The rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs dates back to the late 1800s, when the Cardinals were known as the Brown Stockings and the Cubs known as the White Stockings. There is a lot of history between the two clubs and many players who have played for both teams. This Fanpost will focus on three key Hall of Fame players who were acquired by the Cardinals.
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Also known as Pete Alexander was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. By 1926, Alex had already won over 300 games with the Phillies and Cubs. He also suffered from epilepsy, shellshock from World War I, and was a heavy drinker. Alexander fueded with Cubs manager Joe McCarthy and was released in mid-1926. Second baseman and manager Rogers Hornsby suggested to GM Branch Rickey that the Cardinals should pick up Alex and they did. The Cardinals went on to win the National League pennant in 1926 over the Pirates and Reds.
In the 1926 World Series, the Cardinals faced the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig led Yankees. Alexander won Games 2 and 6, pitching complete games both times. It is rumored that Alexander celebrated pretty hard after Game 6 and was hungover in the bullpen for Game 7. However, Jesse Haines got into trouble in the seventh inning of Game 7 and Hornsby called for Alexander to come in the game. He comes in an strikes out Tony Lazzeri to get out of the inning and retires the next 5 batters. Alexander walked Babe Ruth in the 9th inning with 2 outs. Then after throwing a strike to Bob Muesel, Ruth tries to steal second and is thrown out by Bob O'Farrell. The Cardinals win their first World Series and Alexander is the hero of the Series with two wins and a save. Alexander went on to win 21 games in 1927 and pitched three more seasons for the Cardinals.
Brock started his career with the Cubs, but despite his speed and athleticism failed to impress Chicago's management. The trading deadline was June 15th back in 1964, and Bing Devine was looking to improve the teams baserunning and team speed. He decided to trade former 20 game winner Ernie Broglio and two other players to the Cubs for Brock and two other players. At the time of the trade, the Cardinals were 28-31 and in 8th place. People thought the Cubs actually got the better end of the deal with Broglio.
It turned out that Broglio was a bust for Chicago and was out of baseball by 1966. Brock was installed as the Cardinals everyday left fielder and hit .348 with 12 home runs and 43 stolen bases for the 1964 Cards. The Phillies were in first place most of the season until their late season collapse. Similar to this past season, the Cardinals rallied to win the pennant by one game over the Phillies and Reds. Brock had a good World Series and the Cards went on to defeat the Yankees in 7 games.
Brock turned out to be one of the greatest Cardinals players ever. He was a key member of the El Birdos teams of 1967 and 1968 featuring him, Orlando Cepeda, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Curt Flood, Tim McCarver, and Julian Javier. Brock was a clutch postseason player, batting .391, slugging .655, and had a .424 OBP during World Series play. He also hit 4 home runs, 13 RBIs, and had 14 steals during his 21 World Series games played. Brock stole 118 bases in 1974 and made 6 All Star teams with the Redbirds. He retired with 938 steals, which was the alltime record until Rickey Henderson broke it.
After the 1980 season, Whitey Herzog made a trade for 1979 Cy Young Award winning closer Bruce Sutter. He traded Gold Glove third baseman Ken Reitz and slugging prospect Leon Durham to get him. Sutter made the last four All Star teams, led the NL in saves in 1979 and 1980, and pitched in over 100 innings the last two seasons. Sutter had a devastating split fingered fastball and was a pioneer of the pitch.
Sutter only pitched 4 seasons with the Redbirds, but they were four of the best seasons a relief pitcher has ever had in St. Louis. He was an All Star three of those years, leading the NL in saves three times, and finished in the top three in Cy Young voting twice. He was Fireman of the Year for 1981, 1982, and 1984. Sutter won two games in relief and saved three games during the 1982 postseason in which the Cardinals won their ninth World Series. Sutter left after dominating 1984 season, signing with the Braves. He was never the same pitcher in Atlanta, and was injured most of the time their. In 2006 Sutter was elected to the Hall of Fame.