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Women turned out in droves to help the national defense effort and see a Cardinals game.

Eighty years ago, on July 24, 1941, the Cardinals’ Thursday afternoon game against the Giants at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis was designated as Aluminum Day. Any woman was admitted to the game for free if she presented an aluminum item for use in the national defense program.

According to team officials, 7,803 women brought a total of 35,235 aluminum articles to the ballpark that day. The paid attendance was 3,284. With 7,803 women admitted free, along with 1,952 boys and 371 girls, the total crowd was 13,410, according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Unlike today, when ballplayers masquerade in camouflage uniforms to boost merchandising revenue while ballclubs accept millions from the military in exchange for hokey tributes, baseball and patriotism were genuine during the World War II years, not a paid business arrangement. In the case of Aluminum Day, the Cardinals gave up ticket revenue to help a national defense cause.

Showing their mettle

In July 1941, World War II was raging in Europe. Though the United States remained neutral, it needed to bolster its defenses. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed his friend, New York City Mayor Fiorella La Guardia, to be director of the Office of Civilian Defense.

One of La Guardia’s missions was to organize national collections of donated aluminum for conversion into ingots for use in the manufacturing of airplanes, ships, tanks and other military equipment, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, it was estimated more than 20 million pounds of scrap aluminum, enough for 2,000 fighter planes, would be collected from the national effort. Most of it would come from donated utensils and other kitchen ware.

In St. Louis, a local Civilian Defense Committee, headed by public safety director Harry D. McBride, organized a four-day aluminum collection drive in July 1941. The slogan for the campaign was: “Kitchen Kettles Make Defense Metals.”

Among the recommended items for donations were coffee percolators, sauce pans, cookie trays, cake molds, measuring spoons, ice cube trays and ash trays, the St. Louis Star-Times reported.

Bins were set up around the city for people to deposit items. A total of 51 firehouse stations were collection centers, too.

In addition to Aluminum Day at the Giants-Cardinals game, other highlighted events of the St. Louis collection drive were:

_ A special two-hour matinee at 1 p.m. on July 23 at 68 neighborhood movie theaters. Anyone bringing an aluminum item to donate would be admitted free.

_ An evening vaudeville show on July 23 at Municipal Auditorium. Admission was free to anyone bringing an aluminum article to donate.

_ A two-day door-to-door canvasing of the city and county July 24-25 by 1,500 Boy Scouts, plus telegraph messengers and women volunteers, to collect aluminum and to explain what types of articles were wanted. The Boy Scouts reported “a friendly reception from housewives, some of whom offered them cookies and glasses of milk, as well as aluminum contributions,” the Post-Dispatch noted.

Doing their part

In the days leading to the 3 p.m. Aluminum Day Cardinals game, it was announced autograph baseballs would be given to the women bringing aluminum items deemed most unusual, largest and heaviest.

On game day, “women, carrying aluminum in all shapes and forms, turned out in such large numbers that the Dodier Street entrance was jammed beyond capacity almost an hour before game time,” the St. Louis Star-Times reported.

Most brought pots and pans. “The pans were stacked in large heaps under the club offices,” according to the Star-Times.

The aluminum collected at the Cardinals game was enough to fill eight trucks, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Mrs. E.T. Bradley of Botanical Avenue brought the item declared the most unusual: a set of her husband’s upper and lower false teeth, partly made of aluminum.

Mrs. David Cafferatta of Washington Boulevard brought the heaviest item: a restaurant cooking kettle. Mrs. S. Huber brought the largest article, but it was not identified in the newspapers.

All the aluminum collected in the St. Louis campaign was moved to a scrap mound at 13th and Market streets.

According to the Star-Times, all aluminum collected would be weighed and sold to smelters. After smelting, the metal would be sold to manufacturers of national defense equipment. All money for the aluminum would be deposited in an Office of Civilian Defense fund in the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Va., to finance air raid preparation measures and gas masks, the Globe-Democrat reported.

The Cardinals rewarded the Aluminum Day audience with a gold-medal performance. Trailing 2-1 with two outs and none on in the ninth, the Cardinals rallied to tie the score and then won, 3-2, with a run in the 10th. The winning pitcher was Ernie White, who got the wins in all three games of the series. Boxscore

 

Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus lost his place in the starting lineup when he lost the confidence of manager Tony La Russa. Then Rasmus lost his spot on the club.

Ten years ago, on July 27, 2011, Rasmus was the marquee name in a multi-player trade the Cardinals made with the Blue Jays. The Cardinals dealt Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters for pitchers Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski and outfielder Corey Patterson.

Rasmus underachieved with the Blue Jays. The trio of pitchers acquired for him all earned wins in the 2011 postseason, helping the Cardinals become World Series champions.

Family feud

A left-handed batter, Rasmus was chosen by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2005 amateur draft.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, within the Cardinals’ organization, Rasmus became known as “Luhnow’s boy” because he was the first draft pick of scouting director Jeff Luhnow. Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. became enamored of Luhnow, a data-driven analyst who clashed with general manager Walt Jocketty, and put him in charge of the Cardinals’ player development group.

Rasmus was 22 when he debuted in the majors with the Cardinals in 2009. He hit .251 with 16 home runs as a rookie.

In July 2010, La Russa and Rasmus had a heated exchange in the dugout. Rasmus requested a trade on more than one occasion. The Cardinals kept him and he batted .276 with 23 home runs for the season, but with more strikeouts (148) than hits (128). No other player on the 2010 Cardinals struck out 100 times.

The relationship between Rasmus, La Russa and the coaches deteriorated in 2011. La Russa said coaches Mark McGwire and Mike Aldrete offered to help Rasmus but were rejected. Rasmus instead took instruction from his father, Tony Rasmus, a high school coach who played three seasons in the Angels’ farm system.

“It’s just a fact,” La Russa told the Post-Dispatch. “He was listening to someone else about his hitting.”

Colby Rasmus told Toronto’s National Post, “My dad coached me all the way growing up. He has a big interest in my baseball, wants me to play good and knows my swing pretty well.”

Tony Rasmus was discovered in the Busch Stadium clubhouse video room after working with his son in an indoor batting cage, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Rasmus struggled to make consistent contact. In mid-July, his batting average dropped to .241. Fed up, La Russa benched him and started Jon Jay in center.

Time to act

Concerned Rasmus was becoming what the Post-Dispatch described as “an eroding asset,” the Cardinals made him available for trade.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak “believed he had to cash in Rasmus now or risk seeing the trade chip lose more value idling on the bench,” Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz noted.

The Blue Jays, White Sox and Rays showed the most interest.

The Cardinals talked to the White Sox about pitchers Edwin Jackson and Matt Thornton. The Rays offered pitchers Jeff Niemann, J.P. Howell and a prospect, but lost interest when Mozeliak wanted another pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Blue Jays became front-runners for Rasmus when they acquired Edwin Jackson from the White Sox, and packaged him with Dotel, Rzepczynski and Patterson.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos “has long coveted Rasmus, and he moved heaven, earth and a passel of players to get him,” the National Post reported.

On the day of the trade, the Cardinals (55-48) were in first place, a half-game ahead of the Brewers (55-49) in the National League Central Division.

“The soap opera triangle between Tony La Russa, Colby Rasmus and Tony Rasmus is gone, along with whatever distractions it caused,” declared the Post-Dispatch.

In announcing the deal, Mozeliak said, “This is a window to win.”

Miklasz noted, “In dealing Rasmus, the Cardinals should have secured a No. 2 starter and an elite prospect. This deal has short-term value. It makes sense for 2011.”

In conclusion, Miklasz wrote, “The Cardinals clearly wanted to get Colby and his daddy as far away as possible.”

Anthopoulos told the National Post, “We think we’re getting a player who has a chance to be part of this core. They’re hard to add.”

In three seasons with St. Louis, Rasmus batted .259 and had 330 hits and 320 strikeouts. “I might not have done as well as some people wanted me to, but I played hard and, looking back on it, that’s all I can say,” Rasmus said. “I’m happy with what I did.”

Tony Rasmus went on Toronto radio programs and criticized La Russa and the Cardinals. In response, Miklasz advised that Colby Rasmus “already has a reputation for letting his father control him and fight battles for him. By going off on Toronto radio shows, Tony Rasmus is only reinforcing the opinion that Colby is immature and in need of protection by daddy.”

Return on investment

Rasmus batted .173 for the 2011 Blue Jays and had more strikeouts (39) than hits (23).

The 2011 Cardinals surged in September, posting an 18-8 record for the month and finishing at 90-72. Though they placed second in their division and fourth overall in the league, the Cardinals qualified for the playoffs.

In the National League Division Series, Edwin Jackson, who was 5-2 for the Cardinals in the regular season, started and won Game 4 against the Phillies. Boxscore

Octavio Dotel, who had three wins and a save for the Cardinals in September, had two wins in the playoffs. He beat the Phillies in Game 2 of the Division Series Boxscore and won Game 5 against the Brewers in the National League Championship Series. Boxscore

Marc Rzepczynski was the winning pitcher in the pennant-clinching Championship Series Game 6 versus the Brewers. Boxscore. He also pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in four appearances in the World Series against the Rangers.

Rasmus went on to play four seasons with the Blue Jays, batting .234 with far more strikeouts (447) than hits (342).

He also played for the Astros, Rays and Orioles. He was 31 when he played his last game in the majors.

Though he never played in a World Series or got named an all-star, Rasmus received $47.4 million in salary during his career in the majors, according to baseball-reference.com. In 10 seasons, he batted .241 with 891 hits and 1,106 strikeouts. Video of career highlights

In a lineup featuring future Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst and Enos Slaughter, it was Erv Dusak who delivered two of the most important hits for the 1946 Cardinals.

Seventy-five years ago, on July 16, 1946, Dusak hit a three-run walkoff home run in the ninth, enabling the Cardinals to complete a four-game sweep of the front-running Dodgers.

Two months later, in the last week of the regular season, Dusak hit another walkoff home run, a solo shot in the 10th inning against the Reds, for a victory that kept the Cardinals in first place.

Power prospect

An outfielder, Dusak was one of three players who made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in September 1941 after being called up from the Rochester farm team. The others were Musial and third baseman Whitey Kurowski.

In his book “Stan Musial: The Man’s Own Story,” Musial said Cardinals executive Branch Rickey didn’t say much to him when he joined the team.

“It was obvious that the player on his mind was Dusak, not Musial, and I can see why,” Musial recalled. “Erv was a strapping right-handed power hitter who ran well, fielded well and threw considerably better than I did.”

Unfortunately for Dusak, pitchers quickly discovered a weakness. “Erv had too much trouble with the breaking ball to last long in the big leagues,” Musial said.

Dusak spent most of 1942 back at Rochester. Following the season, he enlisted in the Army and spent three years (1943-45) in World War II service.

In 1946, the Cardinals opened the season with an outfield of Musial and Slaughter in the corners and Terry Moore in center. Dusak made the team as a reserve.

Swing series

The Dodgers set the early pace in the 1946 National League race, winning eight of their first nine.

When they came to St. Louis for a four-game series in July, the Dodgers (49-28) were 4.5 games ahead of the Cardinals (45-33).

The series began with a doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park on Sunday July 14. The Cardinals won the opener, 5-3. Slaughter drove in four runs, including two on a tie-breaking home run in the eighth, and Ted Wilks pitched four scoreless innings in relief of Johnny Beazley. Boxscore

In the second game, Musial led off the 12th with a walkoff home run against Vic Lombardi, giving the Cardinals a 2-1 triumph. Boxscore

Game 3 of the series was played on Monday night July 15. Schoendienst had three RBI and the Cardinals prevailed, 10-4.

In the third inning, the Dodgers thought their left fielder, Pete Reiser, snared a drive by Slaughter, but umpire Al Barlick ruled Reiser trapped the ball. Dodgers manager Leo Durocher argued and was ejected. Boxscore

The next day, Tuesday July 16, National League president Ford Frick suspended Durocher for five days and fined him $150 for “laying hands on” Barlick during the rhubarb, the New York Daily News reported. Durocher departed St. Louis rather than stick around for that night’s series finale.

Setting the stage

With coach Chuck Dressen as acting manager for Game 4 of the series, the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

“The big crowd, almost silent, appeared to have given up,” the St. Louis Star-Times reported. “Most Brooklyn writers had their stories written.”

Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer told The Sporting News, “It looked like we were goners.”

The Cardinals had the bottom of their order due to face left-hander Joe Hatten.

Hatten got ahead in the count, 1-and-2, to the first batter, Marty Marion, “when the miracle happened,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted.

Hatten grazed Marion on the side of his uniform jersey with a pitch, putting him on first.

Clyde Kluttz, a catcher acquired from the Phillies in May, singled to left, moving Marion to second.

After Dyer sent Dusak to bat for pitcher Howie Pollet, Dressen went to the mound to talk to Hatten. A right-hander was ready in the bullpen, but Dressen stuck with Hatten, a decision some speculated Durocher would not have made.

Fantastic finish

Dusak, batting .229 for the season, was given the bunt sign. After he failed in his first attempt to bunt successfully, he was permitted to swing away. He lashed at Hatten’s second pitch and fouled it off.

Hatten’s next two pitches missed the strike zone, evening the count at 2-and-2. He came back with a fastball and Dusak connected.

“The wallop rang out like a pistol shot,” the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported.

According to the Star-Times, “There was a terrific crack and everybody knew at once it was all over.”

The ball carried over the left-field wall and landed 10 rows up in the bleachers, turning the two-run deficit into a 5-4 victory and a series sweep. Boxscore

“Frenzied spectators unloosed a thunderous shout and kept it up for many minutes,” the Globe-Democrat reported. “So jubilant were the Cardinals players that they gathered at the plate and almost mobbed Dusak as he scored.”

The New York Daily News noted, “The Dodgers, with their chins sunk against their chests, trudged forlornly off the field, while all around them Redbird fans joined the St. Louis players in whistling, stomping and jumping with joy.”

Dusak was “as happy as a youngster who had just seen Santa Claus for the first time,” the Globe-Democrat declared.

In the locker room, a young bleacher fan showed up with the home run ball and presented it to Dusak, the Star-Times reported.

“He hit one of the most beautiful home runs I ever expect to see,” Dyer told The Sporting News.

Encore performance

By sweeping the series, the Cardinals (49-33) moved within a half-game of the Dodgers (49-32).

“No series played by the Dodgers all season gave them more of a jolt,” Dyer said to The Sporting News.

The Cardinals and Dodgers waged a fierce fight for first place the remainder of the season.

On Sept. 24, the Cardinals (94-55) held a half-game lead over Brooklyn (94-56) heading into a game against the Reds at St. Louis.

The Reds started Johnny Vander Meer, the left-hander who pitched consecutive no-hitters in 1938.

Vander Meer limited the Cardinals to two singles through eight innings and took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, but Musial tied the score with a two-out RBI-single.

In the 10th, Dusak batted with none on. Working the count to 3-and-1, he got a fastball and pulverized it. The ball cleared the wall in left and “landed only a few feet in front of the concession stand at the back of the bleachers,” the Globe-Democrat reported.

Dusak’s second walkoff home run of the season gave the Cardinals a 2-1 victory and put them a game ahead of the Dodgers with four to play. Boxscore

Mobbed again by his teammates, Dusak was carried off the field on the shoulders of Dyer and coach Mike Gonzalez, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Change in plans

More drama followed. The Cardinals lost three of their last four games and the Dodgers won two of four, leaving the clubs tied for first at the end of the regular season. A best-of-three playoff was held and the Cardinals won the first two games, clinching their fourth pennant in five years.

The Cardinals then prevailed in a seven-game World Series versus the Red Sox.

Dusak hit .240 with nine home runs for the 1946 Cardinals. As a pinch-hitter, he was 4-for-10. Three of the hits were home runs.

In 1947, Dusak batted .284 for the Cardinals, but slumped to .209 in 1948. He decided to become a pitcher and returned to the minors in 1949.

Dusak pitched in 14 games for the Cardinals in 1950 and five more in 1951 before he was traded to the Pirates.

The Dodgers got a bit of revenge on May 22, 1951, when Gil Hodges hit a grand slam against Dusak. Boxscore

Dusak’s big-league career statistics: .243 batting average, 24 home runs, 0-3 pitching record, one save, 5.33 ERA.

Ted Simmons is part of a special group of players who hit with a rare combination of power and consistent contact.

Simmons is one of 12 players who finished his big-league career with at least 240 home runs and fewer than 700 strikeouts, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

A catcher who spent most of his playing days with the Cardinals before going to the Brewers and Braves, Simmons is the last player to achieve the feat. He’s also the only switch-hitter among the 12.

Simmons will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 8, 2021. He is one of nine Hall of Famers among the 12 elite hitters who showed that a slugger doesn’t have to whiff a lot to produce steady power.

In order of most home runs, here are the dandy dozen based on a review of statistics at baseball-reference.com:

_ Stan Musial, 475 home runs, 696 strikeouts: The most Musial struck out in a season was 46 times in 1962 when he was 41. He batted .330 that season with 19 home runs.

In 1948, when Musial batted .376, he had more home runs, a career-high 39, than strikeouts 34.

Musial struck out three times in a major-league game only once. It happened on July 28, 1963, against the Cubs’ Dick Ellsworth when Musial was 42 and in his final season. Boxscore

The pitcher who fanned Musial the most was fellow Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. Though Spahn struck out Musial 30 times, Musial batted .318 against him. The 17 home runs Musial hit versus Spahn are the most he had against any pitcher.

_ Joe DiMaggio, 361 home runs, 369 strikeouts: Remarkably, DiMaggio had more home runs than strikeouts in seven of his 13 seasons with the Yankees.

In 1941, DiMaggio had 30 home runs and 13 strikeouts. During his 56-game hitting streak that year, he whiffed five times.

Like Musial, DiMaggio struck out three times in a big-league game just once. It happened on June 19, 1942, versus the Indians’ Mel Harder. Boxscore

_ Johnny Mize, 359 home runs, 524 strikeouts: When Mize hit 51 home runs for the Giants in 1947, he struck out 42 times. It was one of three times he had more home runs than strikeouts in a season.

The 43 home runs Mize hit for the Cardinals in 1940 were the franchise record for a season until Mark McGwire hit 70 while taking steroids to enhance his performance in 1998. Mize struck out 49 times in 1940. McGwire fanned 155 times in 1998.

_ Yogi Berra, 358 home runs, 414 strikeouts: Though he was known for chasing balls out of the strike zone, Berra six times had more home runs than strikeouts in a season with the Yankees. Perhaps the most impressive was in 1950 when Berra had 28 home runs and 12 strikeouts. He hit .322 with 124 RBI that season.

While with the Mets, Berra struck out three times in a game against the Braves’ Tony Cloninger on May 9, 1965, three days before turning 40. He decided to quit immediately and never played in another game. Boxscore 

_ Rogers Hornsby, 301 home runs, 679 strikeouts: In 1924, when he batted .424 and hit 25 home runs for the Cardinals, Hornsby struck out 32 times in 642 plate appearances.

_ Chuck Klein, 300 home runs, 521 strikeouts: When Klein achieved the Triple Crown with the Phillies in 1933, leading the National League in batting (.368), home runs (28) and RBI (120), he struck out 36 times in 667 plate appearances.

_ Ted Kluszewski, 279 home runs, 365 strikeouts: Wearing a sleeveless Reds jersey that enabled him to bare bulging biceps, Ted Kluszewski looked the part of a slugger, but he was no swing-and-miss hacker. Kluszewski only once struck out three times in a game, on June 17, 1950, versus the Phillies’ Robin Roberts. Boxscore

In 1954, when he led the National League in home runs (49) and RBI (141), Kluszewski fanned 35 times in 659 plate appearances. It was one of five times he had more home runs than strikeouts in a season.

_ Roy Campanella, 260 home runs, 501 strikeouts: The Dodgers’ catcher hit 20 or more home runs seven times but never had more than 61 strikeouts in a season.

_ Goose Goslin, 248 home runs, 585 strikeouts: In 1928, when Goslin was with the Senators, he led the American League in batting at .379, was third in slugging at .614 (trailing only Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig) and struck out 19 times.

_ Ted Simmons, 248 home runs, 694 strikeouts: As consistent as he was excellent, Simmons had the same number of strikeouts, 35, in each of three consecutive seasons (1974-76) with the Cardinals. In his biggest home run year, 1979, when he hit 26, Simmons fanned 34 times.

in the book “The Ted Simmons Story,” his teammate and friend, Joe Torre, said, “Nobody in the league hits the ball so hard so consistently as Simmons.”

After falling into a slump early in the 1973 season while trying to hit home runs, Simmons said, “I knew now I wasn’t ever going to be a big home run hitter, but if I ever felt I had to have some record to shoot at, some goal to turn me on, all I had to think about was Pete Rose hitting over .300 eight years in a row. That’s a record to brag about. It’s a lot more impressive than Roger Maris’ or Hank Aaron’s home run records.”

_ Vern Stephens, 247 home runs, 685 strikeouts: A shortstop who played 15 years in the American League, Stephens hit 20 or more home runs in a season six times, including in 1944 when he helped the Browns to their only pennant.

_ Wally Berger, 242 home runs, 693 strikeouts: An outfielder who played 11 years in the National League, Berger hit 25 or more home runs for the Braves five times, including 38 as a rookie in 1930.

Kluszewski, Stephens and Berger are the only three of the 12 who haven’t been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Dizzy Dean always could talk a good game, so given the choice of being a coach or a broadcaster, the former Cardinals ace grabbed the microphone.

Eighty years ago, on July 7, 1941, Dean quit as Cubs coach and signed a three-year deal with Falstaff Brewing to call Cardinals and Browns home games on St. Louis radio station KWK.

“I can make enough in radio in three years to put me on easy street,” Dean told The Sporting News. “There is no future coaching in baseball.”

Desperate measures

Dean made a dazzling debut in the majors with the Cardinals in 1930 and went on to become one of the game’s best and most popular players. He led National League pitchers in strikeouts four times and had 30 wins for the 1934 Cardinals, plus two more in the World Series.

A right-hander, he was 27 when he injured his pitching arm in 1937. A year later, in April 1938, the Cubs sent $185,000 and three players to the Cardinals to acquire Dean.

“When the Cubs purchased Dean, they said they made the move with their eyes wide open,” The Sporting News noted. “They knew his arm was bad, but were confident that proper treatment would take care of everything. It didn’t.”

Dean was 7-1 in 1938 for the National League champion Cubs and 6-4 in 1939, but his arm ached and his availability was limited.

In June 1940, with his ERA for the season at 6.18, Dean, 30, accepted a demotion to the Cubs’ Tulsa farm club.

“Diz is supposed to have made the suggestion,” The Sporting News reported. “He told club officials he wanted to develop a new sidearm delivery.”

The Cubs assigned scout Dutch Ruether, a former big-league pitcher, to work with Dean at Tulsa. “It will be Ruether’s job to keep an eye on Dean’s conduct and assist him in his professed aim to master the sidearm delivery,” The Sporting News reported.

Dean returned to the Cubs in September but “still had the nothing ball,” according to the Chicago Tribune. He was 3-3 with a 5.17 ERA for the 1940 Cubs. All three losses were to the Cardinals.

Different role

Dean, whose top salary as a player was $25,000 in 1935 with the Cardinals, signed with the Cubs for $10,000 in 1941, according to The Sporting News.

Cubs manager Jimmie Wilson, a former catcher who was Dean’s teammate with the Cardinals, endorsed the signing, saying Dean provided the club with “color and pep.” Wilson indicated he’d start Dean against second-division opponents. “Whatever he wins is gravy,” Wilson told The Sporting News.

On April 25, 1941, Dean started against the Pirates, pitched an inning and gave up three runs. Boxscore

“The arm simply went dead and the best doctors in the country couldn’t fix me up,” Dean told the St. Louis Star-Times.

Dean, 31, wrote a letter to Cubs general manager Jim Gallagher, asking to be placed on the voluntary retirement list.

“I have tried everything I know about to get my arm in shape, and this is a step I deeply regret having to take,” Dean wrote. “I sincerely and gratefully appreciate the many kindnesses the club have extended me. I only hope some day, some way, I may be able to repay in part, at least, the debt I owe it.”

On May 14, 1941, the Cubs gave Dean his unconditional release and then signed him to be a coach.

“Dean’s wife had urged him to retire for several weeks before he took the step that made him a coach,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

According to The Sporting News, “Arrangements were made for the remainder of his season’s salary to go into an annuity and a new salary was agreed for the coaching job.”

Follow the money

Dean’s coaching role primarily was to “pitch batting practice and lead cheers in the dugout,” the Chicago Tribune noted.

After a couple of weeks, The Sporting News declared, “Dean is taking his new job as coach as seriously as Diz could be expected to take anything.”

On June 6, 1941, Dean was ejected from a game at Brooklyn for arguing that Dodgers batter Billy Herman interfered with a throw from catcher Clyde McCullough. After being tossed, Dean headed for the clubhouse but returned and had to be chased a second time, The Sporting News reported. League president Ford Frick punished Dean with a $50 fine and five-day suspension. Boxscore

Three weeks later, Cubs first-base coach Charlie Grimm resigned to become manager of a farm team in Milwaukee and Dean replaced him.

Dean was the first-base coach for two weeks before he, too, resigned to accept the offer to become a broadcaster in St. Louis.

According to The Sporting News, Dean would be paid $5,000 to broadcast for the remainder of the 1941 season and $10,000 per season for the next two years.

“I only hope I’m as great an announcer as I was a pitcher,” Dean said to national columnist Walter Winchell.

Meet me in St. Louis

After attending the 1941 All-Star Game in Detroit, Dean boarded a train to St. Louis to begin his broadcasting job. When he arrived at Union Station at 8 a.m. on July 9, he was greeted by a band playing and a welcoming committee of about 300 people, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported.

Arriving on the train with Dean was Joe DiMaggio, who played in the All-Star Game and was joining the Yankees in St. Louis for a series with the Browns.

According to the St. Louis Star-Times, “A parade was formed and Dizzy was taken to the Park Plaza hotel for a breakfast reception. DiMaggio joined in the festivities.”

Dean’s first broadcast on KWK was the July 10 game between the Yankees and Browns at Sportsman’s Park. He joined sportscasters Johnny O’Hara and Johnny Neblett in describing the 1-0 Yankees victory. The game was called after five innings because of rain, but DiMaggio got a single in the first, extending his record hitting streak to 49 games. Boxscore

Dean was an immediate hit that summer. The Sporting News credited him with attracting “many new listeners because of his conversational style.”

Some examples of Dean’s style:

_ On the inability of Red Sox pitcher Mickey Harris to throw strikes: “A pitcher can’t pitch that way in the majors, or in the minors either, and parade up to the cashiers window every first and fifteenth.”

_ On Red Sox slugger Ted Williams: “I don’t know if Ted’s got a nickname, but I’m going to give him one: Goose. That’s what he looks like to me _ tall, skinny, loose-jointed.”

_ On batters who complain about an umpire’s strike zone: “It just don’t do you any good to think when you’re up there hitting that the ump has given you a bum call. The ump does his thinking first and that settles it all.”

Dean went on to have a long career in broadcasting, including national telecasts for ABC and CBS.

At his best, Bill White hit for average and distance.

Sixty years ago, in July 1961, White achieved an unprecedented slugging feat against the Dodgers, then tied a major-league base hit record held by Ty Cobb.

A left-handed batter and first baseman, White did the following:

_ On July 5, he became the first player to hit three home runs over the right-field fence in a game at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

_ From July 17 to July 18, he totaled 14 hits in four games, equaling a record set by Cobb 49 years earlier for most hits in two consecutive doubleheaders.

Tough test

In 1961, White was a National League all-star and Gold Glove Award winner who was among the Cardinals’ leading hitters, but the club wanted him to produce more power. In each of the three previous seasons (1958-60), Ken Boyer was the only Cardinal to hit 20 home runs.

Heading into the game against the Dodgers at the Coliseum, White was hitting .294 with five home runs for the season.

The Coliseum seemed an unlikely place for White to go on a home run binge. The distance from home plate to the fence in right-center was 440 feet and it was 390 feet in straightaway right. Left-handed sluggers, such as the Dodgers’ Duke Snider, found those dimensions daunting.

The Coliseum was friendlier to right-handed pull hitters, with a distance of 251 feet down the line from home plate to the left field fence. Though a screen stretching 42 feet high was erected, routine fly balls reached the seats.

Adding to the degree of difficulty for White was the Dodgers’ choice of a starting pitcher, left-hander Johnny Podres. White hit for a higher average and with more power against right-handers than he did left-handers.

Pulling power

Batting second in the order in the last game managed by Solly Hemus, White grounded out his first time at the plate against Podres.

Leading off the third, White swung at an inside fastball from Podres and pulled it over the fence near the foul line for a home run.

An inning later, facing Roger Craig, White got a hanging changeup and drove it over the wall in right-center for a two-run home run.

The next time up, with two outs and a runner on second in the sixth, White was walked intentionally by Craig.

In the eighth, White led off against rookie Jim Golden and hit a slider into the seats in right-center for his third home run.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, White was the sixth Cardinals player with three home runs in a game. The others: Frank Shugart (1894), George Harper (1928), George Watkins (1931), Johnny Mize (1938 and 1940) and Stan Musial (1954).

Lee Walls of the 1958 Cubs and Don Demeter of the 1959 Dodgers also hit three home runs in a game at the Coliseum, with all carrying the short distance to left.

“I took extra batting practice last Monday determined to practice getting out in front of the ball,” White said to the Post-Dispatch. “I believe the club expects it of me.”

White had a chance to hit a fourth home run in the game when he faced Golden again in the ninth. He took a rip and lined a double to the base of the wall in right near the foul line.

Asked whether he was trying for a home run, White told the Los Angeles Times, “I wasn’t thinking so much about that as the fact that the first pitch might come pretty close to me. Then, when I did hit the ball, it looked for a second or two like it might hook in there for another homer.”

White’s road roommate, Bob Gibson, also contributed impressively to the 9-1 Cardinals triumph. Gibson pitched a four-hitter and slugged his first home run in the majors. Boxscore

Hot hitting

Two weeks later, with Johnny Keane managing the club, the Cardinals faced consecutive twi-night doubleheaders against the Cubs at St. Louis.

White produced 14 hits in 18 at-bats in the four games, all won by the Cardinals.

When Cobb achieved the mark while playing for the Tigers against the Athletics at Philadelphia in 1912, he was 14-for-19. Cobb had seven hits in 11 at-bats in the doubleheader played July 17 and, after an off day for the teams, he was 7-for-8 in the doubleheader played July 19.

In an eerie bit of serendipity, White’s record-tying performances occurred on almost the same exact July dates as when Cobb achieved the feat. In addition, Cobb died on July 17, 1961, the same day White played the first of the two doubleheaders.

White was 8-for-10 in the July 17 doubleheader against the Cubs.

In the first game, he was 4-for-5, getting three singles against starter Don Cardwell and another single versus Don Elston. Boxscore

White went 4-for-5 again in the second game. He had a double and a single against starter Jim Brewer and two singles versus Barney Schultz. Boxscore

Julian Javier also had eight hits, including seven in succession, for the Cardinals in the doubleheader.

The second game didn’t end until nearly 1 a.m. When White got home, he sat up with an ailing child and didn’t get any sleep, the Associated Press reported.

In the morning, White fulfilled a commitment to instruct youngsters at a baseball clinic at a local park from 10 a.m. to noon. According to the Post-Dispatch, White had lunch after the clinic, went to Busch Stadium and took a 45-minute nap in the trainer’s room before batting practice.

Showing no signs of fatigue, White was 3-for-4 in the opener of the July 18 doubleheader. He had two singles and a home run against starter Glen Hobbie. Boxscore

In the second game, White again was 3-for-4. He had a pair of triples, one against reliever Mel Wright and the other versus Don Elston. The hit that tied Cobb’s record was a double against Bob Anderson that “just escaped Ed Bouchee’s leap at first base,” the Chicago Tribune reported. Boxscore

Asked about tying the record, White told the Post-Dispatch, “It feels good to win two more ballgames.”

For the two doubleheaders, White had nine singles, two doubles, two triples and a home run.

White had a .417 on-base percentage in July 1961 and hit .331 for the month.

He finished the season with these numbers: .286 batting average, 28 doubles, 11 triples, 20 home runs and 90 RBI. Against the Cubs, he had 33 hits in 21 games and batted .371.