About Enos Bradsher Slaughter
Enos Bradsher Slaughter (April 27, 1916 - August 12, 2002), nicknamed "Country", was an American Major League Baseball right fielder. During a 19-year baseball career, he played from 1938–1942 and 1946-1959 for four different teams, but is noted primarily for his time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Slaughter was born in Roxboro, North Carolina and joined the Cardinals in 1938 before being traded to the New York Yankees in 1954.
Batting left-handed and throwing right, he was renowned for his smooth swing that made him a reliable "contact" hitter. Slaughter had 2,383 hits in his career, including 169 home runs, and 1,304 RBIs in 2,380 games. Slaughter played 19 seasons with the Cardinals, Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and Milwaukee Braves. During that period, he was a 10-time All-Star and played in five World Series. His 1,820 games played ranks fourth in Cardinals' history behind Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, and Stan Musial. He presently ranks second in RBIs with 1,148; fifth in ABs with 6,775; and sixth in doubles with 366. His career accomplishments are especially impressive considering that he missed 3 seasons beginning in 1943 (when he was 27) to serve in the military during World War II.
Immediately upon his return from the service in 1946, he led the National League with 130 RBI and led the Cardinals to a World Series win over the Boston Red Sox. In the decisive seventh game of that series, Slaughter, running with the pitch, made a famous "Mad Dash" for home from first base on Harry Walker's single in the eighth inning, scoring the winning run after a delayed relay throw by the Red Sox' Johnny Pesky. This play was named #10 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments in 2001.
He was known for his hustle, especially for running hard to first base on walks, a habit later imitated by Pete Rose and David Eckstein.
When Slaughter was a minor leaguer in Columbus, Ohio he came running towards the dugout from his post in the outfield. He slowed down near the infield and began walking the rest of the way. Manager Eddie Dyer told him, "Son, if you're tired, we'll try to get you some help." For the rest of his career, Slaughter ran everywhere he went on a baseball field.
A sportswriter alleged that in May 1947, Slaughter and Terry Moore, both Southerners, tried to persuade their Cardinal teammates to go on strike to protest Jackie Robinson's admittance to the National League. The supposed strike plans never came to fruition, and baseball historians now question the story's veracity. In an incident three months after the strike controversy, with Robinson playing first base for the Dodgers, Slaughter hit an infield ground ball and was thrown out by several steps. With Robinson stretched out to make the catch, Slaughter spiked him in the thigh. Slaughter denied any malicious intent on the play, and some baseball historians suggest that the incident was merely a result of Slaughter's old-school baseball mentality. The incident came on the heels of several high profile brawls between the Cardinals and Dodgers during the pennant races of the 1940s, with Dodger manager and former Cardinal Leo Durocher often at their center. Slaughter himself said, "I asked no odds and I give none. A guy got in my way, I run over him."
Other commentators, however, attached racist motives to Slaughter's actions. After his retirement, sportswriters delayed Slaughter's entrance to the Hall of Fame over the questionable racial incidents that he was linked to. In later years, Slaughter was asked if he would have an objection to managing black players, and responded that as long as they produced and played hard he would have no problem doing so. Some baseball historians and many contemporaries believe that it was not perceived racism on the part of Slaughter that made him controversial, but rather that it was his relentless give-no-quarter philosophy in the era of coddled free agents that caused the modern baseball establishment to shun him. Aside from the racial accusations swirling around the Robinson incident, Slaughter was known for his generally intense, often violent style of play. The Sporting News quoted one Dodger contemporary as calling Slaughter "the dirtiest player in the league," a charge Slaughter himself did not dispute.
Slaughter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985; his jersey number 9 was retired by the Cardinals in 1996, and the team dedicated a statue depicting his famous Mad Dash in 1999. Slaughter was a fixture at statue dedications at Busch Stadium II for other Cardinal Hall of Famers during the last years of his life.
After battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Slaughter died at age 86 in 2002.