Friday, December 28, 2012

1956 TOPPS ENOS SLAUGHTER

AS A TEAMMATE, YOU LOVED HIM. AS A FOE ...
INDEED, HE WAS A BIT OF A ''MEANIE.''

THE FRONT PAGE

  • Enos Slaughter was the original Charlie Hustle. After being called out by a manager in the minors for not running all the way off the field, Slaughter from then on took, played and left the diamond in full gait. His "Mad Dash'' in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series epitomized his gung-ho attitude and proved once again that when you hustle, good things happen.

THE BACK PAGE

  •  Never been a comic book fan, but I could read the backs of cards with illustrations all day long, especially with jewels like, "Enos Slaughters Me!'' and "You Meanie!!'' And in this case, those cartoonish proclamations gave truthful insight into his character
  • The ink must have been running low at Topps. The category of the top line of the stats should say "Year'' and the bottom ''Life.''

PHOTO PLAY

  • A little odd seeing Country in a cap other than the Cardinals, with whom he spent 13 years. 
  • Instead of depicting him diving back to first, he should've been shown spiking the first baseman, as was his wont when the mood struck

EXTRA, EXTRA 

  • The "Mad Dash'' gave the Cardinals their second World Series title in five years and ruined Ted Williams' best chance at one. At least Red Sox fans would have to wait only 58 more years. The score was tied at 3 in the bottom of the eighth when Slaughter singled. He was still at first two outs later when Harry Walker reached on a hit to left center. When the ball was bobbled slightly, Slaughter hit another gear around second and ran through the third-base coach's stop sign. Shortstop Johnny Pesky, surprised to see him trying to score, double-clutched before going home. A sliding Slaughter beat the poor throw. A half-inning later, the Cardinals were world champs. 
  • Officially, Slaughter scored on a double, but most said it was a single as Walker broke for second only after the ball came home. Slaughter was honored in '99 with a statue in St. Louis, commemorating his signature moment. The play ranked 10th in an '01 Sporting News list of baseball's greatest moments.
  • Country, who played 19 seasons, was a singles hitter who finished with a career average of .300 on the button, 2,383 hits and played in the fourth most games as a Cardinal (1,820), behind Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock and Stan Musial. He also lost three prime seasons to World War II while in the Air Force.
  • A rural upbringing on a North Carolina tobacco farm and a sportswriter's allegation that he and another player were trying to organize a strike to protest Jackie Robinson's arrival with the Dodgers in '47 created suspicion Slaughter was a racist. 
  • Three months later, as a welcome-to-the-bigs show of hospitality, Slaughter spiked Robinson, who was playing first, in the thigh while running out a routine grounder.  Slaughter was known to try and spike opponents regularly; in fact, an anonymous player had said he was the dirtiest in the league. 
  • Slaughter, a 10-time All-Star, said in interviews and in his autobiography that he didn't treat Robinson differently from any other player. The racist label hurt Slaughter's Hall chances with the sportswriters, but in '85, he was elected by the Veterans Committee, of which sportswriter Bob Broeg and Hall of Famer Monte Irvin were his biggest backers.
  • Pete Rose has said Slaughter was the first player he saw on television running hard to first base after drawing a walk and decided to copy his all-hustle all-the-time ways. 


AN AFFABLE FELLOW WHEN I GOT HIS AUTOGRAPH.

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