Tag Archives: St. Louis Cardinals

Curt Flood is most remembered for what he would not do

OCTOBER 7, 1969 – ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI – Curt Flood was a pretty good baseball player. He broke in with the St. Louis Cardinals at the age of 18. He had a .293 lifetime batting average and won several Gold Glove awards. Flood did a lot for the Cardinals. He is most remembered for what he would not do.

Flood was traded from St. Louis to the Philadelphia Phillies on this date in 1969. He wouldn’t go. Flood didn’t like that he had no control over where he played. If a team traded a player to another team, that’s where the player went. That was the essence of the “reserve clause.” Flood balked, “I do not feel that I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes.”

Flood’s case against the reserve clause went all the way to the U-S Supreme Court. While the court ruled against Flood in 1972, the decision altered the landscape which soon allowed much freedom of movement by the players – and much higher salaries.

Contributing Sources:
Kurt Flood https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/f/floodcu01.shtml
“Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball” by Leonard Koppett

The Fall and Rise of Rick Ankiel

AUGUST 9, 2007 | ST. LOUIS, MISSOURIRick Ankiel of the St. Louis Cardinals hit a dramatic 3-run home run on this date in 2007. It was the culmination of the fall and rise of Rick Ankiel. He had gone through an agonizing public collapse as a pitcher seven years earlier. It got so bad he gave up pitching, but he didn’t give up baseball.

Rick Ankiel was drafted out of high school by the Cardinals in 1997. He received a big signing bonus and progressed through the minor leagues fairly quickly. There was no hint of the trouble ahead. He was Minor League Player of the Year in 1999. Ankiel went 11-7 in 2000, his first full season with the Cardinals, striking out an average of 10 hitters every 9 innings.

The problems surfaced in the playoffs. Though only 20-years old when the season started Ankiel got the start in game one of the National League Division Series. That’s where the trouble started. He gave up a hit and two walks in the first, but got through unscathed, no problems in the second, but mysterious wildness that would eventually drive him from the mound started in the third.

Here’s how it went:

• Greg Maddux walks
• Rafael Furcal pops out
• Wild pitch
• Wild pitch
• Walks Andruw Jones
• Wild pitch
• Strikes out Chipper Jones
• Walks Andres Galarraga
• Brian Jordan singles
• Wild pitch
• Walks Reggie Sanders
• Walt Weiss singles
• (Ankiel relieved)

The Cardinals won the game, swept the series and Ankiel shrugged off his wildness, but he didn’t make it through the first inning of game two of the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets. Five of the first 20 pitches he threw went back to the screen, but only two were counted as wild pitches because no one was on base… yet. He was lifted after three walks and a double to drive in two.

Ankiel’s pitching troubles continued. He was sent down to the minors in 2001 and his wildness got worse. He finally gave up pitching in 2005. He became an outfielder, eventually making it back to the Cardinals and a tremendous reception on August 9, 2007. He drew a prolonged standing ovation in his first at-bat on this date. He popped out in his first at bat, struck out in his second and hit the 3-run homer in his 3rd plate appearance.

Rick Ankiel ended up playing 11 years in the majors, 7 of those were after the fall and rise of Rick Ankiel.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
Cardinals-Padres, August 9, 2007
2000 NLDS Cardinals-Braves, Game 1, October 3, 2000
2000 NLCS Cardinals-Mets, Game 2, October 12, 2000

MAY 14-Stands collapse causing stampede

cropped-cropped-ball-2.jpg1927 | PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – A section of the stands at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl collapsed on this date in 1927 causing a stampede which killed a fan and injured more than 50. The 50-foot section of the lower deck seats down the first base line gave way during a Philadelphia Phillies – St. Louis Cardinals game throwing some 300 fans out of their seats.

According to newspaper reports at the time, “The collapse threw the crowd into a panic and it swarmed on the field…” (The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia). The game was suspended with the Phillies ahead 12-3.

The ball park was officially named National League Park, but gained its moniker Baker Bowl or Baker Field as a reference to one-time owner William F. Baker.

“The collapse threw the crowd into a panic and it swarmed on the field…”

Since the ball park had to be squeezed into Philadelphia’s street grid there were some interesting dimensions. For example, the right field foul pole was just 275 feet from home plate. Right center was only 300 feet away. These softball-like distances required the erection of a wall 60 feet high in right field. By comparison, the “Green Monster” in Boston is 37 feet high.

Contributing sources:
The Pinstripe Press
The Baker Bowl
Philadelphia Phillies

 

FEB 22nd in baseball history-Cards sign QB

1938 | ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI – The St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of two-time All-American quarterback Sammy Baugh on this date in 1938. And, no, not the football Cardinals – they were still in Chicago –, the baseball Cardinals. Baugh had just graduated from Texas Christian University where he was an innovative quarterback who relied heavily on a seldom used offensive weapon – the forward pass. He earned the nickname Slingin Sammy.

Baugh also played third base for the Texas Christian baseball team. In fact, he was initially recruited for baseball. That was the sport he wanted to pursue. After signing with the Cardinals to play baseball Baugh was sent to the minor leagues. He didn’t excel as well in the minors as he hoped and never played a major league baseball game.

Baugh played sixteen years in the National Football League, eventually being elected to the NFL Hall of Fame.

Here are other noteworthy athletes who played more than one professional sport:

John Elway – New York Yankees/Denver Broncos
Danny Ainge – Toronto Blue Jays/Boston Celtics
Dave DeBusschere – Chicago White Sox/New York Knicks
Chuck Connors – Chicago Cubs/Boston Celtics (star of the TV show, The Rifleman)
Deion Sanders – Several NFL teams/several MLB teams
Herbert Perry – Florida Gators quarterback/MLB infielder for 7 different teams

Contributing Sources:
United Press (UP), February 23, 1938, St. Louis Missouri
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Baugh#Baseball