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Louis Clark "Lou" Brock (born June 18, 1939) is an American former Major League Baseball left fielder. During a 19-year baseball career, he played with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. He batted and threw left-handed. Brock is currently a special instructor coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Early life Edit

Brock was born in El Dorado, Arkansas and played college baseball at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He signed with the Cubs as an amateur free agent and broke into the Majors in Template:By.

Brock was blessed with great speed and baserunning instincts, but the young right fielder failed to impress the Cubs management. In Template:By after losing patience with his development, the Cubs gave up on Brock and made him part of a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals. The June 15 deadline deal for pitcher Ernie Broglio saw Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth head to St. Louis for Broglio, Bobby Shantz, and Doug Clemens. Cardinals general manager Bing Devine, specifically sought Brock at the insistence of Cardinals' manager Johnny Keane to increase team speed and solidify the Cardinals' lineup, struggling after the retirement of left fielder Stan Musial in 1963. At the time, many thought the deal was a heist for the Cubs. Broglio had led the National League in wins four years earlier, and had won 18 games the season before the trade.

After Brock was traded to the Cardinals, his career turned around significantly. He moved to left field and batted .348 and stole 38 bases for the Cardinals in the remainder of the 1964 season. At the time of the trade, the Cardinals were 28–31, in eighth place in the National League, trailing even the Cubs, who were 27–27 and in sixth place. Four months to the day later, the Cardinals would win the 1964 World Series in seven games over the favored New York Yankees, who were appearing in their fourteenth World Series in sixteen years (and their last until a dozen years later), helped in part by Brock's rejuvenated bat. Meanwhile, Broglio won only seven games for the Chicago Cubs before retiring from baseball after the 1966 season. To this day, the trade of Brock for Broglio is considered one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. It is considered by many Cubs fans to be the worst in franchise history (dating back to Template:By).

During his career, Brock helped the Cardinals to National League pennants in 1964, 1967, and 1968 and to World Series championships in 1964 and 1967, defeating the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, respectively, both times in seven games. The Cardinals suffered one World Series loss during Brock's tenure. That was in 1968 against the Detroit Tigers – the Tigers rallied from down three games to one behind the excellent pitching of Mickey Lolich.

Facts and Stats Edit

File:Lou Brock 2005.png

In Template:By, Brock became the first player to steal 50 bases and hit 20 home runs in the same season. He was not known as a power hitter, but he did display significant "pop" from time to time. In David Halberstam's book, "October 1964", the author states that manager Johnny Keane asked Brock to forgo the power game in favor of the speed game. However, Brock got some licks in, here and there.

In his rookie season (Template:By), Brock became one of four players to hit a home run into the center-field bleachers at the old Polo Grounds in New York since its 1923 reconstruction. His blast came against Al Jackson in the second game of a June 17 doubleheader against the New York Mets in the first of back-to-back games with a center-field home run, Hank Aaron accomplishing the feat the very next day. Joe Adcock was the first to hit a ball over that wall, in Template:By. Babe Ruth reached the old bleachers (a comparable distance) before the reconstruction.

In 1967, Brock hit 5 home runs in the first 4 games of the season, becoming the first player to do so.

File:LouBrockstealing.jpg

Brock remained best known for base-stealing and starting Cardinals rallies. He was said to have disdained Maury Wills' method of base-stealing, instead shortening his leads and going hard. He was also an early student of game films. He used an 8 mm movie camera from the dugout to film opposing pitchers and study their windups and pickoff moves to detect weaknesses he could exploit.

In a unique (if incidental) accomplishment, Brock was the first player ever to bat in a major league regular season game in Canada. He led off the April 14, 1969 game against the Montreal Expos at Jarry Park by lining out to second baseman Gary Sutherland. The Expos' pitcher, Larry Jaster, was a teammate of Brock's just the year before, and had been selected in the expansion draft by the Expos after the Template:By season.

His best batting average was in 1964, when he batted .315, one of eight years he batted over .300, he was a 6-time National League All-Star, he led the league in runs two times (1967 and Template:By), led the league in doubles (46 in 1968), and led the league in triples (14 in 1968).

Brock held the record for career stolen bases (938) until it was broken by Rickey Henderson. In Template:By he stole a major-league record 118 bases (breaking Maury Wills' record of 104 in Template:By; Brock's single-season record was also later broken by Henderson). Brock led the National League in stolen bases eight times between Template:By and 1974 (former teammate Bobby Tolan led the league in steals in Template:By).

Overall, Brock batted .293 in 19 seasons, amassing a total of 3023 hits.

Awards, honors and life after baseball Edit

Template:MLBBioRet Brock won the Template:By National League Babe Ruth Award, the Template:By Major League Player of the Year Award, the Template:By Roberto Clemente Award, the Template:By Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, and the Template:By Hutch Award.

His number 20 was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Template:By. In Template:By, he ranked Number 58 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Brock was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

After retiring from baseball, Brock prospered as a businessman, especially as a florist in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Brock still regularly appears at Cardinals games. When he steps onto the field he is always greeted by a loud, low-pitched cheer of "Loooouuuuuuuuuuuu". This may sound like "Boooo" to those unfamiliar with the team, and the town's love for Lou Brock.

Brock also lent his name to a unique rainhat, shaped like a miniature umbrella and to be worn at games during showers in lieu of retreating to the concourse. The product was called the "Brockabrella". There is no indication whether its name was in any way influenced by Brock's contemporary, utility man John Boccabella.

Brock and his wife are both ordained ministers serving at Abundant Life Fellowship Church in St. Louis.[1]

Brock's speed was referenced in the song Check the Rhime by the pioneering "jazz rap" hip-hop ensemble A Tribe Called Quest

On December 5, 2006 he was recognized for his accomplishments on and off of the field when he received the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Brock is the father of former USC Trojan and NFL player Lou Brock Jr.

Even though his stolen base record has been surpassed, the National League honors each stolen base leader with the Lou Brock award.

Lou Brock is a director on the board of YTB International. http://www.ytbi.com/BoardOfDirectors.html

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