Partee's 1949 Bowman Gum baseball card
September 7, 1917|
|Died: December 27, 2000
|April 23, 1943 for the Boston Red Sox|
Last MLB appearance
|October 3, 1948 for the St. Louis Browns|
|Runs batted in||114|
Career highlights and awards
Roy Robert Partee (September 7, 1917 – December 27, 2000) was a Major League Baseball catcher. Listed at 5' 10" and 180 lbs., Partee was nicknamed the "Little Round Man." He is likely best remembered as the man behind the plate for Enos Slaughter's "Mad Dash" in game seven of the 1946 World Series and as the New York Mets scout responsible for signing Bud Harrelson, Tug McGraw, Rick Aguilera and Greg Jeffries, among others.
Path to the majors
Partee was born in Los Angeles to father Clair C. Partee and mother Eutha Wyche. He was an Arizona-Texas League All-Star in 1938 when he batted .365 with nine home runs for the Bisbee Bees. His performance got him signed with the Chicago Cubs' St. Joseph Angels the following season, however, after batting .245 with five home runs, he was let go. He returned to the Bees in 1940, now the Salt Lake City Bees of the Pioneer League, and resumed his hitting ways, batting .284 with seven home runs while also showing a dramatic increase in defensive skills.
He joined the San Francisco Seals in 1941 (at the time, a Detroit Tigers affiliate), but managed to bat just .180 in 65 plate appearances. When coach Tony Lazzeri left the club to manage the Portsmouth Cubs in 1942, he brought Partee along with him back to the Cubs organization. He batted .299 and committed only four errors behind the plate in 560 chances. After the season, his contract was purchased by the Boston Red Sox.
Boston Red Sox
Partee was immediately plugged into the starting line-up for the Red Sox upon his arrival in Boston, and batted .300 for most of the season in the number eight hole in their batting order. He was called up by the U.S. Military in June 1944, but was rejected on D-Day due to a bad ankle. In his first game back with the Bosox, he clubbed his first major league home run, a walk-off to defeat Atley Donald and the New York Yankees, 8-7.
When the 1944 baseball season ended, he enlisted in the military at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California during World War II on October 19, 1944. When he returned to the Red Sox in 1946, he was relegated to back-up catching duties behind All-Star Hal Wagner.
Slaughter's "Mad Dash"
The 1946 Red Sox ran away with the American League crown by twelve games over the Detroit Tigers with a 104-50 record, and were heavy favorites in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. They led the series three games to two as it headed back to Sportsman's Park in St. Louis for game six. For his part, Partee was one-for-six in the series, and was a huge part of Boston's three-run seventh inning of game five.
The Cards won game six on sensational defense and a brilliant pitching performance by Harry Brecheen to bring the series to a deciding game seven. With Boston trailing 3-1 in the top of the eighth of game seven, Dom DiMaggio hit a two-out double to tie the score at three. Dimaggio pulled a hamstring on the play and was replaced by pinch runner, Leon Culberson, who also replaced DiMaggio in centerfield in the bottom of the inning.
Enos Slaughter led off the bottom half of the inning with a single. After a failed bunt attempt by Whitey Kurowski and a flyout to leftfield by Del Rice, Slaughter found himself still on first base with two outs. With outfielder Harry Walker at the plate with a two balls and one strike count, Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer called for a hit and run. With Slaughter running, Walker lined the ball to left-center field. Culberson fielded the ball, and threw a relay to shortstop Johnny Pesky. Slaughter rounded third base heading for home plate, running through the stop sign from third base coach Mike González. Assuming that Slaughter had stopped at third, Pesky checked Walker at first base before throwing home. Partee caught the delayed throw up the line, allowing Slaughter to score what proved to be the winning run.
St. Louis Browns
Partee spent one more season in Boston, platooning with Birdie Tebbetts behind the plate. On November 17, 1947 he was part of a blockbuster trade, as he, Pete Layden, Eddie Pellagrini, Al Widmar and Jim Wilson, plus two players to be named later and an undisclosed amount of cash (eventually, only one player, Joe Ostrowski, and $310,000) were sent to the St. Louis Browns for Jack Kramer and Vern Stephens. He batted just .203 with seventeen RBIs platooning with Les Moss in his only season with the Browns. Following the season, he was part of a second blockbuster deal, as he and Fred Sanford were sent to the New York Yankees for Red Embree, Sherm Lollar, Dick Starr and $100,000.
Return to the minors
Partee never made a major league appearance with the Yankees. Instead, he spent the 1949 and 1950 seasons back with the San Francisco Seals, 1951 and 1952 seasons with the Kansas City Blues, and split the 1954 season between the Sacramento Solons and Edmonton Eskimos. In 1955, he became player/manager of the California League's Stockton Ports, and led his club to a 94-53 record. In his three seasons at the helm, Stockton went 238-189, and he actually pitched in a couple of games. In 1959, he managed the Eugene Emeralds. Though he was retired as a player, he inserted himself into the line-up for one game, and went two-for-three.
He was considered one of the better fielding catchers of his era, however, he had little power, clubbing only two home runs in his five-year major league career. In 1234 minor league games, he batted .268 with 36 home runs. He batted and threw right-handed.
Post playing career
When the New York Mets were born in 1962, Partee came aboard as a scout and would play a huge part in signing many of the Mets for the next twenty three years before retiring. Partee died in Eureka, California, at the age of 83.
- "Roy Partee". Historic Baseball.
- Con Harrison (August 24, 1943). "Roy Partee First PL Player to Make Majors". The Deseret News.
- "Army Rejects Doerr, Culberson and Partee". The Telegraph-Herald. June 7, 1944.
- "Boston Red Sox 8, New York Yankees 7". Retrosheet. June 8, 1944.
- "Major Leagues Lose Many Stars". Ottawa Citizen. December 15, 1944.
- "1946 World Series, Game Five". Baseball-Reference.com. October 11, 1946.
- "1946 World Series, Game Six". Baseball-Reference.com. October 13, 1946.
- "Top 10 World Series Moments, Enos Slaughter's Mad Dash". Time. October 21, 2008.
- "Browns Give Two Stars for Seven". Ottawa Citizen. November 18, 1947.
- "Legendary Mets Scout: Roy Partee (1962–1985)". Centerfield Maz. September 8, 2011.