Bing Devine- Executive of the Year; Traded for Lou Brock

Vaughan Pallmore “Bing” Devine (March 1, 1916 – January 27, 2007)

worked his way up

Devine rose rapidly through the ranks as a business manager of Cardinal farm teams, finally becoming the general manager of the AAA Rochester Red Wings of the International League in 1949. After six seasons at the helm of the Redbirds’ top farm team, he joined the St. Louis front office in the autumn of 1954.

Frank Lane out- Bing Devine in

The Cardinals, recently purchased by brewery magnate August “Gussie” Busch, were in rebuilding mode under trade-happy general manager “Frantic” Frank Lane. The team finished second in the NL in 1957, but Lane had worn out his welcome; he moved on to run the Cleveland Indians and was replaced in St. Louis by the steadier hand of Devine.

Progressive trend towards Latin America player

Devine began to add talent and depth to the St. Louis roster, including African American and Latin American players. He was seen as being very progressive when it came to signing or trading for black and Latin ballplayers, whereas other teams (most notably the New York Yankees) showed a great deal of reluctance in this area. In the first five years of his reign, he traded for or promoted players such as Bob Gibson, Bill White, Curt Flood, and Julián Javier. But the Cardinals were mired in the middle of the pack of a very powerful National League.

Executive of the Year

In 1963—a season also marked by the final campaign of the Cardinals’ longtime superstar, Stan Musial—the Redbirds surged into contention, sparked by the acquisition of shortstop Dick Groat from the Pittsburgh Pirates, 18-win seasons from pitchers Gibson and Ernie Broglio, the comeback of left-handed starter Curt Simmons (who had been signed off the scrap heap by Devine), and the strong campaign of young catcher Tim McCarver. The Cardinals challenged the eventual world champion Los Angeles Dodgers into mid-September before finishing second, the club’s highest showing since ’57. Devine was chosen as Major League Executive of the Year by The Sporting News for his efforts in returning the Cards to contending status.

Devine was fired in August 1964 in a move that owner Gussie Busch says that he should never had made.

Great article at RetroSimba

SABR article