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Watch Lou run - A Hunt and Peck

After being traded by the Cubs, Lou Brock took off.

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Last night I began reading December's Viva el Libro October 1964. I have only read the prologue, but after just three pages I am terribly excited for the rest of the book. The book begins with the back story of Cardinal legend, Lou Brock, who after two years in the majors had yet to break through. He set off to Arizona for spring training with the will to prove himself and an immense desire to make it as a big leaguer.

He talked all the time about how he had to make it as a major-league star, about how it would mean a life of success and affluence; whereas failing would send him back to the extreme poverty from which he had come. "I've got to make it here," Brock would say again and again. "I just can't go back to Louisiana and Arkansas. I've been there, and I know what's there." I am here to play baseball, Banks would think, but Lou is here to fight a war.

Of course, later that summer Lou Brock would be the centerpiece of one of the most famous trades in baseball history. Brock took off for the Cardinals, hitting for a .348 batting average, stealing 33 bases, accumulating 4.7 fWAR and even earning MVP votes in that 1964 season. Brock went on to play fifteen more seasons with the Birds on the Bat, worth 41.6 fWAR, and stole 845 bases, setting the record in 1974 with 118.

The story of Lou Brock is just one of the many great storylines from that 1964 season. I cannot wait to see what else is in store.

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