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Chicago Cubs history: Carl Warwick and the 1966 Cubs

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You’re forgiven if you wiped this dismal season from your memory

Carl Warwick playing for the Cardinals in 1964
Getty Images

While Cubs fans might have been getting accustomed to less-than-stellar seasons by the mid-1960s, it’s unlikely any of them were prepared for their second 100-loss season of the new 162-game era.

While there were still standout players in the mix, it was not a time of win-prosperity for the club.

1965 Cubs

Record: 59-103
Standing: 10th in the National League
Managers: Leo Durocher

For the first time in the expansion era, the Cubs found themselves bested by the new franchises, finishing dead last in the National League, a whopping 36 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leo Durocher had famously said when hired as manager, “This isn’t an eighth-place club,” referring to the team’s 1965 finish. He turned out to be right, but the 10th-place finish wasn’t exactly what Leo had in mind, we presume.

The usual suspects in the Cubs lineup were still thriving. Ron Santo batted .312/.412/.538 and hit 30 home runs, and both Billy Williams and Adolfo Phillips had solid years at the bat. Phillips, acquired in a key trade early in the year, became a fan favorite, but it was the other acquisition in that deal from Philadelphia, Fergie Jenkins, who would go on to have a career that eventually wound up in Cooperstown.

And a 29-year-old outfielder from Dallas, Texas was about to end his professional baseball career with the Cubs.

Carl Warwick

In Carl Warwick’s six-year major league career, he managed to play for five different teams. He is likely better remembered by St. Louis Cardinals fans than by Cubs fans, solely for the part he played as a pinch-hitting superhero in the 1964 World Series. In five postseason game appearances that World Series he hit .750/.800/.750 with two runs on three hits.

For a player whose career regular season record was .248/.307/.360, it’s safe to say his surprising success in postseason play made him temporarily very popular in St. Louis. But not popular enough to keep him. In 1965 a slumping Warwick was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he played only nine more games that season.

By 1966 he was with the Cubs, acquired in a trade for Vic Roznovsky. He appeared in a mere 16 games, sometimes as a pinch hitter, otherwise as an outfielder in left and center. He didn’t particularly dazzle, nor was he a dismal failure, but it was his last season in professional baseball regardless. Warwick did have one key hit, a pinch single in a five-run, ninth-inning rally that helped the Cubs beat the Reds in the second game of a doubleheader June 5.

By late June he was in the Cubs minor league system where he played in both Double-A and Triple-A, with little success. At 29, he was done.

Although Warwick had been playing professional baseball since he was 21, it wasn’t in his blood the same way it is with other players we’ve seen, who once retired remain in the sport in whatever capacity they can manage for the rest of their lives.

Warwick, who had established a home with his wife Nancy in the Houston area, left baseball mostly behind him. In his thirties he established both a real estate company and a travel agency in Houston. But it was, it seems, impossible to leave baseball entirely.

He was the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Major League Baseball Alumni Association and on the board of several other baseball related organizations as well, even coaching some Little League. Carl is now 82 years old.