Red Schoendienst

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Red Schoendienst
Red Schoendienst1983.jpg
Schoendienst in 1983
Second baseman
Born: (1923-02-02) February 2, 1923 (age 91)
Germantown, Illinois
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1945 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
July 7, 1963 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
Batting average .289
Hits 2,449
Runs batted in 773
Teams

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Induction 1989
Election Method Veterans Committee

Albert Fred "Red" Schoendienst (/ˈʃndnst/; born February 2, 1923) is an American Major League Baseball (MLB) coach, and former player and manager. An outstanding second baseman, he played for 19 years with the St. Louis Cardinals (1945–56, 1961–63), New York Giants (1956–57) and Milwaukee Braves (1957–60), and was named to 10 All Star teams. He then managed the Cardinals from 1965 through 1976, the second-longest managerial tenure in the team's history (behind Tony La Russa). Under his direction, St. Louis won the 1967 and 1968 National League pennants and the 1967 World Series, and he was named National League Manager of the Year in both 1967 and 1968. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. Schoendienst remains with the Cardinals as a special assistant coach; as of 2014 he has worn a Major League uniform as a player, coach, or manager for 69 consecutive seasons.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Schoendienst was born in Germantown, Illinois, approximately 40 miles (64 km) east of downtown St. Louis to Joe and Mary Schoendienst as one of seven children.[4] His father was a coal miner who struggled to support his family and they lived without running water and electricity.[5]

Schoendienst showed a marked aptitude for baseball, enough that when playing at a young age, he would handicap himself by hitting left-handed.[4] At age 16, Schoendienst dropped out of school to join the Civilian Conservation Corps program established through former President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Schoendienst suffered a serious eye injury while working on a fence. Most of the doctors he saw wanted to remove it until he found one who would work with him without removing it. Instead, he endured constant headaches and years of rehabilitation.[5]

When Schoendienst played baseball after the eye injury, he discovered had an extremely difficult time reading breaking balls from right-handed pitchers. To reorient himself, he learned to become a switch hitter. In the spring of 1942, he participated in an open tryout for the St. Louis Cardinals with about 400 other hopefuls, but the Cardinals offered contracts only to Joe Garagiola, Sr., and Joe Linneman. Among those not offered contracts were Schoendienst and Yogi Berra. Schoendienst was actually supposed to have been signed at that tryout; it was due to an apparent miscommunication that he was not. Riled by this aberration, chief scout Joe Mathes drove to Germantown to sign him for $75 a month.[5]

Minor leagues and military service (1942–44)[edit]

Schoendienst began his professional career in the D-level Georgia-Florida League with the Albany Cardinals, followed by the Union City Greyhounds of the Class D Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League. At Union City, he collected eight hits in his first eight at bats (AB) on his way to batting .407 in six games. In 1943, after playing nine games for the Lynchburg Cardinals in the Class B Piedmont League, he had attained 17 hits in 36 AB. This strong start prompted the Cardinals to promote Schoendienst to the Double-A International League's (IL) Rochester Red Wings, where batted .337 in 136 games with 21 doubles, six home runs (HR) and 20 stolen bases (SB). With his .337 average topping the league, he was named the IL's Most Valuable Player (MVP). Schoendienst, therefore, gained visibility as a top prospect.

Concurrently, with an imminent military obligation due to World War II and his age, it was only a matter of time before Schoendienst would be called to service. The next season, 1944, the Cardinals again sent him to Rochester, where he hit .373 in 25 games, before the Army drafted him.[5][6] However, on January 1, 1945, the Army released him on a medical discharge due to the vision problems from his eye injury and sustained trauma incurred while shooting bazookas.[7]

Major league playing career (1945–63)[edit]

Schoendienst about 1953

The Cardinals invited Schoendienst for spring training in Cairo, Illinois, in 1945. With 1944 MVP Marty Marion as the second base incumbent, St. Louis assigned Schoendienst to be the left fielder.[5] Totaling 137 games in his rookie season, he batted .278 with a league-high 26 SB. In 1946, the Cardinals moved Marion to shortstop and Schoendienst to second base on their way to their third World Series title in five years. During the 1946 offseason, he won the televised home run derby. With sure hands and quick reflexes, he led the National League's second basemen for seven seasons and handled 320 consecutive chances without an error in 1950. In that season's All-Star Game, he won the contest for the National League with a home run in the top of 14th inning. The was the first All-Star game to go to extra innings.[5] His 1956 league record fielding percentage of .9934 stood for 30 years until broken by Ryne Sandberg.[8]

In 1956, the Cardinals traded him to the New York Giants, who dealt him the following season to the Milwaukee Braves, where he helped lead the team to its first pennant in nine years, batting .309 and finishing third in the NL MVP vote. In the World Series the Braves defeated the New York Yankees to win their only world championship in Milwaukee, and the franchise's first since 1914. Milwaukee repeated as NL champions in 1958 but lost to the Yankees in their World Series rematch; Schoendienst flew out to Mickey Mantle for the Series' final out.

During the 1958-59 off-season Schoendienst was diagnosed with tuberculosis and underwent a partial pneumonectomy in February 1959. He was told he not be able to play again. However, he returned to the Braves in 1960 but was released at the end of the season. In 1961, he rejoined the Cardinals, first as a pinch hitter, then as a coach when Johnny Keane replaced Solly Hemus as the Cardinals' manager. Schoendienst continued play while coaching; in his final two seasons with the Cardinals, batting over .300 both times.[5]

Schoendienst last played in 1963. He compiled a .289 batting average with 84 home runs, 773 RBI, 1223 runs, 2449 hits, 427 doubles, 78 triples and 89 stolen bases in 2216 games played. His defensive statistics as a second baseman included 4616 putouts, 5243 assists, 1368 double plays, and only 170 errors in 10029 total chances for a .983 fielding average.

Coaching and managerial career (1964–present)[edit]

CardsRetired2.PNG
Red Schoendienst's number 2 was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990.
Schoendienst at the 2013 NLCS, Busch Stadium

Keane resigned the day following the Cardinals' 1964 World Series victory over the Yankees, and Schoendienst was named as his replacement. Three years later, the Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox for his fourth World Series title and third as a Cardinal. His managerial record over 12 full-time seasons (1965–76) and two subsequent stints as interim manager (1980 and 1990) was 1,041 victories and 955 defeats (.522). After two years as a coach for the 1977-78 Oakland Athletics, Schoendienst returned to the Cardinals as coach and special assistant to the general manager. He won his fifth title in 1982. He remains an employee of the Cardinals organization with the title of Special Assistant Coach.

Schoendienst was a member of five winning World Series teams, all of which won in seven games: as a player with the Cardinals and Braves in 1946 and 1957 respectively; as the Cardinals manager in 1967; and as a Cardinals coach in 1964 and 1982. He was also a member of three teams that lost the Series after leading three games to one: the 1958 Milwaukee Braves (to the Yankees), the 1968 Cardinals (to the Detroit Tigers), and the 1985 Cardinals (to the Kansas City Royals).

Schoendienst was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Veterans Committee. The Cardinals retired his number 2 in 1996.[9] In 1998 he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[10] The Cardinals named Schoendienst, among 21 other former players and personnel, to be inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for the inaugural class of 2014.[11]

Personal life[edit]

In 1951 Schoendienst married the former Mary Eileen O'Reilly, who died in 1999.[12] Their 48-year marriage produced three daughters (Colleen, Cathleen, and Eileen) and one son (Kevin).[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schoendienst, Red: Baseball Hall of Fame Retrieved September 7, 2011
  2. ^ Jobe, Dave (January 18, 2013). "Red Schoendienst’s 90th birthday party". Fox2now.com archive (St. Louis). Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ Megdal, H. Cardinal Red For Life. Sports On Earth. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Leggett, William (October 7, 1968). "Manager of the money men". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g PugetSoundCardsAddict (February 3, 2014). "Cardinals legend preparing for 70th consecutive season in a major league uniform". Viva El Birdos. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Red Schoendienst minor league statistics & history". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Harlan, B: The St. Louis Cardinals 1971 Official Guide and Record Book, p. 8
  8. ^ Leggett, William (October 7, 1968): Manager Of The Money Men. Sports Illustrated archive Retrieved September 13, 2011
  9. ^ "Retired Numbers". Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  10. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". stlouiswalkoffame.org. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Cardinals Press Release (January 18, 2014). "Cardinals establish Hall of Fame & detail induction process". www.stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  12. ^ MARY SCHOENDIENST, WIFE OF CARDINALS GREAT, DIES (December 14, 1999). St. Louis Post Dispatch archive Retrieved September 13, 2011

Bibliography[edit]

  • Schoendienst, Red; Rains, Bob (1998). Red: A Baseball Life (Hardcover ed.). Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing. ISBN 1-57167-200-1. 

External links[edit]