Slaughter's Mad Dash

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The Mad Dash, or Slaughter's Mad Dash, refers to an event in the eighth inning of the seventh game of the 1946 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox.

Background[edit]

Personnel involved[edit]

Player Team Position
Slaughter, EnosEnos Slaughter St. Louis Cardinals Baserunner
Walker, HarryHarry Walker St. Louis Cardinals Batter
González, MikeMike González St. Louis Cardinals Third base coach
Klinger, BobBob Klinger Boston Red Sox Pitcher
Culberson, LeonLeon Culberson Boston Red Sox Center fielder
Pesky, JohnnyJohnny Pesky Boston Red Sox Shortstop
Partee, RoyRoy Partee Boston Red Sox Catcher

Context[edit]

The 1946 Boston Red Sox ran away with the American League crown by twelve games over the Detroit Tigers with a 104–50 record, and were heavy favorites in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. They led the series three games to two as it headed back to Sportsman's Park in St. Louis for Game 6. The Cardinals won that game[1] on sensational defense and a brilliant pitching performance by Harry Brecheen to bring the series to a deciding seventh game.

Game 7 was played in Sportsman's Park on October 15, 1946. After Red Sox center fielder Dom DiMaggio drove in two runs in the top of the eighth, the score was tied 3–3.[2][3] DiMaggio pulled a hamstring during the play and was forced to leave the game;[4] he was replaced by a pinch runner, Leon Culberson, who also replaced DiMaggio in center field in the bottom of the inning.

Cardinal right fielder Enos Slaughter led off with a single off of pitcher Bob Klinger. After a failed bunt attempt by Whitey Kurowski and a flyout to left field by Del Rice, Slaughter found himself still on first base with two outs. Left fielder Harry Walker stepped to the plate and, after the count reached two balls and one strike, Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer called for a hit-and-run.

The play[edit]

With Slaughter running, Walker lined the ball to left-center field, where Culberson fielded the ball. As he threw a relay to shortstop Johnny Pesky, Slaughter rounded third base, ignored third base coach Mike González's stop sign, and continued for home.

What exactly happened when Pesky turned around is still a matter of contention. Some claim that Pesky, assuming that Slaughter would not be running home, checked Walker at first base instead of immediately firing home, while others contend that Pesky was so shocked to see Slaughter on his way to score that he had a mental lapse that accounted for the delay. Whatever the reason, the delay and a weak and rushed throw home allowed Slaughter to score just as Red Sox catcher Roy Partee caught it up the line from home plate.

Official scoring[edit]

Walker's hit was scored as a double,[2][3] but could have been scored a single with him advancing to second on Pesky's throw home.[5][6]

Aftermath[edit]

The run put the Cardinals ahead 4–3 and proved to be the winning run of the decisive seventh game. In Boston, "Pesky held the ball" became a catchphrase, although a soft throw from Culberson (playing in place of the strong-armed DiMaggio) may have been more to blame.[7][8][9] In St. Louis, a statue depicting Slaughter sliding across home plate at the end of the play stands outside of the current ballpark.[10][11] This play was named #10 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments in 1999.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boxscore: October 13, 1946". Baseball Reference.com. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Retrosheet Boxscore: St. Louis Cardinals 4, Boston Red Sox 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Boxscore: October 15, 1946". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  4. ^ "Former Red Sox great Dom DiMaggio dies at 92". USA Today. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  5. ^ "Slaughter’s ‘Mad Dash’ let Cardinals rule in ‘46". Washington Times. 25 Oct 2004. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  6. ^ "Enos Slaughter’s Mad Dash". Time. 21 Oct 2008. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  7. ^ Holway, John. "Slaughter, Pesky, and the Power of Myth". Baseball Guru. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  8. ^ "'Pesky held the ball' a part of BoSox lore". ESPN. 22 Oct 2004. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  9. ^ "Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky dies". The Boston Globe. 15 Aug 2012. Retrieved 11 Oct 2016. 
  10. ^ "Enos Slaughter". The Sporting Statues Project. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  11. ^ ""Country" Slaughter hit .300 in 19-year career". ESPN Classic. 16 Aug 2002. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 
  12. ^ "Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 9 Oct 2016. 

External links[edit]