Monday, April 11, 2022

April 11, 1954: The Trade That Made Slaughter Weep

    On April 11, 1954, Enos Slaughter openly wept when being informed that he had been traded to the New York Yankees. The Cardinals were set to receive outfielder Bill Virdon, pitcher Mel Wright, and minor league outfielder Emil Tellinger. The trade marked the end of an era for the team and the player who had been wearing a Cardinals uniform since April 19, 1938. He played 13 seasons for the Redbirds, winning two World Championships, and forever weaving himself into the fabric of the history of the team as one of the greatest players to wear the Birds on the Bat. 

    As the Cardinals prepared for another season in St. Louis, the team had visons of rookie Wally Moon becoming a regular in center. That meant that good ol' Country Slaughter would have to embrace a part-time role, which he didn't seem completely on board with, so General Manager Dick Meyer began shopping the veteran around. After being passed over by the National League clubs, the GM of the Yankees took the call that led to the deal bringing Slaughter to The Bronx.

    Tears flowed as the news was delivered to Slaughter. His manager Eddie Stanky tried his best to console him, but Slaughter seemed inconsolable, saying to The Globe Democrat "This is a helluva way to treat a fellow...This is the biggest shock of my life." He would also go onto say that Casey Stengel and the Yankees would be getting 100% from him as he moved forward. 

    Slaughter proved he had a few good years left in the tank, playing for the Yankees, A's, and Braves before retiring in 1959. He was able to add two more championship rings as a member of the Yankees with World Series wins in 1956 and 1958. After retiring he was a coach in the minor leagues and then with Duke University for a number of years.

    To this day, Enos Slaughter ranks in the Cardinals Top 10 in too many categories to list.  He ranks sixth on the team leaderboard in all time hits with 2,064, he ranks fifth in all time runs scored with 1,071, and he ranks third in all time RBIs with 1,148.

    Forever a celebrated member of the Cardinals, Slaughter was inducted into The Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, had his number 9 retired by the club in 1996, and was inducted into The Cardinals Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class in 2014. Perhaps the most memorable moment of Slaughter's career is the Mad Dash that brought him into score the winning run in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series. Slaughter and The Mad Dash are memorialized in bronze outside of Busch Stadium today. 

    When we look back at a player's career with our favorite teams, we rarely reflect on the day they were traded or had to retire from the great game of baseball. When you think about it that's how it should be. We reflect on the great moments that took place. What they brought to the game and the joy that we as fans have been able to take from that. Ultimately, baseball is a business and players come and go, but a great deal of them stay with us for the rest of time. Enos Slaughter is one of those players.  

If you would like to read more about the baseball life of Enos Slaughter check out his SABR bio here:

Check out stats leaders in Cardinals history:

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