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With a wallop to the outfield depths of Sportsman’s Park, Enos Slaughter altered the course of a National League pennant race in favor of the Cardinals.

Slaughter hit a walkoff inside-the-park home run that lifted the Cardinals to an extra-inning victory over the Dodgers and completed a doubleheader sweep of the NL leaders 75 years ago on July 19, 1942.

The Dodgers’ top player, center fielder and NL batting leader Pete Reiser, suffered a concussion when he crashed into a concrete outfield wall while pursuing Slaughter’s smash.

The sweep moved the second-place Cardinals to within six games of the Dodgers.

Reiser, who rushed back to the lineup too soon, struggled to hit over the last two months of the season. That was a factor in enabling the rejuvenated Cardinals to overtake the Dodgers at the end of the season and win the pennant.

Musial gets mad

The Dodgers entered the July 19 doubleheader at St. Louis with an eight-game lead over the Cardinals. A Dodgers sweep threatened to demoralize the Cardinals.

In Game 1, the Cardinals led 7-0 in the fourth inning when Stan Musial stepped to the plate against rookie reliever Les Webber. A month earlier, Musial had hit a home run off Webber.

Webber threw an inside pitch that moved Musial off the plate. Musial yelled out to Webber. The next pitch “came dangerously close to Stan’s head,” according to the St. Louis Star-Times.

Angered, Musial uncharacteristically moved toward Webber with his bat in hand. Webber started toward Musial. Players from both dugouts poured onto the field, but umpires stepped between Musial and Webber. No punches were thrown and the showdown quickly dissolved. Musial continued his at-bat and grounded out.

Two innings later, Webber batted and was hit by a pitch from starter Mort Cooper. Led by four RBI from Johnny Hopp, the Cardinals went on to an 8-5 victory. Boxscore

Going all-out

In Game 2, the Cardinals led, 6-2, after three, but the Dodgers scored four in the fifth, tying the score at 6-6. The game went into extra innings.

It was 7:37 p.m. and dusk was arriving when Slaughter led off the bottom of the 11th against reliever Johnny Allen.

With the count at 0-and-2, Slaughter swung and launched the ball deep into center field.

Reiser raced back _ “He was traveling like a bullet,” Dodgers left fielder Joe Medwick told The Brooklyn Daily Eagle _ turned and caught the ball. A split second later, Reiser crashed into the wall, his head banging against the concrete. The ball squirted out of his glove and bounced toward the flagpole.

As Slaughter sped around the bases, Reiser got to his feet, “staggered dizzily after the ball” and threw to the cutoff man, shortstop Pee Wee Reese, according to accounts in both the Star-Times and Daily Eagle.

In a rare double relay, Reese flipped the ball to second baseman Billy Herman, who was better positioned to make a strong peg to catcher Mickey Owen.

As Slaughter rounded second, he looked up and saw Cardinals manager Billy Southworth, coaching at third, “waving his arms like mad,” Slaughter said.

“I really gave that sprint around the base paths everything I had,” Slaughter told the Star-Times.

Slaughter “slid under the throw in a cloud of dust” for a home run that gave the Cardinals a 7-6 triumph. Boxscore

Eager to return

Dodgers players rushed to Reiser, who was leaning against the outfield wall. Reiser, a St. Louis native, walked off the field, went to the clubhouse, showered and dressed, according to the Star-Times.

Still wobbly, Reiser was taken to a hospital. Dr. Robert Hyland said X-rays revealed Reiser had a concussion, but no fractures.

The next day, July 20, Reiser, against the advice of doctors, left the hospital and went to his parents’ home in St. Louis. After spending the night there, Reiser boarded a noon train on July 21 and went to rejoin his teammates in Brooklyn.

Four days later, on July 25, Reiser was back in the Dodgers’ lineup.

Reiser, who was batting .350 at the time of his injury, was a diminished player afterward. He hit .206 in August and .233 in September.

The Cardinals surged to records of 25-8 in August and 21-4 in September and finished in first place at 106-48, two games ahead of the Dodgers.

Previously: Ralph Branca produced pair of gems against Cardinals

After a shaky first impression, Jack Lamabe had a flawless month for the Cardinals and helped them strengthen their hold on first place in the National League.

In a trade made by general managers Stan Musial of the Cardinals and Bing Devine of the Mets, Lamabe, a right-handed reliever, was sent to St. Louis 50 years ago on July 16, 1967.

In exchange, the Mets received a player to be named (pitcher Al Jackson).

Lamabe, 30, had a rough beginning to his Cardinals career. He was the losing pitcher in three of his first four appearances. His ERA in seven July games for St. Louis was 6.75.

The next month, Lamabe was untouchable. He was 3-0 with a save in August and his ERA for the month was 0.00. Lamabe didn’t allow a run in 25 innings over nine August appearances, including a start.

Lamabe’s splendid month helped stabilize a pitching staff that was missing its ace, Bob Gibson, who was sidelined with a broken leg. The first-place Cardinals, who had entered August with a 4.5-game lead, went 21-11 for the month and entered September with a 10-game advantage over the second-place Reds.

Switching sides

Lamabe had played college baseball for Vermont head coach Ralph LaPointe, who had been an infielder for the 1948 Cardinals.

Lamabe made his major-league debut with the 1962 Pirates. He also pitched for the Red Sox (1963-65), Astros (1965) and White Sox (1966). He primarily was a reliever, though he made 25 starts for the 1964 Red Sox and 17 starts for the 1966 White Sox.

After three appearances for the 1967 White Sox, Lamabe was sent to the Mets on April 26. He went 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA in 16 games with the Mets, but he held right-handed batters to a .174 average.

On July 15, Gibson was injured when struck by a line drive off the bat of the Pirates’ Roberto Clemente. With Nelson Briles moving into the starting rotation as Gibson’s replacement, the Cardinals needed a reliever to fill the void left by Briles’ departure from the bullpen.

The Mets had arrived in St. Louis for a July 16 doubleheader with the Cardinals. When Lamabe got to Busch Stadium, he was told to report to the home team clubhouse: He had been traded.

The Mets won the opener, 2-1. When Cardinals starter Jim Cosman struggled in Game 2, manager Red Schoendienst lifted him in the third inning and brought in Lamabe.

Facing batters who had been his teammates earlier that day, Lamabe yielded five runs, including Ed Kranepool’s two-run home run, in two innings and took the loss. “He’s not my friend anymore,” Kranepool said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Boxscore

Take that

A month later, on Aug. 28, the Mets and Cardinals again had a doubleheader in St. Louis. Lamabe started Game 2 and pitched a six-hit shutout. A double by Ed Charles was the lone extra-base hit Lamabe allowed in a 6-0 Cardinals victory.

“That 6-0 lead (after five innings) helped me a lot,” Lamabe said. “When I had the lead, I just challenged the hitters with something on the ball.” Boxscore

Lamabe finished the regular season with a 3-4 record, four saves and a 2.83 ERA for the pennant-winning Cardinals.

He made three relief appearances against the Red Sox in the 1967 World Series and was the losing pitcher in Game 6 at Boston. Entering in the seventh inning with the score tied at 4-4, Lamabe got Elston Howard to ground out, but yielded a single to Dalton Jones and a RBI-double to Joe Foy. The Red Sox went on to an 8-4 victory. Boxscore

Moving on

Lamabe went to spring training with the 1968 Cardinals. As camp was closing, he was cut from the roster and sent to Class AAA Tulsa. Devine, who had replaced Musial as Cardinals general manager, promised Lamabe he’d try to trade him to a team that would keep him in the big leagues.

Lamabe started the Pacific Coast League season opener for Tulsa on April 19 and pitched a five-hit shutout against San Diego.

Three days later, the Cardinals dealt Lamabe and pitcher Ron Piche to the Cubs for pitchers Pete Mikkelsen and Dave Dowling.

Lamabe ended his big-league career with the 1968 Cubs, posting a 3-2 mark with two saves and a 4.30 ERA.

With a master’s degree in physical education from Springfield College, Lamabe went on to become head baseball coach at Jacksonville University (1974-78) and at Louisiana State University (1979-83). After that, he was a minor-league pitching instructor for the Padres and Rockies.

Previously: An interview with former Cards pitcher Al Jackson

In their many duels from 1959-72, Bob Gibson would throw brushback pitches to Roberto Clemente to keep him from taking ownership of the plate. The tactic was rooted in a machismo kind of respect, not dislike, and Gibson never hit Clemente with a pitch.

One time, though, Clemente hit Gibson.

The incident became a prominent part of Cardinals lore.

Fifty years ago, on July 15, 1967, Clemente hit a low liner that struck Gibson and fractured a bone in his right leg.

Unaware of the severity of the injury, Gibson remained in the game and pitched to three more batters before collapsing.

Many predicted the injury, which would sideline Gibson for almost two months, would ruin the Cardinals’ championship hopes.

Instead, inspired by the example set by their ace to persevere in the face of adversity, the Cardinals pulled together and went on to win the 1967 National League pennant and World Series title.

Back off

Clemente, a career .317 hitter, batted .208 (26-for-125) with 32 strikeouts against Gibson.

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said of Clemente, “I always threw at him. He swung way too hard against me, flinging himself at the ball and spinning around in the batter’s box like he was on the playground or something. I had to demonstrate to him that I was no playground pitcher. To that end, I made a point of throwing at least one fastball in his direction nearly every time he came to the plate.”

Gibson, who like Clemente would earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, said he liked the Pirates outfielder and learned to laugh at his antics.

“It was virtually impossible to ignore him because he was always talking,” Gibson said. “Usually, it was to complain about how much his back or his shoulder or some other thing was hurting him. Then he would step in the batter’s box and swing so hard that the flagsticks on top of the stadium would bend.”

Just tape it

The Pirates had been held hitless by Gibson for the first three innings on that St. Louis summer Saturday night in 1967.

Clemente, leading off the fourth, hit a ball that rocketed straight toward Gibson and struck him on the shin.

“All my weight is on my right foot on my follow through,” Gibson said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “That’s why I couldn’t get out of the way of the ball. I couldn’t even lift my foot because the weight was on it.”

The force of the blow knocked down Gibson. Trainer Bob Bauman rushed from the Cardinals’ dugout to the mound. Bauman sprayed ethyl chloride on Gibson’s leg.

“He advised me to take a look,” Gibson said. “I saw what he saw _ a dent in the skin the shape of a baseball.”

Clemente’s smash had cracked the fibula, a bone in the lower part of the leg.

Gibson, though, didn’t feel much pain.

“In this type of injury, there is shock immediately and no pain,” said Cardinals team physician Dr. I.C. Middelman.

Said Gibson: “It was odd that I couldn’t feel where I had been struck, but because I couldn’t feel it I wasn’t particularly worried. I told Doc (Bauman) to put a little tape on it and let me get back to work.”

Now it’s broke

Gibson threw some practice pitches and declared himself fit to continue.

“While it was true that I didn’t surrender easily to pain or injury, at the time I didn’t fully realize what I was doing,” Gibson said. “I assumed that I had picked up a hell of a contusion.”

When play resumed, Gibson walked Willie Stargell and got Bill Mazeroski to fly out to center.

The next batter, Donn Clendenon, worked the count to 3-and-2.

“I tried to put a little extra on the payoff pitch,” Gibson said.

As the pitch sailed outside the strike zone for ball four, Gibson collapsed.

“Initially, the bone had been fractured, but not separated,” Gibson said. “It was only when I came down on it so hard (on the last pitch) _ my motion concentrated a lot of weight and spinning momentum on my right leg _ that it broke cleanly in two. If that hadn’t happened, I believe I might have continued the season uninterrupted.”

Said Middleman: “He has a high threshold for pain. You or I would have been writhing from the pain.”

Setting an example

Gibson was taken to a hospital and his leg placed in a cast.

“At the hospital, he didn’t even want a shot,” Middleman told The Sporting News. “All we gave him was a little codeine.”

The Pirates won the game, 6-4, cutting the Cardinals’ lead over the second-place Cubs and Reds to four. Boxscore

After witnessing Gibson’s will and determination, Cardinals pitchers who might have complained about minor ailments or tiredness felt inspired to push forward.

The Cardinals were 36-19 during the time Gibson was sidelined. Nelson Briles and Dick Hughes each won seven of nine decisions during Gibson’s absence; Steve Carlton won five of seven.

When Gibson returned to action on Sept. 7, the Cardinals were at 87-53, 11.5 games ahead of the second-place Cubs and Giants.

“I felt a little awkward with all the gushy rhetoric that accompanied the incident,” Gibson said, “but if it provided a constructive example for the ballclub, so be it.”

Gibson, who was 10-6 when injured, won three of four decisions after his return and finished 13-7. The Cardinals completed the season at 101-60, 10.5 ahead of the runner-up Giants.

In the ensuing World Series against the Red Sox, Gibson made three starts and earned wins in all.

In the home of the Big Red Machine, it was a Cardinal, Ray Lankford, who put on an unprecedented display of jaw-dropping power.

Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium was the venue for Reds teams that won four National League pennants and two World Series championships from 1970 to 1976. Those teams had sluggers such as Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and George Foster.

Yet, it was Lankford who became the first to hit two home runs in one game into the upper-level red seats in the fourth deck of the Cincinnati stadium.

Lankford achieved the feat 20 years ago, on July 15, 1997. By then, the stadium had been renamed Cinergy Field.

Sonic boom

Lankford was in the cleanup spot in the St. Louis batting order against Reds starter Brett Tomko, a rookie right-hander.

In the first inning, with Danny Sheaffer on base, Lankford got a fastball on a 2-and-1 count and drove it 448 feet into the empty red seats in right field, becoming the first Cardinals batter to reach the upper deck since the stadium opened in 1970.

“When you hit a ball like that, it’s just a different feel and a different sound,” Lankford said to The Cincinnati Post. “The ball just jumps, like you’re hitting a golf ball with a bat.”

Reds catcher Joe Oliver told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “The crack of the bat was deafening.”

When Lankford came up again in the third inning, three fans scurried into the red seats in right. Batting with the bases empty, Lankford again got a fastball on a 2-and-1 count and propelled it 439 feet into the upper deck.

“Fastballs. Both belt-high. Right down the middle,” Tomko said to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa: “You’ve got a pitcher with good stuff and a hitter with full extension. That makes for some serious distance.”

Exclusive group

Until Lankford, only one player, Foster, had hit two upper-deck home runs at the stadium in one year, but no one, not even the Cardinals’ Mark Whiten, had hit two in one game. Whiten hit four home runs in a game at Riverfront Stadium on Sept. 7, 1993, but none reached the red seats.

Foster hit the most career upper-deck home runs (six) at the stadium.

Lankford became the sixth visiting player to hit a home run into the red seats. The others: the Expos’ Bob Bailey, the Pirates’ Dave Parker, the Phillies’ Greg Luzinski, the Mets’ Darryl Strawberry and the Rockies’ Dante Bichette.

“I don’t know how to pitch to Lankford,” Reds manager Ray Knight said. “I know one thing, you don’t pitch him anywhere he can get the fat part of the bat on it.”

When Lankford came to bat for the third time, in the fifth inning, Oliver turned to him and said, “I knew you were strong, but this is ridiculous.”

About 30 fans went into the red seats in right, hoping Lankford would launch another up there, but reliever Felix Rodriguez issued an intentional walk to him.

In his last two plate appearances that night, Lankford struck out and walked. Boxscore

At the time of Lankford’s feat, bopper Mark McGwire still was with the Athletics. (McGwire would be traded to the Cardinals two weeks later, on July 31, 1997.)

Asked by the Post-Dispatch whether Lankford’s clouts reminded him of McGwire, whom he had managed in Oakland, La Russa replied, “He reminds me of Ray Lankford.”

Previously: Mark Whiten, Josh Hamilton: Same feat, different path

Initially, most thought Lou Gehrig, not Earl Averill, delivered the most damaging shot against Dizzy Dean in the 1937 All-Star Game. It wasn’t until later in the summer that the impact of Averill’s low liner that ricocheted off the toe of the Cardinals ace began to be understood.

Eighty years ago, on July 7, 1937, Dean was one out away from completing his starting stint for the National League all-stars at Washington when he yielded a single to Joe DiMaggio and a home run to Gehrig.

Averill followed with a smash up the middle. The ball hit Dean’s left toe and caromed to second baseman Billy Herman, who snared it and threw to first in time for the final out of the third inning.

Dean, who was only scheduled to pitch three innings, went to the clubhouse and listened to the remainder of the game on the radio. His toe was throbbing but he didn’t bring attention to the injury when meeting with reporters.

Instead, the media focus was on the hits Dean allowed to DiMaggio and Gehrig. Dean admitted to the Associated Press he ignored catcher Gabby Hartnett’s calls for curveballs to the Yankees sluggers. Dean, looking for strikeouts, threw fastballs to them.

DiMaggio singled hard to center on a 1-and-2 count and Gehrig hit his towering home run to right on a 3-and-2 count. “Those guys were lucky stiffs,” Dean said.

Averill, looking for a fastball, got it on the first pitch and drove it right back toward Dean. Boxscore

Just a bruise

Dean returned to St. Louis and had the aching toe examined by Dr. Robert F. Hyland, the club physician. Hyland said the toe was bruised, not broken, and prescribed rest for Dean, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Dean, who had a 12-7 record and 2.41 ERA, was scratched from his scheduled start July 11 versus the Reds.

During his recuperation, Dean clipped a newspaper photo showing his bandaged foot, autographed it, inscribed “Thanks, Earl” and mailed it to Averill.

Though Dean still was limping, Cardinals management instructed him to join the team in Boston. When he arrived, manager Frankie Frisch asked Dean whether he could pitch. Dean said he could.

On July 21, two weeks after he was injured, Dean started against the Braves in Boston. He pitched eight innings and yielded two runs, but he altered his delivery to compensate for the pain in his toe. By throwing with an unnatural motion, Dean damaged his arm.

“I was unable to pivot my left foot because my toe hurt too much,” Dean said according to the biography “Diz” by Robert Gregory. “I was pitching entirely with my arm and putting all the pressure on it. I felt a soreness … I shouldn’t have been out there.”

Said catcher Mickey Owen: “His fastball had nothing on it, nothing at all.” Boxscore

Keep going

Four days later, on July 25, Dean started against the Dodgers in Brooklyn and pitched into the 11th inning of a game halted because of darkness with the score tied at 7-7. Boxscore

“It was evident early that there was something wrong with Dizzy’s arm,” the Post-Dispatch reported. Dean “was merely lobbing the ball over the plate.”

Asked about his toe, Dean said, “I’d forgotten about the toe. My arm hurts me so bad I didn’t know I had a toe.”

The next day, Dean, grimacing in pain, went to Cardinals trainer Harrison Weaver and told him, “This toe of mine is broke.”

Still, the Cardinals started Dean on Aug. 1 at home against the Dodgers _ “I couldn’t follow through with my pitches and my shoulder hurt every time I threw,” Dean said after pitching 6.1 innings _ and he started and pitched six innings on Aug. 8 at home against the Phillies.

“Frisch never pitched him against his will,” Cardinals outfielder Terry Moore said. “He relied on Diz to tell him how he felt.”

Nothing serious

Dean sat out for two weeks and then earned a complete-game win in a start on Aug. 22 against the Pirates at Pittsburgh.

“It took much talking by his comrades to get Dizzy through the nine innings,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “He wanted to quit after seven and complained bitterly about misery in his right arm.”

Dean contributed three hits _ two singles and a home run _ and three RBI. Boxscore

Four days later, on Aug. 26, Dean started against the Phillies at Philadelphia, gave up a double to the leadoff batter and was lifted. Frisch told him to return to St. Louis and get examined by Hyland.

Hyland diagnosed Dean with bursitis of the right shoulder and prescribed rest. “In the opinion of Dr. Hyland, the pitcher’s arm ailment is not serious,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

About two weeks later, on Sept. 8, Dean started against the Cubs at Chicago and pitched a complete game, “though he threw without his usual graceful follow through and with little of his usual burning speed,” according to the Post-Dispatch. Boxscore

“I don’t think I did bad for a fellow whose arm hurt him on every pitch,” Dean said.

Cardinals executive Branch Rickey suggested Dean sit out a full year but said the decision was up to him. Dean rejected that idea, but he was done pitching for the season. His record after the all-star break was 1-3. Without an effective ace, the 1937 Cardinals finished in fourth place, 15 games behind the champion Giants.

Just before the start of the 1938 season, on April 16, the Cardinals traded Dean to the Cubs. After posting a 134-75 record in his Cardinals career, Dean was 16-8 in four seasons with the Cubs.

Previously: Why Cardinals dealt Dizzy Dean to Cubs

To avoid setting a major-league record for futility, Anthony Young needed to beat the Cardinals. He couldn’t do it.

On June 27, 1993, Young was the losing pitcher in a 5-3 Cardinals victory over the Mets at New York.

That gave Young losses in 24 consecutive decisions over two seasons, surpassing the big-league mark of 23 straight defeats by Cliff Curtis of the 1910-11 Braves.

Young would lose 27 decisions in a row before earning a win.

He died at 51 on June 27, 2017 _ 24 years to the day after setting his unwanted record.

On the skids

Young, a defensive back, had been a University of Houston football teammate of Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware, but baseball was Young’s preferred sport and he believed it offered him his best chance for a professional career.

A right-hander, Young made his big-league debut with the 1991 Mets and was 2-5 with a 3.10 ERA that season. One of those losses came against the Cardinals.

In 1992, Young won his first two decisions, including an April 9 start against the Cardinals. He then lost 14 decisions in a row, including two to the Cardinals, and finished with a 2-14 record and 4.17 ERA for the 1992 Mets.

Young was 0-9 in 1993 _ giving him a record-tying 23 consecutive losses over two seasons _ when he entered the June 27 game against the Cardinals at Shea Stadium

Playing with fire

The Mets scored twice in the first, but the Cardinals rallied against Young with three runs in the fourth and two in the sixth. Rod Brewer contributed a two-run double for St. Louis and Brian Jordan, Tom Pagnozzi and starting pitcher Joe Magrane each had a RBI-single.

Each starter pitched seven innings: Magrane allowed 10 hits, no walks and three runs. Young yielded eight hits, two walks and five runs.

Magrane, who earned his fifth consecutive win, was relieved Young didn’t break his losing streak against him.

“I would have rather faced Doc Gooden or Bret Saberhagen,” Magrane said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I certainly didn’t want to be the answer to a trivia question. I was really scared of the game. It was like dancing on the rim of Vesuvius, waiting for it to explode. I was hoping that I wasn’t going to be the one to be torched.” Boxscore

Said Young: “It was the same old thing. I thought I pitched a pretty good game except for a couple of hits.”

Dallas Green, who was evaluating all the Mets after replacing Jeff Torborg as manager a month earlier, said of Young, “He has a great arm … but the important things to scout are the head and the heart.”

Cardinals closer Lee Smith, expressing empathy for Young, said to the Associated Press, “I’d tell him to hang in there. I know what he’s going through. I was with the Cubs.”

Season to forget

After that loss to the Cardinals, Young lost three more in a row, stretching the streak to 27, before he earned a win on July 28 against the Marlins.

Young finished the 1993 season with a 1-16 record and a 3.77 ERA.

He spent the 1994 and 1995 seasons with the Cubs, posting an overall mark of 7-10, before completing his major-league career with a 3-3 record for the 1996 Astros.

His overall record in the majors is 15-48 with a 3.89 ERA.

Young’s career record against the Cardinals is 1-6 with a 2.86 ERA in 16 appearances, including six starts. Three of his losses during his streak of 27 were to St. Louis.

Previously: Why 22-game loser Roger Craig appealed to Cardinals