1944 World Series

The 1944 World Series was an all-St. Louis World Series, matching the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park. It marked the third and final time in World Series history in which both teams had the same home field (the other two being the 1921 and 1922 World Series in the Polo Grounds in New York City).

1944 saw perhaps the nadir of 20th-century baseball, as the long-moribund St. Louis Browns won their only American League pennant. The pool of talent was depleted by the draft to the point that in 1945 (but not 1944), as the military scraped deeper and deeper into the ranks of the possibly eligible, the Browns actually used a one-armed player, Pete Gray. Some of the players were 4-Fs, rejected by the military due to physical defects or limitations that precluded duty.[1] Others divided their time between factory work in defense industries and baseball, some being able to play ball only on weekends. Some players avoided the draft by chance, despite being physically able to serve. Stan Musial of the Cardinals was one. Musial, enlisting in early 1945, missed one season. He rejoined the Cardinals in 1946.

As both teams called Sportsman's Park home, the traditional 2–3–2 home field assignment was used (instead of the wartime 3–4). The Junior World Series of that same year, partly hosted in Baltimore's converted football stadium, easily outdrew the "real" Series and attracted attention to Baltimore as a potential major league city. Ten years later, the Browns transferred there and became the Orioles. Another all-Missouri World Series was played 41 years later, with the Kansas City Royals defeating the Cardinals in seven games.

The Series was also known as the "Trolley Series", "Streetcar Series", or the "St. Louis Showdown." Coincidentally, this World Series was played the same year Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released the musical film Meet Me in St. Louis. It remains one of two World Series played that featured two teams from the same city other than New York; the other was the 1906 World Series between the two Chicago teams. The 1989 World Series featured two teams from the San Francisco metropolitan area, but not the same city.

This is the only world series to date to not have either team credited with a stolen base.

1944 World Series
Team (Wins) Manager(s) Season
St. Louis Cardinals (4) Billy Southworth 105–49, .682, GA: ​14 12
St. Louis Browns (2) Luke Sewell 89–65, .578, GA: 1
DatesOctober 4–9
UmpiresZiggy Sears (NL), Bill McGowan (AL), Tom Dunn (NL), George Pipgras (AL)
Hall of FamersUmpire: Bill McGowan Cardinals: Billy Southworth (mgr.), Enos Slaughter (mil.), Stan Musial
Browns: none
Broadcast
RadioMutual
Radio announcersBill Slater and Don Dunphy
World Series

Background

Many of the game's best players were called away for World War II, and the result was a seriously depleted pool of talent.[2] The top team in the American League was the St. Louis Browns, who collectively batted .252 en route to their only pennant in 52 seasons. They only had one .300 hitter in outfielder Mike Kreevich (who barely made it at .301), one man with 20 home runs, shortstop Vern Stephens (who hit exactly 20), and one player over the 85 runs batted in mark, Stephens, who knocked in 109 to lead the league. On the mound, the Browns boasted Nels Potter and Jack Kramer, who combined for 36 victories. The team squeaked into first place by winning 11 out of their final 12 games, including the last four in a row over the defending champion New York Yankees. The last victory, combined with Detroit's loss to Washington, enabled St. Louis to finish one game ahead of the Tigers in the American League. Their 89–65 record was the worst ever for an AL champion.

On the other side of Sportsman's Park, the other Major League team from St. Louis was doing business as usual. In making off with their third straight National League pennant (leading by ​14 12 games over Pittsburgh), manager Billy Southworth's Cardinals had won 105 games and ran their three-year victory total to 316. The Cardinals were the first National League franchise with three consecutive 100 win seasons. The 1944 club featured league MVP Marty Marion and future Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

Summary

NL St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. AL St. Louis Browns (2)

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 4 St. Louis Browns – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 1 Sportsman's Park 2:05 33,242[3] 
2 October 5 St. Louis Browns – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 3 (11 innings) Sportsman's Park 2:32 35,076[4] 
3 October 6 St. Louis Cardinals – 2, St. Louis Browns – 6 Sportsman's Park 2:19 34,737[5] 
4 October 7 St. Louis Cardinals – 5, St. Louis Browns – 1 Sportsman's Park 2:22 35,455[6] 
5 October 8 St. Louis Cardinals – 2, St. Louis Browns – 0 Sportsman's Park 2:04 36,568[7] 
6 October 9 St. Louis Browns – 1, St. Louis Cardinals – 3 Sportsman's Park 2:06 31,630[8]

Matchups

Game 1

Wednesday, October 4, 1944 2:00 pm (CT) at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis (AL) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0
St. Louis (NL) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 0
WP: Denny Galehouse (1–0)   LP: Mort Cooper (0–1)
Home runs:
SLB: George McQuinn (1)
SLC: None

George McQuinn hit the Browns' only home run of the series to put his team ahead in the fourth inning, while Denny Galehouse outpitched World Series veteran Mort Cooper to hold on for the win.

Game 2

Thursday, October 5, 1944 2:00 pm (CT) at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
St. Louis (AL) 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 7 4
St. Louis (NL) 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 0
WP: Blix Donnelly (1–0)   LP: Bob Muncrief (0–1)

Blix Donnelly came in as a relief pitcher in the eighth inning, and tallied no runs, two hits and seven strikeouts for the win. Ken O'Dea's pinch-hit single in the eleventh scored the winning run.

Game 3

Friday, October 6, 1944 2:00 pm (CT) at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis (NL) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 7 0
St. Louis (AL) 0 0 4 0 0 0 2 0 X 6 8 2
WP: Jack Kramer (1–0)   LP: Ted Wilks (0–1)

Jack Kramer struck out ten batters on the way to a 6–2 Browns triumph, the last World Series game the team would win until the 1966 World Series, as the Baltimore Orioles.

Game 4

Saturday, October 7, 1944 2:00 pm (CT) at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis (NL) 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 12 0
St. Louis (AL) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 9 1
WP: Harry Brecheen (1–0)   LP: Sig Jakucki (0–1)
Home runs:
SLC: Stan Musial (1)
SLB: None

Browns starter Sig Jakucki had been away from baseball for five years, but returned to win thirteen games in 1944. He lasted only three innings giving up four runs. Stan Musial hit a two-run homer in the first, and the Browns never recovered. Harry Brecheen went the distance for the win despite giving up nine hits and four walks.

Game 5

Sunday, October 8, 1944 2:00 pm (CT) at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis (NL) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 6 1
St. Louis (AL) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
WP: Mort Cooper (1–1)   LP: Denny Galehouse (1–1)
Home runs:
SLC: Ray Sanders (1), Danny Litwhiler (1)
SLB: None

Mort Cooper recovered from his opening game loss to beat Galehouse with a seven-hit, 2–0 shutout. In the Cardinals' 1942–1944 stranglehold on the National League championship, Cooper had won 65 games and thrown 23 shutouts.

Game 6

Monday, October 9, 1944 2:00 pm (CT) at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis (AL) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 2
St. Louis (NL) 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 X 3 10 0
WP: Max Lanier (1–0)   LP: Nels Potter (0–1)   Sv: Ted Wilks (1)

For Game 6, it was Max Lanier and Ted Wilks (who both had seventeen wins and shared a 2.65 ERA) that wrote the final chapter to the Browns' "Cinderella season" with a 3–1 victory that wrapped up the Cardinals' second Series title in three years. Ted Wilks was brilliant in relief, retiring all 11 Browns he faced, clinching the Cardinals 5th World Series title.

Composite box

1944 World Series (4–2): St. Louis Cardinals (N.L.) over St. Louis Browns (A.L.)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 3 0 3 4 0 2 1 1 1 0 1 16 49 1
St. Louis Browns 0 1 4 2 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 12 36 10
Total attendance: 206,708   Average attendance: 34,451
Winning player's share: $4,626   Losing player's share: $2,744[9]

Notes

  1. ^ Silver 2007
  2. ^ For a discussion and evaluation of how much difference this depletion of talent made, see Silver 2007.
  3. ^ "1944 World Series Game 1 – St. Louis Browns vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1944 World Series Game 2 – St. Louis Browns vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "1944 World Series Game 3 – St. Louis Cardinals vs. St. Louis Browns". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. ^ "1944 World Series Game 4 – St. Louis Cardinals vs. St. Louis Browns". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "1944 World Series Game 5 – St. Louis Cardinals vs. St. Louis Browns". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  8. ^ "1944 World Series Game 6 – St. Louis Browns vs. St. Louis Cardinals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  9. ^ "World Series Gate Receipts and Player Shares". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved June 14, 2009.

See also

References

  • Cohen, Richard M.; Neft, David S. (1990). The World Series: Complete Play-By-Play of Every Game, 1903–1989. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 196–200. ISBN 0-312-03960-3.
  • Reichler, Joseph (1982). The Baseball Encyclopedia (5th ed.). Macmillan Publishing. p. 2152. ISBN 0-02-579010-2.
  • Silver, Nate (2007). Goldman, Steven (ed.). "1944 American League: The Home Front". It Ain't Over 'til It's Over: The Baseball Prospectus Pennant Race Book. New York: Basic Books: 326–362. ISBN 0-465-00284-6.

External links

1906 World Series

The 1906 World Series featured a crosstown matchup between the Chicago Cubs, who had posted the highest regular-season win total (116) and winning percentage (.763) in the major leagues since the advent of the 154-game season; and the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox, known as the "Hitless Wonders" after finishing with the worst team batting average (.230) in the American League, beat the Cubs in six games for one of the greatest upsets in Series history. This was the first World Series played by two teams from the same metropolitan area.

The teams split the first four games; then the Hitless Wonders (a name coined by sportswriter Charles Dryden) exploded for 26 hits in the last two games. True to their nickname, the White Sox hit only .198 as a team in winning the series but it beat the .196 average produced by the Cubs.

In Game 3, Ed Walsh struck out 12 Cubs, breaking the previous record of 11 set by Bill Dinneen in 1903.

The 1906 Series was the first to be played between two teams from the same city. To date, it remains the only World Series played between the two Chicago teams (In fact, it would be another 102 years before both Chicago teams would qualify for the playoffs during the same season, as this was next accomplished in 2008), and one of only two Series (the other being the 1944 World Series) played outside New York City that featured two teams from the same city (although the 1989 World Series was played between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, which are roughly 10 miles apart). This is also the most recent World Series where both teams were making their first appearance in the Fall Classic.

1944 St. Louis Browns season

The 1944 St. Louis Browns season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Browns finishing first in the American League with a record of 89 wins and 65 losses. In the World Series, they lost to the team they shared a stadium with, the Cardinals, four games to two.

1944 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1944 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 63rd season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 53rd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 105–49 during the season and finished 1st in the National League. In the World Series, they met their town rivals, the St. Louis Browns. They won the series in 6 games.

1985 World Series

The 1985 World Series began on October 19 and ended on October 27. The American League champions Kansas City Royals played the National League champions St. Louis Cardinals, with the Royals upsetting the heavily favored Cardinals in seven games. The Series was popularly known as the "Show-Me Series" or the "I-70 Showdown Series," as both cities are in the state of Missouri which is nicknamed the "Show Me State" and are connected by Interstate 70.

The Cardinals won the National League East division by three games over the New York Mets, then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to two in the National League Championship Series. The Royals won the American League West division by one game over the California Angels, then defeated the Toronto Blue Jays four games to three in the American League Championship Series.

The Cardinals were seeking to win their NL-leading 10th World Series title, while the Royals were seeking their first World Series title. The Royals were completing one of the most successful decades by any expansion team, with six division titles and two pennants from 1976 to 1985. This was the first World Series in which all games were played at night. Also, this was the first World Series to feature television commentator Tim McCarver, who called the games for ABC with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer. (Howard Cosell was originally scheduled to be in the booth with Michaels and Palmer, but was removed from his assignment just prior to Game 1 because of the controversy surrounding his book I Never Played the Game.) McCarver would go on to call a record 24 World Series telecasts for various networks.

This was the second Missouri-only World Series, with the first being the 1944 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns (the Browns later moving and becoming the Baltimore Orioles). The 1985 World Series marked the 5th time in World Series history that a team came back from a three games to one deficit to win a championship, and the first in which that team lost the first two games of the series at home. Bret Saberhagen's victories in Games 3 and 7, with him allowing only a single run on both starts, earned him the World Series Most Valuable Player award.

This was the last World Series in which the designated hitter was not used in an American League baseball park. From 1976 to 1985, in even-numbered years, the DH would be used in all games. In odd-numbered years, like this World Series, the pitchers from both were required to bat for themselves throughout the series. Beginning with the next World Series, the DH rule would be used only in games played at the American League representative's park. The Royals became World Series champions for the first time in their history; they would return to the Series in 2014, in which they played the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants but lost in seven games. A year later in the 2015 World Series, the Royals would win their 2nd title against the New York Mets.

AL Kansas City Royals (4) vs. NL St. Louis Cardinals (3)

1989 World Series

The 1989 World Series was the 86th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1989 Major League Baseball season. A best-of-seven playoff, it was played between the American League (AL) champion Oakland Athletics and the National League (NL) champion San Francisco Giants. The Series ran from October 14 through October 28, with the Athletics sweeping the Giants in four games. It was the first World Series sweep since 1976, when the Cincinnati Reds swept the New York Yankees. The four-game sweep by the Athletics at the time would mark only the third time in World Series history that a team never trailed in any game, with the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers, 1966 Baltimore Orioles, and 2004 Boston Red Sox being the only other times this occurred, and the first in the playoff era (post-1968).

This marked the fourth World Series matchup, and first since 1913, between the two franchises. The previous three matchups occurred when the Giants were in New York and the Athletics resided in Philadelphia. The then New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1905 World Series four games to one, the Athletics defeating the Giants in the 1911 World Series four games to two, and then again in the 1913 Fall Classic four games to one. The series would be historic in other ways as well: the 76-year gap between matchups was the longest in World Series history, a record this World Series would hold until 2018 when the Red Sox and Dodgers met for their first World Series meeting in 102 years; it also marked the first time two franchises had faced off in the World Series after having once played each other when both were based in a different city.

Fay Vincent, who had just taken over as Commissioner of Baseball after the sudden death of his predecessor Bart Giamatti in September, presided over his first World Series and dedicated it to his predecessor's memory.This Series was also known as the "Bay Bridge Series," "BART Series," "Battle of the Bay," and "Earthquake Series" as the two participant cities lie on opposite sides of San Francisco Bay, connected by the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that occurred before the start of Game 3. It was the first cross-town World Series (involving two teams from the same metropolitan area) since 1956, and only the third such series that did not involve New York City (the 1906 and 1944 World Series, which featured matchups between Chicago and St. Louis teams, were the others).

On October 17, just minutes before the scheduled start of Game 3, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the Bay Area causing significant damage to both Oakland and San Francisco. Candlestick Park in San Francisco suffered damage to its upper deck as pieces of concrete fell from the baffle at the top of the stadium and the power was knocked out. The game was postponed out of concerns for the safety of everyone in the ballpark as well as the loss of power, with Vincent later saying that he did not know when play would resume. The series resumed on October 27 and finished the next day.

At the time, October 28 was the latest end date ever for a World Series, even though the series only lasted the minimum four games. (The 1981 World Series, which went six games, had also ended on October 28. This record was tied again in 1995, and has since been surpassed several times. The World Series now regularly concludes at the end of October or beginning of November due to the addition of the Division Series and Wild Card Games to the postseason.)Steve Wolf made Dave Stewart run into a pile on before the start of the game.

Al Jurisich

Alvin Joseph Jurisich (August 25, 1921 – November 3, 1981) was an American professional baseball player of Croat descent. A right-handed pitcher, the native of New Orleans, appeared in 104 games in Major League Baseball between 1944 and 1947 for the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. He stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 193 pounds (88 kg).

Jurisich appeared in one contest as a relief pitcher in the "All-St. Louis" 1944 World Series, won by his Cardinals in six games over the St. Louis Browns. He entered Game 3 in the bottom of the seventh inning with the Cardinals trailing, 4–2. He gave up two hits, doubles to Don Gutteridge and George McQuinn, and was charged with two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. The Browns would win the game, 6–2.

Jurisich was mainly a relief pitcher in the Majors, but he did make 42 starts in his 104 appearances and notched 13 complete games. He gave up 344 hits in 388​1⁄3 innings pitched, and issued 189 bases on balls. He had 177 strikeouts and five saves.

Augie Bergamo

August Samuel Bergamo (February 14, 1917 – August 19, 1974) was a Major League Baseball outfielder who played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1944 and 1945. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he stood 5'9" and weighed 165 lbs.

Bergamo is one of many ballplayers who only appeared in the major leagues during World War II. He was a valuable reserve on the 1944 World Series Champions, batting .286 in 80 games. He was the starting left fielder in World Series Game # 2 against the St. Louis Browns, won by the Cards 3-2 in 11 innings. Bergamo, the leadoff hitter, was 0-for-5 in the game but hit an RBI grounder in the third that plated the first Cardinal run. For the Series he appeared in three games, going 0-for-6 with one RBI and two walks.

In 1945, he batted .316 in 94 games, but St. Louis finished second that year, three games behind the Chicago Cubs.

Career totals for 174 games played include a .304 batting average (151-for-496), 5 home runs, 63 runs batted in, 86 runs scored, a .400 on-base percentage, and a slugging average of .401.

Blix Donnelly

Sylvester Urban "Blix" Donnelly (January 21, 1914 – June 20, 1976) was an American professional baseball player. A right-handed pitcher and lifelong resident of Olivia, Minnesota, Donnelly had an 18-year (1935–52) professional career and worked in 190 Major League games between 1944 and 1951 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves. He stood 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighed 166 pounds (75 kg).

Donnelly spent nine seasons in minor league baseball; in 1941, he had 28 wins and 304 strikeouts for the Class C Springfield Cardinals of the Western Association. He was promoted to the Major Leagues and the St. Louis Cardinals as a 30-year-old rookie in 1944. In 27 games, four as a starting pitcher, Donnelly posted a career-best 2.12 earned run average, won two of three decisions, and collected four saves as the Redbirds won their third successive National League championship.

Donnelly then turned in two outstanding performances in relief in the "All-St. Louis" 1944 World Series. In his first outing, in Game 1, he retired all six St. Louis Browns to face him, but the Browns held on for a 2–1 triumph. Then, in Game 2, Donnelly relieved starting pitcher Max Lanier in the eighth inning of a 2–2 tie. He worked four scoreless frames, allowing two hits and one base on balls while striking out seven, and was the winning pitcher when pinch hitter Ken O'Dea drove home the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series over the Browns in six games.

Donnelly was sent to the Phillies in 1946 and spent 4​1⁄2 seasons with them, appearing in 113 games as both a starter and reliever. He was a member of the 1950 "Whiz Kids" edition that won the NL pennant, but at age 36 he was one of the older players on the squad and did not appear in the 1950 World Series.

All told, Donnelly allowed 659 hits in 691​2⁄3 MLB innings pitched, with 306 bases on balls and 296 strikeouts. He recorded 27 complete games as a starter and 12 saves as a reliever.

Don Gutteridge

Donald Joseph Gutteridge (June 19, 1912 – September 7, 2008) was an American infielder, coach and manager in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates, and later managed the Chicago White Sox in 1969–1970. He was born in Pittsburg, Kansas, and was the first cousin of former MLB catcher Ray Mueller.

Gutteridge played his first game for the Cardinals at age 24, and in only his fifth career major league game hit two home runs in the first game of a doubleheader on September 11, 1936, including an inside-the-park home run and one steal of home plate. He was an average hitter with excellent speed and fielding ability (he turned five double plays in a game in 1944 during the Browns' only pennant-winning season). Gutteridge was sold to the Red Sox in 1946, where he played in his only other World Series. He retired from playing after only two games with the Pirates in 1948.

In 1151 games over 12 seasons, Gutteridge compiled a .256 batting average (1075-for-4202) with 586 runs, 200 doubles, 64 triples, 39 home runs, 95 stolen bases, 309 base on balls, 444 strikeouts, .308 on-base percentage and .362 slugging percentage. Defensively, he recorded a .956 fielding percentage. In the 1944 and 1946 World Series, covering 9 games, he batted .192. (5-for-26).

Gutteridge coached for the White Sox for over a decade (1955–66 and 1968–69), including the 1959 pennant-winning team, and in 1969 he succeeded Al López as manager on May 3. He led Chicago to a fifth-place finish in the AL West that season and was fired with 26 games left in the 1970 season on September 1. He was replaced by interim manager Bill Adair. His record over those two partial seasons was 109–172 (.388).

Gutteridge died on September 7, 2008, in his hometown of Pittsburg after contracting pneumonia. At the time of his death, Gutteridge was the oldest living former manager or coach in Major League Baseball. He was also the last living St. Louis Brown who played in the 1944 World Series—the franchise's only Fall Classic.

Emil Verban

Emil Matthew Verban (his original Croatian name is Vrban; born August 27, 1915 – June 8, 1989) was a second baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1944–1946), Philadelphia Phillies (1946–1948), Chicago Cubs (1948–1950) and Boston Braves (1950). Verban batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Lincoln, Illinois.Verban was a second baseman noted primarily for his fielding with four National League teams from 1944 through 1950. Verban did not reach the major leagues until the age of 28, when he joined the St. Louis Cardinals. He distinguished himself in the 1944 World Series against the St. Louis Browns, batting .412 (7-for-17) and driving in the deciding run in Game Six as the Cardinals won, 4 games to 2. Browns owner Don Barnes had earned the ire of Verban after refusing his request for a better seat for his pregnant wife. After the final game of the series, Verban was quoted as saying, "Now you can sit behind the post, meathead", in reference to Barnes.His most productive season came in 1945, when he hit .278 and posted career-highs in runs (59), hits (166), doubles (22), triples (8) and runs batted in (72), and led the National League in games played (155) and fielding percentage (.978).Verban also played for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves, and made two consecutive appearances in the All-Star Game (1946–47). In 1947, he became the first Phillies second baseman to start an All-Star game. A good contact hitter, from 1947-48 he led the league in at-bats per strikeouts (67.5 and 34.8).In a seven-season career, Verban posted a .272 average with one home run and 241 RBI in 853 games.In 1975, a group of Chicago Cubs fans based in Washington, D.C. formed the Emil Verban Society to honor him. Verban was picked as the epitome of a Cubs player, competent but obscure and typifying the work ethic. Verban initially believed he was being ridiculed, but his ill feeling disappeared several years later when he was flown to Washington to meet President Ronald Reagan, also a society member, at the White House.Verban died in Quincy, Illinois, at the age of 73.

Freddy Schmidt

Frederick Albert Schmidt (February 9, 1916 – November 17, 2012) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for three different teams between 1944 and 1947. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Listed at 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), 185 lb (84 kg), he batted and threw right-handed.

Schmidt entered the majors in 1944 with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing for them one year before joining military service during World War II. In his rookie season, Schmidt went 7–3 with a 3.15 earned run average, two shutouts, and five saves to help his team to clinch the National League pennant. He also pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief in Game 3 of the 1944 World Series, won by the Cardinals over the St. Louis Browns in six games.

After his discharge, Schmidt rejoined St. Louis in 1946 but he was not the same after that. He divided his playing time with the Cardinals, Phillies and Cubs in 1947, his last major league season.

In a three-season career, Schmidt posted a 13–11 record with 98 strikeouts and a 3.75 ERA in 85 appearances, including 15 starts, three complete games, two shutouts, five saves, and 225.1 innings.

Schmidt died on November 17, 2012.

At the time of his death, Schmidt (96) was recognized as the fourth oldest living major league ballplayer. From November 2011 until his death, he was the oldest to have played for a World Series–winning team. He was also the oldest living player for the Cardinals and Phillies.

Harry Brecheen

Harry David Brecheen (October 14, 1914 – January 17, 2004), nicknamed "The Cat", was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played most of his career for the St. Louis Cardinals. In the late 1940s he was among the team's stars, in 1946 becoming the first left-hander ever to win three games in a single World Series, and the only pitcher ever to win consecutive World Series games. He later leading the National League in several categories in 1948.

His career World Series earned run average of 0.83 was a major league record from 1946 to 1976. From 1951 to 1971 he held the Cardinals franchise record for career strikeouts by a left-hander, and he also retired with the fourth-highest fielding percentage among pitchers (.983), then the top mark among left-handers.

List of St. Louis Browns Opening Day starting pitchers

The St. Louis Browns were a Major League Baseball team that played in St. Louis, Missouri from 1902 through 1953. The franchise moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where it was known as the Milwaukee Brewers, after the 1901 season. It moved to Baltimore, Maryland after the 1953 season, where it became known as the Baltimore Orioles. The Browns played their home games at Sportsman's Park. They played in the American League. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Browns used 35 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 52 seasons. The Browns won 26 of those games against 25 losses in those Opening Day starts. They also played one tie game.Urban Shocker and Ned Garver had the most Opening Day starts for the Browns, with four apiece. Harry Howell, Carl Weilman, Sam Gray and Bobo Newsom each had three Opening Day starts for the Browns. The other pitchers with multiple Opening Day starts for the Browns were Red Donahue, Jack Powell and Lefty Stewart. The Browns won three of both Shocker's and Garver's Opening Day starts, more than any other Browns' pitchers. The Browns lost two of Weilman's Opening Day starts. They did not lose more than one Opening Day game started by any other pitcher.

Although over their history the Browns won only one more Opening Day game than they lost, they did have a nine-game winning streak in Opening Day games from 1937 through 1945. That winning streak immediately followed their longest losing streak in Opening Day games, which was five losses from 1932 through 1936.

The Browns' first game in St. Louis was played on April 23, 1902 against the Cleveland Indians at Sportsman's Park. Their Opening Day starting pitcher for that game was Red Donahue. The Browns won the game 5–2. The Browns advanced to the World Series only once during their time in St. Louis, in 1944. In their only postseason appearance, they lost the 1944 World Series to their Sportsman's Park cotennant St. Louis Cardinals, four games to two. Jack Kramer was the Browns Opening Day starting pitcher that season. The Browns won that game.The franchise's only major league Opening Day game as the Milwaukee Brewers was played on April 25, 1901 against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. Pink Hawley was the Brewers' Opening Day starting pitcher. The Brewers lost the game by a score of 14–13.

Max Lanier

Hubert Max Lanier (August 18, 1915 – January 30, 2007) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He led the National League in earned run average in 1943, and was the winning pitcher of the clinching game in the 1944 World Series against the crosstown St. Louis Browns. His son Hal became a major league infielder and manager.

Born in Denton, North Carolina, Lanier was one of a handful of players who remained active during the World War II years. A naturally right-handed player, he had become a left-handed pitcher only because he twice broke his right arm in childhood. After signing with the Cardinals in 1937, he reached the major leagues in 1938. He had arguably his best season in 1943, compiling a 15–7 record with a league-best 1.90 ERA. In 1944 he won a career-high 17 games, and was the winner of the final game of the World Series against the crosstown Browns. He was named an NL All-Star in both 1943 and 1944.

Lanier, along with a dozen other major leaguers, defected to the Mexican League in 1946 after being offered a salary nearly double what he was making with the Cardinals. Disappointed by poor playing conditions and allegedly broken contract promises, he tried to return to the Cardinals in 1948, but was barred by an order from commissioner Happy Chandler, imposing a five-year suspension on all players who had jumped to the Mexican League. In response, Lanier and teammate Fred Martin, as well as Danny Gardella of the New York Giants, sued Major League Baseball in federal court, challenging baseball's reserve clause as a violation of U.S. antitrust law (preceding the similar suit by Curt Flood some 25 years later). Chandler reinstated Lanier and the other players in June 1949. Lanier immediately held out for more money than he was being paid at the time of his leaving for Mexico, but eventually signed a contract paying him the same amount as in 1946.Lanier rejoined the Cardinals in 1949. After winning a total of 101 games for the club, he ended his career with the New York Giants (1952–53) and the Browns (1953).

Over fourteen seasons, Lanier posted a 108–82 record with 821 strikeouts and a 3.01 ERA in 1619​1⁄3 innings pitched, including 21 shutouts and 91 complete games.

Lanier died at age 91 in Dunnellon, Florida.

Mike Chartak

Michael George Chartak (April 28, 1916 – July 25, 1967) was an American professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees (1940, 1942), Washington Senators (1942), and St. Louis Browns (1942–1944).

Chartak was born in 1916, in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. Mike played four seasons in the major leagues: 1940 with the New York Yankees; 1942 with the Yankees, Washington Senators, and St. Louis Browns; and 1943–1944 with the Browns. In his major league career, Chartak appeared in 256 games and had 186 hits, including 21 home runs, in 765 at bats. He appeared as a pinch hitter in two games of the 1944 World Series, the second appearance resulting in a strikeout to end the sixth and final game. His strikeout that ended the 1944 World Series would wound up being the last at-bat of his career.

He died of tuberculosis on July 25, 1967, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at age 51.

Red Hayworth

Myron Claude "Red" Hayworth (May 14, 1916 – November 2, 2006) was an American professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball from 1944-1945. He was listed at 6 ft 1.5 in (1.87 m), 200 lb. Hayworth batted and threw right-handed.Hayworth was born in High Point, North Carolina. His older brother, Ray Hayworth, also was a major league catcher.

He spent more than 50 years in baseball. Considered a light-hitting but solid catcher, he started his professional career in 1936 with the Akron Yankees. After eight years in the minor leagues, he entered the majors in 1944 as one of two catchers for the only St. Louis Browns club to ever win an American League pennant. He shared duties with Frank Mancuso, hitting .222 in 90 games. The Browns lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1944 World Series as Hayworth started all six games, collecting two hits in 17 at bats with one run and an RBI. He played his last majors season with St. Louis in 1945.

In a two-season career, Hayworth was a .212 hitter (91-for-430) with one home run and 42 RBI in 146 games, including 27 runs, 15 doubles, and one triple.

Following his major league career, Hayworth played, managed and coached in the minors, and later served as a scout until the late 1980s.

Hayworth died in his hometown of High Point, North Carolina, at the age of 90.

Red Munger

George David "Red" Munger (October 4, 1918 – July 23, 1996) was an American professional baseball player, a right-handed pitcher who spent a decade in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals (1943–44; 1946–52) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1952; 1956). The native of Houston, Texas, stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 200 pounds (91 kg).

Munger pitched a complete game, 12–3 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of the 1946 World Series at Fenway Park. He gave up nine hits, including a home run by future Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, but only one run was earned. Munger's victory in his only World Series appearance was the only Cardinal win not registered by teammate Harry Brecheen, whose three triumphs propelled the Redbirds to a seven-game World Series championship over the Red Sox.A three-time National League All-Star, Munger worked in 273 regular-season Major League games during his career, winning 77 and losing 56 (.583) with an earned run average of 3.83. He struck out 564 batters in 1,228​2⁄3 innings pitched. In 1944, he won 11 of 14 decisions in 21 games, 12 as a starter, with a 1.34 earned run average. He entered the United States Army for World War II service during the middle of that campaign, and did not qualify for the National League's ERA title. He also missed the 1944 World Series, which delivered another Cardinal championship.

Munger took a regular turn in the Cardinal starting rotation from mid-1946 through 1950, then was traded to the Pirates in May 1952. Pittsburgh sent Munger to their top minor league affiliate, the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League, and he responded with 17- and 23-win seasons in 1954–55. During the latter year, at age 36, he registered 25 complete games and an ERA of 1.85. The standout season brought Munger to the Major Leagues for one last campaign, as a relief pitcher and occasional starter for the 1956 Pirates. All told, as a minor leaguer, Munger won 152 games; as a professional, he compiled a 229–174 (.568) record during a career that stretched from 1937 to 1958.

Munger died in 1996, in Houston, aged 77.

Sig Jakucki

Sigmund "Jack" Jakucki (August 20, 1909 – May 28, 1979) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball. He played for the St. Louis Browns.

In 1935, Jakucki went 15–14 for Galveston of the Texas League. The Browns purchased him the following year, but he pitched poorly for them, going 0–3 with an 8.71 earned run average in 20.2 innings.

Jakucki quit the minor leagues in 1938. He moved on to various semi-pro teams in Texas while also working as a paperhanger. During World War II, however, the Browns ran short of players and re-signed him. In 1944, he returned to the majors and went 13–9 with a 3.55 ERA. He defeated the New York Yankees, 5 to 2, in the final game of the 1944 season to clinch the pennant for St. Louis. He lost his only start in the 1944 World Series.

In 1945, Jakucki went 12–10. However, he was also very temperamental and an alcoholic. He apparently derived pleasure in tormenting teammate Pete Gray, who had only one arm. One day, the two got into an argument and settled it with a fight, with Sig holding one arm behind his back. Jakucki was kicked off the team by manager Luke Sewell late in the season and never returned to the majors.He died in Galveston, Texas, at the age of 69, reportedly destitute.

Jakucki's name, misspelled "Jackucki", appears in the sheet music for Dave Frishberg's song "Van Lingle Mungo".

Tom Dunn (umpire)

Thomas Patrick "Tom" Dunn (March 15, 1900 – January 20, 1976) was a professional baseball umpire who worked in the National League from 1939 to 1946. Dunn umpired 1146 regular season Major League Baseball (MLB) games in his 8-year career. He also umpired in the 1944 World Series and the 1943 All-Star Game.

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