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1946 World Series
St. Louis Cardinals logo
1946 World Series logo
Boston Red Sox logo
St. Louis Cardinals
98 - 58 in the NL
4 - 3
Series Summary
Boston Red Sox
104 - 50 in the AL

[edit] Introduction

Contents

The 1946 World Series was the first played with rosters not depleted by the War since 1941. It opposed the St. Louis Cardinals, taking part in their fourth World Series in five years, against the Boston Red Sox, who were making their first World Series appearance since Babe Ruth was a young left-handed pitcher in 1918. The Series would turn out to be a classic, seven-game, see-saw affair, with one play in particular, Enos Slaughter's mad dash around the bases in Game 7, still controversial 60 years later. In the end, the Cardinals won the Series, prolonging the Red Sox's title drought and sending them to wait until 1967 for another World Series appearance, while the great Ted Williams was held to a paltry .200 average in his only post-season appearance, thanks in part to a defensive shift devised by the Cardinals.

[edit] The Teams

[edit] The St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals were World Series Champions in 1942 and 1944 and had lost the 1943 Series to the New York Yankees. They were a vastly experienced team, but had had a difficult time winning the league pennant. At the end of the regular season, they were tied with the Brooklyn Dodgers - who had themselves been to the World Series in 1941, the year before the Cardinals began their streak - with identical records of 96-58. The pennant had to be decided by a three-game playoff, which the Cardinals swept in two games, to give them a seasonal record of 98-58. They were managed by Eddie Dyer, in his first season at the helm after Billy Southworth had been lured to the Boston Braves by a large paycheck.

The Cardinals were a well-balanced team, with strength both on the mound and at the plate. The team's biggest star was 1B Stan Musial, who led the National League with a .365 batting average and a .587 slugging percentage; he also finished atop the league tables in total bases (366 - 83 more than his teammate Enos Slaughter who came in second), hits (228), runs scored (124), doubles (50) and triples (20). He won the 1946 National League Most Valuable Player Award by a lanslide over Dixie Walker of the Dodgers. The second big offensive weapon was RF Slaughter, who returned from three years in the military to lead the league in RBI with 130, in addition to a team-high 18 home runs and a .300 batting average. He finished third in the MVP race. 3B Whitey Kurowski, a perennial All-Star, hit .301 with 14 home runs and 89 RBI, while sophomore Red Schoendienst, in his first season at 2B, hit .281 and scored 94 runs. The rest of the offense was not as potent: SS Marty Marion hit .233, and CF Harry Walker and C Joe Garagiola both hit .237. In the Series, Dyer would use Walker in left field and play veteran Terry Moore, a .263 hitter, in center field. Overall, the team led the National League in runs, doubles, batting average and slugging percentage, so the few weak bats in the lineup were not that much of a drag. The weak hitters were generally very good fielders, as the Cardinals committed only 124 errors, 22 fewer than the next best team.

On the mound the Cardinals were led by left-hander Howie Pollet, who won a league-leading 21 games (against 10 losses) with the best ERA (2.10) while pitching a league-leading 266 innings. He even managed to save a team-best five games when not starting. Harry Brecheen posted a solid 2.49 ERA, but his record was only 15-15. The rest of the starts were divided among four pitchers who also took their turns in the bullpen on off-days: Murry Dickson, who went 15-6, 2.88 in 47 games (19 starts), giving him the league's best winning percentage, Al Brazle who was 11-10 in 37 games (15 starts), Johnny Beazley who went 7-5, 4.46 while trying to overcome an arm injury sustained during his time in the military, and Ken Burkhart, who was 6-3, 2.88 in 25 games (13 starts), after winning 19 the previous season, as injuries sidelined him before the season ended. His replacement, George Munger was 2-2 with a 3.33 ERA in 10 games. Full-time reliever Ted Wilks completed the staff, going 8-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 95 innings. This group led the league in complete games, ERA and shutouts, while giving up the fewest runs. Indeed, it is a surprise that the Brooklyn Dodgers were able to give them a run for their money, but it was not known at the time that the Boys of Summer were on the verge of emerging as the class of the National League for the next ten seasons.

[edit] The Boston Red Sox

Managed by future Hall of Famer Joe Cronin, the Boston Red Sox ran away with the American League pennant, finishing with a 104-50 record, 12 games in front of second-place Detroit, the defending World Series Champions. The Red Sox had been the American League's strongest franchise over the League's first two decades, winning the first-ever World Series in 1903 and adding titles in 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918. After the 1919 season, the team sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, and the team's fortunes changed dramatically: between 1920 and 1937, the Red Sox never finished higher than fourth and were last in the league nine times. Starting in 1938 however, under player-manager Cronin, things began to turn around: they finished second four times in five seasons, then after a few bleak seasons during the war, exploded to the top in 1946, with their first 100-win season since 1915.

1946 was the year of Ted Williams, who won the 1946 American League Most Valuable Player Award in a close race over pitcher Hal Newhouser of the Tigers and teammate Bobby Doerr. LF Williams hit .342, second behind Washington's Mickey Vernon, with 38 home runs and 123 RBI. He led the league in slugging percentage at .667 and total bases with 343 while drawing 156 walks. This led to his scoring 142 runs, 27 more than teammate Johnny Pesky who finished second in that category. Williams finished behind Tigers' slugger Hank Greenberg in both home runs and RBI. SS Pesky hit .335, with a league-leading 208 hits, resulting in his 115 runs scored. It was 1B Rudy York and 2B Doerr who benefitted from all those baserunners in front of them, driving in 119 and 116 runs respectively in spite of relatively-low .276 and .271 batting averages. CF Dom DiMaggio hit .316 with 85 runs scored and 73 RBI, but like the Cardinals, the rest of the line-up was relatively anemic: 3B Rip Russell hit .208 and would be replaced by the .275-hitting Pinky Higgins in the World Series, while RF Catfish Metkovich hit .246 with 25 RBI and C Hal Wagner was at .230. The Red Sox easily paced the American League in runs scored (792, 88 more than the second-place Tigers), doubles, batting average and slugging percentage.

Like the Cardinals, the Red Sox had the best fielding percentage in their league, but were third in runs allowed, behind New York and Detroit and only one better than Chicago. They did have two twenty-game winners on their staff, Tex Hughson who went 20-11 with a 2.75 ERA, and Dave "Boo" Ferriss who was 25-6, 3.25. Behind them were Mickey Harris (17-9), Joe Dobson (13-7) and Jim Bagby Jr. (7-6). In the bullpen were Earl Johnson 5-4, 3.71 with 3 saves in 29 games, Bob Klinger (3-2, 2.37 and a league-leading 9 saves), Mace Brown (3-1, 2.05) and Clem Dreisewerd (4-1, 4.18). The pitching was not as deep as the Cardinals', but the top of the rotation was quite solid.

[edit] Umpires

[edit] The Games

[edit] Game 1: October 6

Played at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis. Boxscore

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Boston Red Sox 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 9 2
St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 7 0
W: Earl Johnson (1-0) L: Howie Pollet (0-1)
HR: Rudy York BOS
attendance: 36,218

Game One of the World Series, played in St. Louis's Sportsman's Park turned out to be a thriller, providing a taste of what was to come over the coming ten days. The teams' two pitching aces, Howie Pollet of the Cardinals and Tex Hughson of the Red Sox, both 20-game winners during the regular season, faced off on the mound. Both managers made adjustments to their usual line-ups, to compensate for the weakness of some of their hitters. Boston skipper Joe Cronin designated right-handed hitting Tom McBride as his lead-off hitter. McBride was a .301 hitter with little power and not much patience who had only come to bat 153 times in the regular season, but he was a better choice than the left-handed Catfish Metkovich - a .246 hitter who could draw some walks - against the left-handed Pollet. At third base, 37-year old Pinky Higgins had phased Rip Russell out of a job after being purchased from the Detroit Tigers in mid-May and got the starting assignment. For the Cardinals, veteran Terry Moore was inserted in center field and batted second, with Harry Walker moving to left field.

The Red Sox opened the scoring in the second inning when Higgins drove in Rudy York from second after one out. St. Louis responded in the sixth inning when Stan Musial doubled home Red Schoendienst after two outs and moved to third on McBride's error. Hughson then loaded the bases by walking Enos Slaughter intentionally, and then hitting Whitey Kurowski with a pitch; however he struck out catcher Joe Garagiola to end the threat. In the bottom of the eighth, the Cardinals struck again after two outs: Kurowski singled, and this time Garagiola came through with a clutch double to give the Cardinals the lead.

Howie Pollet was cruising along at that point, having only given up four hits to the Red Sox, and he struck out Bobby Doerr to open the ninth. Higgins then singled to left, and manager Cronin went to work. He sent in back-up infielder Don Gutteridge to pinch run for Higgins and Rip Russell to hit for catcher Hal Wagner. Russell singled to center, with Gutteridge reaching third. With pitcher Hughson due up, Cronin called for another substitution, with back-up catcher Roy Partee to pinch hit. Pollet struck him out for the second out, bringing up McBride. He hit a ground ball that took a freak bounce through shortstop Marty Marion's legs for a run-scoring single and the game was tied at 2. Earl Johnson came on to pitch for the Red Sox, with Partee and Russell staying in the game on defense. Johnson got the Cardinals out in order in the bottom of the ninth, including pitcher Pollet who made the last out by trying to bunt his way on. In the top of the tenth, Pollet disposed of Dom DiMaggio and Ted Williams, but Rudy York followed with a solo home run to put the Red Sox ahead. The Cardinals tried to rally in the bottom of the inning when Schoendienst reached on shorstop Johnny Pesky's error to lead off. Terry Moore sacrificed him to second base and Schoendienst went to third on Musial's ground out. With the tying run 90 feet away from home plate, Slaughter hit a fly ball to right fielder Wally Moses, who had come in as a defensive substitute for McBride before Musial's at bat, and the game was over.

[edit] Game 2: October 7

Played at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis. Boxscore

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Red Sox 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 x 3 6 0
W: Harry Brecheen (1-0) L: Mickey Harris (0-1)
attendance: 35,815

The Cardinals came back strong in Game 2, riding on the exploits of a single player, pitcher Harry "The Cat" Brecheen. The left-hander had only posted a 15-15 record during the regular season, but with a solid 2.49 ERA, and he was already playing in his third World Series in only his fourth full season in the big leagues. He was outstanding that day, shutting out the Red Sox on four hits to even the Series at a game apiece.

Both managers made some changes from their Game 1 line-up, with Boston's Joe Cronin letting the better-hitting Roy Partee start at catcher in place of Hal Wagner. He sent 17-game winner Mickey Harris to the mound, reserving his second ace, Dave Ferriss, for the team's return to Boston for Game 3. For the Cardinals, Eddie Dyer replaced Harry Walker in left-field with Erv Dusak, the starter during the regular season, while keeping Terry Moore in center. He also replaced catcher Joe Garagiola with Del Rice; Dusak hit .240 as a rookie, although with some power, while Rice was a decent contact hitter (.273 that season) with a long career in front of him.

In any case, Brecheen did not need much offensive help as he mowed the Red Sox down inning after inning. He helped his own cause in the bottom of the third when, after Rice's lead-off double, he pushed him home with a single to right. The Cardinals added two more runs in the fifth inning to ice their victory. Rice led-off once again, this time with a single, and Brecheen hit a ground ball to third base, which Pinky Higgins misplayed by hurrying his throw to cut down Rice at second base. Rice made it to third base and Brecheen to second; after one out, Terry Moore followed with an infield single, scoring Rice, and Musial hit another ground ball to force out Moore but allowing Brecheen to score another unearned run. The Red Sox never mounted a serious threat and Brecheen cruised to a complete game victory. The two teams would head to Boston all tied at one.

[edit] Game 3: October 9

Played at Fenway Park, Boston. Boxscore

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
Boston Red Sox 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x 4 8 0
W: Dave Ferriss (1-0) L: Murry Dickson (0-1)
HR: Rudy York BOS
attendance: 34,500

The Series reconvened in Fenway Park on October 9 after a travel day with Boston's 25-game winner Dave Ferriss facing the Cardinals' Murry Dickson. This time, it was Boston's turn to shut out their opponents' offence, with Ferriss turning out a six-hit complete game shutout which was a mirror image of Game 2. For the Cardinals, Eddie Dyer put Harry Walker back in left field, sliding shortstop Marty Marion to the eighth slot of the order. For the Red Sox, facing a right-hander for the first time, right-fielder Tom McBride made way for Wally Moses as the lead-off hitter, while Hal Wagner was back behind the plate.

The Red Sox broke the game open in the bottom of the first, after Stan Musial had been picked off second base to end the Cardinals' half of the inning. Johnny Pesky singled after one out, and Dom DiMaggio moved him to second with a ground out to first base. Cardinals manager Dyer decided to walk Ted Williams intentionally, a fateful decision since Rudy York followed with his second home run of the Series, a three-run shot that gave Ferriss all the support he needed. The Red Sox added another run in the eighth, against relief pitcher Ted Wilks. After one out, York singled and Bobby Doerr doubled. Pinky Higgins hit a ball back to Wilks, forcing the two runners to hold their bases, but Red Schoendienst misplayed Hal Wagner's ground ball, allowing York to score the fourth run. This is how the game ended, with the Red Sox taking a two games to one lead thanks to a 4-0 victory.

[edit] Game 4: October 10

Played at Fenway Park, Boston. Boxscore

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 0 3 3 0 1 0 1 0 4 12 20 1
Boston Red Sox 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 9 4
W: George Munger (1-0) L: Tex Hughson (0-1)
HR: Enos Slaughter STL; Bobby Doerr BOS
attendance: 35,645

The St. Louis Cardinals put on a tremendous offensive display in Game 4, evening the Series at two games apiece by pounding the Red Sox pitching for 12 runs on 20 hits, tying a Series record. The Cardinals had sent to the mound the relatively inexperienced George "Red" Munger, who had replaced the injured Ken Burkhart as the team's fourth starter late in the season after returning from a stint in the Army, to face Boston's ace, Tex Hughson, who had started Game 1 in St. Louis and pitched relatively well. Both teams kept the same line-up as in Game 3, save for the starting pitchers, but this time, it was the lumber that would do the talking.

After a quick 1st inning for both pitchers, the Cardinals jumped all over Hughson in the 2nd. Enos Slaughter led off with a home run, and Whitey Kurowski followed with a double. After an out, Harry Walker singled, driving in Kurowski. The Red Sox had a chance to end the threat when they caught Walker stealing second base, but Johnny Pesky failed to handle Hal Wagner's throw, and Walker was safe at third. Marty Marion laid down a squeeze bunt and the Cardinals were up 3-0. The Red Sox were out in order in the bottom of the inning and the Cardinals went right back to work: Red Schoendienst hit a lead-off single and Terry Moore laid down a sacrifice bunt. Hughson misplayed it, advancing the runners to second and third, where Stan Musial drove them both in with a double. Jim Bagby replaced Hughson on the mound and got two outs before Garagiola singled to drive in Musial with St. Louis's sixth run. It was one of four hits on the day for Garagiola, who was not known for his prowess with the bat, with teammates Slaughter and Kurowski joining him with four hits. For the Red Sox, Wally Moses also had four hits in a losing cause, but failed to score or drive in a run.

With the Cardinals up 6-0 after three innings and the Red Sox forced to rely on their unsteady bullpen for the rest of the day, the issue of the game was no longer in doubt. The two teams traded runs in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, then St. Louis brought the score to 8-1 when Garagiola singled in Slaughter in the seventh. The Red Sox made the score slightly less embarrassing when Bobby Doerr hit a two-run home run with two outs in the eighth, but the Cardinals came right back, adding four more runs in the ninth against three different pitchers - Mace Brown, Mike Ryba and Clem Dreisewerd, for a final score of 12-2. Slaughter had scored four runs for the Cardinals, with both Garagiola and Marion driving in three, while Munger had himself a complete game victory.

[edit] Game 5: October 11

Played at Fenway Park, Boston. Boxscore

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 5 1
Boston Red Sox 1 1 0 0 0 1 3 0 x 6 11 3
W: Joe Dobson (1-0) L: Al Brazle (0-1)
HR: Leon Culberson BOS
attendance: 35,982

The Boston Red Sox quickly put behind them their wretched performance in Game 4 by winning Game 5 in convincing fashion by a 6-3 score. The Cardinals came back with their ace Howie Pollet on the mound, well-rested after his extra-inning loss in Game 1, while Boston replied with fourth starter Joe Dobson, a righthander who had won 13 games in the regular season. The Cardinals did not change a line-up that had inflicted such punishment on Boston's pitchers the day before, while Joe Cronin shuffled his cards a bit. Don Gutteridge got a rare start at second base and hit lead-off, with Leon Culberson taking over as the third Red Sox right fielder of the Series and batting seventh, and Roy Partee, who had been forced to leave Game 2 with a hand injury, taking over for Hal Wagner behind the plate. All three would figure prominently in the victory

The Red Sox never let Pollet settle in in the first inning, with Gutteridge and Pesky hitting back-to-back singles to open the frame. After Dom DiMaggio forced Gutteridge at third, Williams singled to right, scoring Pesky, and took second himself on the throw home. With the Red Sox ahead 1-0, one out, and runners at second and third, Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer removed Pollet and sent in Al Brazle. He walked Rudy York intentionally to load the bases, then induced Pinky Higgins to hit a ground ball to third base, which Whitey Kurowski relayed home to cut down DiMaggio for the second out. Culberson hit another ground ball to allow the Cardinals to escape the inning down only one run. They tied the score in the top of the second when Garagiola reached on a two-out error by Pesky and scored on Harry Walker's double.

Boston took the lead right back when Partee singled to lead off the second inning, and Dobson laid down a sacrifice bunt. St. Louis tried unsuccessfully to cut down Partee at second, and Gutteridge followed with a single for a 2-1 lead. Brazle escaped another jam by forcing the next two batters to hit ground balls, resulting in a force out and a double play. Those missed opportunities did not come back to haunt Boston, however, as they added another run in the sixth on Culberson's lead-off home run. They broke the game open in the seventh. DiMaggio doubled to lead off and York was walked intentionally after one out. Higgins doubled in DiMaggio, and Culberson was in turn walked intentionally to load the bases. This time, Brazle could not wiggle out of the trap: Marion committed an error on Partee's sharply-hit ground ball, and two more runs scored, to put Boston up 6-1. St. Louis scored two unearned runs in the top of the ninth, thanks to another error by Pesky - his fourth of the Series, all of which proved costly - but the game's outcome was never in doubt. The teams were heading back to St. Louis with Boston holding a 3 games to 2 lead.

[edit] Game 6: October 13

Played at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis. Boxscore

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Red Sox 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 7 0
St. Louis Cardinals 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 x 4 8 0
W: Harry Brecheen (2-0) L: Mickey Harris (0-2)
attendance: 35,768

Game 6 was a rematch of Game 2, with Harry Brecheen and Mickey Harris facing off on the mound. And once again, Brecheen would play the role of Superman. Following his home run in Game 5, Leon Culberson was back in the line-up for Boston, hitting lead-off, and so was Roy Partee behind the plate. However, Bobby Doerr returned to the fold, taking the place of Don Gutteridge, in spite of the latter's heroics as the Sox's lead-off hitter the previous game. For St. Louis, Erv Dusak and Del Rice were in the line-up, as they had been for Brecheen's shutout of the Red Sox in Game 2.

Both starting pitchers were strong in the early going, breezing through the first two innings unscathed. In the bottom of the third, however, the Cardinals repeated a scenario familiar to those who had watched Game 2: Rice led off with a single, and Brecheen laid down a bunt. This time he was unsuccessful, as Rice was forced out at second, but Red Schoendienst followed with a double and Terry Moore with a sacrifice fly to right field to allow Brecheen to score the game's first run. Stan Musial, Whitey Kurowski and Enos Slaughter then hit consecutive singles to drive Harris out of the game, pushing the score to 3-0. Tex Hughson came in to pitch, retiring Harry Walker, who was pinch hitting for Dusak.

A three-run lead was all Brecheen needed, and he set down the Red Sox methodically, bringing his consecutive scoreless inning streak to 15 before Boston got on the scoreboard in the seventh, on a triple by Rudy York followed by Doerr's sacrifice fly. The Cardinals got the run back in the eighth however, with Marty Marion doubling in Walker. With a 4-1 lead, Brecheen allowed a one-out single to Ted Williams in the ninth - one of only five hits for the Splendid Splinter during the Series, all of them singles - but the next batter, York , hit a ball back to Brecheen, who had earned his nickname The Cat through his outstanding fielding. He started a game-ending double play, tying the Series at three games apiece and sending it to a decisive seventh game for the second consecutive year.

[edit] Game 7: October 15

Played at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis. Boxscore

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Red Sox 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 8 0
St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 x 4 9 1
W: Harry Brecheen (3-0) L: Bob Klinger (0-1)
attendance: 36,143

After a rainout on October 14, the Series resumed for the seventh game at Sportsman's Park on October 15. Up to that point, the Series had been tight, with both teams exchanging victories, but only Game 1, decided in the tenth inning, had really been in doubt after the first few innings. This would not be the case of Game 7, which would turn out to be a great classic, vividly discussed for years afterwards. The game was decided for St. Louis on a pivotal play with the score tied in the eighth inning, when Enos Slaughter ran all the way home from first base on what looked like a single. Some consider Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky to be the goat of the series for supposedly "holding the ball" on a relay throw to home, but this is based on several misconceptions.

But first, the line-ups. For Boston, the choice of pitchers was obvious: 25-game winner Dave Ferriss was well-rested and coming off a brilliant shutout in Game 3. For St. Louis, it was not so clear: ace Howie Pollet had only pitched a third of an inning since Game 1, but had been obviously off his game in his last start. Harry Brecheen, the team's best pitcher in the Series, had only had a day to recover from his complete game victory in Game 6, while George Munger, the winner of Game 4, was a bit inexperienced to face the pressure of a decisive game. Eddie Dyer decided to call on Murry Dickson, who had lost to Ferriss in Game 3 in Fenway Park. For the Red Sox, Hal Wagner was back behind the plate, and Wally Moses, he of the four-hit game in Game 4, was leading off and playing right field. St. Louis used its standard line-up, with Joe Garagiola back behind the plate and Harry Walker in left field.

Boston got on the scoreboard immediately, tagging Dickson for a run in the first. Moses and Johnny Pesky hit lead-off singles. Dom DiMaggio hit a sacrifice fly to drive Moses home from third. The Cardinals tied the game in the second inning when Whitey Kurowski hit a lead-off double and, after advancing on a ground ball out, scored on Walker's line-out to left.

That's how things remained until the bottom of the fifth, when Ferriss ran into trouble. Walker hit a lead-off single and moved to second on Marty Marion's sacrifice bunt. Dickson then helped his own cause with an RBI double. Red Schoendienst and Terry Moore followed with singles and the Cardinals were up 3-1. Joe Cronin yanked Ferriss in favor of Joe Dobson with two men on and the heart of the Cardinals' order due up. Dobson induced Stan Musial to hit a ground ball, walked Enos Slaughter intentionally, and then was saved by another ground ball from the bat of Kurowski.

The Red Sox failed to score in the sixth and seventh. In the top of the eighth, Cronin reached into his bag of tricks. Rip Russell batted for Wagner and singled. Catfish Metkovich then pinch hit for Dobson and doubled to left, pushing Russell to third. Eddie Dyer then removed Dickson, bringing in his hero Harry Brecheen. He struck out Moses and forced Pesky to line out. However, DiMaggio followed with a double that tied the score at three; he would have had a triple but he tore his hamstring and had to pull up at second. The injury was so serious that he had to come out for a pinch runner, Leon Culberson, and therefore was unable to take his position in the bottom of the inning, removing the team's defensive leader.

Into center went journeyman Culberson, a decent (lifetime .266) hitter but a notoriously weak fielder. Bullpen ace Bob Klinger took the mound and allowed a lead-off single to Slaughter. Kurowski tried to bunt him over, but lined out to Klinger instead. Del Rice, who had replaced Garagiola behind the plate after DiMaggio's double, hit a soft fly to left for the second out. With two out and Slaughter on first, Walker hit a soft liner into the left-centerfield gap. Ted Williams, who by his own admission made a career of saying, "You got it, Dommy!", reverted to his habit of laying off the gappers. The problem was, Culberson did not have nearly the range of DiMaggio (not even his brother did), and while the ball did not get through, by the time he gloved it, he had taken such a deep angle that Walker - and here's another of history's ingrained untruths - was legging out a double, not a single, as books continue to tell us. Furthermore, Slaughter, while not stealing, took advantage of Klinger's inattention and had taken a walking lead. When Walker's hit found the gap, Slaughter decided he was running all the way, the proper play with two outs and an uncertain substitute holding the ball. Finally, the matter of Pesky, history's goat. When he saw Culberson had to take a wide berth to cut off the ball, he now had to go out into short left-center to be a cutoff man (whereas DiMaggio, we imagine, would have charged the ball and probably would have held Slaughter at third). With the crowd roaring, Pesky, his back to the play and now out of earshot of catcher Roy Partee, was on his own. He took Culberson's looping throw, had to hesitate for a second while he turned and got his bearings, and then threw - way too late, anyway: Slaughter had scored St. Louis' fourth run, while Walker stood at second.

The Red Sox still had one turn at bat to try and re-tie the game. Rudy York hit a lead-off single, and was replaced by pinch-runner Paul Campbell. Bobby Doerr hit an infield single, putting two runners on with no outs. Pinky Higgins hit into a force out, moving Campbell to third with one out. However, Partee then popped out in foul territory, and Tom McBride, pinch hitting for Earl Johnson (who had relieved Klinger after Slaughter's run), ended the game and the Series with another ground ball. The Cardinals were the champions, and the Red Sox had come so agonizingly close.

[edit] Conclusion

Like it is the case for a number of World Series, the 1946 contest is remembered for one play, or at most one inning of play. In spite of being closely fought, it was not a particularly enthralling Series until the seventh game, as each team took its turn in handily disposing of the other. But for its last three half innings, the Series was an absolute classic, with incredible tension building to a see-saw finish.

The two biggest stars in the Series, Stan Musial and Ted Williams, turned out to play secondary roles, hitting .222 and .200 respectively. For Musial, who had played in three other Series already, it was not such a big deal, but for Williams, his failure to shine in his one time on the game's biggest stage would haunt him until his death. And the Series' greatest heroes, Harry Brecheen, who won three games including his clutch relief performance in the deciding game, and Harry Walker, who hit .412 and drove in six runs, including the Series winner, have tended to be overshadowed over time by the images of Enos Slaughter, Ted Williams, and, most unfortunately, Johnny Pesky.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Mel R. Freese: The St. Louis Cardinals in the 1940s, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2007.
  • Jerome M. Mileur: The Stars Are Back: The St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Red Sox, and Player Unrest in 1946, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, IL, 2013. ISBN 978-0-8093-3271-7
  • Robert Weintraub: The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY, 2013. ISBN 978-0316205917


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