March 6, 1985: Enos Slaughter and Arky Vaughan elected to the Hall of Fame
BY NICK ANAPOLIS
March 4, 2013
Enos Slaughter delivering his Hall of Fame Induction speech. (NBHOF Library)
Twenty-eight years ago this week, the Hall of Fame adopted two new members into its prestigious baseball family.
Overlapping careers, Enos Slaughter and Arky Vaughan were teammates for two of their combined 19 All-Star appearances. On March 6, 1985, their careers were once again reunited, this time on baseball’s biggest stage.
Before even reaching the big leagues, Slaughter learned a lesson that would propel him to become a role model to players for years to come. In 1936, Slaughter’s minor league manager and eventual manager with the Cardinals, Eddie Dyer, admonished him for walking on the baseball field. Learning from this incident led him to the reputation of being one of baseball’s best hustlers. Slaughter set an example to him and others by running down to first base on walks and always hustling whenever on the diamond.
“I learned early on to never walk while I was on the baseball field. I ran everywhere I went.” said Slaughter.
Slaughter’s hustle helped him earn his second of four World Series rings, as his “Mad Dash” during the 1946 classic linked him to one of baseball’s greatest moments. Playing with a broken elbow suffered earlier in the series, Slaughter was on first base with the game tied in the eighth inning of Game 7 with the Red Sox. Running with the pitch, he scored what was eventually the winning run from first base on what looked to be just a single. The hit was ruled a double, however, as Cardinals Harry Walker advanced because of the throw to home.
The clutch contact hitter batted over .300 10 times in his career, finishing right at .300 while amassing 2,383 hits during his 19 seasons with the Cards, Yankees, A’s, and Braves.
Meanwhile, Vaughan continued the line of outstanding shortstops in Pittsburgh.
Joseph Floyd Vaughan, who received his nickname “Arky” from classmates after moving to California from his home state of Arkansas, began his career in Pittsburgh on April 17, 1932. He would spend the next 10 seasons with the Pirates – hitting over .300 in each before being traded to the Dodgers in 1941.
In 1935 Vaughan had one of the best seasons for a shortstop in the history of the game – leading the league in average, OBP, OPS, slugging percentage, and walks. On his way to hitting .385 that season, Vaughan hit .341 or better in every park but the Polo Grounds.
“One of the sweetest hitters I ever saw. And fast!” said mentor and fellow Hall of Famer Honus Wagner.
After two seasons with the Dodgers, Vaughan retired for three years until making a comeback in 1947. Injuries forced him to retire after 14 seasons in 1948 – finishing with a .318 career average, second all-time for shortstops behind Wagner’s .327.
Nick Anapolis is the spring 2013 public relations intern at the Baseball Hall of Fame