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Elephant Rumblings: Lou Brock, Hall of Fame outfielder, dies at 81

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MLB: APR 05 Diamondbacks at Cardinals Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

Less than a week after the passing of Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, the baseball world lost another titan. Outfielder and speedster Lou Brock died Sunday at the age of 81.

The precise cause of death was not given in the report by Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but Brock had overcome a multitude of serious health issues over the years. He was known for his resilience and durability during his playing career and beyond, and was described as the “toughest SOB I’ve ever seen” by late Hall of Famer and Brock’s former manager Red Schoendienst, via Hummel.

On the field, Brock collected 3,023 hits but was best known for his speed. His 938 stolen bases were the all-time record until Rickey Henderson came along, and Brock once swiped 118 in a single year in 1974 (also surpassed by Rickey). His WAR total isn’t high in retrospect, but he was considered a key cog in a St. Louis Cardinals era that produced two World Series champions in 1964 and ‘67. He received MVP votes in 10 different seasons, including a runner-up finish in ‘74.

Born in 1939, Brock began his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1961 but was traded to the Cardinals in ‘64 in one of the most lopsided deals in history. He went on to spend 16 seasons in St. Louis, earning two rings and six All-Star berths. In three trips to the World Series (each seven games in length, 21 total), he batted .391 with a 1.079 OPS, 13 extra-base hits, 13 RBI, 16 runs scored, and 14 steals in 16 attempts. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1985.

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