A look back at the Cardinals’ trade for Roger Craig 58 years ago today

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    Remember Your Redbirds


    On November 4, 1963, the Cardinals obtained pitcher Roger Craig from the Mets. After back-to-back 20-loss seasons with terrible Mets teams, Craig came to St. Louis and posted a 3.25 ERA over 166 innings. Splitting his time as a starter and a reliever throughout the season, he won Game 4 of the World Series and helped the Cardinals beat the Yankees in seven games.



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    Sweet stroll back in time, RYR! How about one of these a day here in the off season? Or at least once a week.


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    That relief appearance in game 4 of the 1964 World Series was a key to the Cardinals getting the ring. After giving up 3 runs early and in danger of falling back 3 games to 1, Johnny Kevne lifted Ray Sadecki in favor of Craig. Criag’s scoreless relief and Ken Boyer’s grand slam turned the game around.

    If anyone gets a chance to listen to the Cardinal’s 1964 highlight record, there is some great audio regarding Craig. Early in the season the Cardinals were in San Francisco and Craig got ahold of a pitch and drove it off the center field wall. It was such a shock that Harry Caray is sort of laughing making the call going “Roger Craig just hit the center field fence….we’re going to win this pennant!”


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    I have always been impressed by the work by the Cardinal Front Office over a number of years to put together the 1964 Roster. Impressive given no free agency.

    Five of the starting eight position players came to the Redbirds thru acquisition. They were able to acquire Bill White (Giants), Julian Javier (Pirates), Dick Groat (Pirates), Curt Flood (Reds) and Lou Brock (Cubs).

    A fair portion of innings thrown in 1964 came from acquired pitchers. Contributors included Curt Simmons (Phillies), Barney Schultz (Cubs), Roger Craig (Mets), Ron Taylor (Indians), Mike Cuellar (Indians), Bob Humphries (Tigers) and Glen Hobbie (Cubs).

    I have often felt the Cardinals let go of Mike Cuellar and Ron Taylor too soon. Both had good years into the 1970’s.


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    This thread might be a good place to segue into 2022 Hall of Fame talk. The “Golden Era” ballot contains 10 candidates, five of whom played at least some of their careers as a St. Louis Cardinal. Those five are Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Dick Allen, Roger Maris and Minnie Minoso. The other five are Danny Murtaugh, Tony Oliva, Maury Wills, Billy Pierce and Gil Hodges.

    My thinking is Hodges will get a lot of interest, and possibly Minoso. Allen should get strong consideration as well. It’s obvious to anyone who looks at my avatar to see I am a big Ken Boyer fan. I actually think he deserved enshrinement over Ron Santo, but then I am biased. And Santo does fare better in the stats, but Boyer was a winner and from stuff I have read a much better team player and leader than Santo.

    I like Oliva and Kaat as well. I met and chatted with Maury Wills at a SABR event one time. Real nice guy, and very open and honest about what he added to those great ‘60s Dodgers clubs, and what he did not do well.

    Had Tony Oliva not been handicapped by bad knees he would already be in the Hall. In fact the two 1964 ROYs are on this ballot, with Oliva and Allen.

    Billy Pierce was real good, but not all that well known today. A crafty Lefthander, as the saying goes, he was a member of two World Series teams, the ‘59 White Sox and ‘62 Giants. He won an ERA title and was a consistent all-star in the ‘50s with the White Sox. Might be more deserving than Kaat.

    We all know what Roger Maris did. Historically he has not been given a lot of consideration due to not sustaining his peak production very long. But back to back MVPs and hitting 61 homers is a high standard.

    Danny Murtaugh won World Championships in two different decades for Pittsburgh, and by all accounts was an excellent manager who was well liked by his players. He just seemed to always have competitive clubs.

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