Slaughter was on the lips of 35,645 abashed patrons and in the hearts of the ruthless Cardinals of St. Louis yesterday.
Enos Slaughter, appropriately named -- the varlet! -- imperiled the occupants in the lower right field stands with a line drive home run in the second inning, and the Cards went on from there to strew the wreckage of the Red Sox all over Fenway Park.
The final score was 12-3. A Red Sox batting practice pitcher named Clem Dreisewerd, scored a moral victory. He rushed from the bull pen to the mount with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth to get Slaughter to pop out. The feat was acclaimed with thunderous cheers. One detected a note of sarcasm.
Clem was the only one of six Red Sox pitchers to enjoy this unparalleled distinction.
Thus, the Series is deadlocked, two games apiece; Mickey Harris (or Joe Dobson) will oppose Howie Pollet (or The Car, Brecheen) today, and meet me in St. Louis, Lewie!. That’s where the Series will end. But before that there’s today’s game. The Sox are on the spot.
Yesterday’s carnage was shuddery. The Cardinals landed on the Red Sox like several loads of lumber, all prime ash. They made 20 hits, matching the World Series record of the 1921 Giants. The 20 blows which nailed the hopes of the Bostonese in an air-tight coffin added up to 29 bases. Playing like the Married Men at a church picnic, the Sox assisted the enemy with four “skulls.”
The St. Louis right fielder, Slaughter, built like a fire plug, harvested four hits. So did Joe Garagiola, 20-year-old catcher, and likewise Whitey Kurowski, the third-baseman with the crooked arm.
For that matter, and lest the item become submerged amid the gruesome details yet to come, so did Wally Moses, the animated antique who patrols right field for the Red Sox. The Sox got only nine hits, all told.
These four combatants -- Slaughter, Garagiola, Kurowski and Moses -- will have their names enscribed in The Little Red Book, the baseball know-all, for having matched a Series record of four hits in a single game.
The contest was bordering upon travesty. Capt. R. Doerr of the Red Sox walked off the field in the midst of the ninth, to be replaced at second base by Don Gutteridge. Doerr had a splitting headache -- and who didn’t at that point?
Every card gets a hit
Contest? The word is charitably chosen. From the time Slaughter pulled a pistol on Tex Hughson and shot a homer into the stands, the competitive aspects were poorly disguised.
Every Cardinal got himself at least one hit. Terry Moore salvaged this angle when he finally rifled a single over John Pesky in the final inning. Moore didn’t have to get a hit. He made a falling, tumbling catch off Rudy York in the second inning which moved the partisans to send an appreciative response beating down upon him.
For three games the 1946 World Series has been one episode after another of remarkable pitching. There hasn’t been a thunderous batting rally of major proportions. There hasn’t been a spectacular play afield.
So suddenly, yesterday bats commence spraying hits like a Fourth of July fountain, and dazzling catches and air-rifle throws to the plate became one dime per dozen.
The emphasis departed from pitching with the appearance in the stands of Joe Louis, the hittingest man of all.
Still, George Munger did a creditable chore of pitching for the Cardinals. He yielded nine hits, four to Wally Moses who, incidentally, never moved beyond first base.
Ted Williams singled a sinking liner to right field in the fourth, and Rudy York scored him with a two-base blast between Moore and Slaughter out near the Cards’ bullpen.
Cap’n Bobby Doerr got two hits. His second -- a home run which cleared everything … wall, screen, and sidewalk … to left field accounted for the two concluding runs in the eighth inning.
Dyer gambled on Munger and won
But Munger pitched the ball game the Cards needed. A big, red-headed guy, with a wad of eatin’ terbacker bulging in his right cheek, George was Eddie’ Dyer’s gamble for the day.
Only a few months ago Munger was serving with the United States occupation forces in Germany. He was discharged and didn’t pitch a ball game until Sept. 5. Probably nobody, not even the Cards, felt that George would have the condition to get him through nine innings of World Series pitching.
That was Dyer’s gamble. He won. And now the pressure is squarely on the Red Sox, playing today their last game of the year at the familiar Fenway acres of which they are inordinately fond. They gotta win this one.
And don’t sell ‘em short. On last April 24 the N.Y. Yankees came to Fenway Park to literally humiliate the Sox, 12-5. Tex Hughson was the victim, even as yesterday he was the fallen idol. And on April 25, the following p.m., the Red Sox turned on the Yankees and maced them, 12-5. The game was pitched by Joe Dobson, who may be asked to assist history in repeating itself this afternoon.