Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27, 1942: The Cardinals Clinch The National League Flag

On September 27, 1942,  on the last day of the regular season, the Cardinals clinched the National League
Pennant behind a 5 hit performance by Ernie White as the team rolled to a 9-2 win over the Cubs in the first game of a doubleheader at Sportsman's Park. After White gave up a run in the fourth, the Cardinals put together a four-run rally in the fifth. The inning began with a free pass from Lon Warneke to Whitey Kurowski, Marty Marion then worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a hot shot to short that took a bad hop and went over Len Merullo's head and rolled into left center. That put Marion at first and Kurowski standing at third. White helped his own cause with a single into center that brought in Kurowski to tie , before second baseman Jimmy Brown moved the runners over with a sacrifice. The next man up was Terry Moore, the Cardinals center fielder had been out of the lineup the last 12 days but showed no signs of rust as he connected with a single into center that brought both Marion and White. Enos Slaughter ran Warneke from the game with another single to center. Hi Bithorn took over pitching duties for the Cubbies with Stan Musial at the plate, Musial hit into a fielder's choice that forced Slaughter at second but still brought Moore into score. The four run inning was a huge blow in the ballgame that had the Cardinals sitting in the drivers seat. After the Cubs scored in the top of the seventh, the Cardinals added four more runs to the board on three singles, a base on balls, and two errors. White opened that inning with his second hit of the day, it was a shot over second baseman Lou Sturgeon's head, Jimmy Brown singled to left, then Moore bounced one to Sturgeon that he threw over Merullo's head to load the bases. This turn of events ended Bithorn's day and brought in Vern Olsen into try and get out of a huge jam. Bithorn wasn't up to the task, Slaughter brought White into score with a single into right. Stan Musial hit a slow roller to first baseman Phil Cavaretta that he decided to throw home in an effort to force Brown out at the plate. It looked like Cavaretta nailed him but Clyde McCullough dropped the ball and Brown scored the sixth Cardinals run of the day. With the bases still loaded Olsen walked in the seventh run with a free pass to the Cardinals catcher Walker Cooper , then the Birds added one more on a grounder by Johnny Hopp. The gate had blown wide open as the Cardinals held an 8-2 edge. They tacked on one more in the eighth one a single by Moore, it was his third hit of the day. The game ended with a long fly ball to Stan Musial in left, as soon as the ball hit his glove the team came from the dugout and the bullpen and lifted White on their shoulders. The Cardinals hurler called it the best game he had ever pitched, he struck out eight men, gave up one walk, while giving up the two runs. Musial, a 21 year-old rookie joked that the last catch was the best catch he had ever made in his life as he handed the ball over to White who would keep it as a souvenir.The team was jubilant and jovial after winning the ballgame, it was the first time they had won the pennant since the Gashouse Gang took the flag in '34. The Cardinals would go onto win the second game by the score of 4-1, rookie pitcher Johnny Beazley locked down his 21st victory and gave the Cardinals their 106th win of the season as they had just edged out the Brooklyn Dodgers who won 104. In early August the Cardinals trailed the Dodgers by ten games, while some people might have thought that Brooklyn would easily take the flag the team in St. Louis wasn't going to go without a fight. The team won 43 of their last 51 games that led to all the way to a National League Pennant. Musial, Beazley, Kurowski, and Harry Walker were all rookies in that '42 season and they had reached the top of the National League mountain at a rapid rate, on the other hand Terry Moore had arrived one year after the Gashouse Gang took the flag in '34. Moore could be heard shouting "It's been a long time coming" as he was overfilled with joy. One of the first people to greet the team was the great Dizzy Dean at that point Dean was calling all the home games for the Cardinals and he told the team "Boys I knowed you could do it and I'm proud of you as if I was playing with you myself." Dizzy went onto say "And I wanna tell you something else. The people's going to remember this team as long as baseball is played." With the team set to take on Joe DiMaggio's Yankees in the World Series, they were 2 to 1 underdogs which meant nothing to the Cardinals. Manager Billy Southworth, expressed confidence in his ballclub, he said "I know we have a tough battle on our hands against those Yankees, but I think we can beat them. Maybe not four in a row, but we'll beat them." He was right and so was Dizzy.

One of the papers I used as a reference point said this was the song playing in the locker room during interviews. The song is called "Amen" they called it a theme song for the season. I just found it interesting so I looked it up.

Here are the box scores for the final two games of that Championship Season:

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