Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 5, 1926: A Grand Celebration In St. Louis Takes Place Before Haines Leads The Way In Game 3 Of The Fall Classic

     On October 5, 1926, 37,708 souls witnessed the first World Series contest to be held in St. Louis during the modern era. The Birds had split the first two games in New York, by snagging a win in the second game by the score of 6-2. The club returned home to a heroes welcome the day before, then with Cardinals starting pitcher Jesse Haines starring in the third game with a five hit complete game shutout in a 4-0 Redbird winner the club moved ahead two games to one in the classic battle that would reach seven games before the Cardinals claimed their first title since 1888.

     The day before that battle an estimated crowd of 100,000 stood at Union Station awaiting the National League Champion Cardinals. The Birds had flown home at a record pace, as the train in which they rode made the dash from New York in just 23 and 1/2 hours. That was 15 minutes faster than that trip had been made before. The mayor of city Victor Miller had ordered all departments close at 3 p.m., and many businesses did the same, so everyone could be there when that train rolled in. A celebration was about to take place that had never been seen in the city just west of the Mississippi, and it was a grand celebration.

     The Yankees arrived five minutes before the Cardinals. Some fans cheered, others jeered, as they made their way to their awaiting cars. When the Cardinals train rolled in the roar of the crowd was so deafening the whistle of the train was drowned out. 20 cars decorated in Cardinals colors, a group of mounted police, and some fireman flying the American flag led a parade into the business section where the Cardinals players were showered in confetti and ticker tape. By his own request Hornsby was in the rear, as he had let his men receive the cheers before him. A brief ceremony took place that had all of the Cardinals players receiving a wide variety of gifts that ranged from a new pair of shoes to a gold watch. Rogers Hornsby was presented with finest gift when he was given a brand new car. He was recognized as the he man who captained this ship into port.

     Long after the players made their way home to  the celebration continued. An article that was printed in the  Southeast Missourian the following day proclaimed that automobiles sped through the streets dragging wash tubs and buckets, They called it a noise making device second to none. Although, the fans were making noise with anything they could find. Bells, whistles, as well as occasional gunshots and bombs could be heard going off around the city. Justy think this was the day before the third game of the World Series. It had been 38 years in the making, and the fans were more alive than they had ever been.

     Some of those fans did not attend the festivities. Those fans camped out for the chance to get a ticket to the game. Some of them for more than 24 hours. It had been a rainy week in St. Louis, and the rain did not stop that night either. At some points it poured, but those fans were not leaving. They yearned to be one of those 37,708 souls who stood within the walls at Sportsman's Park. Not another person could be held. The number of fans in attendance would be nearly 20,000 less than the number of fans in attendance in New York. However, the the cheers could be rivaled by no other. Those who were lucky enough to get a ticket would witness a gem.

     More than 5,000 packed the bleachers three hours before the game began. There were brief periods of rain, but they did not care, The World Series would be played in the coming hours. Once the game time finally arrived the fans would not be disappointed. The fans enthusiasm would not dim, for this day was theirs. It would also be a day that Jesse Haines would remember, as he led the Birds to victory in historic fashion.

     Haines was set to face a lefty in Dutch Ruether. The Yankees hurler struggled a bit early, but was bailed out by the defense behind him. Meanwhile, Haines held the New Yorkers hitless through the first two, before allowing a hit to lead off the third. He followed it up with two quick outs, then walked a man before ending the threat. Then the skies opened up in the fourth.

     The Yankees looked like they might find their spark in the fourth. Babe Ruth led off the inning with a single, then moved over to second on a groundout.Then the skies opened up. 32 minutes later play resumed on a muddy field, and the Cards grabbed two quick outs, and went to work quickly in the bottom of the inning.

      Third baseman Les Bell  got things started with a single, and was sacrificed over to second with a bunt by Chick Hafey. The Cardinals catcher Bob O'Farrell worked a walk out of Reuther. A game changer followed, as shortstop Tommy Thevenow looked like he had hit into an inning ending double play, only to have shortstop Mark Koenig overthrow Lou Gehrig at first. It led to the first Redbird run, and set the stage for the hero of this one: Jesse Haines. The Cards hurler stepped to the dish and launched a towering two run shot into the right field stands. It was a hefty blow that gave him some breathing room in a contest that he would dominate. Hornsby scored on a groundout in the next frame, and from there it was all Haines. Only two Yankees batters would reach second base as he cruised to victory. The club still had quite the battle in front of them. However, it was a battle they were prepared to fight. It was a battle they were prepared to win. Five days later they did exactly that in New York. The party that was held in St. Louis would exceed the party that came before it, as the Cardinals returned home champions.

Check out the box score here:

The second photograph with the 1926 pennant pin was provided to me by The Real BSmile. Check out his Facebook page for all kind of great vintage photos from baseball's past:

You can also find him on twitter here:

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