Friday, August 13, 2010

PTWSW #61: The 1964 St. Louis Cardinals

Manager: Johnny Keane
Record: 93-69
Ballpark: Busch Stadium
Owner: August Busch Jr.
GM: Bing Devine (1), Bob Howsam (2)
Coaches: Vern Benson, Howie Pollet, Red Schoendienst, Joe Schultz

Future Hall of Famers: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson

All-Stars: Ken Boyer, Curt Flood, Dick Groat, Bill White

Team Leaders, Batting

Lou Brock, .348
OBP: Lou Brock, .387
SLG: Lou Brock, .527
OPS: Lou Brock, .915
2B: Bill White, 37
3B: Ken Boyer, 10
HR: Ken Boyer, 24
RBI: Ken Boyer, 119 (NL leader)
BB: Ken Boyer, 70
SB: Lou Brock, 33

Team Leaders, Pitching

Ray Sadecki, 20
SO: Bob Gibson, 245
ERA: Bob Gibson, 3.01
IP: Bob Gibson, 287.1
CG: Bob Gibson, 17
SHO: Curt Simmons, 3
K/BB: Bob Gibson, 2.85
SV: Barney Schultz, 14


Oldest Player:
Bobby Shantz (b. September 26, 1925)

Youngest Player: Dave Bakenhaster (b. March 5, 1945)

First to Leave Us: Ken Boyer (d. September 7, 1982)

Last Survivor: As of the date of this post, all but four (Boyer, Curt Flood, Lew Burdette, Mike Cuellar) are still living.

First in Majors: Curt Simmons (debut September 28, 1947)

Last in Majors: Tim McCarver (final game October 5, 1980)

First to Play For the Franchise: Ken Boyer and Barney Schultz both played their first games in Cardinal red on April 12, 1955.

Last to Play For the Franchise: Lou Brock (September 30, 1979)

Pre-union Team: The 1961-63 Cubs (Lou Brock, Glen Hobbie, Barney Schultz) and 1961 Pirates (Dick Groat, Bobby Shantz, Bob Skinner) had three.

Reunion Team: The 1966 Phillies had five: Doug Clemens, Roger Craig, Dick Groat, Bob Uecker and Bill White.


Ken Boyer, NL MVP
Ken Boyer, cycle on June 16
Bobby Shantz, NL Pitcher Gold Glove
Bill White, NL First Base Gold Glove
Curt Flood, NL Outfield Gold Glove

Season Summary

The Cardinals had shown promise at the end of the 1963 season. They'd gone on a 19-1 run from late August to September to pull within one game of the Dodgers, then tailed off after that for a solid second-place finish. Many writers saw the 1964 Cards as a possible pennant winner thanks to their deep control-oriented pitching staff, tight defense and an infield of four men who'd started the All-Star Game the previous year. Their outfield wasn't an area of strength after the retirement of Stan Musial and the trade of George Altman, but the Cardinals played well for the first month with decent starts from replacements Charlie James and Johnny Lewis. Late May was when the struggles began: James and Lewis regressed, and by the middle of June the Redbirds had a losing record.

On June 15 the Cardinals made a trade that would impact the franchise for years to come: pitcher Ernie Broglio and some spare parts were sent to the Cubs in exchange for young outfielder Lou Brock and some other spare parts. Brock quickly solved their left field problem by hitting .348 after joining St. Louis. The Cards went through several right fielders before calling up Mike Shannon after the All-Star Break. Shannon's addition to the starting lineup coincided with more Cardinal wins, and after July 24 they were never below .500. Despite picking up the pace, they were still far behind in the pennant race. On August 17, with the Cardinals in fifth place (nine out of first), general manager Bing Devine received his pink slip. Rumors swirled that manager Johnny Keane also would be let go after the season ended.

Just like in 1963, the Cardinals saved their best play for the stretch run; they continued their winning ways and made it all the way up to second place. It seemed like too little too late though, as they were 6.5 games behind the Phillies (and tied with the Reds) on September 20. Suddenly, things got dramatic. The Reds swept the Phillies in a three-game series (the middle of a nine-game winning streak) while the Cardinals won nine of ten, the last three being another Philly series sweep. All told, the Phillies lost ten in a row during their collapse. That St. Louis sweep put the Cards atop the standings for the first time all year, and they held on to win the pennant with a victory over the Mets on the last day of the season. Cincinnati and Philadelphia finished in a second-place tie, just one game back.

Playing in the World Series for the first time in 18 years, the Cardinals were set to do battle with the New York Yankees. The Cards beat Whitey Ford at home in Game 1, but Yankee rookie Mel Stottlemyre outdueled Cardinal ace Bob Gibson in Game 2. Mickey Mantle's walkoff homer won Game 3 for New York, while Ken Boyer's grand slam proved the winning blow for St. Louis in Game 4. Gibson returned for Game 5, and he nearly pitched a shutout before Tom Tresh tied it on a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. Tim McCarver bailed him out with a three-run shot in the tenth to give St. Louis a 3-2 Series lead, though the Yankees would knot things up in Game 6. Gibson came back on two days' rest for the deciding game. He allowed five runs in the nine innings, but his offense scored seven, giving him a second win and the Cardinals a World Series title. Gibson was named MVP for his two complete game victories and a record 31 strikeouts.

Manager Johnny Keane resigned a day after the World Series ended due to tensions with the front office. Coach Red Schoendienst was named as his replacement, while Keane took over the team he'd just defeated: the Yankees.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
Google News Archives

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