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Series Wrapup

Story

Although many of the National League’s best players returned to their respective teams from the military prior to the start of the 1946 campaign, the senior circuit soon found itself competing with the newly-formed Mexican League for the services of some of its top performers.  Offered huge increases in salary, Brooklyn’s Mickey Owen and Luis Olmo, and New York’s Danny Gardella and Sal Maglie were among the first to go.

After starting off the season 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA, Max Lanier of the Cardinals also elected to travel south of the border.  The Cardinals nearly lost Stan Musial as well, although the league’s best player eventually decided to remain in St. Louis.  Commissioner Happy Chandler attempted to discourage others from leaving by threatening the jumping players with five-year suspensions from the major leagues.

After the dust settled, the Cardinals and Dodgers found themselves engaged in a season-long battle for the top spot in the senior circuit.  The Dodgers led by as much as 7 ½ games as late as July, but the Cardinals rallied to catch them by season’s end.  The two teams finished tied for first place, setting the stage for a best-of-three playoff series between the two clubs – the first in National League history.  The Cardinals won the playoff in two games, taking the opening contest by a score of 4-2, before claiming their fourth pennant in five years by winning Game Two by a score of 8-1.  St. Louis finished the season with a record of 98-58, while Brooklyn ended the campaign with a mark of 96-60.

Easily the National League’s two best ball clubs, the Cardinals and Dodgers finished first and second in the senior circuit in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed, with St. Louis leading the league in both categories.  Howie Pollet served as the ace of the Cardinals’ pitching staff, going 21-10 with a league-leading 2.10 ERA and 266 innings pitched.  Meanwhile, Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter paced St. Louis on offense.  Slaughter batted an even .300, hit 18 homers, scored 100 runs, and led the league with 130 runs batted in.  Musial captured N.L. MVP honors for the second time by hitting 16 homers, driving in 103 runs, and topping the circuit with a .365 batting average, 124 runs scored, 228 hits, 20 triples, 50 doubles, 366 total bases, and a .587 slugging percentage.

Kirby Higbe was Brooklyn’s best pitcher, compiling a record of 17-8 and a 3.03 ERA during the regular season.  Pete Reiser and Dixie Walker led the Dodgers’ offensive attack.  Reiser batted .277 and stole a league-leading 34 bases.  Walker led the club with a .319 batting average, 116 runs batted in, and 184 hits.    

The Cardinals subsequently defeated the Boston Red Sox in a hard-fought seven-game World Series that ended up going right down to the wire.  With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game Seven, Enos Slaughter scored the winning run all the way from first base on a two-out single to left-center by Harry Walker.  Pitcher Harry “The Cat” Brecheen starred for St. Louis, winning three games and allowing Boston just one run in 20 innings of work.  Meanwhile, both Ted Williams and Stan Musial struggled at the plate, posting batting averages of .200 and .222, respectively.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• April 18 – Jackie Robinson, signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers organization by owner Branch Rickey, made his first appearance with the Montreal Royals in the International League.

• Harry Walker led all 1946 World Series players with a .412 batting average and six runs batted in.

• Pittsburgh’s Ralph Kiner became the first rookie to lead the National League in homers (23).

• A four-man group, including John Galbreath and Bing Crosby, purchased the Pittsburgh Pirates.

• A group headed by Lou Perini bought the Boston Braves.

• Brooklyn's Pete Reiser stole home a National League record seven times in a season.

• Reiser broke his ankle with two weeks left in the season, possibly costing the Dodgers the pennant.

• Brooklyn’s Ed Head no-hit the Braves on April 23.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BRO 2068 5285 701 1376 642 .194 233 66 55 100 0 1906 .311 .250 .582 103 0 141
BSN 1873 5225 630 1377 596 .177 238 48 44 60 0 1843 .343 .229 .629 111 0 135
CHN 1966 5298 626 1344 566 .202 223 50 56 43 0 1835 .333 .261 .621 129 0 116
CIN 1830 5291 523 1262 481 .198 206 33 65 82 0 1729 .285 .251 .544 102 0 122
NY1 1938 5191 612 1326 576 .174 176 37 121 46 0 1939 .330 .236 .602 121 0 86
PHI 1829 5233 560 1351 516 .188 209 40 80 41 0 1880 .315 .250 .603 102 0 102
PIT 1919 5199 552 1300 508 .199 202 52 60 48 0 1786 .344 .261 .643 125 0 101
SLN 1883 5372 712 1426 665 .200 265 56 81 58 0 2046 .309 .268 .594 95 0 97

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BRO 380 96 60 1419 647 671 6088 1280 58 75.830 478 573 52 12 28 27 4
BSN 321 81 72 1370 531 478 5790 1291 76 95.500 514 593 73 10 12 26 4
CHN 342 82 71 1391 609 527 5993 1370 58 75.100 502 580 59 13 11 15 2
CIN 302 67 87 1412 506 467 5881 1334 70 99.060 483 566 69 14 11 13 1
NY1 370 61 93 1355 581 660 5917 1299 114 154.210 589 689 47 8 13 29 1
PHI 340 69 85 1367 490 542 5973 1439 73 119.920 603 704 55 10 23 32 0
PIT 336 63 91 1371 458 541 5932 1406 50 81.00.00 566 668 61 10 6 18 0
SLN 336 98 58 1397 607 493 5871 1326 63 57.870 467 545 75 18 15 19 1

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BRO 1852 6151 4249 1728 174 .942 0 0 0 0 17
BSN 1723 5958 4121 1668 169 .946 0 0 0 0 6
CHN 1720 6126 4202 1778 146 .971 0 0 0 0 13
CIN 1664 6310 4231 1924 155 .964 0 0 0 0 4
NY1 1701 5957 4056 1742 159 .941 0 0 0 0 9
PHI 1656 5951 4101 1703 147 .969 0 0 0 0 12
PIT 1697 6081 4111 1786 184 .939 0 0 0 0 10
SLN 1707 6093 4193 1776 124 .964 0 0 0 0 10

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1946 World Series, Brooklyn Dodgers, Danny Gardella, Dixie Walker, Ed Head, Enos Slaughter, Happy Chandler, Harry Brecheen, Harry Walker, Howie Pollet, Jackie Robinson, Johnny Sain, Kirby Higbe, Luis Olmo, Max Lanier, Mickey Owen, Pete Reiser, Ralph Kiner, Sal Maglie, St. Louis Cardinals, Stan Musial, Warren Spahn

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