Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Mad Dash

As we await the beginning of the 2015 World Series, I reflect back on the winning run that Lorenzo Cain scored in game six of the American League Championship series and I am reminded of St. Cardinals Enos Slaughter's Mad Dash in the 1946 World Series against the Red Sox.

Cain should be applauded for his play when he scored from first base on Eric Hosmer's 8th inning single, as he scored the decisive run to end the Blue Jays post season.  Earlier in the series, Royals third base coach Mike Jirschele had noticed when a runner on first headed to third on a single, Blue Jays' right fielder Jose Bautista would throw the ball to second base.  Bautista had done it before during the series, but the runner coming into third on that play was Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales and Jirschele couldn’t take advantage of Bautista’s throw as Morales wasn’t fast enough.

However, Jirschele remembered that play and thought that if Bautista did that again and if the Royals had a fast runner coming into third, he would send that runner home.  There could not have a more opportune time for Jirschele to send a runner home when Cain motored into third base and Bautista throw went to second base.  Bautista intentions were to hold Hosmer to a single; however, when Jitschele saw Baustista's throw, he sent Cain home.  Cain speed pressured the Jays defense as they make two long throws and when shortstop's Troy Tulowitzki's throw to the plate was late, the Royals took a 4 - 3 lead.  After Royals reliever Wade Davis worked a tense ninth inning and the Blue Jays failed to score, the Royals won their second consecutive American League championship and are now headed back to the World Series.

This was not the first time in the state of Missouri, that a runner, in the bottom of the 8th inning, scored from first base with the run that won a post season game and series. 
The 1946 World Series matched the National League Champion Cardinals, against the American League Champion Red Sox.  The series featured future Hall of Famers, Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, and Enos Slaughter from the Cardinals, and Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr for the Red Sox.   In the series, the club's star outfielders, Musial and Williams, who each won the Most Valuable Player award in their respective leagues, didn't match the batting averages they had during the season.  During the series, Musial hit .222 (six hits in 27 at bats) and Williams batted just .200 (5 hits in 25 at bats).  For the season, Musial had lead the National League with a .365 batting average and Williams, who had batted .342, finished second in the American League to Senator's Mickey Vernon's .353 average.  Williams, who had played the Series injured, refused to use his injury as an excuse.   
After six games, the series was tied at three games.  The Red Sox had won games one, three, and five. The Cardinals followed each of those Red Sox victories with a win of their own, as they won games two, four, and six.  Game seven was played in St. Louis on October 15.
So the 1946 World Series come down to a Game 7 and one of the most discussed plays in World Series history, "The Mad Dash".  After Red Sox center fielder, Dom DiMaggio's eight inning two-run double tied the score at 3, the Cardinals came to bat in the bottom of the inning.
The Cardinals Enos Slaughter opened the inning with a single but the next two batters failed to advance him. Then with two outs, Harry Walker stepped to the plate and hit a ball over Red Sox shortstop's Johnny Pesky's head and Slaughter started his dash. As Pesky caught the relay throw from the outfield, he turned and saw that Slaughter had rounded third base.  Although, Cardinal third base coach Mike Gonzalez threw up a stop sign, Slaughter ignored it, and he headed to the plate.  Pesky hesitated a split second before throwing home, and his throw was late as Slaughter slid into the plate safely.  Cardinal hurler, Harry Brecheen, who won three games during the series, pitched a scoreless 9th inning.  Walker was credited with a game winning RBI double and the Cardinals won the game and the World Series.
Baseball cards have been issued memorializing Slaughter's Mad Dash.
In 1970 and 1971, Fleer issued a set of Laughin World Series cards.  In each set, Slaughter's Mad Dash is depicted on the front of the cards.  The cards use cartoon drawings of Slaughter.  The 1970 card shows him sliding across the plate as the 1971 issue has him running through a stop sign. 

1970 Fleer Laughin World Series Card #43

1971 Fleer Laughin World Series Card #44
Then during the 90s, Upper Deck and Fleer each issued a card of the Mad Dash.
            1994 Upper Deck All Time Heroes Baseball Card #14
1998 Sports Illustrated World Series Fever #26
These cards use two different photographs of Slaughter sliding across the plate.
In 2010, Topps issued a History of the World Series card of Slaughter.

2010 Topps History of the World Series #HWS8 

With this issue, Topps used a color enhanced photograph of the picture Fleer used with its their 1998 Sports Illustrated card. 

No comments:

Post a Comment