- OF, LF, RF, CF
- April 27, 1916
- 5' 9"
- 180 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-19-1938 with SLN
- Hall of Fame:
Slaughter himself said, "I asked no odds and I give none. A guy got in my way, I run over him."
Enos Bradsher Slaughter (April 27, 1916 - August 12, 2002), nicknamed "Country", during a 19-year baseball career, he played from 1938-1942 and 1946-1959 for four different teams, but is noted primarily for his time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Slaughter was born in Roxboro, North Carolina and joined the Cardinals in 1938 before being traded to the New York Yankees in 1954.
Batting left-handed and throwing right, he was renowned for his smooth swing that made him a reliable "contact" hitter. Slaughter had 2,383 hits in his career, including 169 home runs, and 1,304 RBIs in 2,380 games. Slaughter played 19 seasons with the Cardinals, Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and Milwaukee Braves. During that period, he was a 10-time All-Star and played in five World Series. His 1,820 games played ranks fourth in Cardinals' history behind Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, and Stan Musial. He presently ranks second in RBIs with 1,148; fifth in ABs with 6,775; and sixth in doubles with 366. His career accomplishments are especially impressive considering that he missed 3 seasons beginning in 1943 (when he was 27) to serve in the military during World War II.
Immediately upon his return from the service in 1946, he led the National League with 130 RBI and led the Cardinals to a World Series win over the Boston Red Sox. In the decisive seventh game of that series, Slaughter, running with the pitch, made a famous "Mad Dash" for home from first base on Harry Walker's single in the eighth inning, scoring the winning run after a delayed relay throw by the Red Sox' Johnny Pesky. This play was named #10 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments in 2001.
He was known for his hustle, especially for running hard to first base on walks, a habit later imitated by Pete Rose and David Eckstein.
When Slaughter was a minor leaguer in Columbus, Ohio he came running towards the dugout from his post in the outfield. He slowed down near the infield and began walking the rest of the way. Manager Eddie Dyer told him, "Son, if you're tired, we'll try to get you some help." For the rest of his career, Slaughter ran everywhere he went on a baseball field. Enos Slaughter's number 9 was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996.
A sportswriter alleged that in May 1947, Slaughter and Terry Moore, both Southerners, tried to persuade their Cardinal teammates to go on strike to protest Jackie Robinson's admittance to the National League. The supposed strike plans never came to fruition, and baseball historians now question the story's veracity. In an incident three months after the strike controversy, with Robinson playing first base for the Dodgers, Slaughter hit an infield ground ball and was thrown out by several steps. With Robinson stretched out to make the catch, Slaughter spiked him in the thigh. Slaughter denied any malicious intent on the play, and some baseball historians[who?] suggest that the incident was merely a result of Slaughter's old-school baseball mentality. The incident came on the heels of several high profile brawls between the Cardinals and Dodgers during the pennant races of the 1940s, with Dodger manager and former Cardinal Leo Durocher often at their center. Slaughter himself said, "I asked no odds and I give none. A guy got in my way, I run over him."
Statue outside Busch Stadium commemorating his "Mad Dash".
Other commentators[who?], however, attached racist motives to Slaughter's actions. After his retirement, sportswriters delayed Slaughter's entrance to the Hall of Fame over the questionable racial incidents that he was linked to. In later years, Slaughter was asked if he would have an objection to managing black players, and responded that as long as they produced and played hard he would have no problem doing so. Some baseball historians[who?] and many contemporaries[who?] believe that it was not perceived racism on the part of Slaughter that made him controversial, but rather that it was his relentless give-no-quarter philosophy in the era of coddled free agents that caused the modern baseball establishment to shun him. Aside from the racial accusations swirling around the Robinson incident, Slaughter was known for his generally intense, often violent style of play. The Sporting News quoted one Dodger contemporary as calling Slaughter "the dirtiest player in the league," a charge Slaughter himself did not dispute.
Slaughter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985; his jersey number 9 was retired by the Cardinals in 1996, and the team dedicated a statue depicting his famous Mad Dash in 1999. Slaughter was a fixture at statue dedications at Busch Stadium II for other Cardinal Hall of Famers during the last years of his life.
After battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Slaughter died at age 86 in 2002.
From Baseball Library
The 100 Greatest Baseball Games
by Joe Dittmar
SLAUGHTER'S RACE FOR THE ROSES
St. Louis Cardinals 4, Boston Red Sox 3 Tuesday, October 15, 1946, Sportsmans Park
With World War II ended, returning veterans restocked major league rosters. The Boston Red Sox were particularly rejuvenated with the return of Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, Hal Wagner, and pitchers Tex Hughson, Joe Dobson, and Mickey Harris. Those nine helped lift the Sox from a seventh place finish in 1945 to the World Series a year later. They not only claimed the American League pennant but did so in decisive fashion. Outdistancing their nearest rival by 12 games, Boston coasted during the last weeks of the campaign. Manager Joe Cronin later felt the letdown was partly responsible for their poor showing in this Series.
The Cardinals, too, bathed in the sun of returning veterans. Their top four pitchers, Howie Pollet, Murray Dickson, Harry Brecheen, and Al Brazle, all wore military uniforms a year earlier. Also serving their country were starting outfielders Harry Walker, Enos Slaughter and Terry Moore. But probably the biggest smile appeared on the faces of Cardinal fans when one of the game’s greatest hitters, Stan Musial, returned to the ballyard. Despite this near total facelift, however, St. Louis couldn’t shake the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the two teams faced off in the major leagues’ first playoff.
The Cardinals made short work of their rivals, dispatching them in two games.
In the drama-filled World Series, the heavily favored Red Sox won Games One, Three, and Five, while the Cardinals prevailed in the even numbered games. Game Seven was played in St. Louis under a brilliant autumn sun, with the thermometer hovering in the 70s.
Boston’s 25-game winner, Dave “Boo” Ferriss, squared off against Murray Dickson, the owner of the National League’s best winning percentage at .714 (15-6).
The Red Sox scored early. After the game’s first two batters singled, DiMaggio brought home Wally Moses with a sacrifice fly. They nearly had more when Williams drove a ball to deep center field. With the outfield shifted far toward right, center fielder Moore made a long run and lunged for a spectacular catch.
Red Schoendienst started the Cardinal first with a single to left. When Williams bobbled the ball, Red streaked for second but was thrown out. Ted’s throw saved a run, because two batters later, Musial doubled to left. Slaughter ended the inning by striking out.
In the second, Boston squandered a golden opportunity. Doerr opened with a single, went to second on a throwing error, and advanced to third on an infield out. After Dickson retired the next two batters without further damage, he walked to the dugout amid a standing ovation. The cheering barely subsided when Whitey Kurowski led off the home half of the second with a double to left-center. Whitey moved to third on a ground-out by Joe Garagiola and tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Walker.
There were no more hits and few plays to cheer until the Cardinals’ fifth, when Walker started with a single. Marty Marion sacrificed Walker to second-an intriguing strategy with the pitcher next up. But Dickson was an excellent hitting pitcher and justified his manager’s decision by doubling to left, scoring Walker with the go-ahead run. With the impassioned crowd on its feet, Schoendienst then singled home Dickson, making it 3-1. When Moore also singled, the Sox made a pitching change, bringing on Dobson to face Musial, the National League batting champion. The tension-filled at-bat ended with Musial grounding out but moving the runners to second and third. That brought to the plate Slaughter who was intentionally passed, loading the bases. Now the hometown fans were frantic and sensed the kill. But Dobson was equal to the task and got Kurowski on a ground-out, bringing the attack to an end.
Neither club could muster a base hit in the sixth or seventh innings. In the eighth, Cardinal fans were quieted as a single and a double put two Sox in scoring position and sent Dickson to the showers. Out of the St. Louis bullpen strode Brecheen. The southpaw, who had won Games Two and Six, looked as if he would get out of the inning when he struck out Moses and got Pesky on a shallow liner to right. But with two outs, DiMaggio slammed a double off the right-field wall. Both runners scored and the game was again deadlocked. Dom, however, pulled a muscle running to second and had to be replaced by Leon Culberson, a move that shortly led to serious consequences. Brecheen then got Williams on a pop-up to avert any further damage.
The Cardinals retaliated in the bottom of the eighth. With veteran Bob Klinger taking the hill for Boston, Slaughter led off by singling. Klinger routinely retired the next two Redbirds, holding the baserunner at first. Then occurred the pivotal play of the Series. Walker doubled to left-center bringing the screaming crowd to its feet. Amid the uproar, Culberson fielded it cleanly and relayed to Pesky, neither thinking Slaughter would try to score. But in an electrifying dash, he rounded third while Pesky hesitated with his relay to home. By the time Pesky realized Slaughter’s daring, it was too late. St. Louis had recaptured the lead.
In the top of the ninth the first two Sox singled, and a forceout put runners at the corners. But Brecheen dashed Boston hopes by inducing a pop-up and an easy ground-out. The first left-hander to win three World Series games was then hoisted to the shoulders of jubilant Cardinals and carried into the clubhouse.
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- Enos Slaughter