Lou Brock rapped out two singles tonight to become the 14th player in major league history to get 3,000 hits as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2.
Well ahead of the timetable he had set for himself, Brock, 40, got his 2,999th hit in the first inning, drilling Cub right-hander Dennis Lamp's 1-1 pitch to left field.
Then in the fourth, Brock lined a 2-2 pitch back to the box. The ball hit Lamp on the right hand, bounced back toward the third base line, and no play was possible. Lamp left the game in noticeable pain.
Before he came to bat in the first inning, the crowd of 45,000 gave Brock a standing ovation. After his milestone hit, Brock's teammates and photographers poured onto the field, and the game was held up for a brief ceremony.
Brock took off his cap, waved to the crowd and was greeted by Stan Musial, the first player in St. Louis history to get 3,000 hits. Musial did it in 1958 and ended his career with 3,630 hits.
Brock plans to retire after this season.
He said last month that he did not care against which team he got the 3,000th hit. But it was a fitting climax to his career that he reached the milestone against the team that traded him in June 1964.
The hit was Brock's 100th in a season that has seen him lead the league in hitting for more than one month. He entered the game hitting .321, which would be the highest average in his career if he finished the season at that level.
Brock's rise this year to the 3,000-hit level was a spectacular comeback from 1978, the worst season of his career, when he had only 66 hits.
"I was glad to do it here," Brock said in an impromptu ceremony near first base in front of the Cardinal dugout. "I'm glad it happened here and the fans got to see my 3,000th hit. I'm extremely proud and I am glad my family was here tonight."
Doug Capilla replaced Lamp, whose injury was diagnosed as a severely bruised right hand.
To start the fifth inning, Brock went to his position in left. However, before play began, Manager Ken Boyer waved Brock off the field, removing him from the lineup to another ovation from the crowd at Busch Memorial Stadium.
Brock and Maury Wills of the Dodgers radically changed baseball, making people recognize that speed can win games as easily as home runs. Wills and Brock injected new life into the art of baserunning. Brock led the Cardinals to pennants in 1964, 1967 and 1968. St. Louis had gone 18 years without a pennant until Brock arrived.
Garry Templeton's sacrifice fly in the ninth inning scored the winning run.
Ken Reitz singled for his 1,000th major league hit with one out. Ken Oberkfell was struck by a pitch from Willie Hernandez (4-2) and Dane Iorg singled off reliever Bruce Sutter to load the bases. Templeton hit a fly to shallow left field to hand the victory to Mark Littell (8-3). CAPTION: Picture, Lou Brock