Stephen Piscotty’s harrowing tour of the basepaths Wednesday calls to mind similar exploits of another Cardinals star more than 80 years ago.
If you somehow missed it, Piscotty was plunked by a thrown baseball three times in the 360-foot circuit, first on the right elbow by Chicago Cubs’ left-hander Jake Arrieta, then again on the left elbow sliding into second base on a throw by catcher Wilson Contreras.
The knockout blow came from Cubs second-sacker Javier Baez, who tried to get Piscotty out at the plate on an infield hit. The throw caught Piscotty on the left side of the helmet as he slid in safely for the Cardinals only run. He laid motionless behind the batter’s box before being assisted off the field.
This all happened barely 24 hours after the 26-year-old right fielder secured a multiyear contract extension that could be worth up to $50 million.
On Oct. 5, 1934, Cardinals pitcher Jerome “Dizzy” Dean was similarly beaned in Game 4 of the World Series at old Sportsman’s Park.
In the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers, Ol’ Diz was sent in to pinch run for Spud Davis, who had singled to right field batting for starting pitcher Dazzy Vance (yes, the Cardinals’ staff had a Dizzy, a Dazzy and a Daffy that season).
Pepper Martin then hit a ground ball to Tigers’ to Hall-of-Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer, who flipped the ball to shortstop Billy Rogel for the force out.
Dean broke up the would-be double play by intercepting Rogel’s throw to first with his forehead. He was carried unconscious off the field and rushed to a nearby hospital.
Newspapers famously heralded the good news the next day: “X-rays of Dean’s head show nothing.”
The Tigers generously presented Dean with a U.S. Army helmet the next day, but it didn’t protect the eventual Hall of Famer from a 3-1 loss that put the Cardinals behind in the series, three games to two. Dean managed to bounce back on short rest however, and shut the Tigers out in Game 7 to give St. Louis its third world championship in eight years.
Piscotty had his head examined Wednesday night, and, like Dean, nothing more serious than a knot was found. He wasn’t in manager Mike Matheny’s lineup Wednesday, but the game was postponed anyway, due to the threat of storms.
Makes you wonder, though, what feat Piscotty has in store when he returns on short rest Thursday.