July 11, 1950: How Red Schoendienst called his shot at the 1950 all-star game

St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Red Schoendienst was never quite sure what came over himself.

The native of Germantown, Illinois, had never been one for boasting, but as he shagged fly balls in the Comiskey Park outfield alongside his fellow 1950 National League All-Stars, something came over him and he pointed to the right-field bleachers.

“I’m going to hit one right up there, in the upper deck,” he told his teammates, including Dick Sisler, Duke Snider, and Walker Cooper.[1]

In his 1998 autobiography, Schoendienst would write, “I don’t know why I said that. It just came out. I wasn’t a home run hitter and the last thing I should be trying to do in an all-star game is hit a home run.”

While 1950 marked Schoendienst’s fourth all-star selection, the six-year veteran had hit just 14 home runs for his career, including three during the first half of the season. As a result, Schoendienst’s teammates laughed good-naturedly and thought little of his prediction. Schoendienst and Sisler even bet a Coca-Cola on who would get the longest hit – a bet Schoendienst was sure he had lost when Sisler entered the game in the sixth inning and singled.[2]

While Schoendienst opened the game on the bench, the National League starting lineup included three of his Cardinals teammates – Stan Musial at first base, Enos Slaughter in center field, and Marty Marion at shortstop. On the mound, the Phillies’ Robin Roberts started for the National League and the Yankees’ Vic Raschi opened the game for the American League.

Dodgers manager Burt Shotton had been booed heavily during pregame introductions after he objected to keeping Cubs right fielder Hank Sauer, who was selected through fan voting, in the National League starting lineup. With Sauer in right, Shotton was left without a true center fielder, forcing him to play Slaughter at the position.

After the game, Shotton was asked about the long, theatrical pose he adopted as he was introduced to the fans.

“I stayed out there that long because I wanted the fans to get all the booing out of their system,” he said.[3]

After a scoreless first inning, the Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson opened the second inning by smacking the first pitch to right field for a single. After watching two pitches sail off the plate, Slaughter followed with a triple into the left-field gap to score Robinson. The next batter, Hank Sauer, hit a sacrifice fly into right field that scored Slaughter and made the score 2-0.

The American League cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the third. Pinch hitting for Raschi, Cass Michaels led off with a ground-rule double and Phil Rizzuto followed with a bunt single. After Roberts struck out Larry Doby, George Kell hit a sacrifice fly into center field to score Michaels.

In the bottom of the fifth, the American League took a 3-2 lead off Don Newcombe. Newcombe walked Bob Lemon to lead off the inning, then struck out Rizzuto. Doby hit a ground ball up the middle that turned into a double, placing two runners in scoring position for Kell. Kell hit a sacrifice fly to score Lemon and Ted Williams hit an RBI single into right field to place the American League ahead.

That lead lasted until the top of the ninth, when Ralph Kiner hit a leadoff home run off Art Houtteman into the upper deck. With Kiner’s home run tying the score 3-3, the teams headed into the first extra innings in all-star game history.

After the National League left the bases loaded in the 11th, Shotton inserted Schoendienst into the game in place of Slaughter, who finished the day 2-for-4 with a walk and a great play in deep center field to steal extra bases from Red Sox first baseman Walter Dropo.

In the top of the 14th, Schoendienst stepped to the plate for the first time. His teammates had not forgotten his pregame boast.

“You going to hit it up in the right-field stands?” Cooper asked.

With Tigers left-hander Ted Gray on the mound, the switch-hitting Schoendienst knew his next at-bat would come right-handed.

“No,” he said. “Left field now.”[4]

Incredibly, Schoendienst lived up to his word, launching the ball into the left-field stands.

“I don’t know if the guys on the bench were as shocked as I was, but they didn’t have to make it around the bases without falling down laughing,” Schoendienst wrote. “When I did make it back to the dugout, the guys let me have it.”[5]

After the game, Gray described the pitch as a “low fast one,”[6] but Schoendienst described it differently.

“I guess it was a double-knuckle ball,” he joked. “The pitch didn’t have much to it because I pulled it.”[7]

Ewell Blackwell pitched the ninth inning for the National League, ending the game when Joe DiMaggio hit into a 5-4-3 double play.

After the game, Shotton put his arms around both Kiner and Schoendienst.

“Boy, you redhead,” he said to Schoendienst. “That will make good reading in St. Louis – and Brooklyn.”[8]

Schoendienst played in 10 all-star games, with his final appearance coming in 1957. His 1950 blast marked the only all-star game home run of his career.


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[1] Red Schoendienst with Rob Rains (1998), “Red: A Baseball Life,” Sports Publishing, Champaign, Ill., 63.

[2] Red Schoendienst with Rob Rains (1998), “Red: A Baseball Life,” Sports Publishing, Champaign, Ill., 63.

[3] Edward Prell, “Schoendienst Calm, Shotton Leads Cheers,” Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1950: Page F3.

[4] Red Schoendienst with Rob Rains (1998), “Red: A Baseball Life,” Sports Publishing, Champaign, Ill., 64.

[5] Red Schoendienst with Rob Rains (1998), “Red: A Baseball Life,” Sports Publishing, Champaign, Ill., 64.

[6] Martin J. Haley, “Schoendienst’s home run in 14th wins for N.L., 4-3,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 12, 1950: Page 19.

[7] Martin J. Haley, “Schoendienst’s home run in 14th wins for N.L., 4-3,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 12, 1950: Page 19.

[8] Edward Prell, “Schoendienst Calm, Shotton Leads Cheers,” Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1950: Page F1.

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