Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7, 1940: The Birds Obliterate the Dodgers With a Record Setting Performance

     On May 7, 1940, the Cardinals set franchise records by hitting seven home runs and recording 49 total bases in an 18-2 beatdown of the Brooklyn Dodgers in St. Louis. The "Big Cat" Johnny Mize and rookie second baseman Eddie Lake both hit two homers, while Don Padgett, Ducky Medwick, and Stu Martin all went yard once.

     The Cardinals catcher Don Padgett started things off with solo shot in the third. Lake and Mize both launched two run home runs in a five run third. Martin and Medick both hit solo shots, with Martin's coming in the fourth, while Medwick's came in the sixth, then Lake and Mize topped things with another couple of blasts in the eighth. Lake's second homer was another two-run shot, while Mize joined the solo shot club. Lake finished the day with five RBI's, as he knocked another runner in with a double.

     This may have been the best game of Eddie Lake's career. He was not a home run hitter by any means. In fact, he hit just 39 over the course of a decade. The two big flies that came on that day in early May were the only two he hit in a Cardinals uniform, as he spent just 79 games with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. He was a master of the game defensively, however, his bat was not up to par, which led to repeated trips to the minors.

     After spending all of 1942 with the Sacramento Solons, the Cardinals PCL affiliate, he was sold to the Boston Red Sox. He spent three years in Boston, and another five in Detroit. Nicknamed "Sparky", Lake was a role player, whos defense and speed made up for his bat, that had produced a .231 career average by the time he hung them up. While Lake's name is not one you will see on a plaque in Cooperstown, he too was a member of Cardinal Nation that made a little bit of history along the way.

     Just 2,298 fans witnessed that historic game that saw Mize, Lake, Padgett, Medwick, and Martin go deep a total of seven time. They saw the bases filled, and they saw the bases emptied as runners crossed the plate time and time again.  However, the club was not off to a great start and fans were unhappy with the decisions of Ray Blades. Just two days after this game an article in the Sporting  News  expressed exactly that and one month later the skipper was released. Mike Gonzlez would take over for short time before Billy Southworth took the reigns. That may have led to the small crowd, or it may have just been a cold and rainy day in the city. Either way it goes I am sure there were many fans that wished they had went through the gate that day. The 2,298 that did had to enjoy every second of it.

Check out the box score of the 20-hit attack here:

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