,” Young admitted.

Asked his reaction about joining the Reds, Young said, “The only thing I know about Cincinnati is the Isley Brothers are from there. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan, but I like their music.”

Not the same

Before the deal became official, the Cardinals sent Brantley to Birmingham, Ala., for an examination by Dr. James Andrews. With Cardinals trainer Barry Weinberg witnessing the exam, Andrews declared Brantley physically fit to pitch.

“I didn’t have any doubts that it wouldn’t be a problem,” Brantley said to the Post-Dispatch. “I’ve been throwing for over two months.”

Brantley told The Cincinnati Post that Andrews “gave me a 100 percent clean bill of health.”

Brantley, though, wasn’t effective. He was 0-5 with a 4.44 ERA for the 1998 Cardinals. He had 14 saves _ three after June 30. Booed by Cardinals fans, Brantley was especially bad in home games: a 6.38 ERA in 24 appearances at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals traded him to the Phillies after finishing in third place in the NL Central Division at 83-79.

Young was successful with Cincinnati. Primarily playing left field, he led the 1998 Reds in batting average (.310) and doubles (48) and tied with future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin for the club lead in hits (166).

In four seasons with the Reds, Young batted .304 and had an on-base percentage of .353.

Overall, in 13 big-league seasons with the Cardinals, Reds, Tigers and Nationals, Young had a .292 batting mark and an on-base percentage of .351.