*Unfortunately, we are reporting yet another death. Hall of Famer Lou Brock, who at the time of his retirement in 1979, was the all-time leader in stolen bases, has passed away, according to ESPN.
The Cardinals and Chicago Cubs observed a moment of silence in Brock’s memory before their game at Wrigley Field on Sunday.
Dick Zitzmann, Brock’s longtime agent and friend commented, “Over my 25-plus years of being his agent, he was perhaps the happiest Hall of Famer I’ve ever encountered.” He also said, “I think he led a life that will never be duplicated.” Although the exact cause of Lou Brock’s death has not been reported, in recent years he had his leg amputated due to complications from diabetes, as well as blood cancer.
Brock played in the major leagues for 19 years, beginning in 1961 with the Chicago Cubs, but spent most of his career as a St. Louis Cardinals left fielder. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
Brock was a base stealing threat; having broken Ty Cobb’s all-time base stealing record and led the National League in base stealing a record eight times, as well as getting 50 or more stolen bases 12 times. His record of 938 stolen bases, was later broken by Rickey Henderson.
He is also a member of the 3,000-hit club, ending his career with 3,023 hits and a career batting average of .293. He was a six time All-Star and was runner-up for the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1974.
Lou Brock received a litany of awards both during and after his playing career. His many awards included, the Babe Ruth Award as the outstanding player in the 1967 World Series, The Sporting News Player of the Year Award in 1974, the Roberto Clemente Award in 1975, for best exemplifying the game of baseball both on and off the field. In 1977, he was awarded the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award as the player who best exemplified Lou Gehrig’s ability and character. In 1978, Lou Brock became the first active player to have an award named after him, when the National League announced that its annual stolen base leader would receive the Lou Brock Award.
In October 1979, Brock was named the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year. On September 9, 1979, the St. Louis Cardinals retired Brock’s jersey number 20, an honor that had previously been bestowed upon only three other Cardinals players. He was inducted into multiple Halls of Fame, the biggest being the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1999, he was ranked Number 58 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected].