|Born: March 17, 1923
|Died: April 28, 1986
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|June 9, 1943 for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 7, 1949 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Run batted in||261|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Patrick Seerey (March 17, 1923 – April 28, 1986) was an American professional baseball player. An outfielder, Seerey played in Major League Baseball for seven seasons in the American League with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. In 561 career games, Seerey recorded a batting average of .224 and accumulated 86 home runs and 261 runs batted in (RBI).
Early life and minor leagues
Pat Seerey was born in Wilburton, Oklahoma to James and Marie Seerey. His family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas when he was a child, and he played baseball for the Little Rock Boys' Club at Lamar Porter Field. He attended Little Rock Catholic High School, where he played baseball and American football, serving as the team's starting fullback. After graduating from high school in 1941, he was signed by the Cleveland Indians. Shortly afterwards, he was classified as 4-F, meaning he would not be lost to the military during World War II.
Seerey started his minor league baseball career in 1941 with the Appleton Papermakers of the Wisconsin State League. In one of his first appearances for the team, he hit for the cycle in a 15–4 victory against the Fond du Lac Panthers. In 104 games for Appleton that year, Seerey had a .330 batting average with 31 home runs and 117 runs batted in; the 31 home runs were a record for the Wisconsin State League at the time. The following season, Seerey played for the Cedar Rapids Raiders of the Three-I League. In 117 games for the Raiders, he had a .303 batting average and 33 home runs. In 1943, Seerey was promoted to the Wilkes-Barre Barons of the Eastern League, and played in 31 games over the first two months of the season. In early June, outfielder Hank Edwards broke his collarbone, and the Indians needed an extra outfielder on the roster; Seerey was promoted as a result.
He made his debut with the Indians on June 9, 1943. Almost immediately after his debut, he earned the nickname of "people's choice" in media due to both his hitting ability and his "willingness to challenge the brick walls of the stadium". He played in 26 games for the Indians on the season, and hit .222 in 72 at-bats. Entering the 1944 Cleveland Indians season, manager Lou Boudreau planned to use Seerey as the starting center fielder, as he had reported to spring training 25 pounds lighter and Boudreau felt that Seerey could improve on a weak area on the team's roster. Seerey moved back to left field to begin the season; in his first game there on the year, he hit a three-run home run to give the Indians a 7–4 victory over the Detroit Tigers. A month into the season, Seerey was among the league leaders in runs batted in, which was attributed to better plate discipline, though his fielding in the outfield was still considered a liability. Partway through the season, Seerey's playing time diminished, yet he remained the team leader in home runs for most of the season despite limited at-bats. He finished the season with 15 home runs, 39 runs batted in, and a league-leading 99 strikeouts in 101 games.
Entering the 1945 Cleveland Indians season, Seerey was re-classified as 1-A, and took a military examination during the offseason. He was not slated to join the military, and the season started with him on the roster as one of the team's starting three outfielders. In 126 games, Seerey hit 236 with 14 home runs and 97 strikeouts, which again led the league.
Chicago White Sox and later life
He was the fifth of 16 players in MLB history who hit four home runs in a single game, doing so for the White Sox on July 18, 1948. In an 11-inning, 12–11 triumph over the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park, Seerey homered in three successive innings (fifth through seventh), belting his first two off starting pitcher Carl Scheib and the third off reliever Bob Savage. His fourth blast, in the 11th off Lou Brissie, sealed the ChiSox' victory. On that day, Seerey went 4-for-6 with seven runs batted in.
Seerey died in Jennings, Missouri at the age of 63.
- "Lamar Porter Athletic Field, Little Rock, Pulaski County". Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- Zirin, Alex (March 21, 1945). "Boudreau Hopes To Receive 'Peck' of Good News Today". The Plain Dealer. p. 16.
- "New Indian Outfielder in 4-F". The Sporting News. June 17, 1943. p. 7.
- "Papers Blast Panthers, 15-4". The Milwaukee Journal. June 18, 1941. p. 8.
- "State Baseball Writers Name 17 For Honor Roll". The Milwaukee Journal. April 16, 1948. p. 13.
- "Pat Seerey Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Cobbledick, Gordon (June 14, 1943). "Plain Dealing". The Plain Dealer. p. 19.
- "Pat Seerey Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Cobbledick, Gordon (March 19, 1944). "Boudreau Plans to Test Seerey in Center Field". The Plain Dealer. p. 33.
- "Seerey's Home Run Repels Tigers, 7-4". The Plain Dealer. April 22, 1944. p. 1.
- Cobbledick, Gordon (May 12, 1944). "Plain Dealing". The Plain Dealer. p. 14.
- Cobbledick, Gordon (July 25, 1944). "Plain Dealing". The Plain Dealer. p. 12.
- "Pat Seerey Called For Pre-Induction". The Tuscaloosa News. February 13, 1945. p. 7.
- 1948-7-18 (1) box score from Retrosheet
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Pat Seerey at the SABR Bio Project, by Fred Schuld, retrieved 23 February 2014