Lou Brock, one of the greatest Cardinals of all time, died on Sunday. He was 81.
A first-ballot Hall of Famer, Brock had suffered from a variety of health issues in recent years.
“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,” Chairman owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement released by the team. “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 played for the Cardinals for 16 years after being acquired in a 1964 trade from the Chicago Cubs, a deal still regarded as perhaps the greatest trade in team history.
During 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.
“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,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “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.”
Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame, said, ““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.”
The news of Brock’s death also brought responses from Ozzie Smith and Albert Pujols, both in the category with Brock as some of the greatest players in team history.
In messages posted on Twitter, Smith said, “Lou Brock the Base Burglar was a class act on and off the field. 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.”
Pujols posted on Twitter, “Lou Brock was one of the finest men I have ever kown. 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.”
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.
Brock was at his best during the World Series, playing in the 1964, 1967 and 1968 Series. 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).
Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports
The St. Louis Cardinals announced that the family of Louis Clark “Lou” Brock has made the following funeral arrangements for the Cardinals Hall of Famer.
A private service will be held at Greater Grace Church in Ferguson, MO on Saturday, September 12th at 11:00 AM. Media and fans can access a live stream of the service at cardinals.com.
Prior to the private service, the Brock family will lay a wreath at the Lou Brock Statue at Lindenwood University at 9:30 AM. There will be a funeral procession from Lindenwood University to Greater Grace Church via First Capitol Drive to Fifth Street in St. Charles. After the private service, the family will lead a procession to Busch Stadium where they will lay a wreath at the Lou Brock statue located at the corner of 8th and Clark Street at approximately 1:30 PM. The procession to Busch Stadium will proceed from Highway 70, north on Tucker Avenue to Market Street to the corner of 8th and Clark Street.
Reporters wishing to cover the service will have access to a live feed of the service at cardinals.com, but will not have access inside the church. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch will provide pool photography coverage. Out of respect, there will be no access to the family and friends of Lou.
A public viewing will be held at the Austin A. Layne Mortuary, 7239 West Florissant Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63136, Friday, September 11th 5:00-8:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Lou Brock Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, located at 231 Fox Hill Road, St. Charles, MO 63301. The team has set up a web page at cardinals.com/lou to honor Lou and allow fans to share their personal tributes and condolences to Lou’s family.
Please note: For all events, strict COVID-19 protocols will be observed, including requirement of masks and social distancing.
STATEMENT FROM LOU BROCK, Jr. – SEPT. 8, 2020
I am certainly going to miss my dad and at a time when she is ready, my stepmom will certainly share her thoughts, and the family’s thoughts.
Growing up in St. Louis as Lou Brock, Jr. was a wonderful experience. Everyone says St. Louis is a baseball town, and my father absolutely was a baseball guy. What is so amazing to me is how St. Louis’ love for baseball has been honored with the likes of Jack Buck, Bob Gibson, Stan Musial, and all the wonderful guys. To know my dad’s name honors the city, as well as MLB, is a gift.
By virtue of being his son, I have met so many famous and influential personalities. And the one common thing I heard is they all had admiration for my dad. Genuine admiration. I have to say it is well deserved since my memories of my father are full of him helping and speaking humanely to all people. He saw no barriers with people. I recall a hospital executive telling me how they never had to call the Cardinals to see if my dad could come visit children fighting illnesses because he would just show up with no one asking. And I thought, wow, he never mentioned that he just did it. I guess he saved the fanfare for the field.
I’ll remember him as the a ball player that did not complain, did not speak bad words. He just went to work and put on a show for the crowd. I recall the days at Busch Stadium–the way the anticipation began when he came into on-deck circle. There was that buzz in the crowd, that energy that started to develop. I don’t need to say what happened from there, we all know. “He’s safe!”
There are two distinguishing qualities about my father. First is the way he achieved success with his mental acuity and mental toughness. Generally, is it said how he could hit, and how fast he could run. But I first-hand witnessed him mathematically define the base stealing concept. He did it in a day with no digital video. The only tools were tape measures, stop watches, and borrowed cameras from a television station. Doesn’t that make him as much a scientist as athlete?
Second, is the myriad of things he did after his career, what he did with the fame he accumulated. Since I had gone off to college, I didn’t first-hand witness all he did. But it was a lot and mainly his acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. When Mrs. Brock is ready, I am sure she will share details on these things with everyone.
To baseball fans all over the world, thank you for your love of my dad. And thank you for all the condolences.
To Cardinal nation, I will tell you one undisputable fact: He loved you just as much as you loved him. I am proud to have shared my dad with you.
I salute you dad, to a life well-lived! I thank God for the blessing of Lou Brock as my father.