Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7, 1945: Eddie Dyer Gets The Job

     On November 7, 1945, Eddie Dyer was named the new skipper of the St. Louis Cardinals. The announcement came one day after Billy Southworth announced that he would be moving onto the Boston Braves. Southworth had taken the Cardinals job in 1940, and he led the club to three consecutive pennants with the first coming in 1942. Two of those three pennant winning squads won the title, and he had driven his stock high. The Braves made an offer that Sam Breadon would not match, and that Southworth could not refuse. Breadon knew that Southworth would be leaving for nearly a month. However, both parties chose to keep it under wraps until the Cardinals owner could choose his replacement. Once that was done the news hit the wires on consecutive days. A changing of the guard had taken place. Eddie Dyer now stood at the gate.

     With the string of recent success the club had, Dyer was stepping into some big shoes. The Cardinals had failed to win the pennant in '45, but they were considered a powerhouse club that had raced to the finish line, despite the fact that Stan Musial had to miss the season to serve his country. Dyer would be getting Stan back, and had all the talent he needed to guide the club to another title. He also had all the skill he needed, He had managed at various levels within organization, and had gained a great respect amongst his peers, which earned him a job that until then he had only dreamed about.

     The new skipper met the high expectations in '46 by guiding the team to a pennant winning season, then a subsequent World Series title. It had been a true battle between the Cardinals and the Dodgers that season, as they stormed down the stretch in a neck and neck race that ended with a tie. The tie set the table for a three game playoff that took Dyer's Birds just two games to decide the National League Champion. He then guided then guided them to victory over the Boston Red Sox in a classic seven game battle that put the words World Series champion on his resume.

     Ultimately, that was Dyer's finest hour as the skipper of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers took over the National League in the latter part of the decade. It was not handed to them though. The Birds put up a fight. In 1949, the club finished just one game out, but in those days there were no extended playoffs, and a one game deficit meant no shot at the title.  Following the disappointment in '49 the club nosedived to a fifth place finish in 1950. It spelled the end for Dyer's position as manager. He made the decision to turn his interests to multiple business ventures he was involved in, and did not return to baseball thereafter. While the years that followed '46 were years that might have been considered a disappointment Eddie Dyer was a part of Golden Era in St. Louis. When he filled out his lineup card he was able to scratch the name Musial, Slaughter, Schoendienst, and quite a few others who made a name for themselves with the Birds on the Bat adorned on their chests.

If you would like to read more about Billy Southworth or Eddie Dyer you should check out their Society of American Baseball Research biographies provided below. The article featured in today's picture was featured in the Deseret News out of Salt Lake City, Utah on December 6, 1945.

SABR bios



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