Larry Miggins’ Two Big League Homers

1952 St. Louis Cardinals: That's Larry Miggins sitting between Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst. How many other Cardinal players do you recognize?

1952 St. Louis Cardinals: That’s Larry Miggins leaning forward and sitting between Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst. How many other Cardinal players do you recognize?

You fellow members of the Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR (The Society for American Baseball Research) know of local baseball legend Larry Miggins as the tall and eloquent Irishman who is also one of the regulars at our monthly chapter meetings in downtown Houston. For those of you who do not know him, Larry is a former Houston Buff and St. Louis Cardinal – and one of the men who played in Jackie Robinson’s first organized baseball games when Jackie began as a member of the 1946 Montreal Royals. Miggins played third base for the Jersey Giants that fine April day.

“Robinson should have remembered me – and also been grateful for the fact I was there that day,” Miggins will tell you. “Because my manager was making me play deep, I managed to kick in two infield bunt base hits to his first day totals on the road to Brooklyn.”

Miggins had one “oh for one” time at bat with the Cardinals in 1948 and then returned for 42 games as an outfielder for the 1952 St. Louis NL club. That was it for Miggins and the majors, but remember too, these were the days of the reserve clause, when the Cardinals controlled some of the best talent available to the entire 16-club big league scene.  If you got a chance at all at the big club, at all, and many did not, you had to almost play like a future Hall of Famer in the big club short-term to stick – and Larry didn’t get that done. He batted only .229 in 42 games and 96 official times at bat in 1952 and, also like all the others bound to one club back then with no other in-the-field options, Larry never got another shot at the big leagues.

But while he was there, Larry Miggins also hit two homers off two of the greatest players in the game. One of them would even go on to the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest, most durable lefties of all time. And, as so often is the case with Mr. Miggins, there was a story behind each classic homer.

 

Miggins HR # 1: May 13, 1952/ Brooklyn Dodgers 14 – St. Louis Cardinals 8 / @ Ebbets Field in Brooklyn / Miggins hits a 2-run HR off right hander Preacher Roe in the 4th inning.

The story here belongs to baseball broadcasting icon Vin Scully. Scully and Miggins were high school classmates in New York City when Vin predicted to Larry: “One of these days, you are going to be making your debut in the big leagues and I’m going to be there to call the shot on your first big league home run. When Miggins came to bat against Preacher Roe, Vin Scully was just breaking in as the junior announcer on Dodgers radio broadcasts and he happened to be at the mike when Larry came to bat in the fourth. Unfortunately, we do not have a transcript of Scully’s call on Miggins’ home run, but wouldn’t it have been wonderful to hear now, if we did.

 

Baseball Almanac Box Score: SL Cardinals 8, Brooklyn Dodgers 14
Game played on Tuesday, May 13, 1952 at Ebbets Field
St. Louis Cardinals ab   r   h rbi
Stanky 2b 5 1 1 0
Hemus ss 4 0 1 0
Lowrey rf 4 1 0 0
Musial 1b 5 3 3 4
Schoendienst 3b 5 1 3 0
Westlake cf 5 1 2 2
Miggins lf 5 1 1 2
Rice D. c 3 0 2 0
Presko p 1 0 0 0
  Schmidt p 0 0 0 0
  Yuhas p 1 0 0 0
  Werle p 0 0 0 0
  Rice H. ph 1 0 0 0
  Boyer p 0 0 0 0
  Slaughter ph 1 0 0 0
  Bokelmann p 0 0 0 0
Totals 40 8 13 8
Brooklyn Dodgers ab   r   h rbi
Reese ss 4 2 1 1
Cox 3b 5 3 2 1
Robinson 2b 4 2 1 0
Campanella c 5 1 3 2
Pafko lf 4 2 1 2
Snider cf 4 1 2 3
Hodges 1b 4 1 2 3
Furillo rf 4 0 0 0
Roe p 2 0 0 0
  Wade p 3 2 2 1
Totals 39 14 14 13
St. Louis 0 0 0 4 0 0 2 0 2 8 13 1
Brooklyn 0 2 4 0 4 1 0 3 x 14 14 1
  St. Louis Cardinals IP H R ER BB SO
Presko  L(1-2) 2.0 5 5 5 2 1
  Schmidt 0.2 1 1 1 3 1
  Yuhas 2.0 3 4 4 4 2
  Werle 0.1 1 0 0 0 0
  Boyer 2.0 1 1 1 1 1
  Bokelmann 1.0 3 3 3 1 0
Totals
8.0
14
14
14
11
5
  Brooklyn Dodgers IP H R ER BB SO
Roe 3.0 7 4 4 2 1
  Wade  W(1-1) 6.0 6 4 2 1 6
Totals
9.0
13
8
6
3
7

E–Boyer (1), Cox (2).  DP–Brooklyn 1. Robinson-Reese-Hodges.  2B–St. Louis Schoendienst (7,off Roe); Westlake (3,off Roe), Brooklyn Snider (4,off Presko); Wade (2,off Bokelmann).  3B–St. Louis Hemus (1,off Roe).  HR–St. Louis Miggins (1,4th inning off Roe 1 on 0 out); Musial 2 (4,7th inning off Wade 1 on 2 out,9th inning off Wade 1 on 0 out), Brooklyn Hodges (3,2nd inning off Presko 1 on 0 out); Wade (1,6th inning off Boyer 0 on 1 out).  Team LOB–8.  IBB–Hodges (1,by Yuhas).  Team–12.  SB–Pafko (1,2nd base off Werle/D. Rice); Campanella (3,2nd base off Bokelmann/D. Rice); Cox (2,Home off Bokelmann/D. Rice); Pafko (1,2nd base off Werle/D. Rice); Campanella (3,2nd base off Bokelmann/D. Rice); Cox (2,Home off Bokelmann/D. Rice).  U-HP–Artie Gore, 1B–Bill Stewart, 2B–Augie Guglielmo, 3B–Jocko Conlan.  T–3:20.  A–4,951.

Game played on Tuesday, May 13, 1952 at Ebbets Field
Baseball Almanac Box Score | Printer Friendly Box Scores

Miggins HR # 2: September 19, 1952/ St. Louis Cardinals 8 – Boston Braves 6 / @ Braves Field in Boston / Miggins hits a 2-run HR off left hander Warren Spahn in the 6th inning.

In a game the Cardinals went on to win, 8-6, Larry Miggins’ 2-run shot in the 6th tied the score at 3-3.

Many years later, Miggins and Spahn met again when both signed up to play in an Oldtimers’ Game at the Astrodome in Houston. Larry didn’t really know Spahn, but he could resist approaching the great Hall of Famer to see if he even remembered him from the 1952 season.

“Remember you?” Spahn briskly reiterated Miggins’ question. “Of course, I remember you. You were the rookie that hit that curve I left hanging over the plate in late September. Cost me the game. You don’t forget stuff like that.”

Baseball Almanac Box Score: SL Cardinals 8, Boston Braves 6
Game played on Tuesday, September 16, 1952 at Braves Field
St. Louis Cardinals ab   r   h rbi
Hemus ss 4 3 3 3
Schoendienst 2b 3 1 2 0
Musial 1b 5 1 3 3
Slaughter rf 5 0 1 0
Lowrey cf 2 1 0 0
Miggins lf 4 1 1 2
  Chambers p 0 0 0 0
  Yuhas p 1 0 0 0
  Brazle p 0 0 0 0
Glaviano 3b 2 0 0 0
  Rice H. ph,lf 1 0 0 0
Rice D. c 5 0 0 0
Mizell p 2 0 0 0
  Miller p 0 0 0 0
  Stanky ph 1 0 1 0
  Stallcup pr 0 1 0 0
  Benson 3b 2 0 0 0
Totals 37 8 11 8
Boston Braves ab   r   h rbi
Jethroe cf 4 2 0 0
Logan ss 4 1 1 1
Mathews 3b 4 1 2 0
Cooper c 4 1 1 2
Gordon lf 4 1 1 1
Torgeson 1b 5 0 1 1
Sisti rf 2 0 1 1
  Daniels ph,rf 2 0 0 0
Dittmer 2b 4 0 1 0
Spahn p 1 0 0 0
  Jester p 0 0 0 0
  Cusick ph 1 0 0 0
  Chipman p 0 0 0 0
  Burris ph 1 0 0 0
  Cole p 0 0 0 0
Totals 36 6 8 6
St. Louis 1 0 0 0 0 2 4 1 0 8 11 3
Boston 0 0 0 3 0 1 1 0 1 6 8 1
  St. Louis Cardinals IP H R ER BB SO
Mizell 5.1 7 4 4 4 4
  Miller  W(6-2) 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
  Chambers 0.1 1 1 0 0 0
  Yuhas 2.1 0 1 0 2 2
  Brazle  SV(15) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
Totals
9.0
8
6
4
6
7
  Boston Braves IP H R ER BB SO
Spahn  L(14-17) 6.0 9 7 7 4 4
  Jester 1.0 0 0 0 2 1
  Chipman 1.0 2 1 1 2 0
  Cole 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals
9.0
11
8
8
8
6

E–H. Rice (4), Benson 2 (4), Sisti (16).  DP–St. Louis 2. Hemus-Schoendienst-Musial, Hemus-Schoendienst-Musial, Boston 1. Jethroe-Torgeson.  PB–D. Rice (7).  2B–Boston Dittmer (7,off Mizell); Gordon (20,off Mizell).  HR–St. Louis Miggins (2,6th inning off Spahn 1 on 1 out); Hemus 2 (14,7th inning off Spahn 1 on 0 out,8th inning off Chipman 0 on 1 out); Musial (18,7th inning off Spahn 1 on 0 out).  Team LOB–10.  Team–9.  SB–Lowrey (3,2nd base off Jester/Cooper).  U-HP–Augie Donatelli, 1B–Lee Ballanfant, 2B–Al Barlick, 3B–Tom Gorman.

Game played on Tuesday, September 16, 1952 at Braves Field

 

Thank God for Larry Miggins.

Larry Miggins Former Big Leaguer and Active SABR Member

Larry Miggins
Former Big Leaguer and Active SABR Member

Larry Miggins is one of God’s major league contributions to the human race and a storied life in baseball history on many levels. In closing today, for example, there was the time he showed up early for baseball practice as a freshman student athlete at the University of Pittsburgh. No one else was there, but this old man with a ball and glove and it was still too cool to just stand around and wait for the others. The old man flipped the ball to Miggins and the two played catch as they awaited the rest of the team and staff.

The old man turned out to be Honus Wagner, who was there as a volunteer coaching assistant, apparently for no greater reason than the fact he was a baseball man and wanted to do what he could to help the kids learn to play and love the game too.

And now that special young man, Larry Miggins, is an active member of our Larry Dierker SABR Chapter in Houston.

How many other SABR chapters have a member who not only homered off Preacher Roe and Warren Spahn, but also, more than once, played catch with Honus Wagner?

Not too many, I would think.

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4 Responses to “Larry Miggins’ Two Big League Homers”

  1. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Interesting stories that we SABR members never tire of hearing. Larry Miggins Is such a great guy. Being an avid box score reader, could not help but look at Stan Musial’s stats in these same two games: 6 for 10, 2 homeruns, 7 RBI’s, and 4 runs scored. What a player! Larry got to see it all first hand and be his friend for 60 years.

  2. Tom Trimble Says:

    WOW – the Cardinal-Dodger game looks like some kind of Hall of Fame game — without checking at least half a dozen future HOFers in the game. Imagine being one of the heroes in a game like that. But less than 5000 paying fans, hard to believe in today’s world.
    (BTW, Bill, you may want to let B/A know they have the SB particulars duplicated. But even at 1 entry per SB it looks like Bokelmann was having trouble concentrating on baserunners.)

    Larry’s HR off Spahn must have really left a sore spot. Spahn started over 400 games after that and must have faced something conservatively on the order of 10,000 batters and he still couldn’t forget it after what must have been at least 15 years later.

  3. Wayne Roberts Says:

    One of the major things I miss about not being able to make the Dierker chapter meetings is Larry’s presence. He’s a treasure, and it’s nice to see how you folks recognize it.

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