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Bing Devine, 90; St. Louis Cardinals general manager

January 28, 2007|From the Associated Press

Bing Devine, the St. Louis Cardinals general manager who helped build teams that won three National League pennants and two World Series in the 1960s, died Saturday. He was 90.

Devine, who had been ill since Christmas, died at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, said his wife, Mary.

Vaughan P. "Bing" Devine was general manager of the Cardinals from 1957 to 1964 and from 1967 to 1978, and helped acquire Hall of Fame players Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. The Brock trade with the Chicago Cubs is considered one of the most lopsided deals in major league history.

At the trade deadline on June 15, 1964, the Cardinals sent pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens to the Cubs for Brock and pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth.

Broglio was an 18-game winner the previous season and a positive influence in the clubhouse, but the unproven Brock turned out to be one of the greatest players in history.

A fleet outfielder and prolific leadoff batter, Brock helped lead the Cardinals to a World Series title that season. He set the major league record for career stolen bases (later broken by Rickey Henderson) and was a first-ballot baseball Hall of Fame inductee in 1985.

Despite the successful trade, the Cardinals fired Devine two months later, and he went to work for the New York Mets. As team president, he started building around pitchers Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan, helping to assemble the team that would become the Miracle Mets that won the 1969 World Series.

But Devine wasn't in New York for that triumph. He had been rehired by the Cardinals in 1967, when St. Louis won the World Series again. They won the National League pennant in 1968 but couldn't repeat their Series win.

He later served as president of the National Football League's St. Louis Cardinals from 1981 to 1986. He eventually returned to work with the baseball Cardinals as a special scout and advisor to General Manager Walt Jocketty.

Devine played baseball and basketball at Washington University in his native St. Louis, then went to work for the baseball Cardinals as an office boy in 1939. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he ran the Cardinals' farm teams and worked in the front office until he became general manager.

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