Saturday, January 30, 2010

PTWSW #43: The 1946 St. Louis Cardinals

Manager: Eddie Dyer
Record: 98-58
Ballpark: Sportsman's Park
Owner: Sam Breadon
GM: William Walsingham, Jr.
Coaches: Mike Gonzalez, Buzzy Wares

Future Hall of Famers: Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter

All-Stars: Whitey Kurowski, Marty Marion, Stan Musial, Howie Pollet, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter

Team Leaders, Batting

Stan Musial, .365 (NL leader)
OBP: Stan Musial, .434
SLG: Stan Musial, .587 (NL leader)
OPS: Stan Musial, 1.021 (NL leader)
2B: Stan Musial, 50 (NL leader)
3B: Stan Musial, 20 (NL leader)
HR: Enos Slaughter, 18
RBI: Enos Slaughter, 130 (NL leader)
BB: Stan Musial, 73
SB: Red Schoendienst, Harry Walker, 12

Team Leaders, Pitching

Howie Pollet, 21 (NL leader)
SO: Harry Brecheen, 117
ERA: Howie Pollet, 2.10 (NL leader)
IP: Howie Pollet, 266 (NL leader)
CG: Howie Pollet, 22
SHO: Harry Brecheen, 5 (NL leader)
K/BB: Harry Brecheen, 1.75
SV: Howie Pollet, 5


Oldest Player:
Terry Moore (b. May 27, 1912)

Youngest Player: Joe Garagiola (b. February 12, 1926)

First to Leave Us: Al Brazle (d. October 24, 1973)

Last Survivor: Red Schoendienst (d. June 6, 2018)

First in Majors: Terry Moore (debut April 16, 1935)

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

First to Play For the Franchise: Terry Moore (April 16, 1935)

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

Pre-union Team: The 1943 Phillies had Buster Adams and Danny Litwhiler, and the 1943-45 Braves had Red Barrett and Clyde Kluttz.

Reunion Team: The 1952 Pirates had six: Murry Dickson, Erv Dusak, Joe Garagiola, Red Munger, Howie Pollet and Ted Wilks. Branch Rickey was Pittsburgh GM by that time, and all six of those guys were signed by the Cards during his tenure in St. Louis. The 1947 Phillies are also notable with five (Buster Adams, Blix Donnelly, Freddy Schmidt, Emil Verban and Harry Walker).


Stan Musial, NL MVP

Season Summary

In 1945 Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter wore military uniforms while the Cardinals finished in second place; in 1946 both were back in Cardinal uniforms and providing the majority of St. Louis' offense. Indeed, Whitey Kurowski was the only other Cardinal to post an OPS+ above 100 that year (unless you count Nippy Jones, who only made 14 plate appearances). The lowest of the three was Slaughter at 133, and the production that went with Musial's 183 OPS+ earned him his second MVP award. Despite a lack of lineup depth, the Cards led the NL in runs scored, doubles and batting average, and they were second in OPS+ and homers. Their pitching staff allowed the fewest runs per game and led the league in ERA+ and strikeout-to-walk ratio. They had depth to go with strength, as most of their key pitchers had an ERA+ above 100.

Most of the season was a two-way race between the Cardinals and Dodgers. The top two spots were occupied by those two teams almost from Day One. So close were the squads that they finished their schedules in a first-place tie, necessitating a best-of-three series to determine the pennant winner. The Cards proved their superiority by sweeping it in two games to earn the flag.

The experts didn't give the Cardinals much chance to beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. The National League was seen as far inferior to the American at the time, and the Redbirds didn't have the look of an especially great club. As it turned out, the Series was a fairly even match. The Bosox and Cards alternated wins in the first six games, with only Game 4 being a blowout. Game 7 was a thriller that provided the Series' most memorable moment. With two out and the game tied in the bottom of the eighth, St. Louis had Enos Slaughter on first. When Harry Walker lined one into center, Slaughter shocked everyone in the ballpark by running non-stop all the way around the bases to score the winning run. The play became known as "Slaughter's Mad Dash," and Harry Brecheen set down Boston in the ninth to win the game.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
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