The Kid vs. The Man: Back at Sportsman’s Park

The 1946 World Series returned to St. Louis on Sunday, 13 October. The Cardinals need to win to force a game seven. By this point most of the questions raised when the Series began were answered. Only two significant ones were left: how would Ted Williams and Stan Musial do, and who would win.

Harry Brecheen

Harry Brecheen

The Cardinals sent game two starter Harry Brecheen back to the mound. He’d pitched a complete game shutout in his last outing. He didn’t do quite as well this time. He gave up a run in the seventh inning when Rudy York tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Doerr. By that point St. Louis was already ahead 3-0 and would win 4-1. In the third inning they’d bunched together a single, a bunt (by Brecheen), a sacrifice and three more singles to score three runs off Tex Hughson. In the bottom of the eighth Harry Walker reached first on a force out then scored on a double by Marty Marion. Both the same hit and the same inning would loom large in game seven.  For Brecheen it was his second complete game victory.

Enos Slaughter, 15 October 1946

Enos Slaughter, 15 October 1946

The final game was played 15 October 1946 with Boston sending Boo Ferriss to the mound and the Cardinals countering with Murry Dickson. The Bosox got one in the first when Wally Moses singled, went to third on another single, and scored on Dom DiMaggio’s sacrifice fly. The Cards got it back in the bottom of the second when Whitey Kurowski doubled, went to third on a groundout, and then scored on a fly to left. St. Louis took the lead in the fifth when Walker singled, went to second on a bunt, then scored on Dickson’s double. A Red Schoendienst single plated Dickson. It stayed 3-1 until the top of the eighth. Rip Russell singled and Catfish Metkovich doubled to put Russell on third. It was all for Dickson. Manager Eddie Dyer brought Brecheen, the game six winner in to stop the Boston rally. He got two outs, then DiMaggio doubled to tie the games (both runs credited to Dickson). With the score tied, St. Louis Hall of Fame right fielder Enos Slaughter led off the bottom of the eighth with a single. Two outs later he was still parked on first and the score was still tied. That brought up Walker. He doubled off reliever Bob Klinger. Slaughter, with two outs, was off with the pitch. He rounded second, went to third, ran through a stop sign and headed home. The Red Sox fielded the ball cleanly but cutoff man Johnny Pesky hesitated just enough with the relay throw that Slaughter slid home safely with the go ahead run. The play has become famous as “Slaughter’s Mad Dash” and is still one of the more well known plays in World Series lore (and it may have been the deciding factor that got Slaughter into the Hall of Fame). In the ninth Brecheen went back to the mound. York singled as did Doerr. Doerr was erased on a force out by Pinky Higgins. Roy Partee fouled out with runners on first and third, then Ted McBride rolled a grounder to Schoendienst who flipped to Marion for the force that ended the Series. St. Louis had won both the game and Series 4-3. It was Brecheen’s third win.

Boston did well in defeat. Williams was a major disappointment hitting .200 with five hits, all singles. He had five walks, five strikeouts, and scored two runs. The big hitting star was Rudy York. He had six hits, four for extra bases (a double, a triple, and two homers). He drove in five and scored six runs. The staff did well enough with a team ERA of 2.95. They gave up 20 earned runs in 28 total runs (and if you ignore the 12-3 blowout in game four they actually gave up fewer runs than the Cards pitchers).

St. Louis had a lot of stars. Slaughter scored the big run while hitting .320. Walker had six RBIs, including the last one. Musial is frequently lambasted for a poor series (and he hit only .222), but he had six hits, five for extra bases (four doubles and a triple), scored three runs, drove in four, had four walks (and two strikeouts), and stole a base (and was immediately picked off). But the big hero was Brecheen. He had two complete games and gave up one run in them. He picked up the win in game seven in relief (although he’d given up the hit that tied the game) and became the first of only three lefties to register three wins in a World Series (Mickey Lolich and Randy Johnson are the others). He was also the second three game winner to pick up one victory in relief (Smokey Joe Wood did it in 1912 and later Johnson did it the same way in 2001). All in all not bad for a .500 pitcher in the regular season (he went 15-15).

It was a terrific World Series. It began a line of three great World Series’ (1947 and ’48 also became famous). It was also the only time both Williams and Musial met in a Series. For Williams it was his single Series. For Musial it was his last. He, at least, went out on a winning note.




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5 Responses to “The Kid vs. The Man: Back at Sportsman’s Park”

  1. William Miller Says:

    Great job, V. I really enjoyed this overview of that classic Series.

  2. Glen Russell Slater Says:

    My father was a fan of Harry “The Cat” Brecheen, too. I sometimes wonder that if he wasn’t from the Bronx, he might have been a Cardinals fan. Well, maybe a Browns fan. It’s funny that my father was a Yankee fan, because he always rooted for the underdog. Maybe it was just peer pressure in his neighborhood. But maybe he would’ve rooted for the Browns instead of the Cardinals. Bill Veeck had the same kind of sense of humor that my father has. And not only that, but Marty Marion played for the Browns as well as the Cardinals.

    We all know about Enos Slaughter’s racism (spiking Jackie Robinson on purpose). What I don’t get is Harry “The Hat” Walker. I was in a month-long baseball clinic that was led by the then-coach of the St. Johns University baseball team when I was 15 years old in August of 1976. He said to us that Harry Walker didn’t last too long as a manager in Houston because he couldn’t get along with the black players. Now, this seems to make sense, being that he was Dixie Walker’s brother.

    On the other hand, in both of Jim Bouton’s books in which he talks about his experiences playing with the Astros (and he says a lot about the Astos and Harry Walker in both “Ball Four” and “I’m Glad You Didn’t Take It Personally”, Bouton never writes a word about Harry Walker being racist; in fact, judging by the conversations in the book between Harry The Hat and the black players, he seems to get along with them just fine, and at that time, there were a lot of blacks on Houston as compared to a lot of other teams. (at least that’s how I recall the Astros in the early 70s, and Harry was still the manager in the early 70s.)

    Do you think that the head coach of the St. John’s baseball team was getting Dixie Walker and his brother mixed up, maybe? Because Bouton mentioned players who seemed racist. It’s not as if he didn’t broach the subject. But he never said anything about any racism on the part of Manager Walker.

    What have you heard or read on this subject, V?


    • verdun2 Says:

      Know very little about Walker. I don’t recall my granddad saying much about him, although he talked a lot about Slaughter. When Walker was traded in 1947 he went to the Phillies, managed by Ben Chapman, the guy who gave Robinson the hardest time. I have no idea if Walker and Chapman got along or not. Walker was from Alabama, but so was Bobby Bragan and Bragan got along with Robinson (after an initial period of reluctance). So I don’t know the answer to your question about Walker and race. Sorry.

    • wkkortas Says:

      If I remember my Ball Four correctly, Bouton made a point of saying how much better black-and-white relationships were on the Astros as opposed to the Pilots. I think (and I’m doing this from my hazy memory, you understand) that Jim Wynn and Curt Blefary actually roomed on the road, which was a pretty uncommon thing at the time. Harry managed the Pirates in the mid-60’s, and I don’t remember ever reading about him having problems with his black players.

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