Throughout July we're going to present 30 deals in 30 days: the best trade deadline deal ever made by each team. We've covered the AL East, NL East and AL Central so far, and are now on the NL Central.
THE TEAM: St. Louis Cardinals
THE YEAR: 1964
THE SITUATION: Cardinals legend Stan Musial had retired after the previous season, and St. Louis was playing mediocre ball, mired in seventh place with a .483 winning percentage. The Cardinals hadn't been to the playoffs in 17 years, their longest dry patch of the modern era.
THE TRADE: Cardinals general manager Bing Devine decided to roll the dice at the nonwaiver trade deadline (then June 15) and acquire speedy but light-hitting outfielder Lou Brock from the Cubs for pitcher Ernie Broglio in a six-player deal. Though Brock was considered a promising player, the Cubs felt that hot-hitting Triple-A outfielder Billy Ott made Brock expendable, and the majority opinion at the time was that Chicago definitely got the better end of the deal, with Broglio having established himself as one of the league's top pitchers. Chicago third baseman Ron Santo said after hearing about the trade, "I just couldn't believe it. I've been with this club four years now, and I've never had the feeling before that we could go all the way."
With Brock rocking a .387 on-base percentage and .527 slugging percentage, the Cardinals flew at a .625 clip (65-39) the rest of the way and ascended from the cellar to snatch the pennant from the Phillies and win the World Series over the Yankees. Brock went on to set the modern single-season stolen-base mark with 118 in 1974 and led the Cardinals to another championship en route to a Hall of Fame career. Broglio played only two and a half seasons more, with a 5.40 ERA (5.23 FIP) in Chicago. Devine said later of one of the all-time best deadline deals, "People ask me even now, 'Did you know in advance? Did you think you had made a great deal?' The answer is no. Very few of us are that smart. At the time, we didn't know we'd made a windfall."
--Matthew Philip, Fungoes