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On This Date in Sports October 15, 1946: The Mad Dash

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The St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series for the third time in five years, beating the Boston Red Sox in seven games. The Cardinals win the final game 4-3, with Enos Slaughter scoring from first base on a double by Harry Walker in the eighth. Slaughter had been running on a hit and run when Walker hit the ball to left-center. Leon Culberson, who pinch ran for Dom DiMaggio, got the ball to Johnny Pesky, but Boston's shortstop hesitated, allowing the Cardinals to get the winning run in what was called the Mad Dash for home.  

The 1946 season was baseball's return to normal, as players that had been away serving in the military during World War II. This included Ted Williams, who was a rising star who missed three seasons while serving as a fighter pilot in the Navy. With the return of Williams, the Red Sox won the American League Pennant for the first time since 1918, with a record of 104-50 for manager Joe Cronin. Ted Williams won the American League MVP with a .342 average, hitting 38 home runs with 123 RBI. 

Stan Musial had been the face of the St. Louis Cardinals. He only served one season in the Navy, reporting in 1945. The Cardinals were able to build a dynasty as they became masters of creating farm clubs. The Cardinals had won three straight pennants from 1942-1944, winning the World Series in 1942 and 1944. With the return of Musial, the Cardinals again rose to the top of the National League. The Cardinals, managed by Eddie Dyer, posted a record of 96-58 and finished tied with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Cardinals would win the pennant by sweeping a tiebreaker series, the first of its kind. 

The series began at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, with Tex Hughson starting for Boston, while Howie Pollet started for the Redbirds. Boston had an early lead on a single by Pinky Higgins in the second inning. Stan Musial tied the game with an RBI double in the sixth. Joe Garagiola gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead in the eighth, with an RBI double. However, Tom McBride singled to tie the game in the ninth. Rudy York homered in the tenth as the Red Sox won the opener 3-2. 

Mickey Harris started for the Red Sox in Game 2 as Harry Brecheen started for St. Louis. Breechen was terrific for the Cardinals, pitching a four-hit shutout. Harry Brecheen helped his own cause with an RBI single in the third. The Cardinals added two runs in the fifth as the Cardinals won 3-0 to even the series. 

The series shifted to Fenway Park for Game 3. Murry Dickson got the start for the Cardinals in Game 3, while Dave Ferris toed the mound for the Red Sox. The Red Sox gave fans something to cheer right away, as Rudy York hit a three-run homer in the first inning. In the eighth, the Red Sox added an unearned run and won 4-0, with Dickson spreading six hits over nine innings. 

Looking to take a commanding 3-1 lead, the Red Sox had Tex Hughson on the mound while Red Munger started for the Cardinals. The Cardinals scored three runs in the second, with Enos Slaughter hitting a leadoff home run. The Cardinals added three more runs in the third, with a double by Stan Musial and an RBI single by Joe Garagiola. Rudy York put the Red Sox on the board with a double in the fourth, but the Cardinals onslaught continued with a double by Whitey Kurkowski. Garagiola had an RBI double in the seventh to make it 8-1. In the eighth, the Red Sox got a two-run home run by Bobby Doerr. The Cardinals meanwhile added four runs in the ninth to win the game 12-3. 

With Joe Dobson on the mound, the Red Sox looked to rebound in Game 5, as the series was two games apiece. The Cardinals countered with Howie Pollet, who did not make it out of the first, as Ted Williams had his only RBI of the series to give Boston an early 1-0 lead. The Cardinals tied the game in the second on an RBI double by Harry Walker. However, the Red Sox regained the lead in the bottom of the inning as Don Gutteridge singled off Al Brazle to score Roy Partee. Leon Culberson hit a home run in the sixth, while Pinky Higgins had a run-scoring double to spark a three-run seventh as the Red Sox took a 6-1 lead. The Cardinals would score two runs in the ninth as the Red Sox won 6-3 and stood one win away from a championship. The Red Sox had Mickey Harris on the mound in Game 6, but he struggled giving up three runs in the third. Harry Brecheen, meanwhile, was solid again as the Red Sox did not score until the seventh inning. In the eighth, Marty Marion answered with an RBI double as the Cardinals won 4-1 to even the series.

After a one-day postponement, the series came down to the seventh game in St. Louis. Dave Ferriss started for the Red Sox while Murry Dickson was on the mound for the Cardinals. Dom DiMaggio gave the Red Sox an early lead with a sac-fly in the first that scored Wally Moses. The Cardinals answered with a sac-fly by Harry Walker in the second that scored Whitey Kurowski. Dickson had an RBI double in the fifth, scoring on a single by Red Schoendienst. In the eighth, holding a 3-1 lead with Dickson tiring, Eddie Dyer called upon Harry Brecheen to get the final outs. However, Dom DiMaggio laced a two-out, two-run double that tied the game 3-3. 

The game was tied 3-3; the series was tied 3-3 as the Cardinals came to the bat in the eighth. Bob Klinger was on the mound for the Red Sox as Enos Slaughter led off with a single. Whitey Kurkowshi failed to get down a bunt. Del Rice had a harmless fly out to leftfield when Harry Walker came up with two outs. With a 2-1 count, a hit and run was called as Harry Walker hit the ball to left-center. Leon Culberson fielded the ball and threw it to Johnny Pesky, who hesitated, thinking Slaughter would stop at third. He blew past the stop sign given by third base coach Mike Gonzalez and continued home and was safe as he slid by Roy Partee's tag. 

Enos Slaughter's Mad Dash had given the Cardinals a 4-3 lead. Harry Brecheen was on the mound looking for his third win of the series. Rudy York and Bobby Doerr kept the door open for Boston with singles to start the ninth. Pinky Higgins came up and bunted York to third, but Doerr was forced out at second to stem the rally. Roy Partee popped up to first, as pinch hitter Tom McBride grounded to second to end the series. 

This would be the only World Series that Ted Williams played in. He hit a disappointing .200 with one RBI and no home runs.