With the Cardinals meeting to select the new Pope it’s time to flashback to another Papal election in simpler days, 1958 . . . . the Cardinals assembled with this now famous line from perennial All-Star Ken Boyer: “C’mon boys, let’s put this Pope thing to bed and get back to playing ball.”
The concave, however, dragged through 11 ballots before the ‘no-one-is-happy-about-it’ compromise selection of Angelo Roncalli. A block of Cardinals led by Wally Moon, Al Dark, and Vinegar Bend Mizell filibustered for days before Stan Musial and Fred Hutchinson rallied the troops and forced a consensus.
Sadly, the effects of the concave lingered throughout the season and the Cardinals finished in fifth place, 20 games behind the Milwaukee Braves.
In 1963 the Cardinals selected Paul VI in six, short, contentious free ballots. Perhaps not coincidentally, the 1964 Cardinals were 6 1/2 games out of first place with 12 games to play and engineered one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history to win the 1964 Pennant on the last day of the season. They defeated the Yankees in seven games to win the World Series.
Some called it a miracle.