Ten Memorable Moments at Sportsman's Park/Busch Stadium I and The Hapless History of the St. Louis Browns as Told Through Five Moments at Sportsman's Park

Jul 8, 2009 at 4:00 am
Ten Memorable Moments at Sportsman's Park/Busch Stadium I

1920: It's hard to pinpoint just one moment of the St. Louis Browns' 1920 campaign, because George Sisler will total 257 hits that year, a record that will endure until Ichiro Suzuki notches 262 in 2004.

October 10, 1931: The Cardinals defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 4-2, winning the World Series four games to three. The victory is the second title for the Redbirds and avenges a loss to the A's in the 1930 series.

September 30, 1934: Dizzy Dean shuts out the Reds for his 30th win of the season, clinching the pennant for the Cardinals on the final day. The "Gashouse Gang" goes on to defeat the Tigers in the World Series.

September 14, 1941: Stan Musial makes his debut in the second game of a double-header against the New York Giants. Musial will proceed to hit over .400 the last two weeks of the season, but it's not enough to propel the Cardinals past the pennant-winning Brooklyn Dodgers.

October 1, 1944: The St. Louis Browns beat the New York Yankees on the final day of the season to clinch their first — and only — American League pennant. The Browns face none other than the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. The Cards, appearing in their third consecutive Fall Classic, win in six.

October 15, 1946: The Cardinals and Red Sox are deadlocked at three runs apiece going into the bottom of the eighth inning of the seventh and final game of the World Series. With two outs, Cardinals outfielder Enos Slaughter scores all the way from first base on Harry "The Hat" Walker's bloop base hit. "Slaughter's Mad Dash" clinches the Cardinals' third title in five years.

May 2, 1954: Stan Musial hits five home runs in a double-header against the New York Giants.

September 2, 1962: Stan Musial notches his 3,516th career hit, second (at the time) only to Ty Cobb.

September 29, 1963: Stan Musial plays the final game of his career to close the Cards' '63 campaign. True to form, he collects two hits in three at-bats and drives in a run. For his career Musial batted .331 with 3,630 hits and 475 home runs.

October 15, 1964: The Cardinals defeat the Yankees 7-5 in Game 7 of the World Series, clinching the franchise's seventh title. It's a coming of age for a new generation of Redbirds talent: Curt Flood, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Bill White, Tim McCarver, Mike Shannon and Ken Boyer. And it marks the end of the mighty Yankees teams of the 1950s and early 1960s.

The Hapless History of the St. Louis Browns as Told Through Five Moments at Sportsman's Park

September 10, 1910: In a season-ending double-header against the last-place Browns, Cleveland Naps star (and future Hall of Famer) Napoleon "Larry" Lajoie bunts for a base hit on consecutive at-bats, trying to catch Ty Cobb for the batting title. Spectators and, later, league officials come to believe that the Browns were conspiring with Lajoie to allow the hits. The scandal costs Browns manager Jack O'Connor his job.

September 18, 1934: Browns pitcher Louis "Bobo" Newsom no-hits the Red Sox over nine innings but loses the game 2-1 in ten innings.

May 21, 1945: In a bid to boost interest in the flagging team, the Browns signed a one-armed outfielder named Pete Gray. On this day Gray makes numerous fine catches and picks up several hits in both ends of a double-header against the Yankees. Gray's season is mostly a failure, though, with some teammates resenting his playing time.

August 19, 1951: The Browns' signature moment. New owner Bill Veeck signs three-foot, seven-inch Eddie Gaedel and sends him up to bat against the Tigers. Detroit hurler Bob Cain walks Gaedel on four pitches, whereupon the Browns insert a pinch runner. In a strange twist, the uniform that Gaedel wears for the occasion — which bears the number 1/8 — originally belonged to nine-year-old Bill DeWitt Jr., the Cardinals' current owner. This is Gaedel's only professional at-bat; to prevent a similar stunt, baseball changes its rules so that it must approve all player contracts. Years later, as the owner of the Chicago White Sox, Veeck will hire Gaedel and several other midgets as vendors after fans complain that the regular vendors block their view of the game.

August 24, 1951: The unstoppable Veeck's next promotion is "Grandstand Manager's Day." Fans are given cards with YES printed on one side and NO on the other. The crowd uses the placards to make the Browns' strategic decisions. It's a winning strategy, as the Browns beat the A's 5-3.