Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Matty Alou had the perfect audience to appreciate a daring dash around the bases.

Fifty years ago, on Aug. 7, 1971, Alou used skill, imagination and nerve to produce the winning run for the Cardinals in a victory versus the Dodgers at St. Louis.

With the score tied at 2-2, Alou batted with one out and none on in the 10th inning. He reached base on a bunt single, then made a fearless sprint from first to home while the Dodgers botched every attempt to catch him.

Alou’s aggressive baserunning was reminiscent of Enos Slaughter, who scored the winning run for the Cardinals on a mad scramble from first to home in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series.

Twenty-five years later, Slaughter and several of his contemporaries were in St. Louis for a reunion of the 1946 World Series teams and were at the ballpark to witness Alou’s performance.

Making it happen

After sweeping the Giants, the Cardinals (62-50) were seven games behind the division-leading Pirates (69-43) as they entered a three-game series with the Dodgers at Busch Memorial Stadium.

The opening game, played on a Saturday night, featured left-handed starting pitchers Claude Osteen of the Dodgers and Steve Carlton of the Cardinals. The Dodgers went ahead, 2-0, with a pair of runs in the sixth, but the Cardinals tied the score in the seventh on a RBI apiece by Jim Beauchamp and Jerry McNertney.

When the game moved to the bottom of the 10th, Pete Mikkelsen, a former Cardinal, came in to pitch. He struck out the first batter, Julian Javier, before Alou, batting .325, stepped to the plate.

Batting left-handed, Alou executed a drag bunt between first base and the mound. Another former Cardinal, first baseman Dick Allen, fielded the ball, but Alou eluded his tag attempt and reached base safely.

Meeting over

Cleanup batter Joe Torre was up next, but Mikkelsen was focused on Alou. He gathered second baseman Jim Lefebvre and shortstop Maury Wills for a conference between the mound and second to discuss whether to try a pitchout on the first pitch.

As the group gabbed, Alou realized no one had called timeout, so he bolted for second. “I thought I could beat them to the base,” Alou told the Los Angeles Times.

Dodgers manager Walter Alston said, “There’s an umpire at every base. All you’ve got to do is call time.”

Though caught by surprise, Lefebvre got to the bag before Alou did. “The consensus among the Dodgers was Alou would have been out by 10 feet if Mikkelsen had made a good throw,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Instead, Mikkelsen hurried a high toss to Lefebvre. As Lefebvre reached for it, the ball went off the top of his glove and into center field. Alou kept running and headed to third on Mikkelsen’s error.

“I went to third because I know on the AstroTurf the ball would go a long way,” Alou explained to the Los Angeles Times.

However, Alston noted, “The ball only went 15 feet.”

Bold move

Lefebvre got to the ball, but failed to field it cleanly while trying to keep an eye on Alou.

“When I saw Lefebvre couldn’t pick the ball up, I thought I could score,” Alou told the Los Angeles Times.

Alou sped for the plate and arrived ahead of Lefebvre’s throw to catcher Joe Ferguson, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 triumph. Boxscore

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Alston told the Post-Dispatch, “and I never want to see it again.”

Dom DiMaggio, center fielder for the Red Sox team that opposed the Cardinals in the 1946 World Series, said, “They were running fools then, like Alou now.”

In baseball, though, a bum one day can be a hero the next. Sure enough, the day after his role in the Dodgers’ lapse, Lefebvre got redemption, hitting a three-run home run against Jerry Reuss and helping the Dodgers recover for a 4-2 victory. Boxscore

Alou finished with 192 hits, 85 runs and a career-high 74 RBI for the 1971 Cardinals.

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With the sort of name once found in dime store novels, Pickles Dillhoefer made quite an impression as a Cardinals catcher.

At 5 feet 7, 154 pounds, Pickles was a gherkin who played a position filled with hulks. What he lacked in size he made up for in spirit. Aggressive and energetic, Dillhoefer was popular with teammates and fans.

An example of his fiery approach occurred 100 years ago, on Aug. 4, 1921, when he came to the defense of a fallen teammate in a game against the Giants.

Sadly, six months later, soon after one of the happiest events of his life, Dillhoefer experienced a tragic twist of fate.

On the move

William Martin Dillhoefer was born and raised in Cleveland. The first four letters of his surname led to him being called Pickles by boyhood pals, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. The nickname followed Dillhoefer into baseball.

Dillhoefer reached the big leagues with the Cubs as a backup catcher in 1917 and made his debut in a game against the Cardinals. Boxscore

After the season, the Cubs swapped Dillhoefer, Mike Prendergast and $55,000 to the Phillies for Bill Killefer and future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander. Dillhoefer played in eight games for the 1918 Phillies before enlisting in the Army during World War I.

Discharged, he was packaged in a trade on Jan. 21, 1919. The Phillies sent third baseman Milt Stock, pitcher Dixie Davis and Dillhoefer to the Cardinals for pitcher Gene Packard and infielders Doug Baird and Stuffy Stewart.

Handy man

Frank Snyder was the Cardinals’ Opening Day catcher in 1919, with Dillhoefer and Verne Clemons the backups. When the Cardinals dealt Snyder to the Giants in July 1919, Clemons became the starter.

Sometimes, when Dillhoefer wasn’t playing, manager Branch Rickey used him as a coach on the baselines. Dillhoefer possessed a “foghorn voice and peppery coaching tactics,” the St. Louis Star-Times noted.

A right-handed batter with little power, Dillhoefer made 24 starts at catcher for the Cardinals in 1919 and 57 in 1920.

The Star-Times described Dillhoefer as “a brainy player noted for his aggressiveness.”

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Dillhoefer was one of the most popular players in St. Louis. He had such a fighting spirit, boundless enthusiasm and excellent baseline coaching qualities. He was considered one of the club’s best assets on the field and at the box office.”

Playing rough

On Thursday afternoon, Aug. 4, 1921, when the Giants and Cardinals played at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, the catchers were Frank Snyder, the former Cardinal, and Dillhoefer.

The Cardinals broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning. Joe Schultz led off with a single, advanced to second on Milt Stock’s sacrifice bunt and scored on a Rogers Hornsby single.

In the eighth, Schultz collapsed when hit behind the left ear by a pitch from Art Nehf. The plunking apparently was unintentional because Nehf’s “groan of regret could be heard in the press box,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Cardinals rushed from the dugout to attend to Schultz. “After two or three minutes, he was able to sit up and take a drink,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

Dillhoefer barked at the Giants, accusing Nehf of trying to brush back Schultz. He warned them to be ready to duck when it was their turn to bat.

Those were fighting words to Frank Snyder. He approached Dillhoefer, threw down his mask and glove, and “began swinging rights and lefts,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Snyder landed at least one punch to Dillhoefer’s face, according to the New York Daily News.

Snyder was 6 feet 2 and 185 pounds, five inches taller and more than 30 pounds heavier than his counterpart, but Dillhoefer “waded right in and was holding his own” until umpire Ernie Quigley got between the two men.

Quigley “locked his arm around Snyder and pushed him halfway across the diamond,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “Either Quigley is very strong, or Snyder did not want to fight any more, for Quigley wheeled him around the field like a toy wheelbarrow.”

Snyder and Dillhoefer were ejected. As Schultz was helped to the dugout, “several policemen appeared on the scene, half a dozen Cardinals held the enraged Dillhoefer, and the crowd yelled at Snyder,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

According to the Star-Times, Snyder “tried to climb into the stands” to reach the hecklers, and was escorted by two policemen to the dugout.

Angered by something a spectator said, Giants outfielder Casey Stengel started a fight and was ejected. “In the excitement,” the Post-Dispatch noted, “half a dozen bottles and several seat cushions were thrown in the general direction of the Giants’ dugout.”

After play resumed, Cardinals rookie starter Bill Pertica completed a six-hit shutout. Boxscore

Heartbreaking turn

Dillhoefer made 42 starts for the 1921 Cardinals and was in their plans for the next season.

On Jan. 14, 1922, Dillhoefer married teacher Massie Slocum in her hometown of Mobile, Ala. After a honeymoon in New Orleans, they were returning to St. Louis when Dillhoefer became ill. He was admitted to St. John’s Hospital in St. Louis on Jan. 19 and was diagnosed with typhoid fever.

According to the Mayo Clinic, typhoid fever is caused by salmonella typhi bacteria. Contaminated food and water or close contact with an infected person cause typhoid fever.

Dillhoefer, 28, still was in the hospital when he died on Feb. 23, barely a month after his wedding.

“I can hardly believe Dilly is gone,” manager Branch Rickey told the Star-Times from the Cardinals’ spring training camp in Orange, Texas.

“I knew he was a very sick man, but it is a big shock to learn of his death. Dillhoefer endeared himself to me and all the players. He wasn’t very big as catchers go, but he made up for lack of size by possessing a lion heart.”

Two days after his death, Dillhoefer was buried in Mobile. Among the pallbearers were Rickey, Cardinals players Verne Clemons, Bill Sherdel and Milt Stock, and Cardinals scout Charley Barrett, the Associated Press reported.

The St. Louis Browns, who held spring training in Mobile, were represented at the funeral by manager Lee Fohl, coach Lefty Leifield and catchers Hank Severeid and Pat Collins.

According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Dillhoefer’s widow remained a teacher and never remarried. She died in 1985, 63 years after her wedding, and was buried beside her husband.

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Howie Krist, who had his share of hard luck, experienced a season of unusual good fortune with the Cardinals.

Eighty years ago, in 1941, Krist posted a 10-0 record for the Cardinals.

A right-hander, Krist is the only National League pitcher to have 10 or more wins and no losses in a season. Three have achieved the feat in the American League: Tom Zachary (12-0) of the 1929 Yankees, Dennis Lamp (11-0) of the 1985 Blue Jays and Aaron Small (10-0) of the 2005 Yankees.

Ups and downs

Krist was born in West Henrietta, N.Y., near Rochester, and raised on a family farm. His father, from Germany, and mother, from Denmark, immigrated to the United States, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.

Krist was 18 when he was signed by Warren Giles, president and general manager of the Cardinals’ Rochester farm club and future National League president.

In 1936, his second season as a professional, Krist recovered from appendicitis and posted a 20-9 record for the Cardinals’ farm club in Columbus, Ga. Eddie Dyer was the manager.

Krist had several setbacks, including a severe case of influenza and a broken ankle, in 1937, but persevered and got called up to the Cardinals in September. He pitched in six games, including four starts, for the 1937 Cardinals and was 3-1.

Krist began the 1938 season with the Cardinals, but was returned to the minors in April.

In March 1939, Krist underwent surgery on his right elbow. “Several small pieces of bone that had become embedded in the soft tissue surrounding the joint were cut out of his elbow,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Remarkably, Krist pitched 103 innings in 1939 for the Cardinals’ Houston farm team. With Eddie Dyer again his manager, Krist posted a 5-2 record.

The next year, Krist was back with Houston and playing for Dyer. Pain-free, Krist was 22-9 with a 1.71 ERA for Houston in 1940. He issued 50 walks in 253 innings and was dubbed “a master of control” by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Good impression

Krist, 25, was given a serious look by the Cardinals at spring training in 1941 and made the Opening Day roster as a reliever.

He got into only one game in April and, according to The Sporting News, the Cardinals were considering returning him to the minors to get more work.

Needing a spot starter for a game versus the Phillies on May 2, manager Billy Southworth turned to Krist.

Krist was “fighting for his job,” the Globe-Democrat reported.

He responded by pitching a complete game and limiting the Phillies to five hits in a 4-2 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

After that, the Cardinals changed their minds about sending Krist to the minors.

Used as a reliever and spot starter, Krist showed “fine control as well as deceptive stuff,” the St. Louis Star-Times reported.

Though described as “frail,” Krist, 6 feet 2 and 175 pounds, “has shown he can stop the best of the league’s hitters,” the Post-Dispatch noted.

After Krist boosted his season record to 6-0 with a win in relief against the Giants on July 10, the Post-Dispatch declared, “You can bet the Cardinals’ manager is happy today he held onto Krist three months ago when he was trimming the pitching staff.” Boxscore

Krist got his 10th win on Sept. 14 in another relief stint versus the Giants. Boxscore

Pennant chances damaged

Though Krist never was the losing pitcher in a game, the season wasn’t without its setbacks for him.

The Cardinals entered play on Sept. 20 a half-game behind the league-leading Dodgers. At St. Louis that day, the Cardinals led, 3-1, after eight innings against the Cubs.

In the ninth, the Cubs tied the score versus starter Lon Warneke, who departed with runners on second and third. Krist relieved and gave an intentional walk to Clyde McCullough, loading the bases. Rookie Bob Scheffing, batting for shortstop Johnny Hudson, swung at Krist’s first pitch and socked it deep into the seats in left for a grand slam.

The Cubs won, 7-3, with the loss going to Warneke. The Dodgers, who swept a doubleheader from the Phillies, moved two games ahead of the Cardinals. Boxscore

Winning five of their last seven, the Dodgers (100-54) finished in first place, 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals (97-56).

Krist finished 10-0 with two saves and a 4.03 ERA. He was 6-0 with a 3.03 ERA in 29 relief appearances and 4-0 with a 5.23 ERA in eight starts.

Five of Krist’s 10 wins came against the Phillies.

More adversity

Krist helped the Cardinals win consecutive pennants in 1942 and 1943. He was 13-3 with a save in 1942 and 11-5 with three saves in 1943.

Serving in the Army in 1944 and 1945, Krist experienced combat in Europe during World War II. According to The Sporting News, he was seriously injured in France in November 1944 and spent considerable time in a hospital in England, recovering from leg wounds.

“I tore a bunch of muscles in my leg when I was carrying a machine gun and stepped in a hole,” Krist told the Post-Dispatch.

A few days after his discharge in January 1946, Krist suffered a fractured jaw and lost several teeth when the car he was driving struck a culvert near Wellsville, N.Y. State police said a front tire blew out, causing the accident. Krist’s wife (bruised back and cuts) and 4-year-old daughter (sprained knee) also were injured.

Two months later, Krist reported to Cardinals’ spring training camp. Eddie Dyer, in his first season as Cardinals manager, gave Krist a spot on the team. He was 0-2 in 15 relief appearances, but remained on the roster as the Cardinals went on to become World Series champions.

The 1946 season was Krist’s last in the majors. His career record with the Cardinals was 37-11, including 17-2 versus the Phillies.

Three years later, Krist was shot in the right hip and groin in a hunting accident in Delevan, N.Y.

According to the Associated Press, “The accident occurred when Krist banged his rifle on the ground to catch a young woodchuck. The stock broke and the gun discharged, causing the .22 caliber bullet to enter the groin through the hip.”

Hospital officials described the injury as a “flesh wound” and said Krist was in good condition, the Associated Press reported.

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In his 11 seasons with the Braves and Dodgers, shortstop Rafael Furcal reached the playoffs nine times, but never got to a World Series. When the chance came to join the Cardinals, Furcal sensed they might get him where he wanted to go.

Ten years ago, on July 31, 2011, the Cardinals acquired Furcal from the Dodgers for outfielder Alex Castellanos. As a player with 10 years or more of big-league service, including at least five with the same team, Furcal’s permission was needed to make the deal.

Furcal gave his approval, and both he and the Cardinals benefitted. Taking over the leadoff spot in the batting order and providing consistent defense, Furcal reached the World Series for the only time, helping the 2011 Cardinals win the championship.

Premier player

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Furcal was 22 when he debuted in the majors with the Braves in 2000. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, finishing ahead of Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel.

In 2003, Furcal turned an unassisted triple play against the Cardinals. He also achieved double-digit totals that season in doubles (35), triples (10) and home runs (15) and was named to the National League all-star team for the first time.

Furcal had a career-high 46 steals in 2005 and again got to double digits in doubles (31), triples (11) and home runs (12). 

After six seasons (2000-2005) with the Braves, he became a free agent and joined the Dodgers. In 2006, Furcal had a career-high 196 hits and scored 100 runs for the fourth consecutive year.

Furcal twice opposed the Cardinals in the playoffs, with dissimilar results. He hit .091 against them in the 2000 National League Division Series and .500 in the 2009 Division Series.

Time is right

In 2008, Furcal had back surgery. He twice was on the disabled list in 2010 and spent two more stints there with the Dodgers in 2011.

Soon after he came off the disabled list for the second time in July 2011, the Cardinals sent scouts Marty Keough and Bill Gayton to follow him for a week.

“One of the more animated players in the clubhouse, Furcal also was the Dodgers’ offensive spark when healthy,” the Los Angeles Times noted.

The Cardinals were in the market for a shortstop to replace Ryan Theriot, who went into a batting slump in July 2011.

The scouts liked what they saw from Furcal. The Dodgers, who wanted to create an opening for shortstop prospect Dee Gordon, were willing to deal.

Furcal told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “It’s part of my dream to win a World Series ring. I think it’s time to do it.”

Contributing to the cause

Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz endorsed the trade, calling Furcal a “winning player.”

The Cardinals hoped Furcal would play as well for them as he had against them. He hit .344 versus the Cardinals in his career.

On the day of the deal, the Cardinals (57-50) were in second place in their division, 1.5 games behind the Brewers. With Furcal’s arrival, Theriot shifted to second and shared playing time with Skip Schumaker.

In September, Furcal contributed to the Cardinals’ successful surge.

On Sept. 9, in the opener of a three-game series versus the Braves at St. Louis, Furcal had three walks, a hit and scored two runs, including the tying one in the ninth, in a 4-3 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

Two weeks later, on Sept. 19, Furcal had three hits, including two doubles, and scored a run, helping the Cardinals beat Phillies ace Roy Halladay for the first time. The 4-3 win moved the Cardinals to within 2.5 games of the Braves for the wild-card spot. Boxscore

The Cardinals were 18-8 in September and got into the playoffs. Furcal had 50 hits in 50 regular-season games for them and scored 29 runs.

“You saw how much better our club was when he was on our team,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said to the Post-Dispatch. “He really solidified our defense up the middle.”

In a January 2012 interview, Cardinals broadcaster and former pitcher Rick Horton told me, “Defense matters. It’s an absolute fact that if you can’t catch the ball better than the rest, you’re going to lose games you shouldn’t lose … The Cardinals became better up the middle when they had Furcal at shortstop.”

Making an impact

Furcal had a prominent role in each of the Cardinals’ decisive games of the 2011 postseason.

In the finale of the National League Division Series versus the Phillies, Furcal led off the game with a triple against Roy Halladay and scored on Skip Schumacher’s double. Chris Carpenter pitched a shutout and the Cardinals won, 1-0. Boxscore

When the Cardinals clinched the pennant with a win in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Brewers, Furcal hit a home run. Boxscore

Furcal batted leadoff in every game of the Division Series and League Championship Series, and in the first six games of the World Series versus the Rangers.

For Game 7 of the World Series, manager Tony La Russa put Theriot in the leadoff spot and dropped Furcal to seventh. Furcal responded with two hits. He also was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth, scoring Albert Pujols from third.

The Cardinals won, 6-2, and were World Series champions. Boxscore

Knockout blow

Eligible to become a free agent, Furcal signed a two-year, $14 million contract with the Cardinals in December 2011.

He was selected to the National League all-star team in 2012 and was the starting shortstop. In the fourth inning against the Rangers’ Matt Harrison, Furcal tripled and scored on Matt Holliday’s single. Boxscore

Furcal’s season ended on Aug. 30, 2012, when he suffered a ligament tear in his right elbow. Pete Kozma replaced him and helped the Cardinals return to the playoffs.

At spring training in 2013, Furcal injured the elbow again while making a sidearm throw. He had Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ligament and was sidelined the entire season.

Furcal briefly played for the Marlins in 2014.

In 14 big-league seasons, Furcal batted .281 with 1,817 hits and 314 stolen bases. Highlights video

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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


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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

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