On August 8, 1949, Enos Slaughter packed the punch it took to beat the Reds 9-3 in front of 13,053 fans at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The man they called "Country" hit two home runs. The first was a two run shot in the third off of starter Kent Peterson, while the other was a fourth inning grand slam off of reliever Ken Burkhart. The Redbirds walked away with this one with ease, as Peterson and Burkhart piled up seven walks in a combined four innings of work. In fact, the nine runs on the Cardinals side of the scoreboard came on just five hits, as they exploited the walks, while Howie Pollett limited the damage done to the Birds, despite giving up 12 hits. The complete game effort by Pollett secured his 15th victory of the campaign; he would lead the staff that season with 20.
Slaughter was 33 years of age in 1949, and many of the scribes of the day had written him and the Cardinals club he was on off as "too old." On that fine day the same men that said he was too old at the beginning of the season were looking at him and the Cardinals as a possible pennant winning club that sat tied atop the standings with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Cardinals took the lead in the National League on August 20th, then held it until the final week of the season, before a four game skid sunk the proverbial ship, as they finished just one game back of those Bums from Brooklyn.
While the club did fall short of the flag, there were many bright spots that came during that campaign, In the end, a guy named Stan Musial led in every major offensive category, but that guy named Enos Slaughter put up some pretty good numbers himself. In fact, he hit .336, which was just two points shy of Musial's average. He and Musial led the league with 13 triples. While Musial set the pace for the club in the RBI department with 123. Slaughter ranked second on the club with 96 runs batted in, The duo was quite a 1-2 punch for that squad in 1949. When looking at these seasons from yesteryear it makes me appreciate the expanded playoff format so much. Just think if they would have even been a playoff between the two league leaders. Of course that would come in time, but it is something fun to think about. Could have made for a classic series. Just be glad we are treated to what we are treated to today.
Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN194908080.shtml