The baseball season in St. Louis usually begins on a gray, blustery day. Winter remains an easy memory in early April. You still recall how much snow pelted the city and if the New Year’s Eve party was any good. You wonder if your team has enough pitching and hitting. You hope the players stay healthy. Could this be the year?
The chill of early spring breaks as your interest piques. May and June offer plenty of warm, but not yet hot, days. You go to as many games as you can, settling into a bleacher seat or a favorite spot down the first-base line. You think your team may go places. The pitching is good, the hitting is timely, and the fielding is crisp. The skipper sounds confident. He is saying the right stuff to the reporters. Could this be the year?
The summer air seems thick enough to punch. But it might punch you back. The pennant race heats up, too. We need to win these close games. Why can’t this guy pitch better against that team? Why is our fielding so sloppy? Why did our manager just say that dumb thing to the reporters? When will we start hitting again? … We’re OK. We’re still in first place. We should stop worrying. … Haven’t the last few days been a little cooler? Could this be the year?
That brings us to Oct. 4, 1944.
The only all-St. Louis World Series began on a Wednesday afternoon at Sportman’s Park. The Cardinals won the National League going away, the Browns took the American League flag by one game.
Denny Galehouse started Game 1 of the Series for the Browns, Mort Cooper for the Cardinals. Cooper was ace material, a three-time 20-game winner. Galehouse went 9-10 in ’44 and would never win more than 12 games in one season. Nonetheless, the two hooked up in a nice duel. The Browns broke through in the fourth. With two out in the top of the inning, Gene Moore slapped a single to right field. George McQuinn followed with a two-run home run.
The right-handed Galehouse didn’t need any more support. He went nine innings, gave up seven hits and struck out five. He gave up one run, in the final frame. Marty Marion led off with a double and advanced to third on Augie Bergamo’s ground out. Marion sprinted home on Ken O’Dea’s sacrifice fly to make the final score 2-1.
Cooper pitched seven innings for the Cardinals. The right-hander gave up the two runs on seven hits and struck out four. Blix Donnelly threw two scoreless relief innings.
Game time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Site: Sportsman’s Park
Winning pitcher: Denny Galehouse
Losing pitcher: Mort Cooper