Sauer was a slow-footed slugger who didn’t reach the majors to stay until 1948, when he was 31 years old. That season he hit 35 homers and drove in 97 runs for the Reds, but when he started poorly the next year, he was swapped to the Cubs. He found a happy home in Wrigley Field. In his first full month in Chicago he smacked 11 homers.
In 1952, when he led the NL in RBI and tied Ralph Kiner for the home run championship with 37, Sauer was the NL MVP. After a broken finger slowed him in 1953, he bounced back with 41 homers in 1954.
Sauer was the first player to twice hit three home runs in a game off the same pitcher. The Phillies’ Curt Simmons was the victim. On August 28, 1950, just before Simmons went into the service, Sauer slugged three off him at Wrigley to lead a 7-5 win. Two years later, on June 11, 1952, again at Wrigley Field, Sauer hit three solo homers to beat Simmons, 3-0. Sauer finished up with the Giants, slugging 26 HR in their last season at the Polo Grounds before becoming a part-time player when they moved to San Francisco in 1958.
Sauer’s brother Ed played for the Cubs, Cardinals, and Braves between 1943 and 1949.