March 5, 1917|
Bayonne, New Jersey
|Died: September 12, 2015
|June 22, 1940, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 1, 1940, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||0|
Alex "Al" Monchak (March 5, 1917 – September 12, 2015) was a shortstop who played briefly for the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1940 season. Listed at 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m), 180 pounds (82 kg), he batted and threw right-handed. He was primarily known as the first-base coach for all the Major League Baseball (MLB) teams managed by Chuck Tanner from 1971 to 1988, including the 1979 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.
Monchak pursued his passion and childhood dream to participate in Major League Baseball. His ultimate goal was to support the growth and development of both himself and the team as they worked together to achieve a Major League Baseball World Series Championship. A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, his major league baseball career was quickly interrupted when he received the call to serve in the United States Army during World War II. He was deployed to the 11th Armored Division and fought under General George Patton in the Battle of the Bulge, the largest battle ever fought at the time. Achieving the noncommissioned officer (NCO) rank of Staff Sergeant (S-SGT), the campaigns in which he served include Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe receiving the following citations: American Theater Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, and Victory Medal, according to War Department Adjutant General's Office Form (WD AGO Form) 53-55 dated 1 November 1944 Box 32 Battles and Campaigns, Box 33 Decorations and Citations, and Box 38 Highest Grade Held. Before the war, his MLB career began as the shortstop with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1940. During the 1940 season, he was a .143 hitter (2-for-14) with one run and one stolen base in 19 games.
Following his military service, Monchak continued to pursue his childhood dream of a career in baseball by being on the field of play. He became a Minor League manager from 1949 to 1961, acting as a player/manager through 1956, and winning four championship titles. He later served as a scout and instructor in the California Angels system (1962–70) and coached (under manager Chuck Tanner) in the majors for the Chicago White Sox (1971–75), Oakland Athletics (1976), Pittsburgh Pirates (1977–84) and Atlanta Braves (1986–88). His childhood dream came true when he was the first base coach with the "We Are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979, who became MLB World Champions.
Monchak was named the 2009 winner of the Roland Hemond Award by Baseball America in December 2009. The award recognizes baseball figures who have made long-term contributions to scouting and player development operations.
Monchak died on September 12, 2015 at the age of 98. At the time of his death, he was recognized as the third oldest living Major League player.
Minor League Championship Titles
|1950||Odessa Oilers||Longhorn League||None|
|1953||Lexington Indians||Tar Heel League||None|
|1956||Wellsville Braves||PONY League||Milwaukee Braves|
|1958||Cedar Rapids Braves||Three-I League||Milwaukee Braves|
- War Department Adjutant General's Office Form (WD AGO Form) 53-55 dated 1 November 1944 Box 32 Battles and Campaigns, Box 33 Decorations and Citations, and Box 38 Highest Grade Held, War Department Adjutant General's Office(WD AGO), January 6, 2016
- "BaseballAmerica.com: Majors: Awards: All-Stars: Baseball America 2009 Award Winners". December 20, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
- "Alex Monchak". Retrieved December 21, 2015.