OTD in 1985, NC Natives Enos Slaughter and Hoyt Wilhelm were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Also inducted were Lou Brock and Arky Vaughan.
Born in Roxboro, NC (north of Durham near the Virginia-NC state line), Enos Slaughter spent his childhood working on his family’s 90-acre farm. He took interest in baseball seeing Piedmont League games played in Durham. After signing to play professionally in 1935, Slaughter would spend 3 seasons in the minor leagues. In his second season with the Class AA Columbus Red Birds in 1937, Enos was given the nickname “Country” by his new manager Burt Shotten. His rookie year in the Majors came in 1938 with the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .276 in 112 games. Slaughter spent the majority of his 19-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals playing the outfield alongside Stan Musial and Terry Moore. He served in the US Army Air Force during World War II (1943-1945). It was during his military service that it was first known that Slaughter was color-blind. His first season back with the Cardinals in 1946, Slaughter hit .300 with 18 HRs and a league leading 130 RBI.
Slaughter would be selected to 10 consecutive All-Star Games (not counting his 3 years in the service) from 1941-1953. He won 4 World Series rings, 2 with St. Louis (’42 & ’46) and 2 with the New York Yankees (’56 & ’58). It was his base running ability in the 1946 World Series that pushed Slaughter into baseball lore forever. Read more about his legendary “Mad Dash” here:https://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/october-16-1946-country-s-mad-dash-enos-slaughter-scores-winning-run-cardinals-game-7
Slaughter’s last season in the Majors was in 1959 with the Yankees and Milwaukee Braves. He then spent 2 more seasons in the minors, playing for the Raleigh Capitals of the Carolina League in 1961 before retiring as a player. With the Capitals, the 45-year old Slaughter would hit .341 in 42 games with 21 walks against just 3 strikeouts. Throughout his entire baseball career, “Country” had an eye at the plate. Only 1 time in his career did Slaughter strike out more than 41 times in a full season. He finished his MLB career with 2,383 hits in 7,946 at-bats, an even .300 batting average, 1,018 walks, and 538 strikeouts (that means he would strike out just once every four games).