St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt notes the absence of Hall of Fame legends Bob Gibson and Lou Brock in Spring Training.
The St. Louis Cardinals had themselves a successful offseason in terms of team transactions. Not only did they retain franchise mainstays Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, but they also managed to pull off a blockbuster trade to acquire third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies.
The Cardinals are preparing for the upcoming 2021 season, where they are expected to be the favorites to win the NL Central. While the focus is on the upcoming campaign, manager Mike Shildt can’t help but notice the absence of legends due to COVID-19 protocols. On top of that, the organization lost legends Lou Brock and Bob Gibson in the past year.
“It’s a huge part of how to be … good care-takers of the organization and being able to learn from these guys, including myself,” said Shildt, via Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Clearly, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Brock passed, and we miss Red (Schoendienst). That still stings. We memorialize them with pictures in the clubhouse that we get a chance to enjoy. I plan to talk to Whitey (Herzog) in the next day or two and, of course, we’d see Ozzie (Smith) by now. It’s always a pleasure to see him on the field and see him talking to the infielders and to see him and Willie (McGee) and (Jose) Oquendo talking and sharing some memories.”
Cardinals lost two legends in the past year
Brock passed away on Sept. 6 at the age of 81. The former outfielder was known as the “Base Burglar,” as he broke Ty Cobb’s steals record of 892 with 938, a record that would be held until Rickey Henderson surpassed him.
The outfielder played with the Cardinals for 16 years, in which he accumulated a .297 batting average, a .761 OPS, 129 home runs, 2,713 hits and 814 RBI. Brock earned six All-Star Game nominations and two World Series championships during his time in St. Louis.
Gibson, a legendary Cardinals ace, passed away on Oct. 2 at the age of 84 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Gibson was dominant on the pitchers mound throughout his career. After his historic 1968 season where he went 22-9, posted a ridiculous 1.12 ERA, and recorded 13 shutouts, the league lowered the pitchers mound from 15-inches to 10-inches due to his dominance. Even with the change, Gibson still pitched at an elite level.
In his 17 years with the Cardinals, Gibson recorded a 251-174 overall record, a.2.91 cumulative ERA, a 1.188 WHIP, and 3,117 strikeouts over 3,884.1 innings of work (528 games). Gibson earned the 1968 NL MVP award, two Cy Young awards, two World Series titles (1964, 1967), two World Series MVP awards, nine Gold Gloves and nine All-Star Game nominations.
While these two legends are no longer with us, they will forever be remembered by Cardinals fans, players, coaches and all of those who were part of the organization.