Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash” Wins The 1946 World Series As Johnny Pesky Holds The Ball!

Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash” Wins The 1946 World Series As Johnny Pesky Holds The Ball!

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 Memorable World Series Moments!

There’s nothing like playoff baseball, and this year is proving to be no exception. And with the start of the 2017 Fall Classic quickly approaching, I thought I’d revisit my articles featuring some of the most exciting and memorable World Series moments. As we advance further into October, stay tuned for more from this collection. We’ll start things off with a real classic. It occurred exactly 71 years ago today, October 15, 1946, at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis:

Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash” Wins The 1946 World Series  As Johnny Pesky Holds The Ball!

In the photo above, we see Enos Slaughter crossing home plate in a cloud of dust as he scores what proved to be the winning run in Game Seven of the 1946 World Series, which pitted the Cardinals against the Red Sox. The catcher is Roy Partee, the umpire is Al Barlick, and the on-deck hitter is Marty Marion. 

With World War II finally over, most teams were back to full strength for the 1946 regular season. The country breathed a collective sigh of relief as baseball resumed its customary and, in this case, soothing role as the “National Pastime.” 1946 represented one of the most prosperous years in baseball history – and fittingly was decided by one of the most exciting World Series plays of all time.

The Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers had tied for the top spot in the National League and had met in the major leagues’ first-ever pennant playoff. The Redbirds managed to prevail over the Dodgers in two straight in the best-of-three match, capturing their fourth National League flag in five seasons. For the Red Sox, this was their first World Series appearance since they whipped the Cubs in the 1918 World Series.

The teams were tied at three games apiece as the Series headed for its dramatic conclusion. In the bottom of the eighth inning of Game Seven, with the score tied 3-3, the Cardinals’ Enos “Country” Slaughter opened with a single. He remained at first after the next two batters failed to advance him into scoring position. Harry “The Hat” Walker next stepped into the batters’ box and walloped a shot over Johnny Pesky’s head into left-center. As center fielder Leon Culberson chased it down, Slaughter started his memorable “Mad Dash.” Cardinal fans cheered wildly as Slaughter motored around the bases like a man possessed, running through third base coach Mike Gonzalez’s stop sign. Slaughter had set his sights like a laser beam on one target: home plate…and nothing was going to stop him! 

Johnny Pesky caught Culberson’s throw, spun around, and—perhaps surprised to see Slaughter headed for the plate—supposedly hesitated for just a split second before relaying home. Red Sox catcher Roy Partee had to advance up the third base line a couple steps to snare Pesky’s throw. Slaughter was safe without a play. He had scored the lead run all the way from first base on a single!

But the game wasn’t over. Cardinal ace pitcher Harry “The Cat” Brecheen continued the drama in the top of the ninth after he allowed singles to the Red Sox’ Rudy York and Bobby Doerr to open the inning. As the hushed Sportsman’s Park fans winced in anticipation, Pinky Higgins then hit into a force out that moved pinch runner Paul Campbell to third. 

With one out, Boston’s tying run was now only ninety feet away. Partee came up next and fouled out to first baseman Stan Musial, allowing the nervous Cardinal fans to exhale for a brief moment. That left it up to pinch-hitter Tom McBride. With the Red Sox down to their last batter, Brecheen induced the outfielder to hit an easy grounder to Red Schoendienst at second, who tossed to shortstop Marty Marion for a game-ending force out. One of the most memorable World Series in history was over!

Almost immediately, Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash” in the 1946 World Series became firmly entrenched as an exciting chapter in baseball’s glorious World Series lore. You have to admire Johnny Pesky for being a “stand-up” guy. Here’s what he said after the Series was over: 

“I’m the goat. I never expected he’d try to score. I couldn’t hear anybody hollering at me above the crowd. I gave Slaughter at least six strides with the delay. I know I could have nailed him if I had suspected he would try for the plate. I’m the goat – no doubt about it.” 

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the 1946 World Series Wikipedia page.

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I’m a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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