Cardinals Clubhouse - II

Vignette: The Weekend the Ballpark Burned Down

Saturday, May 4, 1901

The Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds were locked in a 4-4 game in the bottom of the tenth inning at League Park in St. Louis.

  • A fire broke out after a cigar or cigarette was dropped into a pile of refuse at the foot of one of the main stairways beneath beneath the grandstand. As smoke curled up into the seats, the 6,000 fans left the stands without any panic.
  • The game stopped because of curiosity by the players and umpires concerning what was going on than through any sense of danger. But a strong breeze spread the flames rapidly, causing some to jump 8-10' to the ground from the top of the grandstand.
  • No injuries were reported, but the blaze destroyed the grandstand, pavilion, and the team offices. Only the bleachers in CF escaped unscathed. The damage was estimated at $30,000, only partially covered by insurance.
  • Races were being run at the fair grounds across the street from the fire, causing some consternation among the patrons there. The track fence caught on fire but the fire department doused the flames before the conflagration spared to the clubhouse and grandstand. A few streetcars waiting outside the ballpark for the game to end caught fire from blowing embers.
  • Umpire Frank Dwyer lost his clothes and a wad of cash left in the dressing room. He had to borrow money to return to his hotel in his uniform.
1901 Fire at St. Louis ballpark
1901 Fire at National League Park, St. Louis

Sunday, May 5, 1901

  • Since the Cardinals expected a big crowd on the Sabbath, arrangements were made to play the final game of the Cincinnati series at Athletic Park.
  • That grounds had been used by the Cardinals from 1882 through 1892 under the name Sportsman's Park but had since been converted for bicycle races and other events.
  • A diamond was hastily laid out in the oval inside the race track. But overall the space was not large enough for a baseball field.
  • To make matters worse, most of the crowd of 6,000 were placed behind ropes less than 15' behind the outfielders.

As a result, the game turned into a farce.

  • Special ground rules decreed that balls hit into the crowd were two-base hits. 13 of the 22 hits in the contest were doubles, most of which would have been easy outs on a normal field. Each team hit a home run over the crowd.
  • The Reds won 7-5.

Fortunately, the Cards and Reds left for Cincinnati for a four-game series.

  • The Redbirds continued from there to all the other NL cities except Boston before returning to the Mound City on June 3. By then, League Park had been rebuilt.
  • To satisfy the city building commissioner, the new park was painted with two coats of fire-resistant paint and included a water source to help prevent another fire.
  • The grandstand, pavilion, and bleachers were spread out with gaps of 55' to 90' between them to lessen the chance of a fire in one structure from spreading to the other two.
  • The new League Park, renamed Robison Field in 1912, served as the Cardinals' home until 1920 when they moved into Sportsman's Park as tenants of the Browns.
  • Final fact: The 1901 Cardinals led the National League in attendance (379,988).
Pictures of the new League Park/Robison Field
Robison Field, St. Louis - 1Robison Field, St. Louis - 2
Robison Field, St. Louis - 3
Reference: Cardinals Journal: Year by Year & Day by Day with the St. Louis Cardinals Since 1882, John Snyder (2010)
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Bits of Cardinals Lore - No Wrestling!

Cardinals 3B Pepper Martin
Pepper Martin

June 17, 1936

The Cardinals meet the Boston Braves in a doublehead­er at Braves Field.

  • Before the opener, Pepper Martin and Paul Dean engage in a friendly wrestling match in the club­house during which Dean slams Martin against a wall, injuring Pepper's leg.
  • Martin plays two innings in the first game before withdrawing for the day with a bad limp.
  • Since the Cards are short-handed in the infield be­cause of injuries, P Spud Davis replaces Pepper at 3B for the rest of the doubleheader. These prove to be the only two games Davis plays at third dur­ing his 16-year ML career.
  • After expending so much energy on hijinks, Dean is knocked out of the box in the 2nd inning as Boston takes a 7-0 lead on the way to a 9-6 victory.
  • The Cardinals romp in the nightcap, 10-2, as Davis contributes two doubles and a single for four RBIs.
  • After the second game, manager Frankie Frisch issues an edict: no more wrestling.

Cardinals P Paul Dean
Paul Dean

"The Wildest Afternoon"
In a 1947 article in Baseball Digest, veteran National League umpire George Barr recalled "the wildest afternoon in baseball" that he had ever experienced. It was May 19, 1937, when the Cardinals met the Giants at Sportsman Park in St. Louis. The teams' aces, Dizzy Dean and Carl Hub­bell, squared off before a capacity crowd on Ladies Day.

  • That morning, the umpires received a letter from the league office ordering them to enforce Rule 27, which required the pitcher in his stretch to come to a stop before delivering the ball.
  • As home plate umpire that day, Barr warned the two managers that he would be strictly enforcing the rule. He also reminded Dizzy as he warmed up before the game to come to a complete stop with runners on base.

The game started out as the pitching duel everyone expected.

  • Twice with men on base, Barr told catcher Mickey Owen to go out and warn Dizzy about the balk rule. However, all hell broke loose in the sixth inning.
  • The Giants were at bat trailing 1-0. Burgess Whitehead singled, and Barr again told Owen to remind Dizzy about the rule. Hubbell sacrificed Whitehead to second, bringing Dick Bartell to the plate.
  • Diz took his stretch but did not come to a stop before throwing to the plate. Bartell popped up to SS Leo Durocher.
  • However, Barr had thrown up his arms, yelling, "That is a balk." This negated Bartell's out and sent Whitehead to third.

The Cardinals stormed the field protesting vehemently. After ten min­utes, order was restored and play resumed.

  • Bartell then hit a short fly to center. Pepper Martin raced in and dropped it, then kicked it. Whitehead scored easily.
  • Two more hits and another misplayed fly gave the Giants a four- run inning.

Naturally, Dean and the Redbirds were not happy campers.

  • Diz buzzed batters, and the dugouts were ready to erupt. All the tension exploded in the ninth.
  • Giant Jim Ripple dropped a bunt down the first base line. Second baseman Jimmy Brown raced in and tossed the ball to Johnny Mize at first. Dean also ran to cover the bag and bumped into Rip­ple, knocking him down.
  • The dugouts immediately emptied and at least ten different fights broke out. After 15 minutes, order was restored again. However, the Cards Don Gutteridge sported a shiner.
  • Frisch demanded that Mel Ott be kicked out for hitting Gutteridge, but Barr said he didn't see it. "No, but you could see the balk," re­torted Frank.
  • Then Leo the Lip joined in, claiming Dolph Luque hit Gutteridge and should be ejected. Other Cardinals named additional perpe­trators.

When the Giants' 4-1 victory ended, fans surrounded the umpires' dress­ing room.

  • Police had to drive them away so that the umps could return to their hotel.
  • Then Barr's room was bombarded with phone calls and telegrams all evening, a few complimenting him on his handling the game but most complaining.
  • Barr finally asked the hotel operator to reject any more calls for his room.
Reference: The Best of Baseball Digest, ed. by John Kuenster

Umpire George Barr
George Barr

Dizzy Dean
Dizzy Dean

Giants P Carl Hubble
Carl Hubbell
Stan's Remarkable 1941

Stan, Lillie, and Baby Dick Musial
Stan and Lillian Musial
with baby Richard

Black Sox P Dickie Kerr
Dickie Kerr as a member of
the 1919 White Sox

Burt Shotton
Burt Shotton

Cardinals GM Branch Rickey
Branch Rickey

Stan Musial as minor leaguer
Stan Musial as minor leaguer

Cardinals Owner Sam Breadon
Sam Breadon

Boston Braves Manager Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel

Cardinals Captain Terry Moore
Terry Moore

Stan and Lukasz Musial
Stan Musial and his father

Stan Musial left for spring training in 1941 not certain if he would have a job in the Cardinals farm system. By the end of the season, he had writers speculating that if Branch Rickey had called him up earlier in September, St. Louis might have edged the Dodgers for the pennant.
  • Stan spent the 1940 season, his third as a pro, at Daytona Beach FL as a pitcher and outfielder. He won 18 and lost 5 and hit .311. Manager Dickie Kerr encouraged the 20-year-old newlywed and new father not to give up despite not rising above Class D in his three years in the Cardinals chain.
  • Compounding Stan's problems was the fact that he hurt his shoulder in August diving for a line drive in the OF. He pitched in pain the rest of the season, afraid to tell anyone about his injury. I didn't even see a doctor, he recalled years later. You're mostly a number. He figured he was through as a P.
  • He and Lillian stayed in Daytona Beach in the off season, living with the Kerrs and working at Montgomery Ward to make ends meet until she and the baby returned to Donora PA to stay with her family.
  • Lil recalled: He called me one day and he was kind of despondent. "I might have to come and work in the Donora mills." I got my father on the phone and he said, "Now you just keep on playing baseball because I'll take care of Lil and Dick here. Don't worry about anything.
  • Kerr, after whom the Musials named their son, told him, You won't make it to the top as a pitcher, but you'll get there some way because you're a damn fine ballplayer and a big-league hitter.

Stan reported to the Cardinals' 1941 minor-league camp in Hollywood FL along with 233 other prospects.

  • Burt Shotton, manager of the class AA team at Columbus OH and a good friend of GM Rickey, could tell Musial had arm problems. But, after watching Musial smash a 450' HR in an intrasquad game, Burt told Stan, as had Kerr, that he showed promise as a hitter. I'm going to send you to another camp with the recommendation that you be tried as an outfielder. Years later, Stan would call Shotton a man who never seems to have received enough credit for the help he gave me.
  • So he traveled to Columbus GA where the system's lowest minor leaguers trained. But nobody had told the managers there about Stan's switch to the OF. So Columbus skipper Clay Hopper sent Musial out to pitch against the Cardinal varsity as they moved north for the season. Terry Moore and Johnny Mize smacked HRs off him and, a few days later, the Phillies also knocked him around.
  • Then the baseball gods granted Stan a break in the person of Ollie Vanek, the scout who had signed him and then praised him as a hitter the year before in his reports to the front office. With Ollie now manager of class C Springfield (MO), Stan asked if he could work out with that club as an OF.
  • As the opening of the season neared, Vanek attended the meeting conducted by Rickey that amounted to a draft by the minor league skippers of farmhands for their teams. Ollie chose Stan after the higher levels passed on him. It would prove to be one of the most fortuitous decisions in the history of baseball.

So Stan started the '41 season in Springfield for $150/month.

  • Vanek made Musial his personal project. He was the only ballplayer on the club who would come to me and ask me to put him through extra outfield practice.
  • Batting cleanup and playing RF, Stan started the season 2-for-13, then started annihilating Class C pitching. His arm also grew stronger.
  • In 89 games, Stan batted .379 with 26 HRs and 94 RBIs. Clearly, he was way too good for class C. (The 26 roundtrippers would lead the league even though he didn't play the entire season with Springfield. It was the only time in his pro career that Musial led his league in HRs.) During one bus ride, Ollie told Stan, I wouldn't be surprised to see you in the majors in a couple of years. His prediction proved to be pessimistic.
  • Rickey came in person to scout the phenom. Unaware of The Mahatma's pres­ence, Stan whacked a HR, a triple, and a single. Late in the game as he headed out to his position, Vanek told him, Goodbye, Stan.
  • Branch jumped Musial not one, not two, but three levels to AA Rochester where manager Tony Kaufmann coveted him for the stretch run in the International League.
  • Stan hit .326 in 54 games, which would have led the International League had he garnered enough ABs. He also ran the bases well and made some nice catches in the OF.
  • Kaufmann praised his new sparkplug: This kid is an iceberg. If you tapped him, you'd find ice water in his veins. Yankee Stadium or a cow pasture - just another place to play ball to him.
In later years, Rickey would claim that he had his eye on Musial for some time. He was a man who liked to take credit for things when he was on the periphery, recalled Vanek. Cardinals' owner Sam Breadon told an interviewer seven years later: I'll let you in on a secret. Few know it, but when Stan Musial began hitting at Springfield, the Giants offered $40,000 for him. And a certain party wanted to sell him. I couldn't see the idea of selling Stan. I felt a hitter like that belonged on the Cards. (Of course, Rickey may not have been the only person who claimed credit for a player's success after the fact.)

Personal aside: Stan's best friend on the Springfield team was C John "Fats" Dantonio from New Orleans. The Musials and Dantonios shared an apartment. I would later watch Fats play for the New Orleans Pelicans and eventually teach his son, John Jr., at St. Aloysius High School.

Rochester's success may have hurt the parent club's chances.

  • The Royals, in fourth place when Stan arrived, won 16 of their last 20 games to make the AA playoffs against the Newark Bears.
  • The delay in his availability may have persuaded Rickey not to promote Stan to St. Louis on September 1 when rosters expanded. Branch went to Newark to watch Stan against the Yankees' top farmhands.
  • When Newark eliminated Rochester, Stan took the train to Pittsburgh, where Lil met him and drove him to Donora, where he attended Sunday Mass, then took a nap. He assumed his eventful '41 season had ended.
  • But his wife interrupted his snooze to give him the telegram ordering him to join the Cardinals for the remaining two weeks of the pennant race. With two start­ing OFs, Moore and Enos Slaughter, injured, Rickey couldn't wait until '42 to put Musial in the lineup.
  • On arrival in the Mound City, Stan signed a ML contract for $400 a month, a $250 raise from his minor league salary. The clubhouse man gave him uniform #6, a low number generally reserved for veterans. He did it not because he anticipated the rookie's success but simply because that number was available. Little did either man know that the franchise would eventually retire the number to honor the greatest Cardinal ever.

Stan made his ML debut in the second game of a DH September 17 against the 7th­place Boston Braves.

  • With the Cardinals only a game behind Brooklyn, Braves' manager Casey Sten­gel fielded his best lineup, including veteran knuckleballer Jim Tobin on the mound. Musial popped up in his first ML at-bat which was also the first time he had ever faced a knuckler. But his next time up, he rapped a double and later collected a single in the 3-2 victory.
  • Stengel was impressed. When the Braves played the Dodgers a few days later, he told the Brooklyn writers, You fellas will win it, but those Cardinals got a young kid in LF who you guys are gonna write about for twenty years. Casey was undeter­red by Musial's unconventional batting stance which P Ted Lyons likened to a kid peeking around the corner to see if the cops are coming.
  • On September 21, Stan pounded six hits in a doubleheader against the Cubs, including two doubles. He also showed his moxie in the opener. When he came to bat with the score 5-5 and one out in the bottom of the 9th, having gone 3-for-3, the Cubs P welcomed him to the big leagues with a high hard one that sent him sprawling. Unintimidated, he got up and lined a single to RCF. A ground out advanced him to 2B. After an intentional walk, Coaker Triplett hit a roller 10' in front of the plate. C Clyde McCullough grabbed it and threw to 1B a shade too late. When McCullough began arguing with the umpire, leaving the plate unpro­tected, Stan kept going around 3B and scored the winning run.
  • Moore couldn't believe it when told that the sensational rookie was the same weak-armed P he and Mize had clouted mammoth HRs off in the preseason.
  • After the Chicago series, St. Louis went to Pittsburgh for a doubleheader that Stan's father attended. Musial hit his first ML HR in the second game off Rip Sewell. He later recalled: The odd part of it is that Steven Posey, a friend of mine from Donora, was sitting in the RF stands and caught the ball. Two days later, Donora celebrated Stan Musial Day at Forbes Field. School was cancelled back home, and a delegation from the city presented Stan with luggage and money.
  • Stan's stats for 12 games at the end of the '41 season: 20-47 (.426), 4 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI. However, it wasn't enough as Brooklyn took the flag by 2.5 games, lead­ing some to speculate that Musial's presence in the lineup from the beginning of September might have pushed the Cards over the top.
  • With Musial on the roster from Day One, the Cardinals won the next three NL pennants and four of the next five with a trio of World Series championships.
References: Stan Musial, an American Life, George Vecsey (2011)
Stan the Man: The Life and Times of Stan Musial, Wayne Stewart (2010)
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Enos's Mad Dash

One of the oft-told stories of baseball mythology involves Enos Slaughter "scoring the winning run from first on a single" to beat the Red Sox for the Cardinals in the 1946 World Series.

Boston and St. Louis played the seventh game in Sportsman Park, St. Louis. In the top of the eighth, Red Sox CF Dom DiMaggio doubled off the RCF wall to score two runs and tie the game at 3. However, he twisted his ankle while running to second and had to be replaced by Leon Culbertson. This would prove to be a fatal substitution for the Red Sox, who were in the midst of what would become an 86-year drought without a World Championship.

Here is what happened in the Cards eighth.

  • Lefty Bob Klinger ascended the hill for the visitors to face the left-handed hitting Slaughter, the Cards' RF. Enos singled to CF.
  • 3B Whitey Kurowski popped out trying to sacrifice.
  • C Del Rice flew to LF.
  • LF Harry Walker, another left-handed batter, lined a hit over the head of SS Johnny Pesky. Slaughter, running on the pitch, easily went to third. Culbertson fielded the ball in LCF and threw to Pesky, whose back was to the infield. "Country" Slaughter didn't slow around third, tearing through a stop sign from the coach. Pesky hesitated a moment before turning and throwing to the plate. Slaughter slid in easily with the go-ahead run.
Enos Slaughter scores winning run in 7th game of 1946 World Series.
Enos Slaughter scores go-ahead run in 1946 World Series Game 7.

What is lost in the retelling is the fact that Walker was credited with a double, not a single. Scoring from first on a double, especially when you were running with the pitch, is not that uncommon.

What is also forgotten is what transpired in the top of the ninth.

  • Lefty Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, who already had two wins in the Series, had relieved in the eighth and returned to the mound for the ninth.
  • 1B Rudy York singled to left. Paul Campbell ran for him.
  • 2B Bobby Doerr singled to SS.
  • 3B Pinky Higgins forced Doerr at second, Kurowski to SS Marty Marion. This put the tying run on third with only one out.
  • C Roy Partee fouled out to 1B Stan Musial.
  • PH Tom McBride grounded to 2B Red Schoendienst, who tossed to Marion for the forceout to end the Fall Classic.

If Brecheen had not worked out of the jam in the ninth, Slaughter's dash would have been forgotten. Instead, Brecheen added his name to the record book with his third win of the Series.

Brief video of the 1946 World Series ending with Slaughter's dash

Cardinals' OF Enos Slaughter
Enos Slaughter

Red Sox CF Dom DiMaggio
Dom DiMaggio

Harry Walker
Harry Walker

Harry Brecheen, Cardinals P>
Harry Brecheen

Odd Baseball Facts - RBI Record Holders - 1

Cardinals 1B Jim Bottomley
Jim Bottomley

Brooklyn P Bonnie Hollingsworth
Bonnie Hollingsworth

Brooklyn P Art Decatur
Art Decatur

The major league record for RBIs in one game is 12, held by two players, both Cardinals.
  • Jim Bottomley drove in an even dozen runs on Sep­tember 16, 1924.
  • Mark Whiten duplicated the feat on September 7, 1993, in a game in which he clouted four HRs.
  • In this article, we'll talk about Bottomley's game and move to Whiten next issue.

The 6th-place Cardinals feasted on the pitching of the 2nd place Brooklyn Robins in a 17-3 romp at Ebbets Field. 12 of the 17 runs were socked in by one man, left-handed swing­ing 1B Bottomley, who took his cleanup role seriously with a 6-for-6 day against five right-hand­ed pitchers, as follows.

  • 1st inning: Two-run single off Rube Ehrhardt. Ehrhardt left after failing to retire any to the first five batters he faced. The loss broke his personal winning streak of five.
  • 2nd: Run-scoring double facing Bonnie Hollingsworth.
  • 4th: Grand slam off Art Decatur
  • 6th: Two-run HR off Decatur
  • 7th: Two-run single against Tex Wilson
  • 9th: Record-breaking 12th RBI on a single facing Jim Roberts

The man whose record Bottomley broke watched it all from the Brooklyn bench.

  • Manager Wilbert Robinson, the inspiration for writers calling his team the Robins, knocked in 11 in 1892 for the Baltimore Orioles against the St. Louis entry in the National League.
  • Bottomley didn't get a chance to tie another record Robinson set that afternoon when he collected seven straight hits.
  • Reports the next day also credited Jim with effacing the "modern" mark of eight held by six players since 1907. That year is puzzling since the AL and NL signed a peace treaty before the 1903 season, making that season a more appropriate starting point for "modern" baseball.

The defeat hurt Brooklyn's pennant hopes as the Robins trailed their crosstown rivals, the New York Giants, by only one game, which is why a good crowd of 8,000 showed up that Tuesday afternoon.

Interestingly, Jim did not drive in a run the game before or the game after. So he does not share in the record of 13 for RBI in consecutive games.

Bottomley finished his second full season in the NL with a .316 average, 111 RBI, and 14 HRs. Considering he hit .371 in 1923, the '24 season could be considered a disappoint­ment for the future Hall of Famer.

Brooklyn P Rube Ehrhardt
Rube Ehrhardt

Brooklyn P Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts

Brooklyn Manager Wilbert Robinson
Wilbert Robinson

Odd Baseball Facts - RBI Record Holders - 2

Mark Whiten
Mark Whiten

Reds P Larry Luebbers
Larry Luebbers

Reds P Rob Dibble
Rob Dibble

Whiten admires final clout.
Whiten admires his final clout.

Mark Whiten after HR #4
Whiten takes curtain call
after HR #4

The major league record for RBIs in one game is 12, held by two players, both Cardinals.
  • Jim Bottomley drove in an even dozen runs on Sep­tember 16, 1924. Read about his feat ...
  • Mark Whiten duplicated the feat on September 7, 1993, in a game in which he clouted four HRs.

Whiten aspired to be a college football player.

  • The 6-3, 215-pounder didn't play baseball until his junior year of high school in Pensacola FL. He did it just to stay in shape for football.
  • But when no college offered him a scholarship, he accepted a baseball grant-in-aid to Pensacola Junior College in 1984.

The Cardinals were outfielder Whiten's third ML team in as many seasons.

  • The Blue Jays drafted him in 1986.
  • He labored in the minors until 1990, when he appeared in 33 games for To­ronto.
  • But Toronto traded him to Cleveland during the '91 season. There he came under the tutelage of hitting coach Charlie Manuel.
    Charlie told me to swing down on the ball. Before, I was just trying to hit it hard somewhere. His approach sounded strange at first, but it worked.
  • Needing pitchers after a boating accident in spring training killed two of its relievers, the Indians traded Whiten to St. Louis right before the '93 cam­paign for Juan Andujar and Mark Clark.
  • Whiten earned the nickname "Hard-Hittin" because of a 463' blast into the upper deck at Busch Stadium in July and a 464' clout in Pittsburgh in August.

He came into the doubleheader with Cincinnati on September 7 hitting .251 with 18 HRs for Joe Torre.

  • In the first game, the Cards scored 7 in the 8th to take a 13-9 lead, but the Reds scored 3 in their half of the inning.
  • In the bottom of the ninth, CF Whiten misplayed a fly ball into a triple that scored the tying and winning runs.
  • 15 pitchers, a ML record for a 9-inning game, threw 350 pitches in the 3:41-minute marathon.
  • Mark went hitless although he had an RBI on a SF. He ran his streak of ho­merless games to 21. He had hit just .216 with 2 HRs and 13 RBIs in the previous 31 games.

Those among the crowd of 22,606 who left after Game One missed a date with baseball history. Whiten started the nightcap in CF and batted sixth.

  • A switch-hitter, Mark stepped into the left-handed batter's box against Larry Luebbers, making his 10th ML start, in the 1st inning with the bases loaded. After falling behind 2-0, Larry fired a fastball as Whiten expected. He hammered it 408' to LCF for a grand slam.
  • He led off the 4th against Luebbers by fouling out to 3B.
  • His next plate appearance came in the 6th with Todd Zeile and Gerald Perry on base via walks against Mike Anderson, a RHP in his MLB debut. Figuring Anderson would want to get ahead with a fast ball, Mark clouted a shot over the RCF wall to extend the Cards' lead to 8-2 and double his number of multi-HRs games.
    After I hit the second homer, I didn't really even think about history. All you're thinking about during each at-bat is getting a good swing on the ball.
  • In the 7th, Mark stepped in with Zeile and Perry on base again and Anderson still on the hill. He blasted a 2-1 fastball over the RCF wall to make it 12-2.
    For me, it was still a regular ballgame for the most part. It was nothing like when a pitcher is throwing a perfect game or a no-hitter and his teammates are avoiding contact. Guys were teasing me a little bit about my big night and were a little bit in awe of what was happening.
  • He needed help from his mates to get another shot. They continued their onslaught on Reds pitching to bring him to bat against Rob Dibble in the 9th with Perry on 1st and one out. The batboy asked Whiten while he was on deck whether he would try to hit another HR. I told him "no." I wanted to keep the same approach.
  • He received a standing ovation as he walked to the plate at 11:56 PM. His teammates stood in the dugout, hoping to witness history.
  • After two wide ones, he got ahold of a Dibble fast one on the outside cor­ner. Joe Buck made the call on the Cardinals TV broadcast. Into center field. Did he? Joe and his sidekick Al Hrabosky supplied the answer together: YES! Joe continued: His fourth HR of the game. He has 12 RBIs. Da-da-da, da-da-da (ESPN SportsCenter theme). 15 to 2! Unbelievable! Unbelievable!
  • On KMOX radio, Joe's dad called it this way: Swing and a long one. Looks like he did it! Four HRs for Mark Whiten. ... 12 runs batted in in the game. Man, what a blast that was. What a blast this is ... Nice going. Wow! Excuse me while I applaud ... Man oh man, what a thrill that is!
  • As Whiten rounded third, the fans behind the Cardinals dugout bowed in tribute.
  • The 2,000 or so spectators demanded a curtain call - an almost unheard action from fans for an opposing player.

He kept the bat and the four HR balls. He sent his batting helmet to the Hall of Fame.

Whiten is justly proud of his accomplishment.

It is the best single-game batting performance of all time. To me, the most impressive part is the 12 RBIs. That's more intriguing than the four homers.
I was more excited about the third one because I had never hit more than two in a game in my life. The fourth dinger was icing on the cake. Reflecting later, I realized how many great players had hit three homers in a ame and fell short of four. It was pretty amazing.

View the entire game (scroll down near the bottom)

Reference: "Blasts from the Past," Gabriel Kiley, Cardinals Gameday Magazine, September 2013
Short Story: Swinging for the Fences
"Musing, meditations and other matters of the mind, courtesy of ace righthander Adam Wainwright," Cardinals Gameday Magazine 2013 Issue 4
Adam Wainwright
One of the reasons I considered going to college was so I could hit and pitch. Then, about three or four days before the [2000] draft, I got a call from Cam Bonifay, who was the GM of the Pirates. He wanted me to come to Three Rivers Stadium to hit and work out as a right fielder. He said they were thinking about taking me with their first pick, in the 19th spot.

Up until that point, everybody who had been scouting me felt it was all about my pitching. To hear that somebody wanted me as a hitter, that was pretty ex­citing. I was thinking, let's try this hitting thing. I love to hit. I'd love to play every day. I figured I could al­ways go back to pitching if I had to.

So my mom, my brother and I went up there, and I brought my own wood bat. Broke it on my first BP pitch of the day. So they brought out like 20 of the pro stocks they had for the players on the team. I used Warren Morris' bat he was the guy who hit the walk-off home run for LSU to win the College World Series in 1996 and it was awesome.

I hit pretty decent, but I think what they really liked was my arm from the outfield and my hands. I remember the hitting coach saying I had good hands. The one bad thing was they had me run the 60 against this little guy, who ran like a 6.2. He was a speed guy, a center fielder, and he made me look really slow.

When I left, they told me I hadn't done anything to hurt my stock. They said it was between me and lefthander Sean Burnett for their first pick. But I must not have made too big of an impression because they drafted Bur­nett. Still, it was such a fun experience, my one last hurrah to try to make it as a hitter.

The first time I got to bat in the big leagues, I remember it like it was yes­terday May 24, 2006, at San Francisco. I was still a reliever then and it was a "bullpen game," meaning one of us was going to get to start. I was kind of disappointed that it wasn't me. A couple of guys pitched before me, and then I came in and ended up working the middle three innings.
Pirates IF Warren MorrisPirates P Sean BurnettCardinals Manager Tony La Russa
L: Warren Morris; C: Sean Burnett; R: Tony LaRussa
When it was my turn to bat, Tony (La Russa) was trying to decide whether he was going to have someone pinch-hit for me. And then at the last sec­ond he said, "Waino, you're up."

So I ran over and got somebody's batting gloves, grabbed a bat, didn't take one practice swing and walked up to the plate. Lefty Noah Lowry threw a first-pitch fastball, and I swung and hit it out of the park. The only reason I got a home run the only reason I got a hit at all was that I didn't have time to think about anything.

It was kind of like last year, when I hit a home run off R.A. Dickey, the Cy Young winner. I was arguing with the umpire about the pitch before, right up until the time Dickey was throwing the ball. As I turned around, he was already in his motion and I just swung and connected for a home run. So I'm thinking, maybe I shouldn't pay attention until the pitch is on the way and then just swing.

I didn't know how to act on the first home run. There I was, a rookie, circ­ling the bases and I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want to start fist­pumping or smiling real big. And I didn't want Tony to say, "Hey, you've still got to pitch." So I tried to be real calm, but when I got in the dugout eve­rybody said, you've got to smile about that, you just went deep on the first pitch you ever saw! So I smiled a little bit, and then it was time to get back out there. It all happened so fast.

I have the home run ball, too. A fan threw it back on the field. That's why you should always hit your first homer on the road. I'm sure I must have been thinking that when I went up there.

So now, any time we have a rookie who's about to make his first plate ap­pearance, I like to remind everyone that I hit a home run in my first at-bat. I announce it to the whole dugout: "Very few people can go deep in their first big-league at-bat, boys. Very few people." Whether he's a position player or a pitcher, I always announce that. Then afterward, if they don't go deep, I reiterate, "Very few people, boys."
Down the Stretch in '34

Paul and Dizzy Dean
Dizzy and Paul Dean

Cardinals Manager-2B Frankie Frisch
Frank Frisch

Brooklyn Manager Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel

Giants Manager Bill Terry
Bill Terry

The Cardinals' road to the 1934 World Series was filled with potholes and road blocks, many of their own making.
  • On August 7, Dizzy Dean beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 for his 20th victory.
  • At the end of the day, the Redbirds sat in third place, seven games behind the New York Giants and three behind the Chicago Cubs.
  • The next day, Diz earned win #21 in relief.

Six days later, Dizzy and his brother Paul left the club. It happened a day after each lost one game of a Sunday doubleheader at Sportsman's Park against the Cubs.

  • Chicago smacked seven hits for three runs in Paul's five innings on their way to a 7-2 victory in the opener.
  • With the nightcap tied at 2-2, the Cubs erupted for four in the eighth off Diz to send the capacity crowd of 32,000 home unhappy.
  • After the game, Diz and Paul refused to hop the train to Detroit for an exhibition game. So Manager Frankie Frisch fined the older Dean $100 and Paul $50. Owner/president Sam Breadon supported his manager. "We must have discipline on the team regardless of the players' value," he announced.
  • When Frisch wouldn't rescind the penalties, Dizzy declared, "Me and Paul are through with the Cardinals." The Deans refused to take the field for the August 14 game in St. Louis against the Phillies. After Frisch told them to turn in their uniforms, Dizzy ripped his to shreds, then destroyed another for photographers. (The Cardinals billed him $36 for the uniforms.)
  • Frank suspended Dizzy for ten days. "No player can be bigger than his club," declared the skipper.
  • Still, Diz requested a hearing before Judge Landis and, amazingly, the Commissioner granted the petition. But after Dean drove seven hours to Chicago to present his case in person on August 20, Landis upheld the suspension. Breadon, to help ease the hurt feelings, reduced Dizzy's banishment to seven days.
  • Meanwhile, Paul served his three-day banishment and returned to the club August 17. He threw seven innings of relief to earn his 13th win in a 12-2 decision over Philadelphia.

Far from disrupting the Cardinals' season, the Deans' "strike" seemed to galvanize the club.

  • Diz returned to the mound August 24 against the Giants and pitched a shutout in the second game of a crucial three game set with the league leaders in St. Louis.
  • However, it was the only one of the trio that the Cards won, and the New Yorkers left town with a seven game edge with a little over a month to go.
  • Frisch called Diz out of the bullpen in the third game to hold a two-run lead over the final three innings, but Dean failed miserably, allowing two in the seventh and two more in the eighth to take the loss, 7-6.

The Cardinals embarked on the road trip to end all road trips on August 31.

  • They played nine series, counting a makeup game in Chicago that ended the agony September 24.
  • They began the trek 5.5 games out but returned home only two behind.
  • The crucial day was Sunday, September 16, when the Redbirds swept a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. After opening the series with a 2-0 shutout, Dizzy came back on two days' rest to take Game One 5-3 for his 26th win. Then Paul outdid his brother in the nightcap, outdueling the great Carl Hubbell 3-1 in 11 innings.
  • The Cards' final tally for the road trip was 17-6.

The Redbirds finished with six games at home.

  • The Cardinals split two with the Pirates but still gained a game on the Giants, who lost both days to the Phillies.
  • Cincinnati came to St. Louis for a four-game series to end the regular seaon while the Giants hosted Brooklyn for a two-game set.
  • When the Cards won the first two games against the Reds while the Giants were idle, they put the race into a flat-footed tie. The Friday game was a seven-hit shutout by Dizzy.

Casey Stengel fired up his sixth-place Dodgers by reminding them of a remark Giants manager Bill Terry made in spring training.

  • When asked by a reporter whether Brooklyn posed any threat to the Giants in the pennant race, Terry replied, "The Dodgers? Are they still in the league?"
  • The Bums whipped their crosstown rivals 5-1 and 8-5.
  • Meanwhile, out west, the Cards completed the sweep of the Reds, 6-1 behind Paul and 9-0 as Diz coasted to his 30th victory.