Tom Lasorda, in his major-league debut, helped Stan Musial achieve a personal best.
Facing the Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, Musial hit a pair of three-run home runs _ one each off starter Preacher Roe and Erv Palica _ in consecutive innings.
His seventh RBI came on a sacrifice fly off Lasorda.
Musial, 33, was in the prime of a Hall of Fame playing career. Lasorda, 27, was a big-league rookie who had spent eight seasons in the minor leagues. The left-hander would appear in just 26 games in the majors _ eight with the Dodgers and 18 with the Athletics _ but would be elected to the Hall of Fame as a Dodgers manager.
After grounding out to shortstop in the first inning, Musial hit the first of his three-run homers in the third against Roe, a left-hander who had debuted with the 1938 Cardinals.
It was Roe who, when asked his approach to pitching to Musial, replied, “I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base.”
Musial hit .377 (52-for-138) with 12 home runs and 28 RBI against Roe in his career.
In his book “Stan Musial: The Man’s Own Story” (1964, Doubleday), Musial wrote of Roe, “At Brooklyn, he became an outstanding pitcher, changing speeds and mixing up a well-controlled curve, screwball and, as the man admitted himself later, a spitter. Because I didn’t want him to load up one of those quick-dipping spitters on me, I always tried to keep him from getting two strikes on me.”
An inning after his home run off Roe, Musial crushed the second of his three-run homers, this time against Palica. Musial hit .429 (9-for-21) in his career versus the right-hander.
Lasorda relieved Palica in the fifth. The first big-league batter to face him was Red Schoendienst, who singled. The next batter, Bill Sarni, also singled. Lasorda then struck out Joe Cunningham and got Alex Grammas to ground into a double play.
In the sixth, Lasorda walked the leadoff batter, pitcher Brooks Lawrence. After Rip Repulski flied out, Wally Moon doubled, putting runners on second and third.
Musial then hit a fly ball to left. Sandy Amoros caught it, Lawrence tagged and scored, giving Musial his seventh RBI, and the Cardinals led, 10-2.
With those RBI, Musial became the first player in the majors to reach 100 in 1954. It was his seventh season of 100 RBI. His two home runs were Musial’s 29th and 30th of the season.
Paul Waner, the Hall of Fame outfielder, told The Sporting News, “No telling how many homers Stan could make if he weren’t unselfish.”
The Cardinals won, 13-4. Before then, the Dodgers had won 18 of the last 19 against the Cardinals at Ebbets Field. Boxscore
Lasorda pitched three innings in his debut and yielded three runs. Musial would face Lasorda a total of three times in his career. After the sacrifice fly, his other two plate appearances versus Lasorda, both in 1955, resulted in a walk and a strikeout.
In his 22 seasons with the Cardinals, Musial had just one other seven-RBI game. That occurred on June 23, 1961, in a 10-5 Cardinals victory over the Giants at St. Louis. In that game, Musial had a three-run home run off starter Billy O’Dell and a grand slam off Bobby Bolin. Boxscore