ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock, a former base stealing champion, has had his left leg amputated below the knee due to an infection related to diabetes.
The Cardinals and a longtime friend, Dick Zitzmann, confirmed Wednesday that the 76-year-old Brock had had surgery last month. Brock is undergoing therapy at an area hospital and will be fitted for a prosthetic leg.
Brock was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 15 years ago and had the procedure done Oct. 27, Zitzmann said.
"He's got a long road ahead, but he's a tough guy," Zitzmann said. "He's got a great attitude."
Brock has been a national spokesman for a diabetes drug manufacturer the last five years or so. Zitzmann said Brock "watched his diet meticulously."
Brock stole a National League-record 938 bases, including 118 in 1974, and was known as the Base Burglar. He also had 3,023 hits, becoming a star after a celebrated trade from the Cubs in 1964 for pitcher Ernie Broglio. Brock batted .391 with four home runs and 10 steals in 21 World Series games.
Zitzmann arranges appearances for Brock and other Cardinals Hall of Famers. He said Brock complained of leg pain on the return flight from a show in Washington, D.C., about a month before the operation.
"The infection got real bad, real quick," Zitzmann said. "It just happened so fast."
Visits from former Cardinals teammates, including fellow Hall of Famers Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson and Whitey Herzog, have helped keep Brock's spirits high.
Brock has been a regular guest instructor at spring training for many years. Zitzmann said Brock promised Schoendienst, who managed him on two World Series teams in the 1960s, that he'd be there on opening day.
The 92-year-old Schoendienst, an assistant to general manager John Mozeliak who often suits up before games, wasn't satisfied, Zitzmann said. He told Brock to aim for spring training.