The Cubs made just one trade during the 1963 season, and only a couple others during the year. They must have thought their brief period of contention meant they didn’t have to deal anyone.
June 24: Acquired Leo Burke from the Cardinals for Barney Schultz
Schultz, a career minor leaguer who had a couple of cups o’ coffee in the big leagues in the 1950s, had been acquired by the Cubs in early 1960. He was a decently reliable reliever for a couple of years, but turned 36 in 1963 and I suppose the Cubs thought he was done.
They sent him to the Cardinals for Burke, a 29-year-old outfielder who, similarly, had bounced around a few organizations in the late 1950s.
Burke hit .227/.281/.327 in 98 games for the Cubs from 1963-65 and was done. Meanwhile, Schultz found the proverbial Fountain of Youth for a while in 1964 with St. Louis, posting a 1.64 ERA and 14 saves in 15 chances, helping the Cardinals to a World Series title.
December 13: Acquired Dick Scott from the Dodgers for Jim Brewer and Cuno Barragan
Brewer had been involved in an incident with Billy Martin in 1960 in which Martin sucker-punched Brewer. More details here; eventually the Cubs sued Martin, though it took several years before it was settled.
Partly as a result of that injury, and partly because Brewer got yanked around by the College of Coaches, he never really got a chance to show what he could do as a Cub.
Barragan was a throw-in who never played another professional game after the trade.
Scott was a 30-year-old journeyman who had pitched eight years in the minor leagues before the Dodgers called him up for a handful of games in 1963. His numbers were brutal: 6.75 ERA, 1.667 WHIP, six home runs in 12 innings. What the Cubs saw in him is inexplicable. He pitched in three MLB games for the Cubs in 1964, not well, and was let go after the season.
Meanwhile, the lefthanded Brewer became an outstanding reliever for the Dodgers, posting 126 saves there in 12 seasons, and pitched in three World Series for L.A. He’d have looked awfully good in the Cubs’ 1969 bullpen.
For these two trades in 1963, the Cubs get an F. There was no redeeming value for the team in either of them.
December 15: Acquired Fred Norman from the Athletics for Nelson Mathews
Mathews was just 21 years old when this deal was made. He had one good year in Kansas City (1964: 27 doubles, 14 home runs) but declined in performance the next year and was out of baseball after 1967 after playing in the A’s, Phillies and Tigers minor league systems.
This would have been a good deal for the Cubs if they had just kept Norman. More on this in the upcoming article about 1967 trades.
Mathews’ son T.J. had an eight-year career as a reliever for the Cardinals, A’s and Astros from 1995-2002.
Give the Cubs a grade for their 1963 trades.
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