1917 – Branch Rickey and Miller Huggins Team Up

Branch Rickey and Miller Huggins

Branch Rickey will go on to be a vital part of Cardinals history for many years. However, the team is managed by Miller Huggins and the team finishes 82-70 and 15 games behind the first place New York Giants.

Elite Hitter

Rogers Hornsby has become an elite hitter and finishes second in the league with a .327 batting average. He led the league with 15 triples, 253 total bases and a .484 slugging percentage.

Cuban born Mike Gonzalez

Others that contributed were Mike Gonzalez, a Cuban born player that spent three separate stints with the Cardinals. He later, went on to manage in the Cardinals minor league system.

In 1933, he became a coach for the Cardinals’ American Association farm club, the Columbus Red Birds, and joined the St. Louis coaching staff in 1934 under manager Frankie Frisch. It was the year of the “Gashouse Gang”, the hard-playing Cardinal team that stormed to the NL pennant and a seven-game Fall Classic triumph over the Detroit Tigers.

González coached under Frisch until September 14, 1938, when Frisch was fired. González then took the helm for the final 16 games of the season, leading the Cardinals to an 8–8 record. He resumed his coaching role under Ray Blades the following season, but again became the Cards’ acting pilot on June 7, 1940, handling the team until June 10, when Blades’ permanent successor, Billy Southworth, arrived from Rochester. Overall, González’ big-league managing record was nine wins and 13 defeats (.409).

González continued on the Cardinals’ coaching lines through 1946. In the bottom of the eighth inning of his final game, the seventh and deciding contest of the 1946 World Series, Gonzalez was coaching at third base when Enos Slaughter raced home from first base on a double by Harry Walker. “Slaughter’s Mad Dash” scored the winning run and earned the Cardinals the world championship. Although films taken of the play appear to show González waving Slaughter in, other accounts report that Slaughter ignored the coach’s stop sign and took home on his own initiative.

González is credited with contributing a lasting piece of baseball terminology. Asked by the Cardinals to scout a winter league player, González judged that the player was outstanding defensively but a liability as a batter. He wired back a four-word scouting report: “Good field, no hit.” That phrase is still in use today.

 

Red Ames successful pitcher

Pitcher Red Ames, who has seen success as part of the York Giants in his early career, won 15 games and lost 10 while throwing 209 innings with a 2.71 ERA. One side note about Ames is that we find that in 1909 with the Giants, he was the losing pitcher in a no-hitter in which he didn’t allow a hit until the 19th inning and a run was given up until the 13th. He was still credited with a no-hitter.

Catcher steals Home

During the season we find that on June 11, catcher Mike Gonzalez steals home in the 15th inning with two out and beat the Phillies 5-4. He broke up a duel between pitchers Bill Doak of the Cardinals and Joe Oeschger of the Phillies. Doak allowed all four runs in the first inning of the game. After the season, manager Huggins accepts a two year offer to manage the New York Yankees. In return, the Cardinals sign Jack Hendricks to be their next leader.

Branch Rickey and Miller Huggins meshed well.