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Lou Brock Missouri
Lou Brock

There is no substitute for natural ability, but baseball's former stolen-base king believes the key to success in pro sports comes from within.

Larcenous Lou Brock grew up on a cotton plantation in Louisiana where he tirelessly worked for most of his childhood. As a child, Brock was regarded as a quiet and introverted boy, a child that no one would have predicted would become a National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. In fact, Brock did not even begin playing baseball until the age of 13 after he was inspired by a class paper he wrote on baseball legends Jackie Robinson and Joe DiMaggio. After a while, he began to fall in love with the classic American pastime and he accomplished many amazing feats both on and off the field.

Brock attended Union High School in Mer Rouge, Louisiana and was the left-handed pitcher for the baseball team. He earned an academic scholarship to Southern University, but unfortunately lost it after one semester. During the semester break, he volunteered to retrieve balls for the college baseball team. After one tiring day working on the field, the coaches rewarded Brock with five practice batting swings. He mustered up all his strength and launched three of the five balls over the fence, much to the amazement of the coaches. Thrilled with his performance, the coaches offered Brock a full baseball scholarship on the spot. In time, Brock made the transition from pitcher to outfielder and displayed his winning talents.

Brock excelled in his new position as an outfielder and eventually helped the Southern team climb to the NAIA World Series Championship. The young phenom was so fantastic on the field that major league clubs began coming out to see him play. His efforts paid off when he was offered and accepted a contract with the Chicago Cubs in 1961 to play for their minor league team, St. Cloud in the Northern League. The Cubs quickly advanced him to the major league, where he finished out the 1961 season. He gave nothing less than his best, and in 1962 he was invited back for the 1962 season. This was a great complement to his abilities, but unfortunately, Brock was ill prepared for his major league promotion.

Brock's performance during the 1962-1964 seasons was less than stellar, and as a result, the Cubs traded Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals in the middle of the 1964 season. That trade is now referred to as one of the worst trades in baseball history. At the time, the trade seemed to make sense, but after the young and promising Brock blossomed on the field, it was clear how lopsided the deal really was.

June 15th, 1964 was Brock's first official day as a Cardinal. He entered into a team that was in fourth place, six and one-half games out of first. The Cardinals gave their all and surpassed the Phillies, the Giants and the Reds to eventually win the pennant. From that point, it only got better. In the1967 season, he blasted away his competition with 113 runs, 52 steals, 21 home runs and drove in 78 runs. That year, he also helped the Cardinals win the World Series where he set a new record by stealing 14 bases.

Brock went on to lead the National League in stolen bases from 1971 until 1974. In 1974, he broke Maury Willis's single season stolen base record when he stole 118 bases and became the oldest player, at age 35, to steal over 100 bases. In 1977, he continued his mind-boggling success when he broke baseball legend Ty Cobb's career stolen base record. After 19 illustrious seasons in the Major League, Lou retired after the 1979 season.

As a result of his many accomplishments, Brock was selected to the All-Star team six times, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 (the first year he became eligible), named as one of the Top 100 Players in the century and the only baseball player to have an award named in his honor while still an active player. The Lou Brock Award is bestowed to the National League player with the most stolen bases each year. Brock was also honored by the St. Louis Cardinals with a statue in commemoration of his accomplishments.

Today Brock lives in St. Louis with his wife Jacqueline. They are both ordained ministers and elders at Abundant Life Fellowship Church in St. Louis. In addition, Lou is a spring training instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals and the owner/CEO of Brock World. Brock is regarded as one of baseball's finest players and considered an ambassador to the sport. He will surely go down in recent history as one of the most determined and accomplished players of his time.

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