Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 1945: Buster Adams Goes 5 for 6 as He Leads The Birds To Victory

     On June 8, 1945, Buster Adams picked up five hits in six trips to the plate, as he led the way to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Redbirds centerfielder knocked in the tying run in the ninth, then came through again in the thirteenth with a single to left that scored Red Schoendienst from third.

     The Pirates starter Al Gerheauser pitched all thirteen innings for his club, and took the loss on the chin, while Blix Donnelly got the call for the Cards, and pitched nine full innings. Donnelly was victimized by an error that led to two runs before his day on the bump ended after nine full innings.

     With the score tied 2-2, Billy Southworth put the ball in the hands of Ken Burkhart, and Burkhart looked to be getting the job done, until a hiccup gave the Buccos a 3-2 lead in the top of the thirteenth. The lead was short lived as Debs Garms picked up a one out pinch hit double, that turned into a run as Red Schoendienst knocked him in moments later. Johnny Hopp followed the Redhead with a single of his own, and by the time he was settled onto the bag at first, Red was standing on third. Then came the hot bat of Buster Adams to win it. A reported 3,695 souls walked through the gate at Sportsman's Park that day. It took 2 hours and 46 minutes to put it into the books, and those who stayed throughout witnessed a great finish to a hard fought battle.

     Buster Adams' career began with the Cardinals in 1939, although it was just a two game cup of coffee. He did not taste coffee in the big leagues again until 1943 when he was recalled by the Cardinals. The stay in St. Louis ended just eight games later when he was shipped to the Phillies. It took Adams a year of settling in at the big league level to find his footing, as he batted just .256 for the Philadelphia squad. However, he found some pop in his bat in '44 by hitting 17 home runs, and raising his average to .283. Eight games into the '45 season he was traded to the Birds for John Antonelli and Glen Crawford.

     Adams was plugged into center where the Cardinals had been shuffling the deck since Terry Moore left to fight for the country after the '42 season. The Phillie most likely looked back and wished they had not made the deal, as the '45 campaign turned out to be a career year for 30-year-old who hit .292, with 101 ribbies, and 20 home runs for the club who went onto win the National League Pennant. Moore returned to the team in '46, and after playing in 140 games in '45, Adams played in just 81 games or the Birds during the Championship campaign of 1946. Although, he did not get to bat in the World Series. With that said, he did hit .312 during those 81 games, and when he was on the field I would imagine he gave it his all.

    The Cardinals sold Adams back to the Phillies before the '47 campaign began. That season would mark his last season at  the big league level, as he moved onto the Pacific Coast League, where he spent four seasons before hanging up the cleats for good. Buster Adams' time in Cardinal Nation might have been short, but once you're a member, you're always a member, and today is a fine example of that as we look back on that great 5 for 6 performance that happened oh so long ago.

Check out the box score here:

Interesting fact about the Phillies: in 1944, the team's new owner Bob Carpenter Jr. tried to rebrand the team by changing their nickname to the Blue Jays. The new nickname was picked by the fans in Philly through a poll, but those same fans never did adopt it. Before the 1950 season began it was announced that the nickname was headed to the scrap heap.

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