Lindenwood sports complex honoree and Cardinals legend Lou Brock passes away at 81

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Alexis Montgomery

The Lou Brock Sports complex at Lindenwood University.

Billy Woods, Reporter

Lou Brock, the St. Louis Cardinals speedy left-fielder and first-ballot baseball Hall-of-Fame member, died Sunday at 81.

In 2015, Brock had lost a leg from a fight with diabetes and was later diagnosed with cancer in 2017, but the official cause of death is unclear.

For Lindenwood students, Brock is a known figure on campus, as the baseball complex was named after him in 2006 and a statue of Brock was built at the entrance of the baseball and softball field in 2011. The bronze statue is a slightly larger than the life-size of Brock sliding into second base.

The Lou Brock Sports Complex hosted the 2009 NAIA National Championship Opening Round and his golf tournaments in recent years have raised money for Lindenwood athletics.

With his wife Jacqueline being a lifetime member of Lindenwood’s Board of Trustees, the university has long been involved with Brock, even sponsoring a Brock bobble head giveaway night in Busch Stadium in 2015. The bobble head showed Brock taking off a Cubs jersey and putting on a Cardinals jersey.

Brock started his journey with the Cardinals as a 24-year-old trade piece from the rival Chicago Cubs in the summer of 1964. Initially, Brock struggled with the Cardinals, but turned it around late in the season, helping the Cardinals win the National League pennant before beating the New York Yankees in a seven-game series to win the World Series. It was the first World Series victory for the Cardinals since 1946.

In the 1967 World Series, Brock batted .414 with seven stolen bases en route to a seven-game series victory over the Boston Red Sox.

In his time with the Cardinals, the six-time all-star led the Cardinals to National League pennants in 1964, 1967, and 1968.

Brock, known for his incendiary speed, retired in 1979 as the all-time leader in stolen bases with 938, a record that would stand until Rickey Henderson defied the laws of what we know about baseball.

From 1966-1974, Brock led the league in steals every season except one. Starting in 1965, Brock began a 12-season tear, averaging 65 steals and 99 runs scored a year, averaging over .300 batting in six of those seasons. In 1974, Brock stole 118 bases, a record at the time for most bases stolen in a season and finished second in MVP voting.

Brock was a dangerous baserunner because of not only instincts and speed, but because he was able to routinely get on base. In 16 seasons with the Cardinals, Brock had a batting average of .297 and 2,713 of his 3,023 total hits. At 40-years-old in 1979, his last season of baseball, Brock hit .304 and stole 21 bases.

His Hall-of-Fame case was an easy one, as he was easily voted in the baseball Hall-of-Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.

After his baseball playing days, Brock stayed active with the sport, becoming a broadcaster and special base-running instructor, as well as a businessman and minister. He was as modest as he was confident in his abilities on the baseball diamond, and that includes when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day 2016 just six months after having his left leg amputated from diabetes.

As Brock once said, “show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.”

Brock’s public service will be at the Austin A. Layne Mortuary, 7239 West Florissant Ave., from 5-8 p.m. Friday.

A private service will be held Saturday in Ferguson from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Prior to the private service, the Brock family will lay a wreath at the Lou Brock Statue at the Lou Brock Sports Complex at 9:30 a.m. There will be a funeral procession from Lindenwood to Greater Grace Church via First Capitol Drive to Fifth Street in St. Charles.

Editor’s note:  This article has been edited since it was initially posted. The previous version of this article did not mention Brock’s wife was a lifetime member of Lindenwood’s Board of Trustees. This article was also updated with information of Brock’s funeral service. This article was updated on 9/10/2020.