The St. Louis Cardinals organization, the St. Louis community and baseball fans everywhere are saddened this evening to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Louis Clark “Lou” Brock at the age of 81. Brock, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1985, is survived by his wife Jacqueline, daughter, Wanda, sons, Lou Jr. and Emory, stepchildren Marvin Hay and Jacqueline Means, grandchildren Darian, Alivia, Colston, Spencer and Iris, and preceded in death by his son, Daniel.
“Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” said Cardinals’ Principal Owner & Chief Executive Officer William O. DeWitt Jr. “Lou was a Hall of Fame player, a great coach, an insightful broadcaster and a wonderful mentor to countless generations of Cardinals players, coaches and members of the front office. He was an ambassador of the game around the country and a fan favorite who connected with millions of baseball fans across multiple generations. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.”
Brock enjoyed 19 seasons in the majors, including parts of 16 years with the Cardinals from 1964-79. The Louisiana native, who was born on June 18, 1939 in El Dorado, Arkansas, was a fan-favorite who still holds the National League record with 938 career stolen bases.
The Cardinals’ acquisition of outfielder Lou Brock from the Chicago Cubs on June 15, 1964, ranks as perhaps the greatest trade in franchise history. St. Louis traded pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens in exchange for Brock and pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth.
Over the course of his career with the Cardinals, Brock established himself as the most prolific base stealer in baseball history to that time. His 938 stolen bases stood as the Major League record until Rickey Henderson bettered the mark in 1991. Brock’s total remains the National League standard, and he owns the Major League record with 12 seasons of 50 or more steals. Brock led the N.L. in thefts on eight occasions (1966-69, 1971-74). He set the single-season record with 118 in 1974, bettering Maury Wills’ mark of 104 during the 1962 campaign, and finished 2nd in N.L. MVP voting that season. In 1978, the N.L. announced that its annual stolen base leader would receive the Lou Brock Award, making Brock the first active player to have an award named after him.
In addition to his base-stealing records, Brock was a career .293 batter with 3,023 hits. Eight times he batted at a .300 or better clip. In 1967, Brock slugged 21 home runs and had 76 RBI from the leadoff spot. He also had 52 stolen bases, making him the first player in baseball history with 20 homers and 50 steals. The following year, Brock topped the N.L. in doubles (46), triples (14) and stolen bases (62), becoming the first player in the Senior Circuit to do so since Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1908. Brock joined the 3,000-hit club Aug. 13, 1979, with a fourth-inning single off Dennis Lamp of the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Brock’s 3,023 career hits rank 28th on baseball’s all-time list.
Upon his arrival in St. Louis, the left-handed hitting Brock paid immediate dividends, batting .348 for the balance of the 1964 season and propelling the Cardinals from eighth place in the N.L. to a World Championship win over the New York Yankees. The Cardinals won the World Series again in 1967 over the Boston Red Sox and were N.L. champions in 1968. Brock was at his best in postseason play. His .391 career batting average (34-for-87) ranks as the seventh-best in World Series history, while his 14 stolen bases are tied for the most all-time with Eddie Collins of the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox. Brock holds the Fall Classic record for stolen bases in a single series (7 in both 1967 and 1968).
On the Cardinals’ career lists, Brock ranks first in stolen bases (888 – Vince Coleman is second with 549); second in games played (2,289), at-bats (9,125), runs (1,427) and hits (2,713); third in doubles (434) and total bases (3,776); fourth in triples (121); sixth in walks (681); and 11th in RBI (814). His 21 career leadoff home runs are the second-most in club annals. Brock’s uniform no. 20 was retired by the Cardinals in 1979.
Brock remained active in baseball since retiring as a player following the 1979 season. He worked in the Cardinals’ broadcast booth from 1981 to 1984; was a base-running consultant for the Minnesota Twins in 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 and Montreal Expos in 1993; and had served as a special instructor for the Cardinals (base running and outfield play) since 1995.
The six-time N.L. All-Star was a first-ballot National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee in 1985 and was an inaugural member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014. He was voted the left fielder on the All-Busch Stadium II team in 2005. In 2015, Brock was voted by the fans as a member of Franchise Four, joining Bob Gibson, Rogers Hornsby and Stan Musial as one of the most impactful players who best represented the history of the Cardinals.
In 2016, the organization launched #STLisLou, a season-long campaign to honor and celebrate Lou Brock while helping raise money for children with diabetes in Lou’s name. Brock fought various medical conditions in recent years, including having his left leg amputated below the knee because of an infection relative to a diabetic condition in 2015 and a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma in 2017, but returned valiantly each time. A fixture for many Opening Days in St. Louis, he recently visited Busch Stadium to cheer on the team and celebrate his 80th birthday in June 2019.