Cheap Seats

On This Date in Cardinals History: May 2, 1954

Today is the 60th anniversary of the best day any St. Louis Cardinals player ever had.

On May 2, 1954 Stan the Man Musial hit an amazing five home runs in a doubleheader in the newly renamed Busch Stadium against the New York Giants. He also walked twice, scored six times and drove in nine runs as the teams split the contests.

Musial was 4-for-4 in the first game, hitting a solo homer in the third inning, a two-run shot in the fifth and a three-run homer that broke a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the eighth. He walked in the first and singled in the sixth inning.

In game two Musial had two hits in four at-bats. He walked and scored in the first but the Cardinals lost an early lead and found themselves trailing the contest 8-3 in the fifth when Stan the Man hit a two-run homer to cut into the deficit. 

Down 8-6 in the seventh, Musial hit a solo shot to pull within one. But the Giants scored an insurance run in the top of the ninth and when Stan the Man came up in the bottom of the inning he popped out.

Musial, then 33, famously remembered on many occasions that the last at-bat was the only one in which he actually was trying to hit a homer.

At the end of his big day, Musial was left with a cool .400 batting average. He'd finish the season batting .330 with 35 homers and he finished sixth in the MVP balloting. A career year for most, it was the third-lowest average of Stan the Man's 12-year career up to that point. He hit .315 in 1942 and .312 in 1947. But up to that point he had a career batting average of .344.

To put it into perspective, Albert Pujols over the course of his first 12 seasons in the major leagues was a .325 hitter.