Professor Emeritus Jerome M. Mileur has combined his two passions, political science and baseball, in a new book The Stars are Back: The St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Red Sox, and Player Unrest in 1946.
The book explores Major League Baseball after the war -- examining, as the title suggests, what happened when the stars came "back" to the game after the war and their military service ended.
"It was a year of surpises," Mileur says. His beloved St. Louis Cardinals had more talented players return than any other club, and all predictions were that they would easily win the National League pennant. Instead, he says, "the Redbirds found themselves in a season-long struggle with the Brooklyn Dodgers that ended in the first tie in major league history and the first ever playoff that St. Louis won."
At the same time, the Red Sox were making news in the American League. With 104 wins, the 1946 Sox still hold the team's record for 2nd highest number of wins in a season, Mileur points out.
Indeed, although they did not clinch the World Series that year, the 1946 team was a great one, including well-known players like Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, and Dom DiMaggio. "The '46 Red Sox were a powerful hitting team," says Mileur, "but it was pitchers like Dave Ferriss and Tex Hughson who really made the difference."
Surprises occurred off the field, too. This was the year when players demanded a new contract and banded together to call for greater control over their baseball careers. "The contract provided greater security for the players including agreement on a pension plan," says Mileur, "but, more importantly, it opened the door to a role for players in the management of the game, a door the owners were never again able to close."
The Stars are Back is Professor Mileur's second book about the Cardinals. In 2009, he published the High-Flying Birds: The 1942 St. Louis Cardinals.
A book signing and celebration are planned for the spring semester -- just in time for spring training!
- Faculty News