'Class act' Brock remembered across MLB

September 7th, 2020

Cardinals legend Lou Brock's name is etched in the record books, his statue stands outside of Busch Stadium and he had the respect of so many across the baseball community. When news of his death Sunday reached the public, sympathies came pouring in from across the league.

People spoke not only about the excitement of watching Brock play and run the bases, but also about his kind heart, delightful demeanor and all-around gracious personality.

“You’re talking about an iconic Cardinal, and that’s saying something,” manager Mike Shildt said after Sunday night’s 7-3 win over the Cubs. “He’s on the Mount Rushmore of Cardinals. Storied career, winning career, record setter. World Series champion. And just a sweet person. Just a really, really good man. He embodies everything that the St. Louis Cardinal organization is about.”

The Cardinals and Cubs held a moment of silence for Brock before Sunday night’s game at Wrigley Field -- where Brock started his career before being traded to the Cardinals in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. Shildt and the Cardinals learned of Brock’s passing right before the game started, so the moment of silence was the first time some players heard. When center fielder Harrison Bader found out, he teared up and went out to play with a new perspective.

“In every instance I’ve been around Lou, just the one thing that always stuck out to me is his smile,” Bader said. “And at his older age was just his energy. It really did just fill up a room. I idolized him, that type of smile, that energy and everything he brought to the game.”

Brock did spend some time around the clubhouse when Bader was in it -- and the basestealing king made sure to pass on some tips to one of the fastest current Cardinals.

“I’m pretty sure a couple of times he told me I wasn’t as fast as he was,” Bader said with a laugh. “But his big thing about basestealing was the mentality behind it. You gotta want it. You gotta take that lead with the intention of I’m getting to second. There’s no doubt he did an incredible job in his career of doing just that.”

Brock was remembered in the Cardinals organization and across baseball Sunday night.

“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,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. “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.”

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred added: “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my condolences to the family and friends of Hall of Famer Lou Brock, as well as the loyal fans of the St. Louis Cardinals. Lou was among the game’s most exciting players, becoming the 14th player in history to reach 3,000 hits and holding Baseball’s all-time record for stolen bases in a season and career for many years.

“He was known for his dominant performances in his three career World Series. Lou was an outstanding representative of our National Pastime and he will be deeply missed.”

Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Jane Forbes Clark, said in a statement, “Lou Brock perfected the art of the stolen base over a 19-year Hall of Fame career and cherished his membership in the Hall. For decades after his election in 1985, he and his beloved wife Jackie would return to Cooperstown each summer, and his smile would brighten Induction Weekend. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire staff of the Hall of Fame, we send our deepest condolences to Jackie and the Brock family.”

Added MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark: “Lou Brock personified the aggressive style of play the Cardinals helped bring to our game in the ‘60s and ‘70s, including rising to the occasion with his bat and on the base paths for the club’s World Series teams in 1964, 1967 and 1968. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends and fans across the country.”

Throughout Sunday evening, other condolences from around the league were sent via social media:

“Lou Brock the Base Burglar was a class act on and off the field,” Hall of Fame and Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith said on Twitter. “Made Cardinal baseball what it is. Had the ability to change the momentum of a game with his legs and his bat. May he Rest in Peace. One of the greatest Cardinals of all time.”

Former Cardinal Albert Pujols tweeted a photo of him and Brock and started a touching thread about Brock’s influence on Pujols when he broke in the Majors: “Lou Brock was one of the finest men I have ever known. Coming into this league as a 21-year-old kid, Lou Brock was one of the first Hall of Fame players I had the privilege to meet. He told me I belonged here in the big leagues.”

“Saddened to hear of the passing of Lou Brock,” Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins said. “Many rivalries between us but always respected Lou as a person and player. My thoughts are with the Brock family and the Cardinals nation.”

“Just heard about Lou Brock,” former Phillies MVP Dick Allen said. “He was a great one. So sad. Rest in peace my brother.”

“RIP HOFamer Lou Brock!” Chipper Jones tweeted. “The original king of the stolen base.”

Yogi Berra’s granddaughter said on Twitter that she “never saw Lou Brock play, but Dad and Gramp talked so much how fast he was that in my mind he is always running, and even as he aged and I saw him at Hall of Fame and MLB events, I always imagined him moving more quickly than anyone else. Run in Peace, Lou.”

The Cubs joined “the Cardinals organization and all at MLB in mourning the passing of Hall of Famer Lou Brock.” St. Louis and Chicago were the only two teams Brock played for in his career.