Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28, 1947: Kurowski Plays The Hero Again

     On June 28, 1947, Whitey Kurowski was a walk off hero for a second consecutive night, as he capped off a three-run rally with a two run blast in the ninth that beat the Reds 8-7 before a crowd of more than 18,000 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. What followed was a victorious roar in the stands, which Kurowski heard the likes of 24 hours before when he came up big with a single that pushed two runs across the plate in the eleventh inning, which led to a stunning 6-5 victory. I would imagine that Whitey had a grin on his face that extended from ear to ear after each of the victories. However, that walk off blast was something special. It was his lone walk off in his big league career, which included a grand total of 106 home runs.

     The first of the two victories had the Cardinals fighting back throughout the tilt, as Cincy jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fifth. The Cardinals scored two of their own in the bottom of that inning, only to have to do the same thing in the eighth, which ended with the clubs knotted at 4-4. Things looked bleak in the eleventh for the Redbirds, as reliever Kent Burkhart surrendered a two out RBI single to pinch hitter Eddie Lukon that put the Reds in a position to win. Al Brazle replaced Burkhart, and picked up a win by recording one out to send it to the bottom of the eleventh. The inning began with Eddie Eraut being called upon to finish things off, but the reliever could not get it done. He walked Joe Gargiola, then surrendered a double to Dick Sisler, before the ball was handed over to Buddy Lively. Lively put Red Schoendienst on with a free pass, before recording a pair of outs. Then came Kurowski, who ripped a single into left that scored Joe Garagiola to tie it and Red Schoendienst win it.

     24 hours later the Birds found themselves on the ropes again, but every single man on that roster knew that you played until the final out, and they would not give up unless it was called. It was not the uphill battle they had faced the night before, but it was a battle nonetheless. The Reds bolted out of the gate, as their third baseman Grady Hatton tripled in the first, then scored to give his club a 1-0 lead. That lead did not last long, as the Cardinals put together a four run rally in the second that was capped off with an RBI double by Stan Musial.

     The Reds were not about to quit in this one either. They put two on the board in the top of the third, that came via a two run shot off of first baseman Babe Young's bat. The score held at 4-3 until the Reds tied it with a run in the sixth, then they scored three more in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead. Kurowski got one run back by coming up with a two out RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to make it 7-5 Redlegs.

     Cincinnati's starter Kent Peterson was still on the bump when the bottom of the ninth began. he was three outs away from a complete game victory, but would only get one of them, before serving up an infield single to Terry Moore that bounced off Hatton's chest. Stan The Man knocked him in with a triple, and suddenly it was the Reds who began to be pushed against the ropes. The big triple by number 6 sent Peterson packing, and his reliever Harry Gumbert had to face the man of the hour: Whitey Kurowski. Gumbert kept his pitch count down to one, as Kurowski took the first one thrown his way and sent it sailing over the wall in left to win it in dramatic fashion. If you are anything like me, you can almost hear that roar of the crowd when you close your eyes. Once again Whitey was a hero.

     Kurowski spent all nine years of his big league career with the Birds on the Bat across his chest, and during those nine years he had many great moments, which included five All Star appearances, and three World Championship celebrations. He had many great moments during the regular season as well, which included a couple days in late June of '47, which put the Reds to bed in front of a home crowd in St. Louis. He tucked them in tight.

You can read all about Kurowski here:

Check out both box scores


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