Lou Brock, one of the best hitters and base stealers in baseball history, died Sunday at the age of 81. A Brock family representative confirmed his death to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Known as a “stolen base specialist” according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Brock played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, with 16 of those for the Cardinals. He is one of 32 players to hit 3,000 hits or more and has the second most stolen bases in MLB history.
“Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” said William DeWitt Jr., the Cardinals’ CEO and principal owner. “He was an ambassador of the game around the country and a fan favorite who connected with millions of baseball fans across multiple generations. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.”
An outfielder, Lou Brock began his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1961 before being traded to the Cardinals during the 1964 season. The trade ranks as the greatest in Cardinals franchise history, according to the team.
As a member of the Cardinals, Brock was a six-time All-Star and won two World Series titles in 1964 and 1967. Brock retired from baseball after a 1979 season in which he hit .304 at age 40. When he retired, he had 3,023 hits and his career batting average was .293.
Brock held the record for stolen bases with 938 from 1971 to 1991, when he was surpassed by Rickey Henderson, the current record holder with 1,406.
“Lou was among the game’s most exciting players, becoming the 14th player in history to reach 3,000 hits and holding Baseball’s all-time record for stolen bases in a season and career for many years,” said MLB commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. “He was known for his dominant performances in his three career World Series. Lou was an outstanding representative of our National Pastime and he will be deeply missed.”
Brock remained active in baseball after his retirement in various roles including working in the Cardinals’ broadcast booth along with serving as a base-running consultant for the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers and Montreal Expos. He served as a special instructor for the Cardinals – teaching base running and outfield play – since 1995, the team said.
Brock was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility, according to the Hall of Fame’s website.
“Lou Brock perfected the art of the stolen base over a 19-year Hall of Fame career and cherished his membership in the Hall,” said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Ted Simmons, Brock’s teammate and a fellow Hall of Famer, said he’ll remember two things about Brock.
“First was his vibrant smile. Whenever you were in a room with Lou, you couldn’t miss it – the biggest, brightest, most vibrant smile on earth,” Simmons said. “The other was that he was surely hurt numerous times, but never once in my life did I know he was playing hurt.”
Brock was born June 18, 1939, in El Dorado, Arkansas, and grew up in Louisiana, the Cardinals said. He is survived by his wife Jacqueline, daughter, Wanda, sons, Lou Jr. and Emory, stepchildren Marvin Hay and Jacqueline Means, grandchildren Darian, Alivia, Colston, Spencer and Iris, and preceded in death by his son, Daniel.
“A player like Brock comes along once in a generation,” said Ken Boyer, Brock’s teammate and manager. “If that often.”