Cheap Seats

On this date in Cardinals history, Dec. 10

On this day in 1951 the Cardinals trade pitcher Max Lanier and outfielder Chuck Diering to the Giants for Eddie Stanky.

A second baseman by trade, Stanky is named the Cardinals player-manager for 1952, a position that puts him on a crash course with St. Louis superstar Stan Musial.

Stanky, like an earlier day Tony La Russa, loved to move his players around. He asked Musial to play every outfield position during his tenure at the helm as well as first base. But, unlike La Russa, Stanky wasn't afraid to involve his best player in a humiliating publicity stunt.

On the last day of the season in 1952, Musial led the league in hitting with a .336 mark. That was 11 points better than Cubs outfielder Frank Baumholtz. But someone thought it would be a good idea to make one batting title competitor pitch to the other and the former minor league hurler Musual found himself on the mound in the first inning.

According to reports at the time, Musial was very embarrassed about the whole situation and just softly tossed the ball up to the dish. Baumholtz, who did his part to make a mockery of the situation by batting lefty when he was actually a righthander, hit a grounder to future St. Louis manager Solly Hemus -- which Hemus booted.

It wasn't exactly the proudest moment in baseball history. Stanky was out as Cardinals manager following the 1955 season after never leading the Redbirds to better than a third place finish.

On this date in 1981, Cardinals make a deal with the San Diego Padres to ship disgruntled shortstop Garry Templeton west for acrobatic infielder Ozzie Smith.

Widely panned a the time because Smith appeared to be such a poor hitter relative to Templeton. But manager-general manager Whitey Herzog thought Ozzie's glove and his speed would be valuable pieces that could put the Cardinals in the post season. And less than a year later he was proved right when the Birds won the 1982 World Series over the Brewers.