ST. LOUIS – The Cat stalked the Red Sox for the third and fatal time today.
In a desperately waged seventh game, in which Harry The Cat Breechen slinked in a relief role to his third victory, the St. Louis Cardinals won the 1946 World Series.
A fighting, snarling ball team, the Cardinals rebounded in the last of the eighth to down the Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
Enos Slaughter, racing head down like a steer, scored from first base on a line double to left-center field by Harry Walker with two out in the last of the eighth inning.
Sizzling around the bases, Slaughter won his gamble when John Pesky, the Sox shortstop stationed out in short left-center, “froze” momentarily with the ball in his hand when it was relayed rapidly by Leon Culberson.
Pesky paused, and the pause was fatal. Slaughter had turned third and raced headline for the plate, sliding in a spray of dust and pebbles three feet ahead of the throw.
The Cat took over then, and with the tying run in the Red Sox’ ninth, Breechen southpawed his slants at Mike Higgins, Roy Partee and pinch-hitter Tom McBride. None of them got the ball out of the infield.
With pinch-runner Paul Campbell on third, McBride forced Higgins at second for the final out of the series. Red Schoendienst gobbled up the ground ball, flipped an underhand throw to Marion at second.
The Cardinals swarmed around the Cat, first pitcher to win three World Series games since Stanley Coveleski of the 1920 Indians.
Del Rice, the substitute catcher, grabbed for on leg. Stan Musial snatched the other. They hoisted the 155-pound Cat to their shoulders and marched him triumphantly off the field. The stands were rocking in spasms of delirium. The Cards, a 7-20 longshot, had fought the uphill fight and fought it to a conclusion.
And the Red Sox, sixth Boston AL team to play a series, were the first to lose one – a dubious distinction. They fought, though. They instigated a two-run rally in the eighth to deadlock the game and set the stage.
They lost it, not because little Johnny Pesky hesitated a second too long before he threw a baseball toward the plate, but because an aging character named Terrance Moore, a hospital case for the Cards, recaptured his incredible fielding speed of five years ago and caused miracles to happen.
It was Moore, the floating cartilage in his knee knocking like an old crankshaft, who tore into deep, dead centerfield to rob Ted Williams of a triple in the first inning.
It was this amiable, but grim “pressure” veteran who galloped like a colt nearby 50 yards to his right in the fifth inning to make a stupendous running catch near the wall which would have been a solid, two-base knock by Mike Higgins.
And in between these vast performances out there in the sunny acres by Terry Moore there came from the direction of Harry Walker, Dixie’s kid brother, and maybe the swiftest of the Cards, another incredible catch off Williams.
The Red Sox went down swinging. They fought for every inch, took every desperate chance, and wound up with Bobby Doerr in the dugout with a sprained ankle, Dom DiMaggio near him with a pulled muscle. It was DiMaggio, the Little Professor in his spectacles, who made the big blow that sent the Sox swirling down on the Cards and into a 3-all tie going into the last of the eighth.
Enos Slaughter led off the inning against Bob Klinger with his only hit of the contest, a ground single to center field. Kurowski had attempted to sacrifice, popped the ball harmlessly to Klinger. Del Rice, catching for the injured Garagiola, smacked a towering fly to Williams in deep, darkest left field. Slaughter hugged first.
So there were two out and the count was two balls, a strike, when Harry Walker drilled his double, which Culberson fielded on the run and hurled to Pesky.
I don’t suppose John ever dreamed that Slaughter would try to make the distance. At any rate, he caught the ball and pivoted slowly. It was then he saw Slaughter charging past third for home. John sent the ball whistling toward the plate. Roy Partee advanced to meet it. Slaughter slid behind both the ball and Roy and, boys, those aren’t blues they’re singing in St. Louis tonight.