Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1, 1946: The Birds Push The Bums Against The Wall

     On October 1, 1946, the Cardinals won the first game of a three game playoff series against the Brooklyn Dodgers by the score of 4-2 at Sportsman's Park. The series was a truly historic one because it was the first ever tiebreaker in the history of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals and Dodgers both had sprinted to the finish line and had tied each other in the standings with identical 96-58 records. They each had the chance to take the National League Pennant on the last day of the season, but they both lost which forced the historic series.

     The first game of that series looked like the odds might be stacked against the Birds from the start. Their starting pitcher Howie Pollet had a muscle strain, and was game time decision. The journey to get that point had been a long hard journey, and Pollet went out there and turned in a complete game. It was not the prettiest game of his days on the diamond. In fact, he allowed eight hits, and surrendered a home run, walked three men, and had just two strikeouts under his belt when the last pitch crossed the plate. When that last pitch hit the mitt of Joe Garagiola it was his second strikeout of the day. Pollet had worked around jam after jam until he celebrated a win.

     Garagiola was the offensive star of the game . He put the first run on the board in the first, and came through big with a two out single in the third that kept a rally alive with score at 2-1. One batter later the Cards were on top 3-1. Brooklyn plated a run in the top of the seventh, but Garagiola grabbed it right back with a two out RBI single that brought Stan Musial into score. Musial had tripled to lead off the inning, and before the 20-year-old kid from St. Louis came to the dish it looked like he might be stranded there. Instead he came through, and gave Pollet some breathing room,  and the Cardinals would take one more step toward claiming the National League Pennant.  The series would head to Flatbush, and it would resume in two days. Two days from now, I will tell you the tale of how the Cardinals claimed that flag.

Check out the box score here:

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