Monday, January 25, 2010

PTWSW #41: The 1944 St. Louis Cardinals

Manager: Billy Southworth
Record: 105-49
Ballpark: Sportsman's Park
Owner: Sam Breadon
GM: William Walsingham, Jr.
Coaches: Mike Gonzalez, Buzzy Wares

Future Hall of Famers: Stan Musial

All-Stars: Walker Cooper, Whitey Kurowski, Max Lanier, Marty Marion, Red Munger, Stan Musial

Team Leaders, Batting

Stan Musial, .347
OBP: Stan Musial, .440 (NL leader)
SLG: Stan Musial, .549 (NL leader)
OPS: Stan Musial, .990 (NL leader)
2B: Stan Musial, 51 (NL leader)
3B: Stan Musial, 14
HR: Whitey Kurowski, 20
RBI: Ray Sanders, 102
BB: Stan Musial, 90
SB: Johnny Hopp, 15

Team Leaders, Pitching

Mort Cooper, 22
SO: Max Lanier, 141
ERA: Mort Cooper, 2.46
IP: Mort Cooper, 252.1
CG: Mort Cooper, 22
SHO: Mort Cooper, 7 (NL leader)
K/BB: Max Lanier, 1.99
SV: Freddy Schmidt, 5


Oldest Player: Pepper Martin (b. February 29, 1904)

Youngest Player: Al Jurisich (b. August 25, 1921)

First to Leave Us: Mort Cooper (d. November 17, 1958)

Last Survivor: Stan Musial (d. January 19, 2013)

First in Majors: Pepper Martin (debut April 16, 1928)

Last in Majors: Stan Musial (final game September 29, 1963)

First to Play For the Franchise: Pepper Martin (April 16, 1928)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Stan Musial (September 29, 1963)

Pre-union Team: The 1939-41 Giants had Harry Gumbert and Ken O'Dea.

Reunion Team: The 1946 Braves, under Billy Southworth, had five: Mort Cooper, Johnny Hopp, Danny Litwhiler, Ken O'Dea and Ray Sanders. Also of note were the 1947 Phillies (Blix Donnelly, Al Jurisich, Freddy Schmidt and Emil Verban).


Marty Marion, NL MVP

Season Summary

Though World War II was going on, the Cardinals still had many of their stars on the roster in 1944. MVP Marty Marion, icon-in-the-making Stan Musial, the Cooper brothers, Max Lanier and Whitey Kurowski, all key players on the 1942 champs, remained with the club. Is it any wonder then, that the 1944 Cardinals were simply without peer? Their OPS+ of 108 was 10 better than the closest competitor and their 132 ERA+ was 14 better than the next-best team. They also led the league in homers, doubles, the three slash stats, pitchers' strikeout-to-walk ratio and DER. The pennant race wasn't close either. The Cards nearly led wire-to-wire, and their lead was already in double digits halfway through the season.

The 1944 World Series will always be remembered as the only instance of an all-St. Louis Fall Classic. The American League's Browns, with whom the Cardinals shared Sportsman's Park, won the only pennant in their history that year. The Browns were a comparatively weak team, with a sturdy pitching staff their only major strength. The Brownies led 2-1 after the first three games, their only loss being an extra-inning defeat in Game 2. The Cardinals used the next three games to prove that the Browns weren't as close in quality as they appeared, winning them all. The Series was dominated by pitching; the Cardinals outscored the Browns 16-12 in the six games, and both teams had cumulative ERA's below two.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
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