DURHAM, N.C. – Baseball Hall of Famer Enos "Country" Slaughter, who batted .300 in 19 seasons and played in five World Series, died Monday. He was 86.
Slaughter died at 12:44 a.m. at Duke University Medical Center, said Richard Puff, a hospital spokesman. He had no other details.
Slaughter had been in intensive care after undergoing two emergency operations last month, including one on July 29 for perforated stomach ulcers. He was also under treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer, which was diagnosed in June.
An outfielder, Slaughter played his first 13 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and was a member of four World Championship teams. He also played in 10 consecutive All-Star Games, batting .391.
Slaughter joined the Cardinals in 1938. Except for three years to serve in World War II, he 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 the seventh game of the 1946 World Series against the Red Sox.
His "Mad Dash" to score the winning run is commemorated with a bronze statue outside Busch Stadium of Slaughter sliding home.
"It's one happy moment," Slaughter said when the statue was unveiled in 1999. "I think the Cardinals did a great thing for me, and I appreciate it very much."
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.
He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1964. One theory for his long wait to get to Cooperstown was the allegation that he tried to organize a strike in 1947 when Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the major leagues.
Slaughter, who grew up and spent his post-baseball life in Roxboro, north of Durham, vehemently denied such a plan was ever discussed. He also 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. "It's just a lot of baloney."
He also was accused of deliberately spiking Robinson, but he said he never did so in his life. "I stepped on him, yes. I stepped on his ankle, but I didn't cut him, didn't get no blood, didn't even cut his sock," he said later.
At the time, Robinson said only, "All I know is that I had my foot on the inside of the bag. I gave Slaughter plenty of room."
During the ceremony when his statue was unveiled, Slaughter took a few pokes at modern-day players.
"I never heard of a hamstring and a rotor cuff in the 1930s and 1940s," he said. "We just went on out and played. I know the players may be stronger and they have dumbbells and everything like that, but the only way they can get in shape is putting on the spikes.
"You see so many players today round first and 'Oops, out two weeks, hamstring."'