Howard Joseph Pollet (June 26, 1921 – August 8, 1974) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball during the 1940s and 1950s. A three-time All-Star in 1943, 1946 and 1949, he twice led the National League in earned run average (1.75 in 1943 and 2.10 in 1946).
|Born: June 26, 1921|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Died: August 8, 1974 (aged 53)|
|August 20, 1941, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 23, 1956, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Earned run average||3.51|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born in New Orleans, Pollet signed his first professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, and it was as a Cardinal that he achieved his greatest success. In 1941, he won 20 of 23 decisions and led the Class A1 Texas League in ERA (1.16) and strikeouts (151) as a member of the Houston Buffaloes. This performance earned Pollet a promotion to the Cards that season: as a rookie, he won 5 and lost 2, with an ERA of 1.93. He missed the 1944–45 seasons while serving in the United States Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.
Pollet returned to baseball in 1946, and promptly played a major role in the Redbirds' National League pennant and world title. In addition to topping the NL in earned-run average, he led the league in wins (21) (losing ten) and innings pitched (266). When the Cardinals finished in a tie for the pennant with the Brooklyn Dodgers at the close of the regular season, he was chosen by manager Eddie Dyer to start Game 1 of the best-of-three National League playoff on October 1. Pollet hurled a complete game, 4–2 victory in the opener, and the Cardinals wrapped up the league title by easily winning Game 2 behind Murry Dickson. Pollet started two games of the 1946 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, and lost his only decision, posting an ERA of 3.48 in 121⁄3 innings pitched.
Pollet's other outstanding season came in 1949, when he posted a 20–9 mark and led the NL in shutouts with five. That year, however, St. Louis finished second to Brooklyn by one game.
Pollet was traded to the second-division Pittsburgh Pirates on June 15, 1951, and thereafter struggled to post a winning record. During his 14-year career, he won 131 and lost 116 (.530) with a career ERA of 3.51. As a Cardinal (1941–43; 1946–51), his record was 97–65; as a member of the Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox (1951–56), he won 34 and lost 51. Altogether, he worked in 403 Major League games pitched and 2,1071⁄3 innings pitched; he gave up 2,096 hits and 745 bases on balls with 934 strikeouts.
Pollet returned to the field in 1959 as the Cardinals' pitching coach, serving through 1964. In his last season there, the Cards won their seventh world championship. He then moved back to his adopted city of Houston in 1965, working as the pitching coach of the Astros for one season.
Pollet was a business partner of his former manager, Dyer, in insurance, real estate and energy companies in Houston. He retired from baseball and resumed his business career after the 1965 season, and died from adenocarcinoma in Houston at age 53 in 1974.
| St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach
| Houston Astros pitching coach
The 1941 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 60th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 50th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 97–56 during the season and finished 2nd in the National League.1942 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1942 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 61st season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 51st season in the National League. The Cardinals went 106–48 during the season and finished first in the National League. In the World Series, they met the New York Yankees. They won the series in 5 games.
Pitcher Mort Cooper won the MVP Award this year, with a 1.78 ERA, 22 wins, and 152 strikeouts.1943 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1943 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 62nd season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 52nd 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 the New York Yankees. They lost the series in 5 games.1943 World Series
The 1943 World Series matched the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals against the New York Yankees, in a rematch of the 1942 Series. The Yankees won the Series in five games for their tenth championship in 21 seasons. It was Yankees manager Joe McCarthy's final Series win. This series was also the first to have an accompanying World Series highlight film (initially, the films were created as gifts to troops fighting in World War II, to give them a brief recap of baseball action back home), a tradition that still persists.
This World Series was scheduled for a 3–4 format because of wartime travel restrictions. The 3–4 format meant there was only one trip between ballparks, but if the Series had ended in a four-game sweep, there would have been three games played in one park and only one in the other.
Because of World War II, both teams' rosters were depleted. Johnny Beazley, Jimmy Brown, Creepy Crespi, Terry Moore and Enos Slaughter were no longer on the Cardinals' roster. Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Red Ruffing and Buddy Hassett were missing from the Yankees, and Red Rolfe had retired to coach at Dartmouth College.
Cardinals pitchers Howie Pollet, Max Lanier and Mort Cooper ranked 1–2–3 in the National League in ERA in 1943 at 1.75, 1.90 and 2.30, respectively.1946 National League tie-breaker series
The 1946 National League tie-breaker series was a best-of-three playoff series at the conclusion of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1946 regular season to decide the winner of the National League (NL) pennant. The games were played on October 1 and October 3, 1946, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers. It was necessary after both teams finished the season with identical win–loss records of 96–58. This was the first ever tie-breaker series in MLB history. The Cardinals won the regular reason series, 16-8.
The first game took place at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, and the second, at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. The Cardinals swept the Dodgers behind wins from pitchers Howie Pollet and Murry Dickson, thus advancing to the 1946 World Series in which they defeated the Boston Red Sox, four games to three. In baseball statistics, the tie-breaker series counted as the 155th and 156th regular season games by both teams, with all events in the games added to regular season statistics.1946 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1946 St. Louis Cardinals season was a season in American baseball. It was the team's 65th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 55th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 96–58 during the championship season and finished tied with the Brooklyn Dodgers for first in the National League. St. Louis then won a best-of-three playoff for the pennant, 2 games to none. In the World Series, they won in 7 games over the Boston Red Sox. They won on Enos Slaughter's "mad dash" that gave them a 4–3 lead in the 8th inning of game 7.1946 World Series
The 1946 World Series was played in October 1946 between the St. Louis Cardinals (representing the National League) and the Boston Red Sox (representing the American League). This was the Red Sox's first appearance in a World Series since their championship of 1918.
In the eighth inning of Game 7, with the score 3–3, the Cardinals' Enos Slaughter opened the inning with a single but two batters failed to advance him. With two outs, Harry Walker walloped a hit over Johnny Pesky's head into left-center field. As Leon Culberson chased it down, Slaughter started his "mad dash". Pesky caught Culberson's throw, turned and—perhaps surprised to see Slaughter headed for the plate—supposedly hesitated just a split second before throwing home. Roy Partee had to take a few steps up the third base line to catch Pesky's toss, but Slaughter was safe without a play at the plate and Walker was credited with an RBI double. The Cardinals won the game and the Series in seven games, giving them their sixth championship.
Boston superstar Ted Williams played the Series injured and was largely ineffective but refused to use his injury as an excuse.
As the first World Series to be played after wartime travel restrictions had been lifted, it returned from the 3-4 format to the 2–3–2 format for home teams, which has been used ever since. It also saw the return of many prominent players from military service.1951 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The 1951 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 70th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 65th in the National League. The Pirates finished seventh in the league standings with a record of 64–90.1951 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1951 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 70th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 60th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 81–73 during the season and finished 3rd in the National League.1953 Chicago Cubs season
The 1953 Chicago Cubs season was the 82nd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 78th in the National League and the 38th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished seventh in the National League with a record of 65–89.1953 Philadelphia Phillies season
The 1953 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 71st in franchise history.1953 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The 1953 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 72nd in franchise history. In April 1953, the New York Yankees visited Forbes Field and played two preseason games against the Pirates. Mickey Mantle hit a 500-foot home run that landed on the roof.1954 Philadelphia Phillies season
The 1954 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished fourth in the National League with a record of 75 wins and 79 losses.1956 Chicago White Sox season
The 1956 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 56th season in the major leagues, and its 57th season overall. They finished with a record 85–69, good enough for third place in the American League, 12 games behind the first place New York Yankees.Bill Howerton
William Ray Howerton (December 12, 1921 – December 18, 2001) was an American professional baseball player. An outfielder, he appeared in Major League Baseball in 247 games played during all or part of four seasons (1949–1952), for the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Giants. The native of Lompoc, California, batted left-handed, threw right-handed; he stood 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).
Howerton grew up on a ranch in Santa Ynez, California. After graduation from Santa Ynez High School, he attended St. Mary's College of California. He signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1943 and played three seasons in their farm system before being acquired by the Cardinals' organization. In September 1949, after Howerton batted .329 with 111 runs batted in for the Triple-A Columbus Red Birds, he was recalled by the Cardinals for a late-season trial. In 1950, he made the Redbird roster out of spring training and had his most successful MLB season, appearing in 110 games and collecting 88 hits (38 for extra bases) and 59 runs batted in. He was traded to the Pirates on June 15, 1951, in a blockbuster deal that included fellow Redbirds Howie Pollet, Ted Wilks and Joe Garagiola, and played in 80 games for Pittsburgh, batting .274 in his last full MLB season.
After retiring, Howerton entered the trucking business in California. He died in Blakely, Pennsylvania, at age 80. His son, also named Bill, was the head baseball coach of the University of Scranton from 1987 to 2002.Howie Moss
Howard Glenn Moss (October 17, 1919 – May 7, 1989) was an American professional baseball player, an outfielder and third baseman who was a prodigious home run hitter in minor league baseball but who struggled in three Major League trials during the 1940s. Listed at 5 feet, 111⁄2 inches (1.82 m) tall and 185 pounds (84 kg), Moss batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Moss — nicknamed "Howitzer" — built his legacy as one of the most feared sluggers of the International League in the 1940s. In 1944, his batting prowess drove the Baltimore Orioles to the Governors' Cup championship title after he led the league hitters with 27 home runs, 141 RBI and 178 hits, while batting .306 with 122 runs and a .549 slugging percentage. For his heroics, he received the IL Most Valuable Player Award.
In 1945, Moss served for one year for the United States Coast Guard during World War II. After being discharged from service, he again led the league in home runs for three consecutive seasons, hitting 38 in 1946, 53 in 1947, and 33 in 1948. His single-season home run mark of 53 has not been reached since then in the International League. He also is the only player in IL history to lead the circuit in home runs four times. In 1960, Moss was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.
Moss endured three failed Major League tryouts. He was held hitless in 14 at bats in his first MLB audition in 1942 for the New York Giants. Then, in 1946, playing for the Cincinnati Reds, he extended his hitless skein to 22 at bats by going 0-for-8 before collecting three singles in four at-bats on April 24 against ace St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Howie Pollet. Returned to the minor-league Orioles in May, he played in 130 games for Baltimore, then was called up by the parent Cleveland Indians in September. Moss started eight games for Cleveland but could only muster two hits in 32 at-bats (.063).Altogether, in 22 Major League games, 75 plate appearances and 72 at-bats, Moss garnered only seven hits, none for extra bases, with 17 strikeouts, three bases on balls, and one run batted in, batting .097.
Moss died in Baltimore, Maryland, at the age of 69.Mel Clark
Melvin Earl Clark (July 7, 1926 – May 1, 2014) was an American professional baseball player, an outfielder who appeared in 215 Major League (MLB) games over all or parts of six seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies (1951–1955) and Detroit Tigers (1957). He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg).
Clark was born in Letart, West Virginia, graduated from Wahama High School, and—after World War II service in the Pacific Theater in the United States Navy—attended Ohio University. Signed by the Phillies in 1947, he spent five years in their farm system before his September 1951 end-of-season recall. Clark hit the ground running, collecting seven hits in his first 14 MLB at bats, including his first big-league home run, hit September 12 against Howie Pollet of the Pittsburgh Pirates.He then spent all of 1952, 1953 and 1954 as a spare outfielder on the Phillies' roster. He hit a robust .335 and .298 in his first two full years, but a knee injury suffered during 1953 took its toll on Clark's production. His batting average fell to .240 during 1954, then, in 1955, he was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse at the May cutdown when he could muster only a .156 batting average in ten games. The Phillies sent Clark to the Washington Senators in a July 1956 minor-league transaction; after a half-season at Triple-A, the Senators sold his contract to the Detroit Tigers, where in 1957 he batted seven times in five games before returning to the high minors for the final two seasons of his pro career.
In his 215-game MLB career, Clark had 182 hits in 656 at bats with 29 doubles, 15 triples and three home runs.Murry Dickson
Murry Monroe Dickson (August 21, 1916 – September 21, 1989) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball during the 1940s and 1950s. He was known for his vast array of pitches and deliveries — one of his managers, Eddie Dyer, nicknamed him "Thomas Edison" for his inventiveness — and for the longevity of his career.
Although Dickson would lead the National League in defeats for three successive seasons (1952–54), he pitched the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1946 NL pennant by beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in the decisive Game 2 of the league playoffs. Then, during the 1946 World Series, he started Game 7 against the Boston Red Sox, a game the Cards would ultimately win for the world championship.
Born in Tracy, Missouri, Dickson entered professional baseball and the vast Cardinal farm system in 1937. After three outstanding minor league seasons with the 1939 Houston Buffaloes (winning 22 games to lead the Texas League) and the 1940–41 Columbus Red Birds, Dickson joined the Cardinals for good in 1942. He compiled a 14–5 record for the Cards in 1942–43 (both clubs reaching the World Series) before joining the U.S. Army for military service in the European Theater of Operations during World War II.In 1946, he returned to the Major Leagues and won 15 games for pennant- and world title-bound Cardinals, none bigger than his defeat of the Dodgers in the 1946 National League tie-breaker series. The two teams had finished in a dead heat after the 154-game regular-season schedule; according to National League bylaws of the time, they would play a best-of-three series to determine the league champion. St. Louis won the opening game behind Howie Pollet, and in Game 2, in Ebbets Field, Dickson shut down the home club until the ninth inning, and the Cards racked up an 8–4 victory and the league pennant. Dickson led the league in winning percentage (.714) that season. He lost Game 3 of the 1946 World Series to the Red Sox, but pitched seven strong innings in the Series' final game, with Harry Brecheen getting the win after St. Louis rallied in the eighth stanza.
Dickson compiled an over .500 won-loss record only once in the next eight years, but it was a notable effort. His contract was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates on January 29, 1949. In 1951, Dickson won 20 games (losing 16) for the seventh-place Pirates, who won only 64 contests for the entire season. He had 19 complete games that season, and 21 in 1952, when he won 14 and lost 21 for a last-place Pittsburgh team that won only 42 games all year. (Thus Dickson accounted for 31 percent of Pirate victories in 1951, and a full one-third of the team's wins in 1952.) He then dropped 19 decisions in 1953 and 20 more in 1954, his first season as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Late in his career, however, Dickson experienced renewed success with a return to the Cardinals (1956–57) and as a relief pitcher in the American League for the Kansas City Athletics and New York Yankees (1958–59). He retired from the game at age 43 with a career mark of 172 victories, 181 losses (.487) and an earned run average of 3.66 over 18 seasons, 625 appearances and 3,0521⁄3 innings pitched.
Dickson died at age 73 from emphysema in Kansas City, Kansas.Pete Naton
Peter Alphonsus Naton (September 9, 1931 – December 10, 2013) was an American professional baseball catcher who appeared in six Major League games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953. He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 200 pounds (91 kg).
Naton played in the third annual Hearst Sandlot Classic in 1949 and in the 1952 College World Series for the victorious Holy Cross Crusaders. On June 12, 1953, shortly after graduating from Holy Cross, Naton signed with the Pirates. Four days later, he made his MLB debut as the starting catcher in the second game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Naton was hitless in three at bats against Chicago left-hander Howie Pollet. Naton appeared as a pinch hitter three days later, going hitless, and then spent the middle of the season in the minor leagues before his recall to Pittsburgh in September. On September 13, Naton collected his first Major League hit, a single off Ken Raffensberger of the Cincinnati Redlegs. He also drew two bases on balls and recorded his only MLB run batted in. All told, he came to bat 12 times for the Pirates, with two hits — both singles.
After spending 1954 with the Class B Burlington-Graham Pirates, Naton was again added to Pittsburgh's 40-man roster in September. This time, however, he saw no action, and on Friday, November 19, was optioned to Hollywood to make room for Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh's selection in that year's Major League Draft. Naton spent the remainder of his career in the minors, almost exclusively in the Pittsburgh farm system; his lone break from the Pirates was a 10-game stint with the Dallas Eagles, an affiliate of the New York Giants. He retired after the 1958 campaign.He was inducted into the Holy Cross Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993.