Lou Brock's Memorable Debut With The St. Cloud Rox

Brock for Broglio. Even though the swap occurred almost 55 years ago, it’s a haunting reminder of when trades go wrong….really wrong.

The Chicago Cubs shipped a young Lou Brock down to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ernie Broglio. Six players switched uniforms in the deal altogether. Along with Brock, Paul Toth and Jack Spring went south. The Cubs received Bobby Shantz and Doug Clemens with Broglio.

Brock was a late bloomer in the game of baseball, not playing organized ball until his junior year of high school in Louisiana. He attended Southern University and when his grades slipped soon after enrolling he tried out for the baseball team to earn an athletic scholarship. He starred for the team, helping lead the Southern Jaguars to an NAIA championship as a junior in 1959. After trying out with the Chicago Cubs he was signed on August 22, 1960.

The future Hall of Famer was assigned to the St. Cloud Rox of the Class C Northern League in Minnesota. His pro baseball debut would take place on a Sunday afternoon, April 30, 1961, at St. Cloud’s Municipal Stadium. In front of 1,049 fans, Rox manager Joe Macko scribbled Brock’s name into the lineup batting second and playing centerfield.

“Lou Brock and Lou Leonard, rookie outfielders, were two lulus at bat Sunday, matching blow for blow. Each had a homer, double, and single,” read a paragraph in the Monday May 1, 1961 edition of the St. Cloud Times.

Both Lou’s, Brock and Leonard, hit their home runs in the second inning in a 9-5 loss to the Aberdeen Pheasants. The very first professional pitch Brock saw was a swing and deep fly ball over the fence.

“The sun was shining as the game started, but the weather wasn’t good. A cold wind breezed through the place and as the game wore on things got chillier from a 43-degree high. When it was over about half the total of 1,049 on hand had gone home,” wrote the St. Cloud Times.

The 1961 season in St. Cloud was the lone minor league season for Lou Brock winning the Northern League batting title (.361) along the way. He was called up to Chicago late in the season and appeared in four games at the end of the 1961 season for the Cubs.

This is a baseball card blog after all, so I’d be remiss to not include some classic Cubs Lou Brock cards. He would get a Topps rookie card in the 1962 set.

Brock was card #472 in the 1963 Topps set.

Finally, 1964 Topps marked the final Cubs Lou Brock baseball card.

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