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September 28, 2023

              Branch Rickey was a GREAT judge of talent, absolutely fantastic.  Probably the best ever.   And the allegation that "his decision to trade Johnny Mize away from the Cardinals likely cost the team a couple of pennants" is absurd.  Mize was traded/sold to New York after the 1941 season.   The Cardinals won the pennant in 1942, 1943 and 1944.  Mize was in the Army in 1945, and the Cardinals won the pennant in 1946.   So what year are you talking about?  


COMMENTS (5 Comments, most recent shown first)

Of course, that's the same Rickey who sold Mize to the Reds in December 1934 (the Reds returned him in April, so bad on them, too.)
9:33 PM Sep 29th
Errors in my post (below) Terry Moore was actually younger than Medwick, older than Mize. I said it backwards. Also, Medwick and Mize were 28 when they were sold; I said 29.
12:46 PM Sep 29th
Mize was in the military 1943-45. I'm assuming the years they are talking about are 1947, when Mize hit 51 home runs, and 1948, when he hit 40. The Cards finished second both years - 5 back of Brooklyn in 1947 and 6.5 back of Boston in '48. Mize led the NL in HR both years.

Musial played mostly at first in '47, so with Mize on the team, Musial would have played the outfield and presumably Erv Dusak (.759 OPS in 383 PA) and Ducky Medwick (35 yrs old, .840 OPS in 166 PA) would have been replaced in the lineup by Mize. Dusak and Medwick combined for .693 OPS against Brooklyn. Mize had a .997 OPS against the Dodgers. According to Baseball Reference, the Giants led the NL first basemen in Wins Above Average, with +4.9. The Cardinals were second, +
2.2. The Cardinals were sixth in the NL in outfield Wins Above Average with +0.3.

In '48, Musial was back in the outfield and Nippy Jones (523 PA, .706 OPS) played mostly first base. That year, according to Baseball Reference, the NY Giants led the league in Wins Above Average at first base (3.8) while St. Louis was last at negative 3.1. Jones was had a .581 OPS against the Braves. Mize had a .956 OPS against the Braves, including 7 home runs.

Medwick was 14 months older than Mize. He was traded/sold to the Dodgers in midseason 1940, which was 18 months before Mize was traded/sold to the Giants. The missing pennant in St. Louis is actually 1941, when Medwick was with the Dodgers and Brooklyn won the pennant by 2.5 games over St. Louis. The Dodgers had were 10 wins above average in the outfield while St. Louis was 2.9 Wins Above Average at those positions.

Terry Moore was roughly the same age as Medwick and Mize (seven months older than Ducky, seven younger than Big Jawn). The Cardinals received $125,000 for Medwick, $50,000 for Mize, and never traded Moore. So it wasn't just that these guys were sold off when they turned 29; they were sold off because they turned 29 and were worth a lot of cash. Moore, being a lesser player than the other two, was not sold because he wasn't going to generate much of a return.
11:17 AM Sep 29th
I'm a little suspicious of the Cardinals dominance during the War War II years. It may be as simple as they had prime Stan Musial at a time when guys like Greenberg and Feller and Dimaggio and Williams were out of the League. Everything was skewed. Even the Browns played in a wartime World Series.
2:16 AM Sep 29th
The 1942-1944 Cardinals went 125 consecutive series without being swept, an MLB-record. [The Orioles, who haven't been swept yet in Adley Rutschman's career, recently broke the AL record (which was held by the 1922-1924 Yankees) and will head into next season looking to add to their unswept streak of 91 straight series.]
1:03 AM Sep 29th
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