When he dismissed Devine, Busch complained about the Cardinal farm system and also declared that no team could win a pennant by trading. Devine, however, had almost done the latter. His first major trade was with the Cincinnati Reds. He gave up Marty Kutyna, Willard Schmidt and Ted Wieand for Joe Taylor and Curt Flood. Flood struggled through two bad seasons, but now is in his third year as a .300 hitter and is an excellent center fielder. In quick succession Devine acquired First Baseman White from the Giants for Don Choate and Sam Jones, Second Baseman Julian Javier from the Pirates for Vinegar Bend Mizell and Dick Gray, and Shortstop Dick Groat and Pitcher Diomedes Oliva for Don Cardwell and Julio Gotay. His last trade brought Outfielder Lou Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz and Doug Clemens. Brock has hit .344 as a Cardinal while Broglio has won only four games for the Cubs. Although Brock still has a tendency to double-dribble ground balls in the outfield, there are mighty few .300 hitters who can steal 40 bases in any farm system.
There is no doubt that Saigh has a few valid points, even though they were discourteously stated. Certainly there have been puzzling performances from some players. One of them, however, has been superb: Ken Boyer, the captain and $45,000-a-year third baseman. Strong arguments are certain to be made for both rookie Richie Allen and John Callison of the Phils as the National League's Most Valuable Player, but Boyer deserves the honor. Allen will finish the season hitting well over .300, will have 200 hits and may lead the league in scoring. While Callison does not have as high an average, his run production has been outstanding and his fielding excellent. Boyer's case, however, is still the strongest. Unlike last year's Cardinal drive, this one seems far too late, but that is not Boyer's fault. He has been magnificent all year. Back on July 25, when the Cardinal drive began, Boyer hit two home runs to account for half his team's 10 runs as St. Louis beat Philadelphia. During the month of September he has hit five homers and driven in 16 runs in 13 games. He leads the major leagues in runs batted in and he is having a brilliant year in the field.
Although Boyer has been an extraordinary player throughout his 10 years with the Cards, he always seemed to live in the shadow cast by Stan Musial. He is not as spectacular a fielder as his brother Cletis of the Yankees, who dives and scrambles after balls and piles one sensational play atop another—or so it seems. But Ken, unlike Cletis, is a complete player. Too many other Cardinals have been considerably less in 1964. Shortstop Dick Groat may have cost the Cards almost as many games with his glove as he won with his bat in 1963. Julian Javier hardly appears the player he gave promise of being two years ago, and Pitcher Ray Washburn was again injured.
If Fred Saigh is dead right about one thing, it is the fact that Branch Rickey is now in charge in St. Louis. But no hocus-pocus—or even mesmerizing—will bring the Cardinals a pennant. The old man has his work cut out.