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1946 St. Louis Cardinals

 
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1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/3/2009 5:24:24 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline
I wanted to try a historical replay league with the new AI GM, and this concept was at the top of my list of ideas. The St. Louis Cardinals are my favorite team, and Stan Musial was/is my favorite player. The Cardinals won the WS in 1946, but did not win again until 1964 (one year after he retired). This was partially due to bad management from the time that Branch Rickey left in 1942 through the mid-50's when August Busch bought the team. My goal for this league is to correct this injustice, and have Stan the Man be the cornerstone of the best franchise in baseball during its "golden age".

Shaun's statement in the 1.84 BETA 2 release notes was also a motivating factor in creating this league: "Updated Computer GM AI in real player associations. I doubt any of you guys will be able to beat it now. Good luck!" We'll see about that, Shaun.

The settings for this league are:
Real Major League Players - Career Mode
Use Finances (start at default 1% scale)
40 Player Organization Roster
Injuries Can Occur (YES)
Allow Computer AI Trades (YES)
Association Expansion Possible (YES)
Player/Team Affinity (YES)
Player Ratings Change In Season (YES)
Import Players Prior To Their MLB Debut (NO)
5-Man Rotations
Modern Closer Usage
Import Player Historical Stats (YES)

The 5-man rotations work ok even in the 40's because the AI often skips the 5th starter anyway. I like the extra starting pitcher for all the double-headers on the retrosheet schedule. The modern closer usage is also ok because some of the teams actually had/used closers even in 1946.

My own competitive rules for this league are:
- must not be the highest payroll in the league (but 2nd is ok)
- payroll must be less than the average of the top 3 teams (excluding the Cardinals)
- every game will be simulated so only the GM skills come into play (will manage WS games though, if I am lucky enough to get there)
- must use each year's initial amateur draft picks to select the Cardinals' major home-grown stars (although I can trade them later)

The Cardinals won the WS in 1946, so I am not starting with a weak roster. I am also starting with a pretty high payroll, which limited what I could do before my first spring training. However, like any good GM, I went looking for affordable upgrades.

My primary need was catcher. I did not like the idea of platooning Joe Garagiola/Ken O'Dea (L) with Del Rice/Clyde Kluttz (R). Del Rice was the Cardinals' primary catcher into the 50's, but he was not a good offensive player. I felt that upgrading this important position with a player that could be a fixture was a key to improving the long-term performance of the franchise. My first choice was Yogi Berra. This was in part to rectify an earlier transgression by Branch Rickey. In the early 40's, Rickey scouted two young catchers who were neighbors in the Italian section of St. Louis. He signed Garagiola but left Berra unsigned because Rickey knew he was leaving for the Dodgers and wanted Berra for his new team. Unfortunately for him, Berra signed with the Yankees instead. Unfortunately for me, Shaun's new AI wanted absolutely no part of a Berra trade that did not include Stan Musial on my side. Not just Stan alone mind you (decent offer but we want just a little more), but Stan plus one of Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, or Marty Marion. I think this extremely high price for Berra is very realistic for a 21-year future HOF catcher who is signed for the next 3 years at $21,000/year. There was no way I would part with Musial though.

Since Yogi was off the table, I went looking for other options. The Phillies were thrilled to trade their 25-year old catcher, Andy Seminick (potential 22 and developing), straight up for Del Rice (age 24, potential 48 and developing). I was thrilled too, so we made the trade. Andy Seminick was a solid starting catcher for the Phillies through the late 40's and early 50's. He was a star on the 1950 WS "Whiz Kids", and finished 14th in the MVP voting that year. Andy Seminick was definitely a better hitter than Del Rice, and possibly a better defensive catcher too. I immediately signed Andy to a 3-year extension. I felt he was well worth it, even though his annual salary was $30,000 more than the very inexpensive Del Rice. This was a fairly realistic trade, considering both players were at comparable stages of a long-term career. No one knows which will turn out to be the better player in this universe. I am betting heavily on Seminick, and hoping that he has upside over his real stats when placed on a great team surrounded by other good hitters.

You can never have too much pitching, and I wanted a solid fourth starter (right-handed) to go with Howie Pollet, Murry Dickson, and Harry Brecheen. Several teams wanted to give me their older (age 37-40) starters cheap, but I was looking for a long-term solution. The Red Sox were willing to part with Joe Dobson for Fred Martin. Martin was a 31-year old career minor-league starter (potential 13 and past-peak) with a brief but relatively successful major league career (12-3 3.78). Joe Dobson was a solid 29-year old starter (potential 24 and past-peak) over 13 major league seasons (137-103 3.62 lifetime) who was very durable, pitched a lot of innings, and was entering the prime of his career. Both were signed for 3 years. I felt the extra $50,000 salary per year for Dobson was very justified, and I plugged him into my rotation. (I also did not feel bad about stealing a pitcher from the Red Sox, who the Cardinals played in the 1946 WS.)

My very expensive starting rotation is entirely signed for 3-5 years each, so I hope they are worth it because I can't afford any more pitchers. In fact, I can't afford any more of anything. There are no available free agents worth signing anyway, so it is time to go to war with this group.

Lineup:
LF Harry Walker (L)
2B Red Schoendienst (S)
1B Stan Musial (L)
3B Whitey Kurowski (R)
RF Enos Slaughter (L)
C Andy Seminick (R)
CF Erv Dusak/Terry Moore (R)
SS Marty Marion (R)

Pinch-hitters:
Dick Sisler (L)
Moore/Dusak (R)

Starting Rotation:
Howie Pollet (L)
Murry Dickson (R)
Harry Brecheen (L)
Joe Dobson (R)
Al Brazle (L) or Ken Burkhart (R)

I'd like to keep Brazle in the bullpen to setup for my closer, Ted Wilks. This will depend upon how well Ken Burkhardt or Johnny Beazley can do as a fifth starter. I will start the season with Burkhardt there and skip his spot in the rotation when possible. Injuries and double-headers will cause me to make adjustments, I'm sure.

The PSPN power rankings are out, and they were apparently not impressed with my pre-season moves. I am predicted at 10th out of 16 teams, finishing 6th in the NL behind the Giants, Braves, Cubs, Reds, and Pirates, and ahead of only the Dodgers and Phillies. Well, PSPN isn't always right so we'll play it out anyway.





< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/3/2009 9:38:28 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/3/2009 7:03:53 PM   
Wrathchild


Posts: 817
Joined: 10/12/2007
From: Reading, PA
Status: offline
Nice detailed post! I like the way you have given insight into how you are approaching this. Should be interesting.

_____________________________

J.G. Wrathchild, Manager, St. Louis Cardinals (1900-1906), Brooklyn Superbas (1907, 1908)

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 2
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/3/2009 8:13:05 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline
Thanks, Wrathchild. Your posts have inspired me, so I hope I can be up to your standards. At the very least, I am having fun writing it and I know there are a few other hardcore people here that will enjoy reading about another league.


(in reply to Wrathchild)
Post #: 3
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/3/2009 8:32:19 PM   
Wrathchild


Posts: 817
Joined: 10/12/2007
From: Reading, PA
Status: offline
I haven't been updating mine lately as I was distracted by other things, but now I'm going to get back to it, since I want to get some more years played. This century replay is going to take a long time!

_____________________________

J.G. Wrathchild, Manager, St. Louis Cardinals (1900-1906), Brooklyn Superbas (1907, 1908)

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 4
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/3/2009 9:43:18 PM   
KG Erwin


Posts: 8856
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From: Cross Lanes WV USA
Status: offline
Pretty cool, Orcin! BTW, I'm competing with the '46 Dodgers, and I traded for Harry Pollet before the season started. I wanted Schoendienst, but they (you?) wouldn't let him go. THIS is where playing head-to-head would be good.

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 5
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/3/2009 11:28:30 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline
KG, if you and I were playing head-to-head, the poor Phillies and Pirates would be stripped of players. 


(in reply to KG Erwin)
Post #: 6
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/4/2009 2:19:13 AM   
DonBraswell


Posts: 383
Joined: 8/24/2005
From: Millbrook, Alabama
Status: offline
Count me in as a hard core reader. You've got me hook, line and sinker.

_____________________________

Don Braswell

PureSim Old Timer

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 7
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/4/2009 5:26:25 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline
reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of April 15, 1946:

As the Cardinals prepare to open the season at home tomorrow against the Pirates, General Manager Orcin is busy working the phones and has completed two minor deals today.

Veteran catcher Ken O'Dea was shipped to the Brooklyn Dodgers in return for minor-league pitching prospect, Rex Barney. Orcin said, "Baseball is, and always has been, all about starting pitching. You can never have too much of it. The scouts are very high on Barney, and we expect him to develop into a rotation pitcher for us." Barney hasn't shown much in his brief minor league career, but he is only 22 and still has time to justify this confidence. Barney will report to the AA Houston Buffaloes.

Brooklyn was looking for catching depth with only 3 catchers on their 40-man roster. O'Dea had been pushed down the depth chart in recent weeks, first due to the acquisition of Andy Seminick and then by the strong spring performance of 20-year old rookie, Joe Garagiola.

In another deal, center-fielder Buster Adams was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for 24-year old outfielder, Al Gionfriddo. Adams was not going to see much playing time with the move of Erv Dusak to center and Terry Moore available as the fourth outfielder. Gionfriddo hit .284 for the Pirates last season with an on-base percentage of .371. If he duplicates that performance here, he may push Harry Walker for the starting job in left field. He has the speed to steal bases like Walker, and could be a good leadoff man if he continues to get on base. Gionfriddo will open the season on the major-league roster.

Pittsburgh was very thin in experienced outfielders, and Adams will provide quality depth for them should one of their starters be unavailable due to injury.

Both of these moves make the Cardinals younger as O'Dea is 33 and Adams is 31. Orcin said, "We are always looking to improve our club, and we like to acquire young talent anytime it becomes available without sacrificing our core players."

<end of article>

Well, that's what I told the press anyway. In truth, these two deals were primarily about money, although they also make sense from a baseball standpoint. The trades for Seminick and Dobson had left me roughly $30,000 over budget. Trading Adams and O'Dea for prospects reduced my payroll by $35,000 without sacrificing anyone who would contribute significant playing time. I now have a little budget flexibility in case a high-value player becomes available on the waiver wire or at the trade deadline.

You can't tell the newspapers stuff like this though. They don't understand anything about budgets and money... they would have crucified me for trading these beloved veterans in a salary dump. So we feed them the pablum about improving the club and getting younger. Barney and Gionfriddo might develop into good players someday, so the spin in the paper is not all bull. But if they never develop, at least they are cheap and I saved some money on the veteran players that I would have released to make room for next year's draft picks.


(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 8
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/4/2009 9:58:53 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline
I thought this blog might improve a lot if I actually played some games. So here we go with the first month of the season.

GM's Monthly Status Report - April 1946:

This was a short month since the season started on the 16th. We finished April at 9-5, tied for second with the Giants and 1 game behind the Braves (10-4). Rookie manager Eddie Dyer seems to be getting comfortable in the job, and I don't see any problems with the way he is handling the players or in-game decisions.

Enos Slaughter is very hot and currently leads the N.L. in AVG (.397), HR (tied with 2), and RBI (15). Erv Dusak is hitting .364 and has not made an error in center field. Most of the other regulars are off to mediocre starts. However, we are 2nd overall in runs scored behind the Giants. The bench has played well. Andy Seminick is only hitting .244, but Del Rice is hitting .194 so we are ahead on that deal so far.

The starting pitching has been superb, and looks to be the strength of the club. Joe Dobson has pitched THREE complete game shutouts in 3 starts! He has a batting average against of .100 and a WHIP of 0.59. That's looking like a very nice trade (Fred Martin is 0-1 with an ERA of 3.46 in 2 starts for Boston). The other four starters are all pitching well. Pollet has the highest ERA in the group at 2.84. The rest are below 2.00. Overall, we are second in fewest runs allowed, again behind the Giants.

Ted Wilks has been perfect in the closer role, but the rest of the bullpen has been inconsistent. Al Brazle gave up 8 runs in one appearance but has been fine otherwise. Barrett, Munger and Beazley have pitched poorly nearly every time out. It's too early to panic, but I need to keep an eye out for a veteran reliever.

Unfortunately, Max Lanier suffered a serious calf injury in his first appearance, and went on the DL. He is currently projected to return in early June. Freddy Schmidt was called up to replace him. He might be the reliever that we are looking for but so far Dyer hasn't used him much. He also might be a good candidate to trade when Lanier comes back.

I checked with the Giants GM to see how he likes his club. Sid Gordon (LF) is their best offensive player at the moment. Incredibly, they are willing to trade Gordon for Terry Moore even up. This would mean a $40,000 increase in payroll, so it would require another move or two to make it work. This might be the best way to help ourselves and hurt the competition at the same time, although it would weaken our bench. I'll keep an eye on Gordon's performance over the next month.

We would need to move Dusak up in the batting order if we replaced Walker with Gordon, because Gordon is more of a run producer. We can surely find one CF to bat #1 or #2 among Dusak, Walker, and Gionfriddo. I hope it would be Dusak because he is the best defensive player. Dyer says Schoendienst could also bat leadoff, so we have options.

The Giants also have a reliever, Ken Trinkle, with an ERA of 1.29 that they will trade for a "bag of balls". He is 27 with a 5-year contract at $8,700 per year. I am not sure what the catch is, but I am also watching this one. He doesn't have much major league experience, so it would be a gamble to take him now.

I also made contact with the Braves. Their best offensive player is Tommy Holmes, and they consider him untouchable. The rest of their hitters are either the wrong position or not performing. They have a couple of relievers that they would deal, but nothing jumps out at me. I think we will have to beat these guys on the field.

Looking at the other end of the standings, Brooklyn seems interested in moving Hugh Casey (their closer). He could setup for Wilks, but he is 33 and on a 1-year contract. I don't really like that type of deal unless we are desperate for relief pitching. The Phillies and Pirates are not saying much yet, but it's early. They should start to change their disposition and define their interests soon enough. I'll keep an eye on these teams.


< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/4/2009 10:00:55 PM >

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 9
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/5/2009 3:09:12 AM   
Wrathchild


Posts: 817
Joined: 10/12/2007
From: Reading, PA
Status: offline
I like the style of this report.

_____________________________

J.G. Wrathchild, Manager, St. Louis Cardinals (1900-1906), Brooklyn Superbas (1907, 1908)

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 10
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/5/2009 5:24:36 AM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline




The Cardinals have been on a nice run in the first half of May. Here is the main reason...





Musial and Slaughter, now hitting 3-4, are literally tearing up the league. The rest of the lineup is doing pretty well except Marty Marion (.182), and he's not there for offense.

The pitching is holding up, although Joe Dobson (4-0 0.27) is on the 15-day DL with a minor injury. The bullpen is still scary other than Wilks but I just have to hope that some of these guys settle down. I can't replace all of them!


P.S. Look at how bad the White Sox are... yet they are not actively seeking deals? If I were their GM, I might trade the whole roster. They are seriously underachieving considering their actual record in 1946 was 74-80.

< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/5/2009 1:43:15 PM >

(in reply to Wrathchild)
Post #: 11
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/6/2009 6:42:41 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline



GM Status Report: May 1946

We ended May at 28-16, one-half game behind the first-place Cubs. We were 19-11 in May, staying on a very consistent pace to win 98 games. The first two months turned out pretty well considering we have played 25 road games vs. 19 home games, and we had four pitchers on the DL at one point. We just came back from a grueling 18 game road trip, which featured a 9 game winning streak at the start and a 6 game losing streak at the end. We were swept in Chicago while they were in the middle of a 10 game winning streak of their own. We start a 13-game home stand against the Giants this weekend, and it should help the team to get away from trains and hotels for a couple of weeks.


   


Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter are the two best hitters in the NL so far this season. We have the best offense in the association, scoring 5 runs per game with a .296 team batting average. Everyone in the lineup is playing pretty well, along with Dick Sisler and Terry Moore off the bench. Run production is not a big problem; however, we have scored 1 run or less in 10 of the 44 games. So we need more consistent hitting or Dyer needs to play for one run more often. We lead the league in stolen bases, but we don't hit and run or sacrifice much. Dyer says he doesn't want to take the bat out of anyone's hands but Marion (who does bunt often), and he doesn't like giving up outs on the basepaths.

The pitching is another story. We are in the middle of the pack with a team ERA of 3.85 compared to a league average of 3.93. Obviously, I am pretty happy with the four main starters. The closer, Ted Wilks, has been great with 11 saves in 12 opportunities. However, the fifth starter and the middle relief have been inconsistent, and that has cost us several games. Dyer has tried everybody, and only Munger has shown any decent results. Brazle has been bad in a couple of spot starts, and doesn't seem comfortable in short relief either. Unless the starters pitch eight innings every time out, we need to improve this aspect of the club.

Max Lanier is still on the DL, and has been joined by Johnny Beazley. They are both expected back around June 18-20. Beazley didn't pitch any better than the rest before his injury, and we haven't seen enough of Lanier to know. I don't think we can count on their return to solve the problem.

I have put aside my desire for Sid Gordon at the moment to focus on the pitching staff. Gordon still looks great, and the right-handed power bat would be a perfect fit between Musial and Slaughter in the lineup. However, I don't really want to part with either Whitey Kurowski, Terry Moore, or Ted Wilks, and those are the guys the Giants want. Moore is playing well, and I am afraid the bench would miss his right-handed bat. Besides, we lead the league in offense, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend more money there and tinker with something that is not broken.

I have made an extensive short list of pitching solutions. A couple of GM's are determined to move older pitchers. Washington is particularly impatient. They demoted left-hander Mickey Haefner (34) even though he has a 2.08 ERA, 3 complete games, and 8 quality starts. They are willing to trade him for anyone! He has a two-year contract for $63,000, which means I would need to move Brazle to balance him salary-wise. It's tempting. We could move Burhardt to the bullpen if we made the deal.

Washington also wants to move Dutch Leonard. I love this guy. He is a classy veteran knuckleball pitcher who could be a long-man/spot starter for several more years. His salary is such that I would need to move Brazle to get him or go over budget. I am not prepared to do either today, but the trade deadline is still 2 months away. I am watching Haefner and Leonard closely. I hope no other GM beats me to them, and that Washington doesn't come to their senses and take them off the market.

Cleveland is also very impatient with older pitchers. They have demoted Pete Center (0.49 ERA in 10 appearances) and Joe Berry (1.35 ERA with 15 saves). Both these guys have great stuff. Berry is 42 though. Center is 34 and has a two-year contract for $8,000 per year. They are willing to trade him for anybody, including our injured pitchers. This is very appealing because I don't have to go over budget to do this deal and I can save that option for later when someone really attractive gets released or becomes available at the trade deadline. I could also move a position player for him and not deplete the pitching staff. Center might be the setup guy we have been seeking.

The Athletics have a young (28) right-handed reliever, Everett Fagan, who is 2-0 with a 0.34 ERA. He has made 19 appearances and only allowed 1 earned run. I don't know if he is a flash in the pan or the real thing, but he is not expensive (2-year contract at $6,500). They want Howie Krist or Freddy Schmidt, both of whom have higher salaries. I am considering this one also, but it is more of a gamble.

The Braves demoted right-handed reliever Don Hendrickson (33) who had 10 appearances with an ERA of 1.17 and a 1.04 WHIP. Again, he hasn't had much major-league experience, but he is on a 1-year contract for $5,500 and they will take anyone for him. He is gamble too, but standing pat doesn't seem too attractive right now.





(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 12
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/6/2009 9:01:33 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of June 1, 1946:

The Cardinals made a couple of moves designed to shore up their sagging bullpen today.

The team traded minor-League outfielder Walter Sessi to the Cleveland Indians in return for a veteran reliever, Pete Center. Center had an ERA of 0.49 in 18 innings for the Indians, but was set to the AAA Baltimore Orioles on May 28. We can only assume that he was in manager Lou Boudreau's doghouse for some reason since he had made three solid relief appearances within the past week. Center was placed on the major-league roster, and reliever Johnny Grodzicki was sent to AAA Rochester.

The team also recalled reliever Howie Krist from Rochester, and sent down reliever Freddy Schmidt. Schmidt gave up 5 runs in 1/3 inning on May 28, and this move sends a clear signal that GM Orcin is searching for alternatives in the bullpen. Krist pitched in two games early this year before suffering a minor injury, and he is getting another chance to show what he can do with the big-league club.

The Cardinals will need to make some decisions on middle relievers this month, because Max Lanier and Johnny Beazley are both expected to retun mid-month.

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 13
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/6/2009 9:44:23 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline
reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of June 3, 1946:

The Cardinals' bullpen problems continued to mount yesterday. The team dropped both ends of a double-header to the Giants, and lost two more pitchers to injury in the process.

Al Brazle and Red Barrett both went down with minor arm injuries. The prognosis on each was 2 weeks to heal, and the lack of bullpen depth forced the team to place both on the 15-day DL. Freddy Schmidt and Johnny Grodzicki, both of whom were just sent to Rochester two days ago, were recalled to replace them on roster.

In addition, outfielder Erv Dusak will miss several games with a shoulder injury. He is officially listed as day-to-day, and might be available to pinch-hit.

Thankfully, the team has an off day today, so the two pitchers will have time to make the return trip and be available for the next game. The Cardinals have lost 9 of their last 10 games, and need to pull out of their pitching slump starting tonight against the hard-hitting Boston Braves.

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 14
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/6/2009 10:19:02 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline
reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of June 6, 1946:


Starting pitcher Harry Brecheen was placed on the 15-day disabled list today with a moderate wrist injury. Brecheen joins four other front-line pitchers on the DL. Rex Barney, 22-year old right-hander, was called up from AA Houston to replace Brecheen on the roster.

The Cardinals ran their losing streak to 5 games last night, and have now lost 11 of their last 12.

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 15
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/6/2009 11:34:39 PM   
Orcin


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Joined: 7/6/2009
Status: offline



The injuries continue to pile up! There is no reason to disable Burkhardt (the latest to go down) because I have no healthy pitchers left in the minors to replace him.

I am determined not to make a panic trade (long-term solution) to get through the next 10 days (short-term problem).




(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 16
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/7/2009 2:00:40 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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June 20, 1946:

Two days after a brutal Sunday and Monday featuring back-to-back double-headers (we won 3 of 4), I now have my full pitching staff healthy on the same day for the first time this season (knocking feverishly on wood as I write this). We are tied for first place at nine games over .500 after going 9-17 in my last 26 games. It could have been much worse.

I think I finally have the pitching staff sorted out. I have 5 reliable starters: Pollet, Dobson, Brecheen, Dickson, and Burkhardt. Two of my opening day bullpen candidates are really starters: Beazley and Brazle. They are going to AAA to be ready in case I need to replace one of the starters. Another bullpen guy is also really a starter (Barrett), but he will be tried in the long relief/spot starter job. This was previously Brazle's role, but he has a 7.71 ERA and I need better performance. One more bullpen guy is really a starter (Lanier), but I need to try him in the bullpen because he is my only left-handed reliever (and I need relievers).

I have three decent pure relievers: Wilks, Center, and Munger. Notice I didn't say reliable. I measure relievers on unscored appearances, and I want > 80%. Wilks is great with 15 of 17 (88%). Center is 13 of 17 (76%), but only 4 of 7 (57%) since being acquired by the Cardinals. That's not good enough for a setup man. Munger is 7 of 14 in relief appearances, and that's not good either.

Freddy Schmidt has 8 of 11 (72%), but he has really blown up in the other three. Still, he is good enough to take one of the last two spots in the bullpen along with Lanier. Howie Krist is 4 of 7 and Johnny Grodzicki is 5 of 7. They are at AAA and will be tried again if the major league short men continue to be inconsistent. Barney is a prospect and still at AA, and the other two pitchers on my roster are scrubs.

Why do all this analysis? I am preparing for the trade deadline. What do I have? Starters. What do I need? Short relief, preferably left-handed. Brazle makes pretty good money for a AAA starter. What I hope is that he gets hot in AAA and can replace Burhardt as the fifth starter. Either Burkhardt or Barrett or Beazley plus either Krist or Schmidt could then be traded for a couple of relievers. I don't want to give up on Brazle this year and trade him even though he is 33. I still see promise there (stuff 73, control 85).


< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/7/2009 2:02:32 PM >

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 17
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/7/2009 6:13:19 PM   
Wrathchild


Posts: 817
Joined: 10/12/2007
From: Reading, PA
Status: offline
What do you mean by unscored appearances for your relievers? Situations in which they give up 0 runs for the game?

_____________________________

J.G. Wrathchild, Manager, St. Louis Cardinals (1900-1906), Brooklyn Superbas (1907, 1908)

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 18
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/7/2009 6:24:36 PM   
Orcin


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Yes, I mean games where they allow 0 earned runs. If I am really looking carefully, I also call a relief appearance with 1 run allowed in three or more innings as "unscored". If you have two or more pitchers at 75% or higher, you have a pretty good bullpen.

(in reply to Wrathchild)
Post #: 19
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/7/2009 7:07:41 PM   
Orcin


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reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of June 27, 1946:


The Cardinals completed a trade of right-handed relief pitchers with the Philadelphia Athletics yesterday. The Cardinals sent 30-year old Howie Krist (0-0, 7.20 in 7 app) to the Athletics in return for 28-year old Everett Fagan (2-0, 1.31 in 26 app). Fagan has 5 holds and was among the top setup men in the American League. Krist had spent most of the season at AAA Rochester where he had a 4.30 ERA in 46 innings. Fagan will report to the Cardinals in time for tomorrow's game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals also recalled Al Brazle from Rochester to replace Harry Brecheen in the rotation. Brecheen suffered a hamstring pull in yesterday's win over the Phillies, and was placed on the 15-day DL for the second time this season.

The Cardinals are rumored to be talking trade with the Phillies for 26-year old star right-fielder Ron Northey. This would seem to be an odd move, considering the Cardinals already have a likely All-Star in right field (Enos Slaughter). The Phillies are allegedly asking for pitching prospect Rex Barney in return. Barney was acquired prior to the season for catcher Ken O'Dea. GM Orcin was in Philadelphia with the team this week, but he had no comment when asked about the trade rumor. Northey's contract expires at the end of this season and the Phillies, currently 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals, may be looking to get a prospect for Northey rather than offer the long-term contract that his performance this season (12 HR, 48 RBI, .321 AVG) may demand.


(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 20
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/7/2009 11:33:19 PM   
Orcin


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reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of July 7, 1946:


The Cardinals signed veteran lefthander Marius Russo to a contract yesterday, in the hope that he can recapture some of the magic from his pre-war career with the Yankees. Russo is a sinkerballer and had great success as a starter before damaging his arm in 1943. He spent two years in the service (stationed in Hawaii) and has been looking to catch on with a new team this season.

The Cardinals are hoping he can begin a new career as a left-handed relief specialist for them. Russo will report to the AAA Rochester Red Wings, and GM Orcin will be keeping a close eye on his progress. The team released 22-year old outfielder Jesse Bisson to make room for Russo on the roster.

The news on pitcher Red Barrett is not good. The arm injury that Barrett suffered on July 4 was more serious than first thought, and Barrett has been placed on the 60-day disabled list. The Cardinals are hoping to get him back for the September stretch drive.



< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/8/2009 1:03:00 AM >

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 21
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/8/2009 4:17:26 PM   
Orcin


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GM's Status Report: All-Star Break 1946

The Cardinals (47-34) are in first place by 3 games at the theoretical halfway point of the season. Considering the injuries to multiple pitchers, we are very fortunate to be in this position. Rookie manager Eddie Dyer has done a fantastic job of juggling the available pitchers through a lot of double-headers. We are scoring 4.81 runs per game while allowing 4.14 (3.81 ERA). Our offense is the best in the league and the pitching is second.

We had 7 players named to the All-Star team, more than any other franchise. Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial led all voting among NL position players, and Whitey Kurowski made the team as a sub. We also had four pitchers selected to the squad. Howie Pollet was a starter, and Ted Wilks was named as the closer. Pete Center and Everett Fagan were chosen as relievers, primarily based on their AL stats prior to us acquiring them in June.

We were 15-14 in June, including a horrible 4-9 home stand where we lost 6 pitchers to injury within a ten-day span. Two of those pitchers, Brecheen and Dickson, returned only to be hurt again in their next starts. They may have come back too soon but the team doctors swore they were ready.

We made some moves over the past month to bolster the bullpen for the second half. Center has not allowed a run in 10 of 13 (77%) appearances since the trade with a 3.68 ERA. Fagan is 2 of 3 with a 3.86 ERA. It’s too early to declare these successful trades or to assume that the bullpen is fixed. Howie Krist (who was traded for Fagan) has a 2.19 ERA in four appearances for the Athletics, but he wasn’t pitching that well for us.

Going into the second half, the rotation will be Pollet, Dickson, Brecheen, Dobson, and Brazle. Brazle pitched a 3-hit shutout in the last game before the all-star break and we are hoping that he will build on that to have a great second half. The long reliever/double-header starter will be Burkhardt, because Barrett is on the DL until September. Beazley and Lanier will begin the second half in AAA as starters unless one or both is traded.

Wilks will be the closer, of course. Center and Fagan will be the setup men, with Munger and Schmidt as middle relievers. Dyer wants a left-hander in the bullpen, so I am really hoping that Marius Russo catches fire at AAA and we can bring him up soon. Grodzicki is also in the bullpen at AAA, and Barney is doing very well at AA. I don't want to rush Barney up here again unless we run out of arms like we did in June.

The trade deadline is approaching, and I am still after one or two more pitchers. I like Cliff Fannin with the Browns. He is 22-year old right-handed reliever that throws hard with great movement. He has 30 K’s and 18 BB’s in 50 innings, and he is still developing. The Browns seem to want him to become a starter, but I am looking at him as a late-inning guy and eventually a closer if he can cut down on the walks. The Browns are deep in the bullpen, and he might be available even though he is an all-star selection. We'll be talking to the Browns up to the deadline, and we will continue to look for left-handed relief help also.

All of the injuries to the pitchers have us thinking about boosting the offense by acquiring another run producer before the deadline. We have scored 2 runs or less in 26 of 81 games (32%), and it would take some pressure off the pitchers if we could score 4-5 runs per game more consistently.

Sid Gordon is still the guy I really want, but he is expensive at $65,000 per year. He is also going to cost us a premium player from the major-league roster. There is an alternative that fits our salary budget better and won’t cost us a major-league player. You have already heard about this rumor in the papers because the Phillies leaked the story to start a bidding war.

I approached the Phillies about all-star outfielder Ron Northey, and they are willing to move him if they are still out of the race at the deadline. He has a one-year contract, and they are afraid that his asking price will be beyond what they want to pay. They prefer to get something for him now rather than lose him in free agency, and they want Rex Barney, Johnny Beazley, or Lou Klein. Klein is our only 2B besides Schoendienst and trading him would leave us very short on infielders. We have 19 pitchers on the 40-man roster, so trading Beazley or Barney makes more sense than a position player. I hate to part with young pitching, so I am more inclined to move the 28-year old Beazley and his 5-year contract.

If we acquire Northey, we will play him in left field and move Walker to center. Dyer says he would bat Northey (L) sixth between Kurowski (R) and Seminick (R) and he likes the idea of replacing the right-handed Dusak with Northey in the lineup. (What manager doesn’t like adding an all-star power hitter to the lineup?) We will still have Dusak to back up all three outfield spots and Gionfriddo (who can also play center) backing up Walker as a leadoff man.

The defense will be weaker, but Northey is a decent outfielder and we have Dusak as a late-inning defensive replacement. Anyway, we should score more runs than we give up on defense since Dusak is hitting .265 with 4 HR and 27 RBI as the starter in center field while Northey is hitting .310 with 13 HR and 52 RBI.

We would have an extra outfielder after this trade and Terry Moore could be moved for a pitcher (Fannin?). I would love to see Moore retire as a Cardinal, but we may not have that luxury. We need to sign Northey to a contract extension and I think we can get that done within the budget if we move Moore’s salary. If I trade Moore to the Browns, it might lessen the public relations impact since he will still be playing half his games in Sportsman's Park. I think I can sell the Browns on the idea that Moore will put more people in the stands and they can benefit from being the good guys in town. I prefer to win.


(P.S. In real life, Ron Northey was traded to the Cardinals in May of 1947 for Harry Walker and Freddy Schmidt. In December 1949, the Cardinals traded Northey and Lou Klein to the Reds to get Walker back. I want Northey for the reason that the Cardinals really had him as much as the baseball reasons explained above. By the way, Shaun's AI GM has this to say about trading Walker & Schmidt for Northey: "We would be thrilled with this trade. Let's do it!" But why should I do that when the AI is willing to accept less?)

< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/8/2009 4:29:35 PM >

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 22
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/11/2009 7:41:24 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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GM's Status Report - Trade Deadline 1946:

We made three deals just a few days before the deadline. We picked up three all-star players, and did not sacrifice anyone from our lineup or pitching rotation. We should be stronger and deeper for the stretch drive while still building for the future.

In the first of these deals, we traded pitching prospect Rex Barney to the Phillies for all-star outfielder Ron Northey. This trade had been rumored for a while. Since the Phillies are out of the race, they have started looking to get younger. They didn't have much interest in the starting pitcher that I wanted to move, Johnny Beazley (age 28), but they were very excited about Barney (age 22). Barney had performed well (1.92 ERA) since being converetd to a starter at AA Houston. I hated to part with Barney, but Northey makes our offense significantly better and Barney wasn't going to help us this year.

Northey is 26 and we were able to sign him to a three-year extension at "bench player" dollars. Northey will play left field and Walker will move to center. Gionfriddo will back up Walker and Dusak can backup all three outfield spots, with Northey also able to play right field. We now have four of the top five RBI men in the league (Slaughter, Musial, Kurowski, Northey) batting 3-4-5-6. It's a true "murderer's row" lineup.

Since Beazley was not attractive to the Phillies and expendable for us, I shopped him elsewhere. Cleveland offered Eddie Robinson (age 26), a left-hand hitting first baseman with a high on-base percentage and good power but with an expiring contract. Robinson is an outstanding prospect hitting .347 with 15 HR at AAA, but he was caught in a numbers game at Cleveland because they had five 1B on their roster. I think they unloaded the best one on us. He will back up Musial at first and will also be the primary backup for Northey and Slaughter in the lineup (Musial playing left field). He should see lots of playing time and be our primary pinch-hitter for years to come. I was also able to sign Robinson to a three-year extension at bench player money.

The real jewel was our trade with the Browns. I took advantage of the Browns' weak financial position to complete this deal. We received Cliff Fannin, a 22-year old hard-throwing relief pitcher, and versatile infielder Mark Christman in return for our two best bench players, 1B Dick Sisler (son of former Browns star, George Sisler) and local hero Terry Moore. Sisler and Moore were expendable after the acquisitions of Robinson and Northey. However, the Browns considered them as attractive names to boost their fading ticket sales, especially since they have lost 9 of their last 10 games and fallen out of the pennant race due to a slumping offense.

All-star setup man Fannin (3-2, 1.85 ERA) is the key to the deal, and I am convinced he has a very bright future in the setup/closer role. We will put him in the setup role for us right away, which moves our other guys back one slot and significantly strengthens our bullpen. The Browns demanded that the deal include both Sisler and Moore, and would not take only one of these players for Fannin. However, I balked at a 2-for-1 trade and they agreed to add Christman to the deal.

Christman (age 33) is a third baseman that can also play short and second. He is a great defensive player and hits for average, but has very little power limiting his value as a corner infielder. The Browns wanted to play rookie Bob Dillinger at third and were shopping Christman. I had already talked to them about him and was hoping to steal him for a low value player.

I realized why the Browns wanted to deal Christman so badly when he refused all of my offers for a contract extension. So he is effectively a "rent-a-player" since his deal expires at the end of the year. I am fine with that because he will be a much better backup infielder down the stretch than either Cross or Klein, and I plan to work on infield depth in the off-season anyway. I would prefer to find a young third baseman with power to groom as Kurowski's successor.

The Browns are getting a lot of favorable attention in the press over this deal because of the names involved, but I really like Fannin. I think he was their most valuable property next to Sam Zoldak. Other teams have Fannin rated 6th on our roster, which is about where Sisler and Moore were. I may have overpaid for Fannin, but two months of Christman evens up the deal.


<warning: real-life out of character comments to follow>

Some notes about these deals that further explain my interest in them:

Cliff Fannin was from Louisa, a small coal mining town in eastern Kentucky. My wife's father, coincidentally also named Cliff, was from Louisa, Kentucky and was only 3 years younger than Fannin. I am sure they would have known each other growing up together in this small town, but unfortunately our Cliff is no longer around to ask. But the karma associated with this coincidence was too much for me and I just had to have this player.

Eddie Robinson was from Paris, Texas, and has a big ranch in the hill country. I live in Houston, Texas. Robinson went on to have a great career as a baseball GM, and got his start under Paul Richards with the Houston Astros. Again, these connections made me really want Robinson on my team, plus he was a player that I always liked in previous simulation games.

As I mentioned in another post, the Cardinals had Northey in their lineup in 1947-48 along with the other three members of my "murderer's row". They finished 2nd both years, so I am hoping I have done enough other improvements to put them over the top and build a dynasty.

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 23
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/11/2009 9:53:48 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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With trade deadline having passed and the Cardinals in first place, it's an excellent time to look back at the spring roster compared to now and see what has changed.

We have replaced 10 of the 40 players that I inherited when I took the GM job last winter. The overall payroll has risen by 5%, but almost every key player is locked in for 3-4 years. Here is a summary of all of the deals, not focusing on who was traded for whom but rather on how the roster was transformed by the aggregate moves.

We traded our starting catcher (Rice, age 24) for Philadelphia's starting catcher (Seminick, age 26). Rice is hitting .257 with 1 HR, 24 RBI. Seminick is hitting .282 with 4 HR, 26 RBI. Neither catcher has made an error. Rice has thrown out 9 baserunners and Seminick has thrown out 11. I view this trade as a clear win for us so far.

We effectively swapped starting outfielders in Terry Moore for Ron Northey. Moore is 34 and Northey is 26. Moore is hitting .270 with 1 HR, 16 RBI. Northey is hitting .305 with 15 HR, 65 RBI. Northey has made 10 errors and Moore is clearly the better defensive player. However, I think we will score far more runs than we give up with this move, and I see it as a significant upgrade now and a great move for the future.

On our bench, we traded an excess catcher (O'Dea, age 33) for an infielder (Christman, also age 33) that can play all three spots (3B, SS, 2B). Christman is a valuable pinch-hitter (hitting .309) and his versatility allows us to carry three catchers, one of whom (Klutz hitting .365 in 63 AB) is also a valuable pinch-hitter.

We traded an excess outfielder (Adams, age 31) for an outfield prospect with speed (Gionfriddo, age 24). Gionfriddo is a big upgrade over Adams in terms of a leadoff hitter to back up Walker and he has played well in limited action so far (.297 in 64 AB).

We also swapped backup first-basemen and left-handed pinch hitters in Sisler for Robinson. They are both 26 and the jury is still out on this one. I am confident that we will like this trade a few years from now, and someday we may move Musial to left field to play Robinson on a full-time basis. If Robinson doesn't pan out, we still have Nippy Jones at AAA hitting .321 and waiting for his chance.

We made some significant changes to the pitching staff to address what I perceived as a shortage of talented bullpen specialists.

We gave up starter Johnny Beazley, long reliever Howie Krist, and a journeyman outfielder. In return, from various American League teams, we got Pete Center (all-star short reliever), Everett Fagan (all-star short reliever), and Cliff Fannin (all-star short reliever).

We also traded long reliever Fred Martin (2-3 3.00) for starter Joe Dobson (5-7 3.84) to upgrade the rotation. It is a good thing we did this because all the injuries to our starting pitchers would have left us short-handed without Dobson.

I am pretty happy with this bundle of player moves, again considering they only increased our payroll by 5% (a $65,000 increase with $45,000 of that going for Dobson).

We have a seven game lead with 60 games left. If we go 35-25 (same .583 pace as all season), the Cubs or Reds will have to play .700 ball to catch us. I don't want to jinx us but I do want to be prepared, so we are already scouting the American League leaders. It looks like we can focus on the Yankees but we are also watching Boston and Cleveland, tied for second at 6 games back.



<more out-of-character game-related observations to follow>

That’s a lot of trades, but none of the players that I acquired so far was a Hall-of-Famer. The only real star players acquired were Seminick, Dobson, and Robinson, and I gave up some star players in Rice, Moore, and Sisler. So I am satisfied that I have not "gamed" the system yet. In other words, there are no "scrub-for-Dimaggio" trades here.

I have the third highest in payroll, still within my self-imposed spending limits, and I have the third-youngest roster in the association. Most of these players are signed for 3-4 years, so I should have room to sign draft picks and free agents with the inflation money. However, I don't need much for the next 2-3 years so I can focus on taking the "best player available" for the future.

I will have eight open roster spots this off-season, seven from expiring contracts for fringe players/scrubs and one scrub that will be released from the final year of his inherited two-year deal. I plan to look for young inexpensive talent to develop. I need infield and outfield depth and, of course, starting pitchers. You can never have too many starting pitchers in this game, especially with injuries turned on. It is a Cardinal tradition, started by Branch Rickey himself, to stockpile assets in the farm system for trades, and young pitchers with high potential are always in demand.


(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 24
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/12/2009 1:26:14 AM   
Wrathchild


Posts: 817
Joined: 10/12/2007
From: Reading, PA
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With the detail you write your reports, I am (almost) getting inspired to spend more time writing about my team than just having a league summary. Your reports are always an interesting read. Do you keep side notes to be able to recall all of the detail that you include?

_____________________________

J.G. Wrathchild, Manager, St. Louis Cardinals (1900-1906), Brooklyn Superbas (1907, 1908)

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 25
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/12/2009 3:25:55 AM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Wrathchild

Your reports are always an interesting read. Do you keep side notes to be able to recall all of the detail that you include?



Thank you!

I do keep a spreadsheet on my players with some data, mostly to budget the payroll. That's how I know how much I increased the payroll, and it helps me track the trades. The rest of it I dig up using the in-game tools.

(in reply to Wrathchild)
Post #: 26
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/12/2009 3:41:44 AM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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Standings
Thursday, August 15, 1946






We continue to play .600 baseball. There are still four other teams with a shot, and they take turns making a run at us.

The really interesting race is the American League. Detroit has won 23 of 25 since the All-Star break, and has come all the way from from fifth place to first.

In case you are wondering, the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics went 36-117 so the White Sox will beat that and avoid being the worst team in history.

Rex Barney has been starting for the Phillies since the Northey trade. He is 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA. Not bad.

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 27
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/12/2009 7:46:58 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 26, 1946


The Cardinals swept a double-header from the Brooklyn Dodgers at Sportsman's Park yesterday, but one of the victories came at a high price.

Murry Dickson, the Cardinals #2 starting pitcher, suffered a serious elbow injury and is out for the remainder of the season. Dickson was 13-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 23 starts. He is not expected back in time for post-season play should the Cardinals go on to win the pennant.

Dickson was placed on the disabled list and replaced on the roster by pitcher Red Barrett. Barrett was just activated from his own stint on the 60-day DL. Dickson's spot in the rotation will be filled by Ken Burkhardt, who has started 17 games for the team this season.

The Cardinals have won 8 straight games to open their lead over the Giants to 10 games with 30 to play.



< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/12/2009 7:49:48 PM >

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 28
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/12/2009 9:31:34 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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Standings
Wednesday, September 11, 1946







The Cardinals clinch the pennant! Bring on the... Yankees?






Yes, we will play the Yankees in the 1946 World Series.

Due to the injury to Dickson, we plan to go with a three-man rotation of Pollet, Brecheen, and Dobson. We like the two lefthanders against the tough lefthanded hitters of the Yankees (Keller, Henrich, Robinson), Etten). Brazle will be available in the bullpen, and could start a game if needed.



< Message edited by Orcin -- 9/12/2009 11:10:38 PM >

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 29
RE: 1946 St. Louis Cardinals - 9/13/2009 4:40:48 PM   
Orcin


Posts: 162
Joined: 7/6/2009
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Here's a recap of the exciting World Series win (I managed each game.)

Game 1 @STL: NYY 4 STL 2
Charlie Keller hits two home runs.

Game 2 @STL: STL 5 NYY 1
Harry Brecheen pitches a complete game and goes 2-2 with 2 RBI.

Game 3 @NYY: STL 5 NYY 3
Home runs by Whitey Kurowski and Red Schoendienst lead a balanced attack.

Game 4 @NYY: STL 7 NYY 4
Enos Slaughter goes 3-5 with 3 RBI, and Ted Wilks gets his second save.

Game 5 @NYY: STL 3 NYY 0
Harry Brecheen pitches a 3-hit shutout on 3 days rest.


Harry Brecheen is named MVP of the World Series.

(in reply to Orcin)
Post #: 30
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