On September 17, 1941 Stan "The Man" Musial made his major league debut.. After being called up from the Rochester Red Wings, the 20 year old Musial got his first taste of the majors in the second game of a doubleheader against the Boston Braves, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. He started the game in right field, hitting third in the Cardinals line up. In his first at bat he faced veteran knuckleballer Jim Tobin. It was the first time that Stan had ever seen a knuckleball. As a result, he popped out weakly to third. The next time around Musial made some adjustments and stroked a two-run double, getting the first of his eventual 3,630 major league hits. He got another hit later in the game, finishing 2 for 4 with 2 RBI's. The Cardinals won the game 3 - 2 and Musial was on his way.
Two other baeball legends made their major league debuts on September 17, albeit on different years. Check back later today to learn more.
On August 29th, 1977, St. Louis Cardinal Lou Brock broke a record that some thought would never be broken. In a game against the Padres at San Diego Stadium, Brock led off the game with a walk. Lou's outfield mate Jerry Mumphrey came to the plate next and Brock wasted no time breaking the "unbreakable". Brock stole second off the Padres battery of P Dave Freisleben and C Dave Roberts, giving him 893 total stolen bases, swiping the record from Ty Cobb. Brock stole another base in the seventh but the Cardinals couldn't get a win as the Padres scored two runs in the bottom of the 8th for a 4 -3 victory.
Lou finished his career in 1979 with 938 stolen bases, a record that he held until it was broken by Rickey Henderson in 1991. Lou still holds the National League stolen base record.
Take a look below at a few of our favorite images of Lou, along with two of the four Brock jerseys that we're proud to make.
They have some pretty unique elements, including the rally squirrel and the phrase "Happy Flight".
Click here to learn more and to watch a video showing the making of the ring.
Branch Rickey was born in December 20, 1881 in Stockdale, Ohio. He grew up playing baseball but was never a standout. Rickey played in college at Ohio Wesleyan University and spent a few years in the majors with the Browns and Highlanders. After his uneventful playing career, Rickey moved to the front office where he would singlehandedly change the game of baseball. Here's what he did.
- He joined the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1919. During his time in St. Louis, from 1919 - 42, Rickey served as field manager, General Manager and President. He led the Cardinals to six NL pennants and 4 World Championships, and turned the club into the class of the league.
- While in St. Louis he created the framework for the minor league farm system which is still in use today. The farm system that he developed with the Cardinals was ultimately adopted by every major leage baseball team.
- In 1942 Branch left the Cardinals and joined the Brooklyn Dodgers as President and General Manager. During his time in Brooklyn Rickey created the first ever full time spring training facility in Vero Beach, Florida.
- He was the first to promote the use of batting helmets, batting cages and pitching machines.
- He was the first executive to utilize statistics in the running of his club when he hired a full time statistician in 1947.
- In 1945 Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a minor league contract, ultimately leading to Robinson's breaking of the color barrier in 1947.
- After differences with Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, Rickey left the club for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- In 1954, Branch selected outfielder Roberto Clemente in the post - season draft. Clemente would go on to become the game's first Hispanic superstar.
Needless to say, the game of baseball might look very different today without the innovations and accomplishments of Branch Rickey. Happy 130th Birthday Mr. Rickey.
Unfortunately we have to do another R.I.P. post today, this time for Cardinals pitching legend Bob Forsch. Forsch died suddently yesterday at the age of 61.
Forsch made his major league debut in 1974 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He spent 14 1/2 seasons in a Cardinals uniform and 1 1/2 as an Astro. Forsch was a 15 game winner twice in his career ('75 & '82) and won 20 games in 1977. He is best known as being the only Cardinal to throw two no hitters. His first came in 1978 against the Phillies and the second was in 1983 against the Expos. Both no hitters were thrown at Busch Stadium.
He was a key member of the Cardinals teams that went to three World Series' in the 80's, winning it all in 1982. Forsch finished his career with a 3.76 ERA and a very impressive .213 career batting average.
You may have seen Bob last week when he threw out the first pitch in the game seven of the World Series.