Lou Brock, the St. Louis Cardinals’ speedster who was a first-ballot member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame, has died at 81, the team told ESPN.
Brock retired in 1979 as the single-season and all-time leader in stolen bases; marks since surpassed by Rickey Henderson. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1985.
After showing flashes of his potential with the Chicago Cubs, Brock’s career took off when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 15, 1964. Acquired in a trade for pitcher Ernie Broglio, Brock became the team’s left fielder and hit .348 with 12 homers, 44 RBI and 33 steals in just 103 games.
The Cardinals won the World Series in seven games over the Yankees in ’64 and Brock would lead the team back to the Series again in ’67 and ’68. Brock had 12 hits in ’67 when St. Louis beat the Boston Red Sox in seven games, then had 13 hits a year later as Detroit took the title.
Those two years were part of a 12-season stretch starting in ’65 in which Brock averaged 65 steals and 99 runs scored, with an average above .300 in six of those years. He hit 21 homers and stole 52 bases in ’67, the first player to hit more than 20 homers with at least 50 steals in a season.
In ’74, Brock surpassed Maury Wills’ single-season mark with 118 stolen bases and surpassed Ty Cobb for the career mark in ’77, ending with 938.
Brock’s death came after Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver died Monday. Brock faced Seaver 157 times in his career. That was the most plate appearances against any pitcher for Brock, who was in turn the batter Seaver faced the most number of times, according to ESPN Stats & Info research.
The El Dorado, Arkansas native ended his 19-year career with 3,023 hits, 149 homers, 900 RBI and a .293 average.
The Cardinals announced in April 2017 that Brock was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. In 2015, Brock’s left leg was amputated below the knee due to complications from diabetes.