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The Cardinals traded the National League batting champion, who also had the best outfield arm in the game, because they didn’t want to pay him.

On April 11, 1932, six months after they became World Series champions, the Cardinals dealt left fielder Chick Hafey to the Reds for pitcher Benny Frey, first baseman Harvey Hendrick and cash.

The trade was made by Cardinals executive Branch Rickey, with approval from club owner Sam Breadon, because for the second consecutive year Hafey was prepared to sit out the start of the season in a contract dispute.

At a time when players had little leverage to negotiate other than holding out, Hafey was fed up with being underpaid by the Cardinals and was determined to get what he considered fair compensation for performance that eventually earned him election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Special talent

Born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., Hafey was a 20-year-old pitching prospect when the Cardinals signed him in 1923 on the recommendation of Charles Chapman, a University of California professor and friend of Rickey, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.

Impressed by Hafey’s hitting at Cardinals training camp that spring, Rickey, the club’s manager, made him an outfielder.

Hafey went into the farm system, hit .360 for Houston in 1924, and was called up to the Cardinals in August that year. He took over as the Cardinals’ left fielder in 1927 and went on a torrid five-year run, even though he suffered from severe sinus problems that weakened his vision.

J. Roy Stockton of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described Hafey as “a man who hit line drives against the fences, one of the most powerful hitters ever to wear a Cardinals uniform.”

One of the first players to use eyeglasses, Hafey hit .329 or better each year from 1927 to 1931.

“He was, next to Rogers Hornsby, the best right-handed hitter I ever saw, even though he really couldn’t see well,” Cardinals infielder Andy High told Bob Broeg of the Post-Dispatch.

In the book “The Gashouse Gang,” Spud Davis, a National League catcher for 16 seasons, said in rating the best right-handed hitters, “The greatest I ever saw was Chick Hafey. He was one of the greatest all-around players, too. He could do everything. He had that arm! He could stand against the fence in left in St. Louis and throw strikes to the plate all day long. The ball came in light as a feather. If his eyes had been good, there’s no telling what he could have done.”

Broeg wrote, “His throwing arm might have been the most powerful ever.”

Moneyball

After hitting .336 with 107 RBI for the 1930 Cardinals and helping them reach the World Series for the third time in five years, Hafey sought an increase in his $9,000 salary.

Unimpressed by what Breadon and Rickey offered, Hafey sat out spring training in 1931 before signing for $12,500 after the regular season started. Because he didn’t play his first game until May 16, the Cardinals docked him $2,000, cutting his salary to $10,500, the Post-Dispatch reported.

In his book, “Memories of a Hall of Fame Sportswriter,” Broeg said, “Hafey was most unfortunately underpaid, a victim, in part, of the Great Depression, and the Cardinals’ tendency to play Scrooge.”

Hafey treated the club better than management treated him. He won the 1931 National League batting title, hitting .349 in 122 games, and helped the Cardinals win the pennant. Hafey also contributed 95 RBI and a .404 on-base percentage.

Hafey figured his performance merited a raise. According to the Post-Dispatch, he wanted a $17,000 salary in 1932 _ $15,000 as a base and $2,000 extra for the amount the Cardinals cut him the year before.

The Cardinals offered $13,000 and “labeled him privately as an ingrate who should have been thankful he’d played on four pennant winners in a six-year period, blithely ignoring his contributions,” Broeg noted.

Take a hike

When it became clear to Breadon and Rickey that Hafey wasn’t going to sign before the start of the 1932 season, they decided to trade him against the wishes of manager Gabby Street, the Dayton Daily News reported.

At 8 p.m. on April 10, 1932, Rickey called Reds owner Sidney Weil, who had been trying to acquire Hafey for almost two years, The Sporting News reported. They talked into the wee hours of the morning and came to an agreement.

What the Cardinals wanted most was cash. In addition to offering pitcher Benny Frey and first baseman Harvey Hendrick, Weil agreed to give the Cardinals “a tremendous amount of cash,” The Sporting News reported.

According to the book “The Spirit of St. Louis,” the amount was $50,000.

On April 11, 1932, the eve of the season opener, the crowd “cheered wildly” when Weil announced the trade in Cincinnati at a joint luncheon of the chamber of commerce and Kiwanis Club, according to The Sporting News.

There was no such cheering in St. Louis, just bad vibes.

In the book “The Pilot Light and the Gashouse Gang,” Broeg described the Cardinals’ treatment of Hafey as “pathetic.”

Post-Dispatch columnist John Wray, siding with management, called Hafey “a chronic conscientious objector” who “sulked himself out of a job with a championship outfit.”

Rickey shamelessly portrayed himself the victim.

“I am not saying Hafey owed anything to this club,” Rickey said to Sid Keener of the St. Louis Star-Times. “He made the hits at the plate and I realize I didn’t swing the bat for him. Nevertheless, it’s kind of tough in this business when a ballplayer loses all traces of loyalty. That’s what hurts me in trading Hafey.”

Hafey signed a $15,000 contract with the 1932 Reds and said to the Associated Press, “I’m ready to go back and bear down.”

Coming and going

A first baseman, Rip Collins, opened the season in left field for the Cardinals. Eventually, 10 players started in left for them in 1932.

On April 24, 1932, the Cardinals stumbled into Cincinnati with a 3-7 record. Hafey had asked manager Dan Howley to let him make his Reds debut in the series opener, according to The Sporting News.

Batting cleanup, Hafey had three singles in four at-bats against his former team and snared Pepper Martin’s deep drive to left. Boxscore

Hafey went on to hit .303 against the Cardinals in his career.

In September 1932, the Cardinals called up slugger Joe Medwick, who took over in left. Like Hafey, Medwick would have a Hall of Fame career. He also would run afoul of Breadon and Rickey regarding pay _ and was traded to the Dodgers primarily for cash, of course.

(Rickey had a personal incentive to trade players for cash because his contract called for him to get a percentage of the sale as remuneration in addition to his salary.)

Neither Frey nor Hendrick lasted long with the Cardinals. Within two months of acquiring them, the Cardinals returned both to the Reds for _ you guessed it _ more cash.

Hafey hit .344 for the 1932 Reds but a bout with influenza limited him to 83 games.

In 13 seasons with the Cardinals and Reds, Hafey hit .317. He hit more home runs from the No. 5 spot in the batting order than any player in Cardinals history, according to researcher Tom Orf.

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When push came to shove during a game at Cincinnati, both the Cardinals and the plate umpire behaved badly.

On April 22, 1952, Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky confronted umpire Scotty Robb, who responded with a shove.

Two weeks later, Robb submitted his resignation to National League president Warren Giles, then accepted a surprise offer to continue umpiring in the American League.

Law and order

A Baltimore native, Douglas Walker Robb, known as Scotty, played semipro baseball until an arm injury prompted him to move into umpiring. He umpired college and minor-league games before serving two years (1944-45) in the Navy.

Robb was 38 when he became a National League umpire in August 1947. In his debut game, Cardinals versus Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York, he umpired at third base. Johnny Mize drove in four runs against his former club, powering the Giants to a 6-5 victory. Boxscore

Three years later, on July 2, 1950, Robb had a confrontation with Stanky in a game between the Braves and Giants at the Polo Grounds.

With the score tied at 2-2 in the seventh inning, the Giants had a runner on first, none out, when Stanky came to the plate with “visions of a game-winning rally,” the New York Daily News reported.

Nicknamed “The Brat,” Stanky got upset when Robb, working the plate, called Bob Chipman’s first pitch to him a strike. Stanky took an angry swing at the next delivery and missed badly. Strike two. After watching a pitch go outside, Stanky grounded into a rally-killing double play.

“Angrier than ever when he reached the bench, Stanky threw a couple of water buckets onto the grass,” the Daily News reported, and Robb ejected him.

Giants manager Leo Durocher came out of the dugout to argue and Robb tossed him, too.

As Stanky and Durocher made the long walk across the outfield to the clubhouse behind the bleachers in center, Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson threw a towel in the direction of Robb and he also was ejected.

In a flash, the Giants had lost their second baseman, center fielder and manager.

“It was a senseless rhubarb and strictly the Giants’ fault,” declared the Boston Globe.

Robb took “a wicked booing” from Giants fans the remainder of the game, the Globe noted, especially after the Braves struck for four runs in the ninth and won, 6-3. Boxscore

Boiling point

The Giants traded Stanky, 36, to the Cardinals in December 1951 and he became their player-manager, replacing Marty Marion.

After the Cardinals split their first six games in 1952, Stanky selected rookie pitcher Vinegar Bend Mizell, 21, to make his big-league debut in a start against the Reds at Crosley Field.

Mizell, who allowed the Reds two runs in the first and none for the rest of the game, showed more poise than Stanky and some of his veteran players.

In the third inning, Robb, the plate umpire, called out the Cardinals’ Solly Hemus on strikes for the second time in the game. Hemus barked at Robb before heaving his bat toward the grandstand on the first-base side near the visitors’ dugout.

Robb ejected Hemus, prompting Stanky to rush out of the dugout. Robb ordered Stanky to leave the field, but instead he got as close as he could to the umpire. Stanky stood toe to toe with Robb, gestured excitedly, waved his index finger in his face and berated him, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

“I wanted to know why Hemus was put out of the game,” Stanky told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

According to the Dayton Journal Herald, Stanky and Robb “were jostling each other in a startling fashion.”

During what the Globe-Democrat described as a “tornadic argument,” Robb thought Stanky touched or bumped him.

According to Bob Broeg of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “As far as press box observers could tell, it was a phantom touch, as light-fingered and as unobtrusive as a pickpocket.”

Stanky said to the Globe-Democrat, “I told Robb that I never touched him. If I did, it was not intentional, and probably was caused by the fact that his momentum as he was walking toward our dugout carried him into me.”

Enraged, Robb threw down his mask, put both hands on Stanky’s chest and vigorously shoved him back a few steps. “The umpire squared off and Stanky, obviously stunned, then started toward Robb,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

“It appeared as if the two might start swinging at each other,” the Globe-Democrat noted. 

Umpires joined Cardinals players and coaches in getting between the two and preventing further damage.

Stanky told the Post-Dispatch, “Getting shoved that way and not being able to strike back was the most embarrassing, the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to me on a ball field.”

Robb ejected Stanky and the game continued. Gene Mauch replaced Hemus at shortstop.

Stan the Mad

More trouble happened in the seventh. With the Cardinals trailing, 2-1, Stan Musial batted with two outs and a runner on first. Musial hit a grounder sharply down the line at first. Umpire Lon Warneke, Musial’s former Cardinals teammate, ruled it a foul ball. “From the press box, the ball appeared to be foul by at least two feet,” the Cincinnati Enquirer noted.

Musial thought otherwise.

“Stan, who seldom protests a decision, kicked the dirt viciously several times,” the Globe-Democrat reported.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Musial was “drop-kicking dirt with the skill of a football field goal specialist.”

Perhaps to prevent Musial from getting ejected for the only time in his career, Cardinals reliever Al Brazle ran from the bullpen onto the field to argue on Musial’s behalf. Warneke ejected Brazle. Boxscore

Tough job

National League president Warren Giles was at the game and witnessed the shenanigans. The next day, Giles met for 45 minutes with Stanky, Hemus and the four umpires _ Robb, Warneke, Babe Pinelli and Dusty Boggess _ to get their versions of what happened.

As the meeting ended, Robb and Stanky shook hands. “It’s all over now,” Stanky told The Sporting News. “We’ll forget it and start anew.”

A few hours later, Giles, a former Cardinals minor-league executive, announced he was fining Hemus $25 and Stanky $50 for their roles in the incident. Giles publicly reprimanded Robb and said he fined the umpire an amount greater than the combined fines of Hemus and Stanky. Years later, The Sporting News reported Robb was fined $200.

Robb “seemed to feel he had been humiliated by Giles’ reprimand and fine,” The Sporting News reported.

The next game Robb worked was on April 26 when the Cardinals played the Cubs at St. Louis. In the seventh inning, Warneke ejected Stanky for arguing a call at third base. Boxscore

Unable to overcome the feeling that Giles hadn’t supported him, Robb resigned on May 5 and said he would operate a printing business in New Jersey.

Two days later, Robb was stunned when American League president Will Harrirdge offered him an umpiring job.

“When Mr. Harridge approached me with an offer, I was so choked up I couldn’t talk for a minute or two,” Robb told The Sporting News.

Harridge said, “I signed what I believed to be a good umpire and the kind of gentleman we would like to have on our staff.”

Robb umpired in the American League through June 1953, then retired from baseball at age 44.

“It’s a lonesome, difficult life,” Robb told The Sporting News. “An umpire must live like a hermit, avoiding casual acquaintances and not associating with players, managers or coaches. The travel is bad … and the pay wasn’t too good either.”

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Sparky Anderson had a hand in convincing the Cardinals to stick with Julian Javier as their second baseman.

In March 1965, the Cardinals were considering trading Javier, their second baseman since 1960. Anderson, three weeks into his job as a manager in the Cardinals’ farm system, spoke up at an organizational staff meeting and advocated for keeping Javier.

Anderson’s assessment wasn’t the sole reason Cardinals general manager Bob Howsam didn’t trade Javier, but it was a contributing factor.

Until he joined the Cardinals that month, Anderson hadn’t worked with Howsam. The discussion about Javier gave Howsam the chance to see how Anderson evaluated talent and how he expressed himself when offering opinions that were contrary to others in the organization.

It was the start of a strong working relationship. Five years later, when Howsam was general manager of the Reds, he hired Anderson to be the Cincinnati manager, launching him on a path to a Hall of Fame career.

Performance review

Julian Javier was part of the all-Cardinals National League starting infield in the 1963 All-Star Game, and he helped the Cardinals become World Series champions in 1964.

Bing Devine, the Cardinals’ general manager when Javier was acquired from the Pirates in 1960, was replaced by Howsam in August 1964. Naturally, Howsam began making his own evaluations of the roster.

Javier produced a career-high 65 RBI in 1964 and reached double figures in home runs (12) for the first time, but he batted .241 and his on-base percentage of .282 was awful. Javier also made a career-high 27 errors. After the season, while playing winter baseball in the Dominican Republic, Javier lost control of his emotions and punched umpire Emmett Ashford.

Some within the Cardinals’ organization concluded Javier might be more of a liability than an asset. Internal options to play second base included a couple of local candidates, Jerry Buchek and Dal Maxvill. When a hip injury prevented Javier from being able to play in the 1964 World Series, Maxvill started all seven games at second base and didn’t commit an error.

Dinner conversation

Sparky Anderson got fired after managing minor-league Toronto in 1964 and was selling cars at a dealership in Los Angeles. Anderson wanted to get back into baseball, and when the manager of the Cardinals’ farm club at Rock Hill, S.C., suddenly resigned on the eve of spring training in 1965, Anderson got the job.

In his third week with the Cardinals at spring training, Anderson went to dinner with farm director Sheldon “Chief” Bender, minor-league manager George Kissell and scout Mo Mozzali.

In his book, “The Main Spark,” Anderson said, “There was a lot of conversation about Julian Javier. They were talking about the possibility of dealing Hooley to another club before the start of the season.”

Anderson asked his dinner companions, “Does he have good range?” Probably the best in the league among second basemen, he was told.

“Does he throw well?,” Anderson asked. The best of the second basemen in the league, came the response.

“Does he make the double play?” Anderson wanted to know. Again, the answer was he was the best at it in the National League.

“Then why the hell are you talking about trading him?,” Anderson said.

According to Anderson, his colleagues said Javier was inclined to be lazy and loafed a bit.

In his book, Anderson said he told the group if Javier did so many things well, “but was a little on the lazy side, the organization should be able to find someone who can handle him and get the most out of him. A club should have a better reason for trading a good player than the fact he dogs it a little.”

No to yes men

The next day, Howsam led an organizational staff meeting in the Cardinals’ spring training clubhouse. Joining Howsam were Bender, Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst, his coaches, Mozzali and all of the club’s minor-league managers.

After Schoendienst talked about the big-league roster, Howsam called on Mozzali, who raised the topic of trading Javier. In the middle of his remarks, Mozzali said, “Mr. Howsam, at dinner last night, Sparky here had some opinions that I think you might want brought out to all of us.”

As a newcomer to the organization, Anderson was surprised to be called out to express an opinion about a prominent player. In his book, Anderson said, “I was petrified.”

“Yes, I’d like to hear his opinion,” Howsam replied.

Anderson said he “sort of apologized” and explained his comments were intended as casual dinner conversation, but Howsam repeated that he’d like for Anderson to share his views.

“So I told him what I’d told the others, emphasizing that it didn’t seem logical to want to trade the No. 1 man at a position for that reason,” Anderson said. “Why not try to find somebody who could motivate him?”

Howsam thanked Anderson for his perspective.

Javier remained the Cardinals’ second baseman.

“Not that I believe I had that much influence at that stage,” Anderson said in his book, “but the point is Howsam is a listener. He’ll hear any man’s opinion. He doesn’t always go with your recommendation, but he’ll hear you out, then make up his own mind.”

Javier helped the Cardinals win two more pennants and another World Series title. In the 1967 World Series, when the Cardinals prevailed against the Red Sox, Javier batted .360, hit a three-run home run in Game 7 and fielded splendidly, making 12 putouts and contributing 20 assists.

Howsam was gone from the Cardinals by then. He left in January 1967 to become general manager of the Reds. Anderson, still managing at the Class A level in the Cardinals’ system, departed after the 1967 season to manage a Class AA club with the Reds.

After coaching for the Padres in 1969, Anderson was hired by Howsam to manage the Reds.

In March 1972, Howsam acquired Javier from the Cardinals. Used as a utility player by Anderson, Javier completed his playing career by helping the Reds win the 1972 National League pennant.

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A rift between manager Solly Hemus and most of his coaches was a major factor in the Cardinals’ decision to fire him.

On July 6, 1961, Hemus was ousted and replaced by coach Johnny Keane.

Distrust between Hemus and the coaching staff, combined with a losing record, a disgruntled fan base and low team morale, all contributed to the decision to change managers.

Uneasy relationship

Hemus entered the Cardinals’ farm system as an infielder in 1946. As the second baseman for the Houston Buffaloes in 1947 and 1948, his manager was Johnny Keane. Hemus got to the majors with the Cardinals in 1949 and played for them until he was traded to the Phillies in May 1956.

In September 1958, Cardinals owner Gussie Busch decided to fire manager Fred Hutchinson and replace him with Hemus, who was the Phillies’ second baseman. Busch ignored the recommendation of general manager Bing Devine, who wanted Hutchinson to remain manager.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hemus asked for Keane, who was managing in the Cardinals’ farm system, to be on his coaching staff and also approved the choices of coaches Howie Pollet and Harry Walker.

Keane, who was a finalist for the Cardinals’ managing job in November 1950 before Marty Marion was selected, twice had rejected offers to become a Cardinals coach because, “I wanted to go up as a manager,” he told The Sporting News.

On the advice of his friend Bing Devine, who told Keane his lack of big-league experience was preventing him from managing in the majors, Keane reconsidered his stance and accepted the offer to join Hemus’ staff.

In Hemus’ first year as manager, the Cardinals were 71-83 and finished seventh in the eight-team National League. Hemus made racist remarks and lost the respect of players such as Bob Gibson. In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “His treatment of black players was the result of one of the following: Either he disliked us deeply or he genuinely believed the way to motivate us was with insults.”

Hemus arranged for catcher Darrell Johnson to join the staff as player-coach in 1960 and the Cardinals improved to 86-68 and third place. According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Hemus credited Johnson with the development of pitchers Ernie Broglio, a 21-game winner, and rookie Ray Sadecki.

As Hemus gained confidence in Johnson, the relationship with the other coaches ruptured.

“Hemus questioned both the competence and loyalty of the veteran organization men” on the coaching staff, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Only Johnson “passed Solly’s own naive loyalty test,” columnist Bob Broeg wrote.

Hemus wanted to fire Keane after the 1960 season, but Devine blocked the attempt, the Globe-Democrat reported.

Clubhouse turmoil

Expected to contend in 1961, the Cardinals flopped, posting losing records in each of the first three months of the season.

Tension created by the defeats intensified because of the fractured leadership. With Hemus relying on Johnson for advice, “Keane and the other coaches resented the decreased responsibility,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Keane said Hemus “had not taken advantage of his baseball experience and had bypassed him.”

“I did the only thing I could do then _ my job and no more,” Keane said.

Describing Hemus and Keane as “two fast friends who had become cool associates,” the Post-Dispatch reported Devine sought to bring them together, but couldn’t.

After a 13-1 loss to the Cubs on July 1 dropped the Cardinals’ record to 31-39, Gussie Busch declared he was “terribly discouraged and unhappy” with the team, but said Hemus would finish the season as manager, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Busch told the Globe-Democrat, “I’m a great admirer of Solly,” and added, “I’m quite sure he’ll finish the season.”

Regarding the players, Busch said, “Our boys are not playing hard enough. Something’s going on.”

The next day, July 2, the Cardinals again lost to the Cubs, 10-9. After a day off, they played at home and split a July 4 doubleheader with the last-place Phillies. After winning the opener, the Cardinals blew a 6-0 lead in the second game and lost, 10-6. Boxscore

In what had become a common occurrence, Hemus was booed throughout the doubleheader. Hemus “probably drew more boos than any pilot in the history of the Cardinals,” the Globe-Democrat noted.

Decision time

After the doubleheader, Devine informed Hemus a change might be necessary, the Globe-Democrat reported.

As the team departed for Los Angeles and a series against the Dodgers, Devine stayed behind in St. Louis. He went to Busch and said a change in managers was needed immediately.

“I took the initiative in this thing,” Devine told the Globe-Democrat.

Concerned about the discontent of Cardinals fans, Busch “relented reluctantly” to Devine’s recommendation, according to the Post-Dispatch.

On July 5, while the Cardinals were beating the Dodgers, 9-1, “Devine slipped into town and registered at another hotel,” the Post-Dispatch reported. He met with Hemus and Keane and told them of the change.

At 9 a.m. on July 6, Devine, flanked by Keane and Hemus, held a press conference and made the official announcement.

Keane was signed to manage for the remainder of the 1961 season and for 1962.

Devine also announced that Red Schoendienst and Vern Benson would join Howie Pollet and Harry Walker as coaches on Keane’s staff. Benson had been manager of the Cardinals’ Portland farm team. Schoendienst would be a player-coach.

Darrell Johnson was removed from the coaching staff. He rejected the Cardinals’ offer to be a coach at Portland and instead joined the Phillies as a reserve catcher. “I know I have no future with the Cards,” Johnson told the Globe-Democrat.

Hostile takeover

The Cardinals were 33-41 and in sixth place when Hemus was fired. His overall record with them was 190-192. “We feel a change is called for before an extended losing pattern becomes fixed and established,” Devine said.

Hemus displayed “an obvious coolness” toward Keane at the press conference, the Post-Dispatch noted.

Bob Broeg wrote, “At first, Solly declined to discuss at all his relations with Keane. Then, asked specifically if his silence meant he felt Keane had undermined him, he said, ‘No comment.’ “

Keane had been a player, manager, scout and coach in the Cardinals’ organization since 1930. Regarding the 1961 Cardinals, Keane said, “The important thing is to boost morale. The morale isn’t apparent in the mechanical effort, but some players are down.”

Pointing to his heart, Keane told the Post-Dispatch he believed some players weren’t “feeling the game here.”

Bob Burnes of the Globe-Democrat lauded Keane as “a sound baseball man” and added, “Many of us have thought for years that Keane deserved a shot at the job he now has acquired.”

Under Keane, the 1961 Cardinals were 47-33 and finished fifth at 80-74.

In his book “From Ghetto to Glory,” Gibson said, “If there is any individual who gave me the confidence in my ability to be a major-league pitcher, it was Johnny Keane.”

Keane led the Cardinals to 84 wins in 1962, 93 in 1963 and 93 again in 1964.

The 1964 Cardinals won the National League pennant on the last day of the season and prevailed against the Yankees in a seven-game World Series.

Feeling betrayed by Gussie Busch, who fired Bing Devine during the 1964 season and plotted to have Leo Durocher become manager, Keane quit a day after the World Series clincher and joined the Yankees.

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The Cardinals decided nights in red satin weren’t for them.

In 1946, the Cardinals planned to take a bold departure from their traditional look. They bought red satin uniforms to wear during night road games.

When it came time to don the shiny red fabric in a game, however, the Cardinals backed out and stuck with their flannels.

Pajama game

Satin baseball uniforms made a sensation at the American Association All-Star Game at Toledo in 1938. The minor-league all-stars, including Ted Williams, wore red, white and blue satin uniforms for the night game, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In the 1940s, with night games becoming more commonplace, a few National League teams decided to try satin uniforms because the material reflected the ballpark lights.

Satin is a fabric weave that produces a smooth, soft, glossy material with a luxurious look. It is made of silk, polyester or nylon.

According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Dodgers, Braves and Reds experimented with satin uniforms in the 1940s.

Innovative executive Branch Rickey chose to have the Dodgers wear satin uniforms in 1944. The former Cardinals administrator got the idea from watching All-American Girls Professional Softball League teams play in satin uniforms under the lights in 1943, Newspaper Enterprise Association reported.

Rickey planned for the 1944 Dodgers to wear white satin uniforms with blue piping for night home games, and blue satin uniforms with white piping for night road games.

“Rickey decided to make Them Beautiful Bums even more colorful,” Newspaper Enterprise Association declared.

United Press described the Dodgers’ outfits as “satin pajamas” and “Little Lord Fauntleroy uniforms.” 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle called the uniforms “satin nightgowns” and rated the home whites as looking better than the road blues. “The flashy white undies with the blue stripes stood out particularly well,” the Brooklyn newspaper noted.

According to Brooklyn Daily Eagle columnist Tommy Holmes, “The players were expecting a lot of razzing from the wisecrackers, but witticisms from the cash customers were conspicuous by their absence.”

Newspaper Enterprise Association concluded, “The next thing you know they’ll be playing baseball without spikes and with chewing tobacco checked in the clubhouse.”

Fashion faux pas

Two years later, in 1946, the Cardinals purchased bright red satin uniforms for road night games, The Sporting News reported, but the duds never got worn by the big-leaguers.

The St. Louis Star-Times reported Cardinals players “refused to wear” the satins. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat claimed the Cardinals “considered the new satin suits too effeminate.” According to The Sporting News, manager Eddie Dyer determined “the uniforms were too fancy for the Cardinals.”

The Cardinals sold the red satins to Fred C. Steffens, a St. Louis sportsman, who donated the brand-new uniforms to the North Side Teen Town baseball team of St. Louis, the Star-Times reported.

On June 12, 1946, Cardinals pitcher Ken Burkhart presented the uniforms to the youth team at St. Louis’ Sherman Park.

Comfortable in their own skin, as well as in their familiar uniforms, the Cardinals went on to win the 1946 National League pennant and beat the Red Sox for the World Series championship.

Sharp-dressed men

While the 1946 Cardinals balked at wearing satin, the 1946 Braves embraced the idea.

On May 11, 1946, the Braves debuted their satin uniforms in a Saturday night home game against the Giants. It was the first time a big-league night game was played in Boston. Boxscore

The Boston Globe described the Braves’ outfits as “a slithery uniform of white satin with scarlet piping, which shine like lingerie in a department store window.”

Among the Braves swathed in satin were a group of former Cardinals, including manager Billy Southworth, center fielder Johnny Hopp and first baseman Ray Sanders. “A sight to behold,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared.

The Reds wore satin uniforms in 1948. After playing the Cardinals on a steamy Friday night in St. Louis on July 9, the Reds switched to gray flannels the following night.

According to The Sporting News, Reds players “complained the satins were too uncomfortable during the sweltering heat.”

After Reds general manager Warren Giles, acting on the recommendation of manager Johnny Neun, approved the scrapping of satin for flannel for the Saturday, July 10 game, “the fancy monkey suits went out.” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Soon after, satin uniforms, like top hats and knickers, faded out of style.

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Popeye the Sailor had his spinach. The Cardinals had Vitamin B1 tablets.

In 1941, Cardinals owner Sam Breadon became convinced Vitamin B1 would enhance the performance of his players.

According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Breadon bought 5,000 Vitamin B1 capsules to distribute to his players during spring training and the regular season.

In a popular comic strip at the time. Popeye boasted, “I’m strong to the finish because I eats me spinach.”

Spinach contains many nutrients, including Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, but rather than load up on the greens, Breadon opted for the pills.

Getting a boost

Vitamin B1 was produced in tablet form starting in 1936. According to specialists at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, “the tablets have been used frequently in England to quiet war nerves,” The Sporting News explained. “Furthermore, the pills are said to be effective in aiding eyesight.”

The Cardinals wanted their players to take B1 “because this vitamin has shown great effectiveness in aiding the relief of nervousness, indigestion and the lack of energy,” the Globe-Democrat reported, “and therefore should help build up the players’ health, poise and staying qualities.”

Breadon, 65, was described as “a vitamin enthusiast” who “believes Vitamin B1 is just the thing for the athletes to help build up their appetites, health and the resistance they need for the physical effort they put forth,” according to the Globe-Democrat.

According to United Press, Breadon called B1 the “morale vitamin.”

Pep talk

When Cardinals players arrived for 1941 spring training at St. Petersburg, Fla., each player was given a bottle of the Vitamin B1 pills, the Chicago Daily News reported. The recommended dosage was three a day for 10 days, two a day for the next 10, and one a day thereafter.

The Sporting News hailed it as “a revolutionary step in training camp methods,” but also cautioned that “until the time when it is definitely established that capsules will provide all the energy needed after a hard workout, Cardinals players probably will pin their faith on Kansas City steak with French fries and a double order of pie.”

Cardinals vice-president Bill Walsingham Jr., a nephew of Breadon, said every player on the club would receive the Vitamin B1 capsules and would be encouraged to digest the medicine.

“We can’t force the players to swallow the capsules,” Walsingham said to the Globe-Democrat, “but, naturally, the club would like to have the players in line regularly for the B1 issue.”

According to United Press, “Bottles of the things were lying around the clubhouse in such profusion that baseball writers wondered whether they were in a spring training camp, or had blundered into the biennial convention of the American Pharmaceutical Association.”

In an editorial, the St. Louis Star-Times declared, “Breadon’s experiment of feeding his young stalwarts vast quantities of Vitamin B1 tablets, to give them vitality and pep, was the most courageous exhibition of crawling out on a limb since Babe Ruth bragged in the World Series of 1932 that he would hit a home run in the center field bleachers.”

Vitamin B1 didn’t hurt the Cardinals, but how much it helped is inconclusive. The Cardinals got off to a strong start, winning 31 of their first 42 games, and finished the season in second place at 97-56. The Dodgers won the pennant with a record of 100-54.

Years later, Webmd.com noted that naturally ingested “Vitamin B1 plays an important role in the body. It is needed to maintain the health of the nerves and the heart,” but added, “Most people who eat a normal diet do not need extra Vitamin B1.”

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