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Ernie Broglio, involved in one of baseball's most lopsided trades, dies at 83

Jon Becker, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose's Ernie Broglio, a former major league pitcher best known for being part of perhaps the most lopsided trade in baseball history, died Tuesday night, his daughter said. He was 83.

Broglio's daughter, Donna Broglio Cavallaro, announced her father's passing on social media on Wednesday. He had been battling an undisclosed form of cancer.

Broglio was one of the best pitchers in the National League with the Cardinals in the early 1960s, but the Berkeley-born right-hander's notoriety was born of a trade 55 years ago when St. Louis shipped him to the Cubs in a steal of a deal for future Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock.

Brock became baseball's all-time leading base-stealer -- before Rickey Henderson came along -- while the sore-armed Broglio won just seven games in three seasons with the Cubs. The trade has been the benchmark for bad deals, even gaining its own Wikipedia page, "Brock For Broglio."

But the well-liked and good-natured Broglio never seemed to mind being singled out for his role in the deal.

When he was at a Cubs old-timers game at Wrigley Field in the 1990s, Broglio said he was greeted with a standing boo. "Probably the funniest experience I ever had," he told this news organization in 2016.

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"It's always nice to talk about that trade," Broglio said with a laugh, in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch five years ago. "I don't mind. At least they remember who I am."

Broglio was best known in the Bay Area for becoming an elite pitcher. After graduating from El Cerrito High in 1953, he immediately joined the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League as a 17-year-old. He later signed with the New York Giants but was traded to St. Louis just months after the team moved to San Francisco in 1958.

He made his major league debut with the Cardinals a year later, and he truly arrived as a pitcher in 1960 when he led the National League in victories, going 21-9 with a 2.75 ERA. Broglio led the NL with a 148 ERA+ and finished third in Cy Young Award voting and ninth in the NL's MVP voting.

But 1960 wasn't his only stellar season as Broglio went 18-8 with a 2.99 ERA in 1963. However, after that season Broglio's elbow was killing him and the Cardinals dealt him to the Cubs during the '64 season.

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