Two Cardinals legends battle it out in two historic performances, but which is the Greatest Cardinals Moment?
These two moments come from past eras of Cardinals baseball. Both champions had career defining moments in a Cardinals uniform. Whose career moment will prevail? Enos Slaughter or Bob Forsch?
Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash”
It’s the 1946 World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals versus the Boston Red Sox. Game seven. Bottom of the eighth. Tie game. The stakes do not get higher.
Slaughter, who had already had a great postseason, led the inning off with a single. Manager Eddie Dyer aimed to squeeze any runs out of the offense as he could, so he called for a sac bunt. Whitey Kurkowski failed to execute. Del Rice then proceeded to fly out to left field. A once promising inning had already folded, as Slaughter found himself stuck at first with two outs.
Then, Eddie Dyer decided to make the bold call of going for a hit and run. With Slaughter running, Harry Walker lined a single to left-center, where Boston centerfielder Leon Culberson fielded and threw to shortstop Johnny Pesky. Slaughter was reaching third base just as Pesky fielded the ball, and he didn’t hesitate for a second as he ran through the third base coach’s stop sign. Slaughter was headed home.
It’s unclear what exactly happened, but somehow Pesky delayed his throw into home. Some say he was checking first to make sure Walker didn’t advance. Others say a weak throw from Culberson was a culprit. Still, many believe the audacity of Slaughter’s decision to go for three bases on a single in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth of game 7 of the world freaking series was the true cause of Pesky’s confusion. I know I would be confused too. Slaughter beat the throw home and scored what would be the winning run and the Cardinals would win the world series.
Slaughter’s mad dash isn’t just a piece of Cardinals history, it’s a piece of baseball history. It’s the career defining play of a Hall of Famer. It had everything: high stakes, high risk and a big reward. The “Mad Dash” is forever immortalized in a statue outside of Busch Stadium. Slaughter has his place in baseball history, and it’s in no small part in thanks to this legendary play.
Bob Forsch’s second no-hitter
The fact that a pitcher throwing two no-hitters is the 15th seeded moment in Cardinals history speaks volumes to the great moments in this organization. Bob Forsch had already made his mark in baseball history when he threw his first no hitter against the Phillies on April 16, 1978. 5 years later, he still had something left to prove.
Forsch came into his start against the Montreal Expos on September 26th, 1983 pitching the worst season of his career. He hadn’t won a game since July 28th, and had been yanked before the sixth inning in his previous four starts. If you don’t believe me, don’t take my word for it. The man himself said after the game “I’ve had a pretty bad season.”
That all changed against the Expos. Forsch had his stuff on lock that day. He started out strong, retiring the first five batters he faced with relative ease. Then, Forsch plunked Gary Carter on the left arm, allowing him to move to first. An error that immediately followed the play put Carter on third and the Expos were threatening despite failing to record a hit. Forsch; however, was not to be denied on this day. He struck-out the last batter of the inning to get out of the “jam.”
With the fans cheering on, the 33 year old Forsch came out to finish the ninth inning. Forsch struck out pinch hitter Terry Crowley for his sixth and final strikeout. He then proceeded to retire Terry Francona and Manny Trillo to cap off the historic feat. He finished the game with only 96 pitches.
Bob Forsch is a certified Cardinals legend, and this game may be his crowning achievement. He had already won a world series with the Cardinals the year before, but pitching two no hitters in a Cardinals uniform certainly solidified his legacy as one of the best Cardinals pitchers to ever.