The 1967 season saw the “El Birdos” sail into the pennant with a 10.5 game lead over the Giants. They did this despite losing ace fireballer Bob Gibson for two months to a broken leg from a Clemente line drive. Players stepped up and the team played 36-20 in his absence.
Rookie pitcher, 29 yr old Dick Hughes took up the slack and became a 16 game winner and Neslon Briles was inserted in Gibson’s slot and won 9 contests for the Birds. Also, a lefthander named Steve Carlton came into his own and finished 14-9. The trio combined for 44 wins while ace Gibson mended on the sidelines.
In the field we find the 1967 team had lots of changes from the year before. The Cardinals added home run king Roger Maris to right field and moved the durable Mike Shannon to third base. It was the addition of Orlando Cepeda that catapulted the team with his .325 batting average along with 111 RBIs and 25 home runs. Cepeda was named National League MVP in 1967.
But the offense didn’t stop with Cepeda. Opposing teams also had to go through base stealing Lou Brock, defensive stalwart centerfielder Curt Flood, along with steady catcher Tim McCarver on a daily basis.
In the World Series the Cardinals faced the Boston Red Sox and their triple crown winner Carl Yastrzemski along with ace pitcher Jim Lonborg. But the Cardinals proved too much for Boston as Bob Gibson went 3-0 in the Series with a 1.00 ERA and hit a home run in Game 7.. Lou Brock hit .414, stole seven bases and scored eight runs. Newcomer Roger Maris finished the Series hitting .385. The Cardinals were crowned World Champions in 1967.
Just had the hankering to write an article with some Cardinals history in it. Be sure to check out my World Series History to the right.
The Sweet Career of Howie Pollet
Born Howard Joseph Pollett on June 26, 1921 he later became a left-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and had really good success in St Louis but had moderate success after his departure from the city. His first professional baseball contract sent him to Houston to play in the Texas League for the Buffaloes in 1941.
It was the results he put up that season that caught the eye of the major leagues. He led the Texas League in strikeouts (15q) and ERA (1.16) and won 20 of his 23 decisions. His rookie season was a modest one win five wins and two losses but that propelled him to a full-time spot in the rotation in 1943. It was in that season that he led the league in ERA with a 1.75 and became an All Star.
Then in 1946, after two years off for military service, he became a 21 game winner with 10 losses and a stellar 2.10 ERA. He also struck out 107 in his 32 games started and completed 22 games for the Cardinals. He won 20 games with 9 losses in 1949 with a 3,47 ERA. This was the pinnacle of his success and he went on to win 14 the next season before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In Pittsburgh he struggled and never had another season where he was over .500 for the year. From then on he was traded from team to team and became a journeyman pitcher before playing his final game on September 23, 1956.
His 14 year career record is 131 wins and 116 losses with an ERA of 3.51. After a few years away from baseball he came back to the Cardinals and became their pitching coach in 1959 until after the 1964 season. The Cardinals won the World Series that season and then Pollet returned to his adopted city of Houston for one season as their pitching coach.
Howard Joseph Pollet had a really nice major league career!
- Died: August 8, 1974 (aged 53)
- Houston, Texas
- Batted: Left Threw: Left
- August 20, 1941 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
- September 23, 1956 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Win–Loss record 131–116
- Earned run average 3.51
- Strikeouts 934
Career highlights and awards
- 3× All-Star selection (1943, 1946, 1949)
- 3× World Series champion (1942, 1946, 1964)