Herb Score was on his way to superstardom after his first two big league seasons. In his rookie season of 1955, the 22-year old went 16-10 with a league-leading 245 strikeouts. He was selected to the All Star game and named the American League Rookie of the Year.
The following season, Score was even better. He went 20-9, allowed a league low 5.84 hits per nine innings, and again paced the AL in strikeouts, upping his total to 263. Score’s 5 shutouts also led the Junior Circuit while his win total was the second-most in the AL. He was named to his second-straight All Star game.
Only 23 years old, Score entered 1957 with high hopes to build on his early success. Tabbed as the Opening Day starter, Score was the tough-luck loser pitching all 11 innings while striking out ten. He allowed just two earned runs. His next two outings resulted consecutive complete games – one a shutout.
In his 5th start of the year on May 7 with one out in the first inning, Yankee shortstop Gil McDougald hit a screaming line drive that hit Score squarely between his nose and his right eye. Score missed the rest of the season and was never the same.
In the collection is this get-well letter from Cardinals great Stan Musial. Dated May 15, 1957 just eight days after Score got hit, the letter is addressed to the hurler in care of Lakeside Hospital in in Cleveland. Musial writes, “Dear Herb, I can’t possibly express how sorry I was to hear of your accident. Hope you are improving more every day and that you will be back in uniform shortly. Keep your chin up, Stan Musial”. The Man has neatly signed his name at the bottom of the letter.
The date the letter was written Musial tied Cap Anson for 6th place on the All-Time doubles list with 583. By season’s end, Musial would earn the last of his seven batting crowns, leading the league with a .422 on-base percentage and a 1.034 OPS. He finished second in MVP balloting.