The Brooklyn Dodgers seemed determined to have the 1952 season end in a much happier fashion than 1951. They were off to a 34-11 start and they were able to put some distance between themselves and the second place Giants with a 6-2 win at Sportsman's Park over the St. Louis Cardinals before a crowd of 17,443 fans.
The Cardinals scored single runs in the first and second. Center fielder Stan Musial hit his seventh homer of the year in the first and first baseman Dick Sisler, acquired from the Reds on May 13, hit his second homer of the year in the second inning. Erskine allowed just one more hit, a single by second baseman Red Schoendienst in the fifth.
Boyer was cruising until the seventh. He walked first baseman Gil Hodges to lead off the inning. Right fielder Carl Furillo singled to left and Hodges moved to second. Pinch hitter George Shuba, batting for Erskine, fouled out. Third baseman Bobby Morgan walked to load the bases. Shortstop Pee Wee Reese then shot a single to left field past shortstop Solly Hemus to score Hodges and Furillo to tie the game. Out came Boyer and Al Brazle came on to pitch. Center fielder Duke Snider fouled out down the right field line and Schoendienst made the catch and then gunned out Morgan at third, who tried to tag up, for a double play.
Joe Black, who would win Rookie of the Year in the NL, came in to relieve and he shut down the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh.
Second baseman Jackie Robinson drew a walk from Brazle to lead off the eighth. This wouldn't be infrequent for Robinson as he walked 106 times and led the NL in OBP at .440. Catcher Roy Campanella followed with a shot over the left field wall to put the Dodgers ahead 4-2. After a walk to left fielder Andy Pafko, Jack Crimian came in to pitch for the Cardinals. Hodges popped out against Crimian, but Furillo was able to send one of Crimian's offerings over the left field fence and the Dodgers lead grew to 6-2. Black threw three shutout innings for the win.
The 1952 regular season did not have a traumatic ending for the Dodgers. They went 96-57 and the Giants finished 4 1/2 games back. The Cardinals finished in third at 88-66, 8 1/2 games back. The Dodgers would lose their sixth World Series in six appearances, and their fourth to the Yankees, falling in seven games.
The Dodgers had a well-balanced team in 1952. They lead the NL in runs scored (775) , home runs (153) and stolen bases (90). They had the second best ERA at 3.53 and had the most strikeouts with 773. Hodges led the team with 32 home runs. Reese led the NL in stolen bases with 30 and Robinson had 24.
Stanky's Cardinals improved by 7 wins over 1951. Musial had one of his best seasons, leading the NL in batting average (.336), slugging (.538), OPS (.970), runs (105 tied with Hemus), hits (194), total bases (311), and doubles (42). However, Musial lost out on the MVP to Chicago's Hank Sauer, who hit 37 home runs and drove in 121. Musial actually finished fifth in the voting behind Sauer, Robin Roberts, Black, and Hoyt Wilhelm. Then again, the AL MVP in 1952 was Philadephia A's pitcher Bobby Shantz, so 1952 wasn't the best year for the BBWAA voters.
Stanky would lead the Cardinals to another third place finish in 1953, but the Cardinals dropped to sixth in 1954 and Stanky was fired early in the 1955 season. He later would manage the Chicago White Sox from 1966-68 and would manage the Texas Rangers for one game in 1977.
Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.com