Ernie Broglio during his illustrious three-year career with the Cubs
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  • Ernie Broglio during his illustrious three-year career with the Cubs

Writing yesterday for the Bleader, I had reason to look back 50 years to a couple of events that seemed like good ideas at the time. There was the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which saw Congress man up and vote almost unanimously to give North Vietnam what-for. And there was the Brock-Broglio trade, which saw the Cubs swindle the Cardinals out of a pitcher who’d won 18 games the previous year!

Time hasn’t been kind to Tonkin Gulf—a declaration of war in response to an attack that didn’t happen. But it’s been even less kind to Brock for Broglio. Chicagoans like to think about their sports teams and fall into deep depressions, and the Ernie Broglio-Lou Brock trade has been a reliable source of depression for half a century.

But what I just discovered is that we’ve been looking at it wrong.

The traditional approach has been to weigh Brock’s 16 seasons batting for the Cardinals—followed by admission to the Hall of Fame—against Broglio’s three seasons pitching for the Cubs. But this is comparing apples with oranges! Instead, let’s make a straight-up comparison of both men swinging lumber for the Cubs. In ’64, before being traded in June, Brock hit .251, with an on-base percentage of .300. After the trade, Broglio hit .286 with an on-base percentage of .306. Broglio was injured in ’65 and hardly played, but in ’66 his BA jumped to .368, his on-base percentage to .429. (Incidentally, in ’66 Brock hit .285 in Saint Louis.)

Numbers tell astonishing stories if you select them carefully. I’d continue with my eye-opening examination of Broglio’s offensive prowess, but by 1967 he was out of baseball.