It broke my heart to hear that St. Louis Cardinals legend Lou Brock had to have his left leg amputated below his knee due to complications from diabetes.
After all, Brock is synonymous with speed and stolen bases. The Cards stole him from the Chicago Cubs in the middle of the 1964 season for pitcher Ernie Broglio in what is considered by many baseball fans to be the most lopsided trade in MLB history. Brock was the last piece of the puzzle for the Cardinals who went to win the World Series that year and again in 1967 with one more NL pennant in 1968. In 21 World Series game, Brock hit .391 with 4 HR and 13 RBI along with 14 stolen bases.
Brock would steal at least 50 bases a year for 12 consecutive seasons and during a nine year stretch between 1966 and 1974, Brock led the NL in stolen bases eight times. In 1974, Brock set the MLB single season record for stolen bases with 118 and would finish runner up in NL MVP balloting to Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1977, Brock stole his 893rd base to pass Ty Cobb on MLB’s all-time list and would finish his career in 1979 with 938 thefts. Did I mention Brock is also part of the 3,000 hit club?
Of course, Rickey Henderson would shatter both the single season stolen base record in 1982 with 130 (though Brock still has the NL record) and the all-time record with 1,406. But Brock would make the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1985. And how can you not love the Brockabella?
While Brock might be down, he is far from out. The 76-year old Hall of Famer is said to be well on the road to recovery. I dare say that Lou Brock can be called safe at second.
Best wishes to Lou Brock for a speedy recovery. In the meantime, let’s enjoy some of his career highlights.