The St. Louis Cardinals have earned the reputation of becoming World Champions when the "experts" have counted them out. One Cardinals comeback occurred in 1942.
On Aug. 4, the Brooklyn Dodgers led the second-place Cards by 10 games. The Cardinals had played .614 baseball, winning 62 while losing 39, but Brooklyn was 73-30 for a .709 winning percentage.
Both teams lost the next day, but on Aug. 6, the Cardinals' drive started innocently enough, when the New York Giants shut out Brooklyn. The Cardinals were not scheduled, so they gained one-half of a game.
The Cardinals swept a doubleheader in Pittsburgh on Aug. 9 that cut Brooklyn's lead to eight games.
A few days later, Stan Musial, who really was greater than the great Albert Pujols, led the Cards to a doubleheader sweep in Chicago. Musial had a triple and a double in the first-game win. He drove in the winning run in the nightcap, with a double to go along with another hit.
On Aug. 14, the Cardinals started an eight-game winning streak. At the end of play on Aug. 22, they had cut their deficit to six-and-a-half games.
After losing to Pittsburgh at home, the Cards won 10 of their next 11 games. They then finished the season by winning 26 of their last 30 games to finish with a record of 106-48 (.688), which was two games better than Brooklyn.
On Sept 11, the Dodgers hosted the Cardinals for two crucial games.
In the first game, Mort Cooper pitched a three-hit shutout to move the Cardinals to within one game of first place. The win was their 28th in their last 33 games. Brooklyn played well during that time, going 20-13, but didn't come close to countering the St. Louis onslaught.
The next day, left-hander Max Lanier beat Brooklyn for the fifth time that season to give the Cards a tie with the Brooks for first place.
On Sept. 27, at 3:12 PM St. Louis time, a crowd of 32,330 fans went into a frenzy as their beloved Cardinals won the National League pennant by blasting the Cubs, 9-2, in the first game of a doubleheader.
Brooklyn's only hope was that the Cubs would sweep the Cards while they beat the lowly Philadelphia Phillies, which would result in a tie for the pennant.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning of the opener, but St. Louis came back with four runs in the fifth, and everyone seemed to know that the game and the pennant race were over.
Brooklyn never choked. They finished the season on an eight-game winning streak, but it fell short by two games. The Cardinals won 10 and lost but one of their last 11 games.
In 1934, the Cardinals overcame an early-September Giants seven-game lead to win the pennant.
In 1964, they trailed the Phillies by seven-and-a-half games on Aug. 31 to win the pennant.
In 2006, they won the pennant with only 83 wins (.516), and everyone knows what happened this year.
The Cardinals won the World Series in each of their "miracle" seasons.
Cards top pirates twice, 4-3 and 2-1. (1942, Aug 10). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. 22. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/106346827?accountid=46260
Cards down cubs in double-header. (1942, Aug 13). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. 26. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/106190664?accountid=46260
Cards win pennant on final day; series starts in st. louis sept. 30. (1942, Sep 28). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. 1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/106319743?accountid=46260