1) Rogers Hornsby is the greatest right handed hitter in baseball history. But he would have put up numbers that included six consecutive batting titles and three years with a batting average over .400 in a different uniform if the Cardinals would have accepted a huge pile of money in 1920 for their emerging star.
The Giants offered the Cardinals $200,000 in cash for Hornsby -- or $75,000 more than the Yankees paid the Red Sox a little less than a year earlier in exchange for Babe Ruth. Run at the time by a seven-person board of directors, Cardinals brass was deeply divided on whether to take the money. Cooler heads prevailed and the deal was turned down.
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Hornsby stuck around long enough to win the 1926 World Series as the Redbirds' player-manager. When he was eventually traded to the Giants, the Cardinals were able to get Frank Frisch in exchange for The Rajah. Frisch played in four World Series with the Redbirds while Hornsby only played in one more over the rest of his career.
2) It may have looked good on paper to trade a 35-year-old outfielder for a 29-year-old pitcher who had won 20 or more games in six of the seven previous years. But baseball games aren't played on paper.
That's why Cardinals owner Augie Busch Jr. put the brakes on a trade engineered by GM Frank Lane to swap Stan Musial to Philadelphia for Robin Roberts as soon as he found out about it. A large reason for the veto was undoubtedly sentiment. Musial was the most popular player with the fans in the history of St. Louis baseball and he put fans in the seats. But there was some gas left in the tank, too.
Stan the Man hit .351 in 1957 and .337 in 1958 while Roberts sagged to 10 wins in 1957 and was a sub .500 pitcher for the rest of his career.
3) When the Cardinals wanted Cubs closer Bruce Sutter in 1980, they offered the Wee Bears their choice of one of the Birds two young first basemen, figuring they would have to part with slick fielding and clutch hitting lefty Keith Hernandez. Oh, no, said the Cubs. They wanted the other guy, Leon Durham.
Hernandez was an on the field leader who teamed with Sutter to bring the Cardinals the 1982 World Series title. Durham only hit .300 once in his career and he did his part in the 1984 National League Championship Series to keep the Cubs championship drought alive. He allowed a grounder to go between his legs in the seventh inning of the deciding fifth game of the NLCS that allowed the game, which the Cubs had led the whole way, out of Chicago's grasp.