75 years ago this year Major League Baseball saw the first, and only, all St. Louis World Series when the National League Cardinals played the American League Browns. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has a great article about the series.
I was surprised to learn that the series took place entirely at Sportsman’s Park, the home of the Browns, and was played over six consecutive days. Can you imagine today’s games going back-to-back like that? It would never happen.
The series also saw baseball great and Cardinals legend Stan Musial, then 23, who went on to report to the Navy in 1945. I’m fairly young so my mind can barely comprehend how strange it is to see baseball players joining the war effort, another thing that I don’t think would happen today. A baseball player as a spy definitely wouldn’t.
With a war raging overseas and uncertainty overwhelming the nation, a unique World Series was taking place pitting two teams who shared the same home ballpark.
The 1944 World Series, considered a David versus Goliath matchup at the time, was an all-St. Louis affair featuring the prodigious Cardinals, a franchise having just won its third consecutive National League pennant, and the plucky Browns, the winners of its first American League pennant in its 43rd year of existence…
With no travel days needed, the 1944 Fall Classic was played over six consecutive day games from Oct. 4-9.
If you are a fan of baseball, and especially baseball history, go read the article. It really is a great read.
Baseball season is just around the corner so it seems fitting to talk about baseball. More specifically, a mediocre baseball player that was known as the “brainiest guy in baseball.” A guy that graduated from Princeton and Columbia Law. A guy that went on to become a spy for the US government in Word War II. I’m talking about Morris “Moe” Berg.
It wasn’t until the last year or so that I heard about Moe Berg. Actually, it was when I was browsing the IMDB credits of actor Paul Rudd that first brought Berg to my attention (more on that later). If I’m only looking at his baseball career, there’s really no reason for me to know him. He was an average player that played at the beginning of the 20th century and never played for any St. Louis teams. It’s his post-baseball life that I’m surprised never caught my attention.
Berg joined the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. By this point, his baseball career was over, both as a player and a coach. Berg was seen as an asset due two previous trips to Japan with other ball players. He then went on to join the Office of Strategic Services, and the branch within the OSS called Secret Intelligence. He helped evaluate various resistance groups in Eastern Europe to determine who was the best suited to resist the Nazis.
Now that Baseball season is upon us, I thought I’d share a link that was sent to me a couple of weeks ago. Distilled History has a great look at the history of baseball parks in St. Louis (please forgive the author for not being a Cardinals fan). I never realized how many there actually were, especially in north St. Louis. Growing up, I only really heard of Sportsman’s Park, and of course, Busch II & III.
“Do I want to be in St Louis forever? Of course. People from other teams want to play in STL and are jealous that we are in STL because the fans are unbelievable. So why would you leave a place like STL to go somewhere else and make 3 or 4 more million a year? It’s not about money, I already got my money. It’s about winning, that’s it”.
-Albert Pujols Feb 15, 2009
He reportedly signed a 10 year contract worth $255 million (which is $3-4 million per year more than what the Cardinals reportedly offered).