Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brock Sets A New Stolen Base Record

On August 29, 1977, Hall of Famer and St. Louis Cardinals great Lou Brock eclipses Ty Cobb's 49-year-old career stolen base record of 892 steals. Brock’s record-breaking performance came as he achieved career stolen base 893 in the loss to the Padres, 4-3.

Brock would go on to steal 938 bases, leaving him as the stolen base leader until Rickey Henderson broke the feat. Currently Brock is still second on the list, more than 300 stolen bases above Juan Pierre who is third on the list with 611.

Brock’s 19-year career with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals saw him play in six All-Star games, including four consecutive appearances from 1971-1975. He was a two-time World Series Champion in 1964 and 1967, both with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Brock won several awards during his career, including the 1967 Babe Ruth Award, given to the player with the best performance in the postseason. The award, created by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) in honor of Babe Ruth, was first awarded in 1949 to the MVP of the World Series, one year after Ruth's death.

The award continued to be awarded exclusively for performances in the World Series until 2007, when the New York chapter of the BBWAA changed the award to cover the entire postseason. Though it precedes the World Series Most Valuable Player Award, which was not created until 1955, the Babe Ruth Award is considered less prestigious, as it is not sanctioned by MLB and is awarded several weeks after the World Series.

Brock also won the 1975 Robert Clemente Award, which is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team", as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media. It is named for Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente. Originally known as the Commissioner's Award, it has been presented by the MLB since 1971. In 1973, the award was renamed after Clemente following his death in a plane crash while delivering supplies to victims of the Nicaragua earthquake.

He also won the 1977 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which is given annually to a Major League Baseball (MLB) player who best exhibits the character and integrity of Lou Gehrig, both on the field and off it.

In 1979 Brock won two awards, the National League Comeback Player of the Year award given to the player who has the best season after an injury or dismal season. That same season Brock won the Hutch Award, which is given annually to an active Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire" of Fred Hutchinson, by persevering through adversity.

Brock finished his career with a .293 batting average, with 3,023 hits, consisting of 486 doubles, 141 triples and 149 home runs. Brock also had 1,610 runs scores, 900 RBIs, and 706 walks in his career to go along with the 938 stolen bases. Eight times Brock led the league in steals with his highest single season total coming in 1974 with 118.

Although never an MVP, Brock was in the MVP conversation 10 times, with his highest finishing rank of second in 1974.

The St. Louis Cardinals retired his no. 20 jersey in 1979, and in 1985 Brock was elected into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame with 79.75 percent of the vote on the first ballot in which he appeared.