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Three impact players who defined the style of the National League in the 1960s were Maury Wills of the Dodgers and Lou Brock and Bob Gibson of the Cardinals. Wills and Brock brought speed with their base stealing, Gibson brought power with his pitching, and all three brought savvy and smarts to a championship brand of baseball.

In the 10-year period from 1959 to 1968, the Cardinals and Dodgers combined to win seven league pennants and five World Series titles.

Wills (1962) and Gibson (1968) each earned a National League Most Valuable Player Award.

From 1960 to 1969, the only players to lead the National League in steals were Wills and Brock. Wills led each year from 1960 to 1965. Brock was the leader each year from 1966 to 1969.

In 1962, Wills established the major-league record for stolen bases in a season (104). Twelve years later, Brock broke the mark (with 118).

A switch-hitting shortstop who totaled 2,134 hits and 586 stolen bases in 14 seasons in the majors with the Dodgers, Pirates and Expos, Wills died on Sept. 19, 2022, at 89, two weeks before his 90th birthday.

Record in St. Louis

On Sept. 23, 1962, at St. Louis, Wills, 29, had two stolen bases against the Cardinals, giving him 97 for the season and breaking the major-league record (96) established by Ty Cobb of the 1915 Tigers.

“Mercurial Maury Wills, a preacher’s son with the heart of a burglar, became the greatest base stealer in modern times,” Frank Finch wrote in the lead to his game story in the Los Angeles Times.

Wills twice stole second in the game against the battery of pitcher Larry Jackson and catcher Carl Sawatski. Boxscore

For the season, Wills finished with 104 steals in 117 tries. He was successful on 11 of 12 stolen base attempts versus the 1962 Cardinals.

In his book “Oh, Baby, I Love It,” Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver said of Wills, “He opened up baseball’s eyes to what speed can do for a team.”

“Maury Wills is the greatest slider and the quickest starter in the history of the game,” Phillies manager Gene Mauch told Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray in 1965. “He gets the base stolen the first five feet. He’s the most unafraid runner I’ve ever seen.”

In the book “We Played the Game,” McCarver said, “Maury Wills was smart. No one was better at sliding into a base. He had a sixth sense that told him how to be safe. If he knew it would be a close play, he’d slide into the glove and kick the ball out, or he’d avoid the tag and reach the corner of a base with his hand.”

One reason the Cardinals acquired catcher Bob Uecker from the Braves on the eve of the 1964 season opener was to try to slow down the base stealing of Wills.

Walks will haunt

Wills could field (two Gold Glove awards) and hit (five times in the top 10 in the National League in hits) as well as steal bases. Video

With the Dodgers in 1965, he had five hits in a game against the Cardinals. Boxscore

In the 1966 All-Star Game at St. Louis, Wills’ single in the 10th inning drove in Tim McCarver with the winning run for the National League.

With the Pirates in 1967, Wills slugged a three-run home run against the Cardinals’ Steve Carlton in Pittsburgh. “That’s the first one I’ve ever hit over the left field wall at Forbes Field,” Wills told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I was the most surprised person in the ballpark when the ball cleared the wall.” Boxscore

Wills had 15 hits versus Carlton in his career, but the home run was the only one that wasn’t a single.

Against another future Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson, Wills batted .211 and had a paltry on-base percentage of .261. Of Wills’ 26 hits in 123 at-bats versus Gibson, 22 were singles and four were doubles.

In his book “On the Run,” Wills said, “Bob Gibson was the toughest pitcher for me to hit. He had a little slider he’d throw in on my fists. It was small but hard, and I just couldn’t get around on it.”

In the book “From Ghetto to Glory,” Gibson said, “I don’t have any trouble with Maury. I try to throw him high fastballs and let him hit it in the air. He’s not strong enough to hit the ball out. When he’s batting left-handed, he’ll hit a lot of fly balls to left field if you get it up and away.”

Wills drew nine career walks from Gibson, but only one from 1963 to 1971.

In the book “Sixty Feet, Six Inches,” Gibson explained, “If you’re pitching to Maury Wills, for heaven’s sake don’t walk him. I learned to not be too fancy with the little guys who couldn’t hit home runs. Make them take their cuts.”

When Wills did reach base against Gibson, the Cardinals’ ace would try to keep him from stealing by going into the stretch position and then pausing for as long as possible. In the book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “After I’d been in the league a few years, I stopped wasting my time and energy by throwing to first to hold runners on. I eventually learned that I didn’t have to throw the ball to keep the runner close. I just held it a little longer. That drove Maury Wills crazy.”

In a typical Gibson wisecrack, he also said in the “Sixty Feet, Six Inches” book, “Honestly, though, when Wills was on base it didn’t bother me as much as you might think because I was resigned to the fact that Tim McCarver, my good buddy and catcher, wasn’t going to throw him out. I loved pitching to McCarver, but we both know that he wasn’t about to throw out Maury Wills.”

(McCarver, no doubt, would like to have it noted that on July 16, 1964, at St. Louis, he twice threw out Wills attempting to steal second. The first time was with Ray Sadecki pitching and the other was with Mike Cuellar on the mound. Boxscore)

Running a stop sign

In 1974, Lou Brock was 35 when he made his bid to break Wills’ record for stolen bases in a season. Though he’d led the National League in steals seven times before 1974, Brock never had achieved 100. His highest total was 74 in 1966.

In Brock’s autobiography, “Stealing is my Game,” Hall of Famer Stan Musial said, “I don’t think Lou or anybody else believed Maury Wills’ mark would topple after only 12 years. It looked like one of those eternal records. What Maury did was magnificent. Lou had to have everything going for him in 1974 to do even better.”

In his book “On the Run,” Wills recalled, “As the season went on and Lou Brock got closer to my record, I found myself watching the games on TV and rooting for the pitchers. Nothing worked.”

According to Wills, Brock called him for advice during the season.

“My legs are hurting, Maury,” Brock said. “What should I do?”

Wills said he jokingly replied, “Ice them down, Lou. Take a couple weeks off. Then quit.”

In his book, Wills said, “The record was my identity. I was the stolen base king. I didn’t want to see my record broken. It meant a lot to me. Records were made to be broken, but not mine.”

On Sept. 10, 1974, Brock got his 105th stolen base of the season, breaking Wills’ record, in a game against the Phillies at St. Louis,

“I wasn’t at the game when Brock stole his 105th base,” Wills said in his book. “I was at the NBC studio waiting to comment on it.”

Asked how he felt about seeing the record surpassed, Wills said he replied, “I don’t like it at all. I wasn’t pulling for him. I wasn’t wishing him any bad experiences or any harm, but I wasn’t pulling for him.”

In Brock’s autobiography, his collaborator, Franz Schulze, wrote of Wills, “The way he responded to it warms my heart. He took an attitude which to me is as rational as Brock’s. He grieved over the winnowing away of the single accomplishment in which he had taken the greatest pride. He didn’t like to give up what was precious and hard-earned. So far as I’m concerned, that’s a perfectly healthy outlook. Lou, just as smart, just as honest, thought so, too.”

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks said in the Brock autobiography, “People like to contrast Lou and Maury. You know, Lou has the short slide. Maury had the great, broad hook slide.

“Well, I think they’re much more alike than different because the best thing about both of them is their brains. I’ve seen Lou and Maury both psyche out a pitcher as if they were inside the man’s head, just reading the meter. After the smarts, it’s their motivation. Both wanted tremendously to get where they are.”

 

 

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On the day he secured his sixth National League batting title, Stan Musial learned he should stick to hitting instead of pitching.

Musial pitched for the only time in a big-league game on Sept. 28, 1952, in the Cardinals’ season finale against the Cubs at St. Louis.

He threw one pitch to one batter, his closest pursuer for the batting title, Cubs outfielder Frankie Baumholtz, then returned to the outfield.

Musial’s pitching appearance was prearranged by the Cardinals, who hoped it would generate interest in a game with nothing at stake in the standings.

Instead, the stunt was an embarrassment to Musial.

Show time

The Cardinals (88-65) entered the final day of the 1952 season in third place in the National League and the Cubs (76-77) were in fifth. Regardless of the outcome in the season finale, both teams were assured of finishing in those spots in the standings.

On the morning of the final game, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Musial would pitch that Sunday afternoon, but only to Baumholtz. Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky told the newspaper Musial would pitch at least once to Baumholtz.

According to The Sporting News, the Cardinals received permission from National League president Warren Giles for Musial to pitch against Baumholtz.

In his book, “Stan Musial: The Man’s Own Story,” Musial said he “was persuaded” to pitch to Baumholtz “as a box office promotion.”

Musial entered the game with a league-leading .336 batting average. Baumholtz was second at .326. According to the Post-Dispatch, it remained mathematically possible for Baumholtz to surpass Musial for the batting title. For that to happen, Baumholtz would have to go 5-for-5 in the finale and Musial would need to go hitless in at least four at-bats.

If Baumholtz went 5-for-5, he’d finish with a batting average of .334. If Musial went 0-for-4 or 0-for-5, he’d finish at .333.

Though the odds were stacked against Baumholtz overtaking Musial, the Cardinals thought having Musial pitch to him would make it more intriguing.

On the mound

Musial began his professional career as a left-handed pitcher in the Cardinals’ system. After pitching two seasons (1938-39) for Williamson (W.Va.), Musial pitched for another Class D farm, the Daytona Beach (Fla.) Islanders, in 1940.

Musial was 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA for Daytona Beach. On days he didn’t pitch, he often played the outfield. In August 1940, he was playing center field against Orlando when he damaged his left shoulder trying to catch a sinking line drive.

The injury ended Musial’s pitching career. Moved fulltime to the outfield in 1941, Musial, 20, rose through the farm system, impressing with his hitting, and reached the majors with the Cardinals in September that year.

Eleven years later, he was asked to give pitching another try in order to end Frankie Baumholtz’s last-gasp bid to snatch the batting crown from him.

Having regrets

A crowd of 17,422 gathered at Sportsman’s Park for the 1952 season finale. Rookie left-hander Harvey Haddix was the Cardinals’ starting pitcher. Musial began the game in center field.

Haddix walked the Cubs’ leadoff batter, Tommy Brown. Then, with Baumholtz coming up, Musial went to pitch, Haddix moved to right field, and Hal Rice shifted from right to center.

“Musial took only a couple of pitches for warmup,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

In his autobiography, Musial said, “I didn’t relish the contrived show. I didn’t like it particularly because the one batter I’d face would be Baumholtz. I didn’t want to give any impression I might be trying to show him up.”

As Musial warmed up, Cubs manager Phil Cavarretta said to Baumholtz, “They’re trying to make a fool of you, Frank,” Baumholtz told author Danny Peary for the book “We Played the Game.”

Baumholtz said he replied, “I don’t think so. I think it’s just a gimmick to get a lot of people in the stands to watch two also-rans on the last day of the season.”

Send in the clowns

Baumholtz was strictly a left-handed batter, but he stood in from the right side to face Musial. Baumholtz never had batted right-handed. According to The Sporting News, Baumholtz made the switch as a gesture of sportsmanship because he “refused to try for a cheap hit” against the National League batting leader posing as a pitcher.

Or, as the St. Louis Globe-Democrat put it, “Baumholtz didn’t want to get something for nothing.”

Musial threw Baumholtz a fastball, the Post-Dispatch reported. In describing the pitch in his book, Musial said, “I flipped the ball.”

Baumholtz “met the ball squarely and it bounced on a big hop” to third baseman Solly Hemus, the Post-Dispatch reported. “Figuring on a double play, Hemus fumbled the ball. He then threw late and wide to first, and Brown took third.”

As United Press noted, “Baumholtz was safe on an error on what should have been a double play ball.”

Reaching on an error made Baumholtz 0-for-1 for the game and virtually eliminated his chance of overtaking Musial for the batting crown.

“I’m not proud of that circus,” Musial said in his autobiography.

After the Baumholtz at-bat, Musial, Haddix and Rice returned to their original positions. Haddix got the next batter, Bill Serena, to ground into a double play, but Brown scored from third for a 1-0 Cubs lead.

When Musial batted in the third inning, Cubs starter Paul Minner “tried to tease him with a slow underhand toss but it was wide of the plate,” the Globe-Democrat reported. On a curve, Musial fouled out to the catcher.

In the ninth, Musial lined a 3-and-2 pitch from Minner to left for a single. In going 1-for-3 in the game, Musial finished the season with a .336 batting average.

Baumholtz went 1-for-4 _ his hit was a bunt single in the sixth _ and placed second in the batting race at .325.

Haddix pitched eight innings and allowed three runs. Minner pitched a shutout in a 3-0 Cubs victory. Boxscore

Higher standards

In the seven seasons in which he won batting titles, Musial’s .336 mark in 1952 was his lowest. It also was the lowest figure by a NL batting leader since Ernie Lombardi of the Reds hit .330 in 1942.

“I had a bad year,” Musial said to the Globe-Democrat. “I wish I could have done better. My timing was off during the season.”

Yep, it was terrible. In addition to winning the batting crown, Musial, 31, led the National League in slugging percentage (.538), hits (194), total bases (311) and doubles (42) in 1952.

In his autobiography, Musial said he was “most disappointed” in his RBI total of 91 in 1952. It was the only time in a 10-year stretch from 1948-57 that Musial didn’t drive in 100 runs in a season.

 

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Rogers Hornsby set a standard that, a century later, never has been matched by another Cardinals player.

One hundred years ago, in 1922, Hornsby had a 33-game hitting streak for the Cardinals. It remains the franchise record.

Hornsby, 26, achieved the feat in a dominant season for him. A right-handed batter and second baseman, Hornsby in 1922 led the National League in batting (.401), on-base percentage (.459), slugging percentage (.722), runs (141), hits (250), total bases (450), doubles (46), home runs (42), RBI (152) and extra-base hits (102). He also had 17 stolen bases and struck out a mere 50 times in 704 plate appearances.

Collared by Cubs

On Aug. 12, 1922, Hornsby was hitless in a game against the Cubs at St. Louis. His long fly to right against Tiny Osborne (6-foot-5, 215-pound rookie starter) with the bases loaded in the fifth was caught near the fence by former Cardinal Cliff Heathcote.

(When Osborne was lifted in the seventh, Cubs shortstop and team captain Charlie Hollocher, a St. Louis native, “took the ball from the big pitcher and in so doing must have made some sort of a curt remark,” the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported. “Osborne took exception and made a break as if to swing on the captain’s jaw. As he did, umpire Charlie Moran interfered and Osborne was dragged off the field by two huskier mates.”)

In the ninth, facing Percy Lee Jones, Hornsby made the game’s last out, completing an 0-for-4 afternoon and dropping his season batting average from .381 to .377. He wouldn’t have another hitless game for more than a month. Boxscore

Hot hitting

During the 33-game hitting streak, Hornsby’s performances included:

_ Four hits against the Dodgers on Aug. 17. National League strikeout leader and future Hall of Famer Dazzy Vance was the Dodgers’ starter. Boxscore

_ Three hits and four RBI versus the Reds on Sept. 9. Boxscore

_ Three hits and six RBI against the Phillies on Sept. 15. Two of the hits were home runs, a solo shot and a grand slam, both versus starter Jimmy Ring. Four years later, Ring and Frankie Frisch were traded by the Giants to the Cardinals for Hornsby. Boxscore

On Sept. 19, with a cold breeze cutting through the field in Boston, Hornsby extended his streak to 33 games when he pulled a Frank Miller pitch past third baseman Walter Barbare and into left field for a single in his fourth and last plate appearance of the afternoon. Boxscore

Hornsby’s batting average for the season was .400 with 12 games left to play. During the streak, he batted .466, with 68 hits in 146 at-bats.

Nobody’s perfect

On Sept. 20, 1922, the Cardinals were in Brooklyn for a Wednesday doubleheader with the Dodgers at Ebbets Field.

In the opener, spitball specialist Burleigh Grimes was the Dodgers’ starter. Hornsby would collect 59 hits against Grimes in his career, but none came on that day. Grimes won the matchup of future Hall of Famers, holding Hornsby hitless in four plate appearances and snapping his streak.

Hornsby never got a ball out of the infield. In his first three plate appearances, he grounded out twice and struck out.

In the ninth, with Jack Smith on first and none out, Hornsby tapped a ball to Grimes, who made an accurate throw to shortstop Jimmy Johnston, covering second. Johnston dropped the ball and Smith was safe at second on the error. Hornsby reached first on the fielder’s choice.

“Hornsby was just stopped by a great pitcher,” the St. Louis Star-Times reported. “That was all there was to it.”

Grimes pitched a three-hitter and allowed only an unearned run in achieving his 16th win of the season, including four against the Cardinals.

“Burleigh Grimes probably would have held the Cards hitless and runless had Jimmy Johnston removed some of the lead from his shoes,” the New York Daily News noted. “As it was, Grimes allowed only three hits, each of which bounced off the glove of the Brooklyn shortstop.” Boxscore

In the second game, Hornsby, “considerably peeved at being held hitless” in the opener, according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, had two home runs and a single. The Dodgers’ Leon Cadore pitched the entire game, allowing 20 hits, two walks and 13 runs (three earned). Boxscore

(Two years earlier, on May 1, 1920, Cadore and Joe Oeschger each pitched 26 innings in a game between the Dodgers and Braves. Boxscore)

Entering the Oct. 1 season finale against the Cubs, Hornsby had a season batting average of .400. He went 3-for-5 in the finale to finish at .401, his first of three .400 seasons as a Cardinal. Boxscore

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With 21 games remaining in the season, bad omens hung over the Cardinals like a murky mist along the Delaware River and threatened to choke out their division title hopes.

Forty years ago, in September 1982, the Cardinals clung to first place in the National League East Division by a half game, entering a series against the pursuing Phillies at Philadelphia.

It didn’t take a carnival fortune teller to see the warning signs:

_ After gaining a 3.5-game lead over the Phillies with a Sept. 1 win against the Dodgers, the Cardinals lost six of their next nine.

_ Shortstop Ozzie Smith had severe swelling in his right thigh and was unavailable for the Phillies series _ and for several games after that.

_ Like the ghost of seasons past, Steve Carlton, who relentlessly tormented his former club as payback for the pettiness of club owner Gussie Busch, was the scheduled starter for the Phillies in the series opener.

After winning 12 in a row in April and leading the division for most of the season, the Cardinals, who never had won a division title, were at a crossroads.

Crunch time

The mood in Philadelphia was electric with anticipation on the eve of the series.

“This is a month when a baseball man needs strong nerves and an informative scoreboard,” columnist Mark Whicker wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt told Jayson Stark of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Our fate is in our hands for the next three or four days.”

If Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog felt pressure, it didn’t show. “A race like this is fun, to seesaw back and forth and watch that scoreboard,” Herzog said to the Inquirer’s Peter Pascarelli. “This is easy. I’ll tell you what’s tough. It’s managing a team in September that’s out of the race. That is the hardest job in baseball.”

Actually, for the Cardinals, the hardest job was trying to beat Carlton. He entered the game with a career record against the Cardinals of 33-10, including 3-1 in 1982. (Carlton would finish his Hall of Fame career 38-14 versus the Cardinals, including 5-1 in 1982.)

Phillies take first

The Sept. 13 opener was everything the Phillies hoped it would be. Carlton pitched a three-hit shutout, striking out 12 and walking none, and hit a home run in the Phillies’ 2-0 victory.

“That’s the best he’s pitched against us since I’ve been here,” Herzog told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Hal Bodley of The Sporting News noted, “Much of Carlton’s success can be attributed to his conditioning routine and his fearsome slider. Without his uncanny strength, he would not be able to throw the nasty slider. Carlton’s great strength enables him to get a tighter grip on the ball. Because it’s thrown so hard, it breaks and drops sharply.”

Phillies manager Pat Corrales, who caught Carlton as a Cardinals backup catcher in 1966, said, “It’s amazing to watch a man almost 38 throwing like he is 28. That just goes to show what desire, talent and preparing yourself can do.” Boxscore

The win moved the Phillies into first place, a half game ahead, and put them into position “to cripple the Cardinals’ division hopes,” the Post-Dispatch noted.

“Sometimes,” Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez said to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “a game like that can make you get swept.”

Dramatic duel

The turning point in the series, and perhaps the Cardinals’ season, occurred the following night, Sept. 14.

Darrell Porter’s two-run home run against Mike Krukow and the pitching of rookie starter John Stuper gave the Cardinals a 2-0 cushion as the Phillies came to bat in the eighth. After retiring the first batter of the inning, Stuper walked Bob Molinaro and gave up a single to Pete Rose. Bruce Sutter relieved and yielded an infield single to Gary Matthews, loading the bases for slugger Mike Schmidt.

(Guarding the line, third baseman Ken Oberkfell made a tumbling stop of Matthews’ grounder. After considering a throw to second for a possible force out, Oberkfell instead fired to first and barely missed retiring Matthews. If Oberkfell had thrown to first without hesitation, Matthews likely would have been out, and Herzog, with first base open, would have ordered an intentional walk to Schmidt.)

Schmidt had faced Sutter twice during the season and doubled both times.

Sutter got ahead with two quick strikes, but then Schmidt worked the count even. Swinging at a sinking split-fingered pitch, Schmidt tapped the ball to Sutter, who started a home-to-first double play, ending the threat.

“That confrontation between Sutter and Schmidt _ that is what baseball is all about,” Stuper said to the Post-Dispatch.

Schmidt said, “He’s at his best when the hitter has a lot of pressure on him.”

After winning the showdown of future Hall of Famers, Sutter held the Phillies scoreless again in the ninth, securing the Cardinals’ victory and enabling them to reclaim first place. Boxscore

The Cardinals would remain atop the division the rest of the season.

Championship caliber

In the series finale on Sept. 15, Joaquin Andujar pitched a three-hit shutout for the Cardinals, who won, 8-0. The Cardinals scored five runs in the third against former teammate John Denny, who was making his first Phillies start since being acquired three days earlier from the Indians.

After the game, “the mood bordered on the funereal” in the Phillies’ locker room, the Post-Dispatch reported. Boxscore

Having withstood the Phillies’ challenge, the Cardinals went on a roll. In addition to winning the last two games of the Phillies series, they swept a five-game series with the Mets at New York, including doubleheaders on consecutive days, and won the opener of a two-game rematch with the Phillies at St. Louis.

The eight straight wins lifted the Cardinals’ record to 87-63 and put them 5.5 games ahead of the second-place Phillies.

Ozzie Smith was out of the lineup from Sept. 11 through Sept. 23, but in that stretch the Cardinals were 10-4. His replacement, Mike Ramsey, made 14 September starts at shortstop and didn’t commit an error.

The Cardinals clinched the division title on Sept. 27, swept the Braves in the National League Championship Series and prevailed in a seven-game thriller against the Brewers in the World Series.

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As Cardinals, pitchers Murry Dickson and Howie Pollet were beneficiaries of the productive hitting of Enos Slaughter. As Pirates, they were victims of the same.

In September 1952, Slaughter delivered walkoff wins for the Cardinals in consecutive games versus the Pirates.

One of those game-winning hits came against Dickson. The other occurred an inning after Slaughter tied the score versus Pollet.

Six years earlier, Dickson (15 wins) and Pollet (21 wins) were two of the top starters for the 1946 World Series champion Cardinals. Slaughter led the National League in RBI (130) that season and made a daring dash from first to home to score the winning run in Game 7 of the World Series.

A lot had changed by 1952. The Cardinals no longer were a consistent contender, and Dickson and Pollet were pitching for one of the all-time worst teams.

Getting it done

At 36, Slaughter still had a prominent role with the 1952 Cardinals as their right fielder, cleanup hitter and team captain. Though not a classic power hitter, Slaughter was a challenge for any pitcher. He led the 1952 Cardinals in RBI (101) and triples (12), and hit .300.

Slaughter was in his usual lineup spot for the Cardinals against the Pirates on Saturday night, Sept. 6, 1952, at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. With 20 games left to play, the Cardinals were 77-57, but nine behind the first-place Dodgers.

Starting for the Pirates was Murry Dickson. The year before, he had 20 wins for the Pirates. In 1952, he would suffer 21 losses. The Pirates entered the game with a 39-98 record on their way to a 42-112 finish. The Pirates’ catcher was another former member of the 1946 Cardinals, Joe Garagiola.

Dickson and the Pirates took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth. Red Schoendienst led off for the Cardinals and singled. Stan Musial followed with a sharp grounder to first baseman Tony Bartirome, who threw to shortstop Dick Groat, covering second, for the force out of Schoendienst. Groat’s relay throw to Bartirome nearly completed a double play, but umpire Babe Pinelli ruled Musial safe at first.

(Pinelli’s call peeved the Pirates. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted, “Joe Garagiola sounded off quite freely with Pinelli after the game on the trip to the clubhouse. Both exercised the freedom of speech article in the Constitution.”)

Instead of batting with the bases empty, Slaughter came up with Musial on first and laced a double off the screen in right field. Musial raced home, tying the score at 4-4.

Dickson still was pitching in the 10th when Solly Hemus led off with a double. After Schoendienst popped out, Musial was walked intentionally, bringing up Slaughter. (Musial in his career batted .419 with 52 hits versus Dickson. Slaughter batted .267 with 27 hits against him.)

Slaughter hit Dickson’s first pitch onto the right field roof for a three-run walkoff home run and a 7-4 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

The home run was Slaughter’s 1,900th career hit. He would finish with 2,383.

(Slaughter hit four walkoff home runs in the majors, three for the Cardinals and one for the Athletics.)

Encore performance

The next day, before what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described as a “slender Sunday crowd” of 9,298, Howie Pollet started against his former team.

Pollet shut out the Cardinals for seven innings, limiting them to two hits, but in the eighth, with the Pirates ahead, 3-0, the Cardinals loaded the bases with none out. Musial struck out, but Slaughter followed with a triple high off the screen in right-center, tying the score.

“Came the ninth and now defeat was inevitable,” The Pittsburgh Press noted. “It always is with the Pirates.”

Pirates manager Billy Meyer sent Jim Waugh, an 18-year-old rookie, to pitch the bottom of the ninth against the Cardinals. After retiring the first batter, he walked the next three.

Another rookie, Cal Hogue, relieved, facing Slaughter with the bases loaded. Hogue’s best pitch was “a jagged overhanded curve,” according to Bob Broeg of the Post-Dispatch.

Working the count to 3-and-1, Slaughter sent a fly into medium right-center. Dick Hall, the Pirates’ 6-foot-6 rookie center fielder, loped over to the ball, then turned away and shielded his eyes from the sun.

The ball fell a few feet in front of him for a single as Solly Hemus streaked home from third with the winning run.

Unlike his game-winning home run the night before, Slaughter’s walkoff single wasn’t crushed but the result was the same. Martin J. Haley, covering the game for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, described it as a “sun-kissed single.”

(St. Louis native Dick Hall eventually was converted from an outfielder to a pitcher. He became a successful reliever, pitching in three World Series for the Orioles and earning 93 wins and 71 saves in the majors.)

According to the Globe-Democrat, even if Hall had caught the ball, Hemus “undoubtedly would have scored” from third on the sacrifice fly.

“The sad sack Buccos walked off the field as though trailing a funeral procession,” The Pittsburgh Press reported. Boxscore

Jubilant Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky told Broeg that “all the adjectives in the world can’t describe” Slaughter.

“I didn’t expect him to do nearly what he’s done this season,” Stanky said. “I didn’t think he’d come close to driving in 100 runs.”

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Tasked with putting team ahead of family, Andy Benes didn’t like the assignment but he performed like a pro and did his job exceptionally well.

On Sept. 6, 2002, brothers Andy Benes of the Cardinals and Alan Benes of the Cubs were the starting pitchers in a game at St. Louis. It was the first time a Cardinals starting pitcher was matched against a sibling, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Andy was the winner, pitching a complete game and producing two hits _ one to ignite an uprising and another to drive in a run _ against his younger brother in an 11-2 Cardinals victory.

The win was the 155th and last of Andy’s career in the majors.

Baseball brotherhood

Picked by the Padres as the first overall choice in the 1988 amateur baseball draft, Andy was a free agent when he signed with the Cardinals in December 1995.

Alan was chosen by the Cardinals in the first round of the 1993 draft immediately after the Blue Jays selected pitcher Chris Carpenter.

Andy and Alan were Cardinals teammates in 1996 and 1997. They were the Cardinals’ first brother pitching tandem since Lindy McDaniel and Von McDaniel in 1957-58.

The Benes brothers combined for 31 wins (Andy, 18; Alan, 13) in 1996 and 19 wins in 1997 (Andy, 10; Alan, 9). Alan came within an out of pitching a no-hitter against the Braves.

A contract snafu made Andy a free agent after the 1997 season and he went to the Diamondbacks. Alan injured his right shoulder and required two operations _ one in September 1997 and the other in September 1998.

Granted free agency after the 1999 season, Andy returned to the Cardinals, and he and Alan were teammates again in 2000 and 2001.

Alan’s shoulder surgeries took a toll, though, and he no longer was a promising starter. He was a reliever with the 2000 Cardinals and spent most of 2001 in the minors before becoming a free agent. The Cubs signed him to a minor-league contract for 2002.

Alan opened the 2002 season in the Cubs farm system. Andy made three April starts for the 2002 Cardinals before being sidelined because of an arthritic knee.

Family matter

On July 3, 2002, Andy was with the Cardinals’ Memphis affiliate, working himself back into form after his stint on the disabled list, when he and Alan, pitching for Iowa, opposed one another as starters for the first time. Alan got a hit, but Andy got the win in an 8-5 Memphis triumph.

Two weeks later, Andy rejoined the Cardinals. In late August, the Cubs called up Alan.

That set up their September showdown in St. Louis.

Because of their competitiveness, “I know he would throw some balls in on me if he needs to, and I would throw some balls in on him if I need to,” Alan told the Chicago Tribune.

The matchup of Andy, 35, and Alan, 30, was the first time pitching brothers started against one another in the majors since Ramon Martinez of the Dodgers faced Pedro Martinez of the Expos on Aug. 29, 1996. Ramon got the win in a 2-1 Dodgers triumph at Montreal. Boxscore

(Brothers Bob Forsch of the Cardinals and Ken Forsch of the Astros never faced one another as starting pitchers, but they did pitch as opponents in the same game four times.)

Oh, brother

Attending the 2002 Cubs versus Cardinals game at St. Louis were Benes family members, including Charles Benes, the father of Andy and Alan. Seated 20 rows behind home plate, Charles wore a Cardinals cap while Andy pitched and switched to a Cubs cap when Alan was on the mound.

“We were hoping for a 1-0 game,” Andy told the Associated Press.

The game was scoreless when Alan led off the top of the third inning and hit a soft liner to his brother. Andy caught it for an out, but then let the ball slip out of his glove in order to make Alan think he should run to first base. Alan took a few steps up the line before veering back to the dugout.

“I was just being playful,” Andy said to the Associated Press.

The kid stuff ended in the bottom half of the inning. Andy led off for the Cardinals and drove a high fastball to left for a single.

The hit triggered a merciless assault on poor Alan.

After Fernando Vina singled, Alan unleashed a wild pitch, enabling Andy and Vina to each move up a base. Eli Marrero singled, scoring Andy for a 1-0 lead. After Jim Edmonds walked, Albert Pujols singled, scoring Vina and Marrero. The Cardinals led 3-0.

Scott Rolen struck out, but Tino Martinez lofted a fly ball to deep right. Sammy Sosa leaped for the ball, missed it completely and it fell for a double, driving in Edmonds and Pujols and making the score 5-0.

During the barrage, Andy left the dugout and went into the tunnel that led to the clubhouse. “It just kind of killed me watching it,” Andy explained to the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat. “I had to kind of regroup. He’s my younger brother and I’m his second-biggest fan behind his wife. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s like you can beat up your younger brother, but nobody else can.”

After Edgar Renteria was walked intentionally, Mike Matheny made the second out, bringing Andy to the plate for the second time in the inning.

Andy delivered the knockout blow, a single to center that scored Martinez and made it 6-0.

Alan was relieved by Jesus Sanchez, who allowed both runners he inherited, Renteria and Andy, to score. Those runs were charged to Alan. The Cardinals scored 11 runs in the inning. Alan was responsible for eight of those. Boxscore

“I couldn’t make the big pitch to slow them down,” Alan told the Post-Dispatch.

Andy concluded, “I knew it was going to be tough today. It was going to be very emotional for everybody, regardless of results.”

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