On June 10, 1952, Joe Presko led the way to a 10-inning complete game 1-0 victory over the Dodgers, with a complete game victory, that was capped off with a walk off RBI triple by Red Schoendienst. The triple brought Solly Hemus into score the game winner, which sent the crowd of more than 18,000 into a wild frenzy at Sportsman's Park.
"Little Joe" as Presko was called, scattered five hits in the contest, with only one of them going for extra bases, as Bobby Morgan was able to reach second against him in the fourth. When that fateful bottom of tenth rolled around, Presko was promptly lifted for a pinch hitter in player/manager Eddie Stanky to lead off the inning. The move failed to bring a result, as Stanky grounded out, so it may have looked like his effort would be wasted. The Dodgers starter Chris Van Cuyk had pitched a gem himself, allowing just six hits total in the contest. The wheels truly began to fall of his bus when he beaned Solly Hemus following the quick ground out by Stanky. Shoendienst followed by scorching one into left-center, then was off to the races. As the Ole Redhead touched third, Hemus touched the plate, and the crowd came alive, as the Cardinals had just snapped an eight game winning streak by the Brooklynites.
Presko's time in the majors was brief. He appeared in 114 games for the Cardinals between 1951 and 1954. He posted a 24-36 record over the course of that time, which may make some fans glance away, then shrug him off as a player that never really shined. He did shine. Exceptionally bright on that day he went ten strong and blanked the team that was destined to win the National League pennant. They called him "Little Joe" because he stood just 5' 9" and weighed in at a buck sixty. He posted double-digit wins for various minor league affiliates from 1948 to 1950, then got the call that every minor-leaguer wants to get. He was headed to the big leagues, where he would wear the Birds on the Bat.
After spending 1955 and 1956 in the minors Presko's days ended with the Cardinals. The Detroit Tigers selected him in the Rule 5 draft. He appeared in 14 games for the club the calls The Motor City home, before spending the rest of his career in the minors. Presko hung up the cleats as a professional in 1959. Alive and well today, Presko calls Kansas City home. He is 86 and has surely made many memories in the years since. I bet if Mr. Presko had his memory jogged about this game he would crack a smile as he reflected on the day that he shut down the Dodgers at Sportsman's Park. It is a day to be remembered.
Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195206100.shtml