He was born 65 years ago today (July 12, 1947) and gracious alive what a career he had ahead of him. The man is Scipio Spinks and his fireball was as good as any when he pitched for the Cardinals.
The Chicago born right hander had a stellar minor league career by striking out one batter per inning on the average in the American Association.
The Cardinals, in 1972, traded lefty Jerry Reuss and in return Spinks became a Cardinal. He was a bang from the start and was fanning batters and a clip that had him third in strikeout at midseason. He trailed only Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver. Spinks went to break with a 2.67 ERA.
Then on July 4, 1972 (over 40 years ago) his competitive spirit kicked in on a play at the plate. He collided with the solid Johnny Bench at home and tore the ligaments in his knee and missed the rest of the season. The next year, with renewed hope, he returned to pitch and only got 8 games in and had shoulder issues. His life never returned to those glory days. He struggled in the minor leagues and retired in 1976. His career record is 7-11 with 154 strikeouts in 201.2 innings pitched for St. Louis.
I can remember a game Spinks threw that I attend and the crowd was electric. The Cardinals had a fire-baller that rivaled Bob Gibson, but only for a short time. He went on to win that game 3-1 and pleased the crowd with 12 strikeouts.
He currently lives in the Houston area and works for the Padres and Astros.