Aug 26, 2013

Former Italian/ America Pitcher: Ernie Broglio (1959-1966)

Ernest Gilbert Broglio was born August 27, 1935 in Berkley, California. The six foot two right hander, pitched locally with the Oakland Oaks in the Pacific Coast League.

He spent time in the Cincinnati Reds & New York Giants organizations before getting traded to St. Louis. In October 1958 he was traded along with Marv Grissom to the St. Louis Cardinals for future Met Hobie Landrith, as well as Billy Muffett and Benny Valenzuela.

He came to the big leagues in 1959 and started out by going 0-4 with a blown save. On June 16th he earned his first career win, coming against the Philadelphia Phillies. His season was highlighted by a four hit shut out on August 5th against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his rookie year he went 7-12 with a 4.72 ERA. In 1960 he was one of the NL’s top pitchers, leading the league in wins (21-9) posting the second best ERA (2.74) pitching in 226 innings, striking out 188 batters & throwing three shutouts.

He even got to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated that season while pitching in San Francisco. He had originally began the year in the bullpen, but won three straight games in starts in mid June.

By July he was in the starting rotation, and went a remarkable 14-2 until the end of the September. He pitched three complete games that month including a three hitter against the Chicago Cubs.

He dropped to 9-12 the next year and then had a 12-9 season with a 3.00 ERA in 1962. His last good year came in 1963, winning 18 games (18-8) with a 2.99 ERA. He had career highs pitching in 250 innings, with 11 complete games & five shut outs.

In 1964 he found himself in manager Johnny Keane’s dog house and was struggling a bit on the mound at 3-5. On June 15th, he was then involved in what is considered, one of the biggest Lopsided trades in baseball history. He was sent to the Chicago Cubs with two other players for Lou Brock & two other players.

Brock of course became a superstar in St. Louis, going into the Hall of Fame. That year he helped lead the Cardinals to a World Series title & another in 1967. He went on to break Maury Wills single season stolen base record in 1974 & became the all time base stealing champion, by the time of his retirement.

Broglio on the other hand, struggled in the small confines of Wrigley field. He went 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 1964 as the Cubbies finished in eighth place. Overall he was 7-19 with an ERA above six in three seasons in Chicago and was done pitching by 1966. The fans at Wrigley really let him have it and he never lived down the trade.

What no one except the Cardinals knew, was that he was suffering from arm troubles. Back in those days players weren’t checked out by doctors before a deal was completed.

Years later at an Old timers Day Game he & Brock were introduce to a full house crowd at Wrigley Field. Brock got a standing ovation & Broglio got booed while the crowd was still standing. He said “I have to be the only guy to get a standing booing ovation”.

He finished his eight year career at 77-74 with a 3.74 ERA, 849 strikeouts, 587 walks in 1337 innings pitched in 259 games.

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