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Enos Slaughter

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Enos Bradsher Slaughter
(Country)

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1985

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[edit] Biographical Information

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"I give it everything I've got. Always have played that way and I'll do it as long as I can. Anyone who don't should be sellin' peanuts up in the stands." -Enos Slaughter

Enos "Country" Slaughter was a Hall of Fame outfielder and colorful star with the 1940s St. Louis Cardinals. He ended a 19-year career at 43 in 1959 with an even .300 lifetime batting average, having lost three years in his prime to service in World War II.

A member of the same Army Air Corps team as Joe Gordon and Vic Wertz, he missed all of 1943-1945, his age 27-29 seasons. There's no doubt he would have been in top form had he still been with the Cards, a back-to-back All-Star when he left in 1942 and an eight-time consecutive All-Star when he returned in 1946. To drive home the point, he book-ended the War by hitting .318 for the World Series-winning 1942 Redbirds (good for #2 in the NL MVP voting) and .300 for the 1946 World Champs (that brought home a 3rd-place finish in the MVP vote).

Slaughter began in the minors in 1935. A torrid .382 BA and .609 slugging percentage for the 1937 Columbus (OH) Red Birds earned him a ticket to St. Louis the next spring.

The North Carolina native established himself in the Majors right away with a solid rookie campaign in 1938, then reeled off four straight .300+ seasons before leaving for the War. Starting in 1941 he shared the Sportsman's Park limelight with future Gateway City icon and Baseball legend Stan Musial for a dozen years. When the versatile Musial wasn't playing first base, the pair often formed an outfield with Terry Moore in center through 1948.

The Cardinals, wishing to get younger, traded Slaughter to the New York Yankees just before the start of the 1954 season, installing rookie Wally Moon in his spot in right field. The trade was very unpopular with Cardinals fans at first, although the fact that Moon was the 1954 National League Rookie of the Year eased their sorrow. For his part, Slaughter filled a key role as a platoon player under wily Yankees manager Casey Stengel from 1954 through 1959, a skein that included three straight Fall Classic appearances for the Bronx Bombers from 1956 to 1958 and earned Slaughter two more World Series rings to go with the pair he had earned with the Cards. He also played for the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 and 1956, the Yankees parking him there after he had begun the 1955 season in a slump; he hit .322 in 108 games for Kansas City in 1955, and the Yankees re-acquired him midway through 1956. Those were part of a series of sweetheart deals between the two teams that enraged Kansas City fans (and other American League teams) because they always seemed to benefit the Yankees.

While Slaughter is best remembered for his "Mad dash" in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series - when he raced home from first base on a soft gapper to left-center by Harry "The Hat" Walker to score the winning run over the Boston Red Sox - his epic gallop has tended to obscure that he was a multi-dimensional player who hit for average and was a reliable run producer with both his bat and legs for a very long time.

According to the similarity scores method, the most similar player to Slaughter is Mickey Vernon, another unsung World War II-era star who missed time serving his country.

After his major league days Slaughter was a player-manager in the minors in 1960 and 1961, still hitting for a good average. Later, he was head baseball coach at Duke University from 1971 to 1977.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 10-time NL All-Star (1941, 1942 & 1946-1953)
  • NL Hits Leader (1942)
  • NL Total Bases Leader (1942)
  • NL Singles Leader (1942)
  • NL Doubles Leader (1939)
  • 2-time NL Triples Leader (1942 & 1949)
  • NL RBI Leader (1946)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (1946, 1950 & 1952)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1942, 1946 & 1947)
  • Won four World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals (1942 & 1946) and the New York Yankees (1956 & 1958)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1985

[edit] Further Reading

  • Mark Randall: "Giving Up the Stars and Reaching for the Moon: The Rookie Debut of Wally Moon", The Baseball Research Journal, Vol. 43, number 2, Fall 2014, pp. 55-62.

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