Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 1955: Wally Moon Slams The Buccos

     On July 27, 1955, an eighth inning grand slam off the bat of Wally Moon highlighted a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis.

      The game was a duel leading with Roy Face toeing the rubber for the Buccos, while Harvey Haddix was on the bump for the Birds. The Cardinals struck with a run in the fourth on an RBI by Bill Virdon, that brought Stan Musial trotting in, before watching Pittsburgh's rookie third baseman Gene Freese launch a game tying solo shot in the sixth. Both pitchers looked to shrug off the runs and continued to dominate, until the bottom of the eighth rolled around.

     Haddix helped start the eighth inning rally by picking up a one out single, and Ken Boyer followed with another. The next man up was second baseman Red Schoendienst, popped one up into foul territory that looked like it would be caught by Pittsburgh's catcher Jack Shepard. The backstop had to reach into the first row of seats to make the grab, but a couple fans beat him to the punch. Shepard was irate, but since the ball was on the fans side of the wall no interference was called. Moments later Red rocked a single to right that scored Haddix. With the score now 2-1, Face just wanted to put the fire out, but the fire was just getting going. He issued a free pass to Stan Musial to load the bases, before Moon took the first pitch he looked at and parked it over the wall in right-center. The grand slam by Moon busted the game wide open, and Haddix who allowed just three hits on the day, had no trouble putting the Bucs to bed in the ninth.

   Moon spent the first five years of his career with the Cardinals. He had the distinction of being the guy who replaced Enos Slaughter. Not the easiest shoes to fill. However, he belted a home run in his first game with the club, and the fans in St. Louis would quickly become a fan of the kid who took home rookie of the year honors in 1954. Moon blasted 78 home runs in a Cardinals uniform. The grand slam that came on this day in '55 was the second of five career grand slams. After a down year in 1958, Moon was sent to the Dodgers for Gino Cimoli. It was terrible trade, as Moon bounced back and hit over .300 for the next three seasons while Cimoli played one season in St. Louis before he was shipped again. While the trade did not work out for the fans in St. Louis, it proved to be a beneficial one for Moon, as he won two titles with the Dodgers. The first came during his first campaign with the club in '59, while the second title capped off his 12 year career in 1965.

Check out the box score here:

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