Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 29, 1958: Stan The Six Figure Man

     On January 29, 1958, Stan The Man Musial became the National League's first six figure man after inking a $100,000 deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. The reward for the 37-year-old three time MVP came after a '57 season in which he hit a league leading .351 along with 29 home runs and 102 RBI. With inflation a $100,000 today would be roughly $830,000.

     The only other player to sign such a lucrative deal before Stan was the A.L.'s Splendid Splinter himself Ted Williams. Stan would go onto play until the end of the '63 season. He earned every single penny he was paid along the way.  .

     Musial's major league career began in the Fall of '41. According to http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/musiast01.shtml Stan earned $1,800 during his first stint with the Redbirds, then took home $4,500 in his first full season in '42. Baseballreference.com's final numbers have Stan's final earnings total at $980,050, which would be roughly $8 million today. Quite the steal for a player that will forever be the face of the franchise.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27, 1956: Charlie Peete Dies In A Plane Crash

     On the morning of November 27, 1956, the plane that was carrying Cardinals top prospect Charlie Peete crashed into a cloud-covered mountain outside of Venezuela, killing all 25 passengers on board. Among the dead were Peete's wife and three children. A little over a month before the tragic event Peete was a September call up that was sure to be invited to the Spring Training next season. He had won a batting title with the American Association and looked like his star was on the rise. Then it was all taken away in a blink. When it comes to his ties to the St. Louis Cardinals it seems that his story is one that is a what might of been kind of tale. Peete lived to be 27 years old, which is way too young to die, however, in those 27 years he left his mark on the world in which he lived. He may have passed away on this day, but I do believe that this day should be a day to remember the days he lived, and by doing so we pay a great tribute to him and his family.

Joe Schuster wrote a biography about Charlie Peete for The Society of American Baseball Research. You can find it here:http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/d84e326e

Rest in Peace to all of those who perished on that fateful day.
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29, 1942, Rickey Flies The Coop

     On October 29, 1942, the end of an era came to a close when Branch Rickey resigned as the Vice President of the St. Louis Cardinals, so he could take a position as President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey had been part of the Cardinals organization for 25 years, doing everything from managing the club to building a farm system that would have a lasting impact on all of baseball.

     The split came after differences arose between him and owner Sam Breadon. During his time with the Cardinals the club won nine National league Pennants, and four World Championships, along with two more that came in 1944 and 1946 with players that Rickey had helped acquire and develop. The franchise remained contenders throughout the rest of the forties with the players that Rickey had brought into the farm system, but without him it did falter, while the Dodgers began to rise under his guidance. He signed Jackie Robinson in  Brooklyn and turned that club into a perennial contender in the years to come. In many ways the Cardinals had learned the lesson of you don't know what you got until it's gone. .

     While Rickey did return to the Cardinals as a consultant in 1962, his best days had come and gone. His days with the team came to an official close in December of 1964. Less than a year later Rickey passed away. In life and in death he will forever be a legendary figure in the history of  the Cardinals and in all of baseball as well.

If you would like to read more about the life and times of Branch Rickey check this out: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/6d0ab8f3
   

     

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September 18, 1968: Washburn Returns The Favor

     On September 18, 1968, just 24 hours after being no-hit by the Giants hurler Gaylord Perry in San Francisco, Cardinals hurler Ray Washburn no-hit those same Giants in San Francisco. The Birds got their runs on ribbies by Curt Flood and Bobby Tolan in the seventh and eighth innings. Washburn walked five, and struck out eight as he worked his way into the history books. In the ninth he had his hands full with two future Hall of Famers in Willie Mays and Willie McCovey due up in the inning. He started off the frame by retiring second baseman Ron Hunt with a groundout.   Mays then hit a hotshot to third where Mike Shannon fielded it, then threw him out at first, before McCovey flew out to Flood in center. The no-no was the fifth in franchise history and the first back-to-back no-hitters in the history of the game. It was also the first no-no for the Cardinals since Lon Warneke accomplished the feat in 1941.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN196809180.shtml

Here are some interesting facts about no-hitters: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/3481250//

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 10, 1963: Grandpa Stan Hits It Out

     On September 10, 1963, Stan Musial became the first Grandfather in the history of Major League Baseball to hit a home run. Early that morning, around 4:40 a.m., Musial's son Dick and his wife Sharon welcomed Jeffery Stanton Musial into the world. With the classic smile on his face Musial came to the ballpark, was congratulated by teammates, then got ready to face the  visiting Chicago Cubs. It did not take Stan long to become the first Grandpa to go deep in a ballgame. In fact he did it in his first at bat, in the first inning, and on the first pitch he saw,  which was delivered by Glenn Hobbie. The two-run blast set the tone for the day, as the Cardinals rode the wave to an 8-0 victory. Bob Gibson also got in on the home run action, hitting a three-run shot in the second. Musial followed Gibby's shot with a single and a ribbie in the same inning. The home run that Musial hit that night in September was the 474th of his career. He hit one more before he hung up the cleats. Number 474 was quite special, as The Man welcomed a Little Man into the world in a very unique way.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196309100.shtml

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 1935: Terry Moore Goes 6 For 6

     On September 5, 1935, Terry Moore went 6 for 6 during a Cardinals win over the Boston Braves at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The rookie center fielder's performance was a part of a 19-hit attack that saw the hometown club walk away victorious by the score of 15-3. Moore was only the second Cardinals player to accomplish the feat of picking up six hits in a game, and to date he is the last to do so. The first was "Sunny Jim" Bottomley who did it in 1924 and then again in 1931. A recent inductee into the Cardinals Baseball Hall of Fame in Downtown St. Louis, Moore was one of the best center fielders to ever wear the Birds on the Bat. He just missed out on the Championship season of 1934, however, he would celebrate as a World Champion in 1942 and 1946 with the club. Moore not only held his own at the plate, he was also one of the best defenders in all of baseball, and it is safe to say if the Gold Glove Award existed during his time on the diamond he would have had a shelf full of them.

     When I heard that Terry Moore had made it into the Cardinals Hall of Fame it made me very happy to know that future generations of Cardinals fans will be sure to know his name. He was something special. Hats off to all of the men who have been honored within those walls.

Read more about the life and time of Terry Moore here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/28c4448c

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN193509050.shtml

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21, 1977: Lord, I was Born a Cardinals Fan

     So, this is what I am going to call an On This Day In Cardinal Nation Birthmas Special. It began with a baby boy being born at St. John's Hospital just outside of St. Louis on August 21, 1977. This baby was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals before he was even born, as he had listened to ballgames through his mom's belly every chance he got. Then came that day, the 21st of August, and he was on his way to meet the world. It was a Sunday, and the baby's momma was catchin' a Sunday service when suddenly, she was like "POW!!! I THINK I'M HAVIN' A BABY!!!", and off to St. John's she went.

     So, I was born at 11:03 a.m. and weighed 10 1/2 pounds and named Wade Forrester. The Cardinals played at 1:20 that day, so I got one of the nurses to bring me a transistor radio to listen to the ballgame. It turned out to be a rough day at the ole ballpark. The Padres were in town and they had brought the big bat of Dave Kingman, who hit a first inning grand slam en route to a 7-0 beatdown of the Cards. I was pissed. I tried to get my Mom to drive me down to the stadium to give the team a pep talk, but you know how it is when you're born... The whole family was there talkin' about how handsome I was and I got to eatin' it up, so I just chilled and grabbed a sports the page while they doted.

     After realizing that the team had took 2 of 3 from the Friars I thought it wasn't all that bad they would just have to get things going the next day with the Dodgers in town. It turned out to be an instant classic that I will never forget. However, it looked bleak for the Cards early, as they fell behind 5-1 after three. I would have pulled my hair out, but  had a little problem... I was bald. Anyway, the Cardinals offense was held in check by Burt Hooton who looked to be poised to toss a complete game, as he rolled into the ninth with a 6-1 cushion. However, Hooton gave up a leadoff single to Jerry Mumphrey, then surrendered a triple to Garry Templeton to make it 6-2. There was life.

     As soon as the run scored a phone rang in the Dodgers bullpen, and Lance Rautzahn made his way to the bump to relieve Hotton. Rautzahn gave up a single to Ted Simmons, which brought Templeton trotting in, and moments later Keith Hernandez smacked a double and Simmons scored on a botched relay. 6-4. Rutzahn had faced just two batters, before being told to hit the showers. The Dodgers skipper, Tommy Lasorda then called on Charlie Hough to put the fire out, as it looked like it may just become an inferno. Right out the gate Hough added fuel to the fire with a passed ball that brought Hernandez into score to make it 6-5. Hough finally recorded the first out of the inning by retiring Mike Anderson, but followed it up with back-to-back singles by Kenny Reitz and Mike Tyson. With electric flowing through the air, Roger Freed came up to the plate with a chance to win it and that he did, as he fell behind 1-2 before taking the fourth pitch for a ride over the wall at Busch. The walk off blast gave the Cardinals an 8-6 win and it also taught me about the rollercoaster ride I would endure as a baseball fan. Enjoy the highs and get past the lows quickly. For something great is on the horizon.

Have a great day, folks. Go Cards!!!

Box scores for both contests

August 21, 1977: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197708210.shtml

August 22, 1977: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197708220.shtml