Cheap Seats

On This Date in Cardinals History: May 23, 1945

On this date 66 years ago, exasperated by a series of contract disputes with their ace, the Cardinals sell Mort Cooper to the Braves for $60,000.

Cooper, the 1942 National League MVP and a four-time All-Star over the course of his career, demanded $15,000 to play in 1945. St. Louis owner Sam Breadon offered $12,000 to the pitcher who was 65-22 over the previous three seasons with a 2.17 ERA to lead the Cardinals to two World Series championships and a National League pennant.

He'd finish the 1945 season 11-4 with a 2.92 ERA, the first two of those victories coming in Cardinals red. And Cooper was 13-11 with a 3.12 ERA in 1946. But it was the last time Coop would win in double figures as arm troubles started to get the best of him.

While the Redbirds may have parted ways with Cooper at a good time as far as his productivity went, the loss of their star hurler signaled the beginning of the end for the most dominant team of the 1940s.

Prior to the 1946 season, Cardinals manager Billy Southworth joined Cooper in Boston. The Braves, with a new owner who had deep pockets seemed determined to steal the ingredients of the Birds' success. Meanwhile Walker Cooper, Mort's All-Star brother was sold to the Giants for $175,000.

Led By Eddie Dyer, St. Louis won the 1946 World Series over the Red Sox. But the Cardinals wouldn't make the post season again after that until 1964.

  Comments