22 Oct

ode to ’46

You don’t have to watch the TV broadcast of the World Series for very long before Fox starts hitting you with historical nuggets. “This is the first time since … .” “The last player to do that … .” The World Series brings out the history buff in all of us. So, on that note, let’s revisit what is arguably the best Mississippi-flavored World Series of all time. It was 65 years ago, 1946. Boston vs. St. Louis, Ted Williams vs. Stan Musial — one of the greatest Fall Classic matchups. Naturally, it went seven games. And it’s remembered mainly for Cardinals star Enos Slaughter’s going from first base to home plate with the Series-deciding run in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 7. Two Mississippians also had a profound impact on this World Series. Shaw’s Dave “Boo” Ferriss, in just his second season, was an emerging ace on the Red Sox’s staff, posting a 25-6 record with a 3.25 ERA. And Pascagoula’s Harry “The Hat” Walker was the Cardinals’ starting left fielder most of that season, batting .327. Ferriss started Game 3 and beat the Cardinals 4-0 on a six-hitter to give Boston a 2-1 edge. It was Ferriss’ 14th straight win at Fenway Park. St. Louis rebounded to win Game 4 12-3, with Walker picking up his first RBI. The series was tied 2-2. Walker drove in three more runs in Game 5, but Boston won 6-3. Back at Sportsman’s Park for Game 6, St. Louis stayed alive with a 4-1 win. Game 7 on Oct. 15, 1946, saw Ferriss return to the hill for Red Sox. But the big right-hander couldn’t match his Game 3 success and was knocked out in the fifth inning when St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1. Boston rallied, and the game went to the eighth tied 3-3. Slaughter led off the St. Louis half with a single but was still at first with two outs. Walker, a left-handed hitter, came to the plate to face Boston’s Bob Klinger. The Cardinals had Slaughter running with the pitch, and when Walker lashed it into left-center, Slaughter just kept running, apparently catching the Red Sox’s fielders off guard. He scored easily, and St. Louis held in the ninth to take the championship. The RBI was the sixth of the series for Walker, who hit .412. Slaughter’s “mad dash” gets top billing in the history books, but the contributions of Walker — and Ferriss, too — in making the ’46 World Series such a great one should also be recognized.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

Latest posts by Mike Christensen (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: