Baseball Great Enos Slaughter Dies

Enos "Country" Slaughter Enos Slaughter delivers his acceptance speech after being inducted into the Hitters Hall of Fame at the 9th Annual Legends Induction Ceremony at the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2002, in Citrus Hills, Fla. Enos Slaughter, New York Yankee outfielder, poses before opening day, April 15, 1954. CBS/AP

Enos "Country" Slaughter, a member of baseball's Hall of Fame who batted .300 in 19 seasons and played in five World Series, died early Monday at Duke University Medical Center. He was 86.

Hospital spokesman Richard Puff said Slaughter died at 12:44 a.m. He did not immediately have any more information.

Slaughter had been in the intensive care unit after undergoing two emergency surgeries in two weeks. He had colon surgery July 25 and surgery to repair perforated stomach ulcers July 29.

Slaughter's daughter, Gaye Currier — a nurse at Duke — said last week that neither surgery was related to Slaughter's treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which was diagnosed in June.

Slaughter grew up and spent his post-baseball life in Roxboro, north of Durham near the Virginia line.

He batted .300 in 19 seasons, 13 of them with the St. Louis Cardinals. He played in five World Series and for four World Champions. He also played in 10 consecutive All-Star Games, batting .391. He led the National League with 130 RBIs in 1946.

Slaughter's illness forced him to miss this year's induction ceremony for the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., for the first time since his own induction in 1985.

Slaughter joined the Cardinals in 1938 and, except for missing three years to serve in World War II, stayed in St. Louis until he was traded to the New York Yankees in 1954. He retired in 1959.

His most memorable moment came when he scored from first base on Harry Walker's single in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 1946 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. His "Mad Dash" broke a tie and is commemorated outside St. Louis' Busch Stadium with a bronze statute of Slaughter sliding home.

He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1964 and one theory for his long wait to get to Cooperstown was that Slaughter tried to organize a strike when Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the major leagues.

Slaughter vehemently denied such a plan was ever discussed and disputed charges of racism.

"There's been a hell of a lot of stuff written on that because I was a Southern boy," he said during a 1994 interview with The Associated Press. "It's just a lot of baloney."
  • Dan Collins

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