1964 St. Louis Cardinals season

1964 St. Louis Cardinals
1964 World Series Champions
National League Champions
Major League affiliations
Record 93–69 (.574)
League place 1st
Other information
Owner(s) August "Gussie" Busch
General manager(s) Bing Devine, Bob Howsam
Manager(s) Johnny Keane
Local television KSD-TV
Local radio KMOX
(Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Jerry Gross)
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The 1964 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 83rd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 73rd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 93–69 during the season and finished first in the National League, edging the co-runners-up Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies by one game each on the last day of the regular-season to claim their first NL pennant since 1946. They went on to win the World Series in 7 games over the New York Yankees.


Regular season

Exit Musial, enter Brock

The 1963 team went 93–69. It was the best record for St. Louis since that 1949 team won 96 games. The Cardinals finished six games behind the now-Los Angeles Dodgers.

1964 saw the Cardinals without the best hitter in franchise history. Stan Musial, whose 3,630 career hits were second on the all-time list and remain fourth today, retired after the 1963 season, at the age of 42, after 22 years in St. Louis. His absence left a hole in the Cardinal lineup and in left field, and as the early weeks of the 1964 season passed, St. Louis hovered at the .500 mark. Cardinals GM Bing Devine, worried about both the team and his own job security, looked for a deal to make before the June 15 trading deadline.[3] He consulted with manager Johnny Keane and they decided that the team needed more speed. Keane and Devine focused on Lou Brock, an outfielder with the Chicago Cubs that the Cardinals had scouted years before and who had struggled since coming to the big leagues.[4]

In June, with the trading deadline near and the Cardinals still around .500, Devine made the call to the Cubs and the deal was done.[5] On June 15, they traded star pitcher Ernie Broglio, who went 18–8 in 1963 and was having another good year in 1964, to the Chicago Cubs as part of a six-player deal for Brock. Many people thought the Cubs had gotten the better of the deal, including Chicago sportswriters and many Cardinal players.[6] However, Broglio would have a mediocre half-season for the Cubs and then two more ineffective, injury-riddled years in 1965 and 1966 before disappearing from the big leagues forever. Brock hit .348 for the 1964 Cardinals, and as a Cardinal went on to break the all-time record for stolen bases (since broken by Rickey Henderson), amass over 3000 base hits, and go into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Busch fires Devine

For most of the 1964 season, the Philadelphia Phillies looked like the team to beat. Philadelphia spent almost the entire first half in first or second place, and in July moved in first place seemingly to stay. The Cardinals, on the other hand, spent much of the season mired in the middle of the pack, and sometimes close to the bottom. As late as June 17, the Cardinals were eighth in a ten-team league, although they were only six back of the lead. Lou Brock joined the team and immediately began to hit but St. Louis still could not dent Philadelphia's lead. The Cardinals called up prized prospect Mike Shannon in early July, and still they stagnated.[7][8] They were seventh as late as July 24. One problem was first baseman Bill White; the Cardinal slugger, one of the few power hitters on the team, was bothered by a sore shoulder and struggling badly.[9]

On August 16, with the Cardinals at 61–54 and 9 12 games out of first place, an impatient Gussie Busch fired general manager Bing Devine.[10] Devine had been GM of the Cardinals since 1957,[11] but would not be around to see how the team he had built would finish. Busch considered firing Keane as well, but held back out of reluctance to further disrupt the team by firing both the manager and GM during the season.[12] Shortly thereafter, however, Busch met with Leo Durocher and made him a verbal offer to manage the Cardinals in 1965. Word soon got out that Keane was a lame duck.[13]

On August 23, the Cardinals fell 11 games behind Philadelphia, tied for the farthest back they'd been all year, although they'd actually improved to fourth place in the overall standings. The Cardinals reeled off a six-game winning streak immediately after falling 11 back and continued to play well in September, but the Phillies seemed to be too far ahead to catch. On September 20, the Cardinals were tied with Cincinnati for second place, 6.5 games behind Philadelphia. A Sports Illustrated article described the Cardinal surge as "far too late".[10]

The "Phillie Phold" and Cardinal comeback

Injuries accumulated for the first-place Phillies as the season wore on. Slugger Frank Thomas broke his thumb. Starting pitcher Ray Culp hurt his elbow and had to go to the bullpen. Starting pitcher Art Mahaffey was slumping badly.[14] Starting pitcher Dennis Bennett was plagued by tendinitis.[15] Philly manager Gene Mauch, in a move that has remained controversial ever since, reacted to his rotation's problems by using star pitchers Jim Bunning and Chris Short on less than normal rest six times down the stretch. Philadelphia lost all six of those games.[16]

Still the Phillies held on to their lead. On September 20, Philadelphia was 90–60 and led the National League by 6 12 games with only twelve games to go. A pennant seemed assured. The Phillies even started taking applications for World Series tickets.[17] Then came the infamous "Phillie Phold". The Phold started on September 21, when Philadelphia lost 1–0 to Cincinnati with the only run scoring on a steal of home.[18][19] The Phils were swept in three games by Cincinnati, who crept to within 3 12 games of first place. Then they were swept in four games by Milwaukee. On the 25th the Braves beat Philly in 12 innings. On the 26th they beat Philly by scoring three in the top of the ninth. On the 27th Milwaukee beat the Phils 14–8, extending their losing streak to seven games and dropping them out of first place for the first time in two months. Philadelphia was one game behind Cincinnati, while the Cardinals, who'd gone 6–1 during Philadelphia's streak, were in third place, 1.5 games back. The Phillies were feeling the pressure and making mistakes on the bases; in one fifteen-game stretch, 10 Phillies were thrown out trying to take an extra base.[19]

St. Louis and Philadelphia met for a crucial three-game series starting in St. Louis on September 28. The Cardinals won the first game 5–1, vaulting past Philly into second place, one game behind the idle Reds, with the Phils 1.5 games back. On the 29th the Cards beat the Phils 4–2 behind a strong start from Sadecki, and Cincinnati lost to visiting Pittsburgh. The Cardinals were in first place for the first time all year, tied with the Reds, with Philly 1.5 games back. On the 30th the Cardinals beat the Phillies again, 8–5, with Curt Simmons beating Bunning. Cincinnati lost to Pittsburgh at home again, and the Cardinals had sole possession of first place. Philadelphia had lost ten in a row and the Cardinals had won eight in a row.

The Cardinals lost 1–0 on October 2 at home to the terrible Mets while the Phillies beat the Reds in Cincinnati to finally snap their losing streak. On the 3rd the Cardinals lost again to the Mets while the Phillies and Reds remained idle. St. Louis and Cincinnati were tied for first place with 92–69 records, while Philadelphia was one game behind at 91–70. On the last day of the season, October 4, the Phillies beat the Reds at Cincinnati again, but the Cardinals beat the visiting Mets 11–5 to win the pennant by one game, with a 93–69 record; if the Cardinals had lost that game, the regular schedule would have ended in a 3-way tie for the pennant. The "Phold" is remembered as one of the worst late-season collapses in baseball history.[20] The Cardinals, having won their first pennant since 1946, would go on to face the mighty Yankees in the World Series.

Season standings

National League W L Pct. GB Home Road
St. Louis Cardinals 9369 0.574 48–33 45–36
Philadelphia Phillies 9270 0.568 1 46–35 46–35
Cincinnati Reds 9270 0.568 1 47–34 45–36
San Francisco Giants 9072 0.556 3 44–37 46–35
Milwaukee Braves 8874 0.543 5 45–36 43–38
Pittsburgh Pirates 8082 0.494 13 42–39 38–43
Los Angeles Dodgers 8082 0.494 13 41–40 39–42
Chicago Cubs 7686 0.469 17 40–41 36–45
Houston Colt .45s 6696 0.407 27 41–40 25–56
New York Mets 53109 0.327 40 33–48 20–61

Record vs. opponents

1964 National League Records

Chicago 6–1211–710–88–1011–76–129–99–96–12
Cincinnati 12–612–614–4–19–911–79–98–107–1110–8
Houston 7–116–127–1112–69–95–135–137–118–10
Los Angeles 8–104–14–111–78–1015–3–18–1010–86–1210–8
Milwaukee 10–89–96–1210–814–410–812–69–98–10
New York 7–117–119–93–15–14–143–156–127–117–11
Philadelphia 12-69–913–510–88–1015–310–810–85–13
Pittsburgh 9–910–813–58–106–1212–68–108–106–12
San Francisco 9–911–711–712–69–911–78–1010–89–9
St. Louis 12–68–1010–88–1010–811–713–512–69–9

Notable transactions


1964 St. Louis Cardinals
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters



Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CTim McCarver143465134.288952
1BBill White160631191.30321102
2BJulián Javier155535129.2411265
3BKen Boyer162628185.29524119
SSDick Groat161636186.292170
LFLou Brock103419146.3481244
CFCurt Flood162679211.311546
RFMike Shannon8825366.261943

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Charlie James8823352.223517
Carl Warwick8815841.259315
Bob Skinner5511832.271116
Bob Uecker4010621.19816
Johnny Lewis409422.23427
Doug Clemens337816.20519
Phil Gagliano405815.25919
Jeoff Long284310.23314
Jerry Buchek35306.20001
Dal Maxvill37266.23104
Ed Spiezio12124.33300
Joe Morgan330.00000


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bob Gibson40287.119123.01245
Curt Simmons342441893.43104
Ray Sadecki3722020113.68119
Ernie Broglio1169.1353.5036

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Roger Craig39166793.2584
Ray Washburn1560344.0528
Gordie Richardson1947422.3028
Glen Hobbie1344.1124.2618
Bobby Shantz1617.1133.1212
Lew Burdette810101.803

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Barney Schultz3013141.6429
Ron Taylor638484.6269
Mike Cuellar325544.5056
Bob Humphreys282022.5336

1964 World Series

Playing in their first Series in eighteen years, and one that resembled a rematch of the two franchises' first encounter in 1926, the upstart "Redbirds" took on the veteran New York Yankees, featuring Ken Boyer's younger brother Clete, also an All-Star third baseman. Ken Boyer's stunning grand slam home run in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium, along with Gibson's overpowering pitching, was a key in a 4 games to 3 win by the Cardinals – their seventh World Series championship. This marked the end of the Yankee dynasty that saw 15 pennants in 18 seasons from 1947 to 1964. The Cardinals are the only of the original eight National League teams to hold an overall World Series edge against the Yankees, 3 Series to 2.

Before the regular season had ended, both the owners of the Cardinals and the Yankees had decided to replace their managers, Keane and Yogi Berra, after the season – regardless of outcome. When these two teams happened to meet in the World Series, this plan received a great deal of attention.

NL St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. AL New York Yankees (3)

Game Score Date Location Attendance Time of Game
1Yankees – 5, Cardinals – 9October 7Busch Stadium30,8052:42
2Yankees – 8, Cardinals – 3October 8Busch Stadium30,8052:29
3Cardinals – 1, Yankees – 2October 10Yankee Stadium67,1012:16
4Cardinals – 4, Yankees – 3October 11Yankee Stadium66,3122:18
5Cardinals – 5, Yankees – 2October 12Yankee Stadium65,6332:37
6Yankees – 8, Cardinals – 3October 14Busch Stadium30,8052:37
7Yankees – 5, Cardinals – 7October 15Busch Stadium30,3462:40

Thirty years later, David Halberstam would chronicle the 1964 Cardinals and their World Series opponents the 1964 Yankees in the book October 1964.

After the season

Busch changed his mind about Durocher and attempted to rehire his Series-winning manager, but Keane, angry at the way Busch had treated him and Devine, quit and became manager of the Yankees.[25] Red Schoendienst took over as manager and led the team to two pennants and a championship in 1967 on his way to twelve seasons at the helm. The Sporting News named Bing Devine Baseball Executive of the Year a few months after he was fired and Keane Manager of the Year.[26]

Awards and honors

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Jacksonville Suns International League Harry Walker
AA Tulsa Oilers Texas League Grover Resinger
A Raleigh Cardinals Carolina League George Kissell
A Winnipeg Goldeyes Northern League Ron Plaza
A Rock Hill Cardinals Western Carolinas League Hal Smith
Rookie SRL Cardinals Sarasota Rookie League Fred Koenig



  1. Jimmie Coker at Baseball-Reference
  2. Carl Sawatski at Baseball-Reference
  3. Halberstam 133
  4. Halberstam 134–5
  5. Halberstam 135–6
  6. Halberstam 136–7
  7. Mike Shannon 1964 game log
  8. Halberstam 194–6
  9. Halberstam 198
  10. 1 2 "Futile Surge", Sports Illustrated, September 21, 1964
  11. Halberstam 17
  12. Halberstam 253
  13. Halberstam 265–7
  14. Halberstam 303
  15. Halberstam 303, 311
  16. Halberstam 303–4, 306
  17. Halberstam 305
  18. Reds 1, Phils 0
  19. 1 2 "The Big Red Surge" Sports Illustrated, Oct. 5, 1964
  20. 1964 Sports Illustrated cover
  21. Gary Kolb at Baseball-Reference
  22. Walt Williams at Baseball-Reference
  23. Ernie Broglio at Baseball-Reference
  24. Mike Torrez at Baseball-Reference
  25. Halberstam 351–2
  26. Halberstam 354
  27. Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007
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