The “Red’ Reilly Sports Report
“Good afternoon, sports fans. Or, rather, good evening, from that bustling city by the Mississippi River, St. Louis, Missouri. This is Red Reilly, your roving correspondent with the American Radio Sports Network, reporting to you live from Sportsman’s Park, just a short trolley ride away from downtown St. Lou. Today, the St. Louis Cardinals, that National League powerhouse, defeated the perennial underdog St. Louis Browns, the American League champs, in the sixth and deciding game of the 1944 World Series. The Cardinals behind starter Max Lanier beat the Brownies and Nels Potter 3-1. This marks the second time in three seasons that the Cardinals can celebrate a World Series championship. And you can hear plenty of honking horns and see many smiling faces as you look up and down busy Grand Avenue.
It was a chilly day here in St. Louis, more indicative of the autumn sport of football than baseball. The bats were cold, too. The Browns scored their lone run in the third inning. Chet Laabs belted a triple and came home on a single from George McQuinn. The Redbirds plated all their runs in the fourth inning. Walker Cooper took four balls and scored on an error. Billy Verban and pitcher Lanier, helping his own cause, contributed the big hits in the inning. Both players drove in single runs.
Pitching dominated this World Series. Most of the hurlers brought their A games to Sportsman’s Park. All told, the Cardinals scored just 16 runs, but the Browns tallied only 12. In yesterday’s match-up, Cardinals fireballer Mort Cooper threw a shutout and struck out a dozen. Browns starter Denny Galehouse fanned 10 and gave up just two runs.
A few hitters did break through and enjoyed an excellent week of batting. First baseman George McQuinn led the way for the Browns with a .438 batting average and five RBI. Verban, the Cardinals’ second baseman, batted .412 in the Series. Walker Cooper, Mort’s brother, the Cardinals’ catcher, hit .318.
The Cardinals can now take some time off and begin yet another defense of their championship crown. For the Browns, who won the first pennant in their 52-year history, this marks the end of their Cinderella season. And, listeners, it isn’t even midnight.
Well, good evening, from St. Louis. And a special good evening to all of you brave fighting men and women around the world. Stay safe wherever you are. This is Red Reilly for the American Radio Sports Network.”
St. Louis Cardinals 3
St. Louis Browns 1
Time of Game: 2 hours, 6 minutes
Site: Sportsman’s Park
Winning Pitcher: Max Lanier
Losing Pitcher: Nels Potter
(I hope you enjoyed this multi-part look at the 1944 Streetcar Series. I want to acknowledge the following reference material.)
Heidenry, John and Topel, Brett. The Boys Who Were Left Behind: The 1944 World Series between the Hapless St. Louis Browns and the Legendary St. Louis Cardinals. University of Nebraska Press, 2006.
Leventhal, Josh. The World Series: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Fall Classic. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2001.
Rygelski, James and Tiemann, Robert L. 10 Rings: Stories of the St. Louis Cardinals World Championships. Reedy Press, 2011.
Note: I worked under Jim Rygelski for several years at the Suburban Journals. He was a dedicated news man and one of the foremost baseball historians in St. Louis. (That’s saying a lot.) He always complimented me for an article I wrote early in my career about a pre-1900-style baseball squad he played on for many years. “Glen, I’ll always remember that you spelled my name right,” Jim would say. “A lot of people get it wrong.” Of course, even if I got that right, I got many things wrong. Jim found most of those mistakes before they made their way into print. I thank him for that. Jim battled way too many health problems through the years, but he did so without complaint. Rest in peace, Jim.