Hall of Fame baseball player Slaughter dies

DURHAM, N.C. – Hall of Famer Enos ”Country” Slaughter, who batted .300 in 19 seasons and played in five World Series, died early Monday. He was 86.

Slaughter died at Duke University Medical Center at 12:44 a.m., said hospital spokesman Richard Puff.

Slaughter had been in the intensive care unit after colon surgery July 25 and an operation to repair perforated stomach ulcers July 29.

His daughter, Gaye Currier, a nurse at Duke, said last week that neither surgery was related to her father’s treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, diagnosed in June.

Slaughter, an outfielder known for his hustle, played his first 13 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and was a member of four World Championship teams. He also played in 10 consecutive All-Star Games, batting .391. He led the National League with 130 RBIs in 1946.

”He was one of the great hustlers of baseball,” said Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who played with Slaughter in St. Louis. ”He loved baseball. He always ran hard and played hard.”

Slaughter joined the Cardinals in 1938 and, except for missing three years to serve in World War II, stayed in St. Louis until being traded to the New York Yankees in 1954. He retired in 1959.

He is best remembered for his ”Mad Dash” during Game 7 of the 1946 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. He scored the tiebreaking run from first base on Harry Walker’s hit in the eighth inning.

The event is commemorated outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis by a bronze statue depicting Slaughter sliding home.

”On that particular play, he outran that ball the last 10 yards,” Musial said. ”He just outran it. It was an exciting play and won the Series for us.”

He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1964, but was not elected until 1985. One theory for the delay was that Slaughter tried to organize a strike in 1947 when Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the major leagues.

National League president Ford Frick stepped in to stop any attempt at a strike, threatening harsh action against the players.

”If you do this, you will be suspended from the league,” Frick told the Cardinals. ”You will be outcasts. I don’t care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. … This is the United States of America, and one citizen has as much right to play as another.

Slaughter vehemently denied his involvement in such a plan and disputed charges of racism.

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