Dick Stuart

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Dick Stuart
Dick Stuart.jpg
Stuart being remembered and honored by the Pirates, on June 19, 2010 at PNC Park, for his role on the Pirates' 1960 World Series team.
First baseman
Born: (1932-11-07)November 7, 1932
San Francisco, California
Died: December 15, 2002(2002-12-15) (aged 70)
Redwood City, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 10, 1958, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
May 27, 1969, for the California Angels
MLB statistics
Batting average .264
Home runs 228
Runs batted in 743
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Richard Lee Stuart (November 7, 1932 – December 15, 2002) was an American professional baseball first baseman, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1958 to 1966 and 1969. In 1967 and 1968, he played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Taiyo Whales. Born in San Francisco, Stuart threw and batted right-handed; he was listed as 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall and 212 pounds (96 kg). He began his pro career in 1951 in the Pittsburgh Pirates' farm system, and spent 1953 and 1954 performing military service.

Baseball career[edit]

Throughout his career, Stuart was known as a formidable slugger, but a subpar fielder. In 1963, he led the major leagues with 29 errors, which remains both Stuart's career high and the Boston Red Sox single season record for first basemen.[1] Dubbed "Stone Fingers" that same season by none other than Hank Aaron,[2] Stuart would become far better known as "Dr. Strangeglove"[3][4] following the release of the like-named 1964 film. (In January 1973, almost four years after Stuart's retirement, it was noted that the not yet instituted designated hitter "rule would have suited Dr. Strangeglove perfectly."[5]) Other, less well known but equally unflattering nicknames included "Iron Glove"[6] and, in a more literary vein, "The Ancient Mariner", a reference to an opening line in the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: specifically, "It is an ancient mariner, And he stoppeth one of three".[7] Curiously, despite his well-documented defensive struggles, on June 28, 1963, Stuart became the first first-baseman in major league history to record three assists in one inning.[8]

The bulk of Stuart's career—including by far his most productive years—was spent with the Pirates and the Red Sox. He hit 228 home runs in his Major League Baseball career (tied for 277th all-time as of 10/01/2018), with a batting average of .264. He was elected to the All-Star team in 1961. While Stuart never led the league in home runs, he finished in the top ten in five seasons (1959–61, 1963–64). As a minor league player, Stuart smashed 66 home runs for the Lincoln club of the Class-A Western League in 1956; it remains one of the highest totals in the history of minor league baseball.

Stuart was a member of the Pirates' 1960 World Series-winning team. He was on deck as a pinch hitter when Bill Mazeroski hit the ninth-inning home run off Ralph Terry to win the 1960 Series at Forbes Field.[9]

In their book, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris wrote an essay on Stuart's notoriously poor fielding. An excerpt: "Every play hit his way was an adventure, the most routine play a challenge to his artlessness. It is hard to describe this to anyone who has not seen it, just as it is hard to describe Xavier Cugat or Allen Ludden. Stu once picked up a hot dog wrapper that was blowing toward his first base position. He received a standing ovation from the crowd. It was the first thing he had managed to pick up all day, and the fans realized it could very well be the last".[10]

Stuart graduated from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California. Stuart died of cancer in Redwood City.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dick Stuart Stats" at Baseball Almanac. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  2. ^ Nunn. Bill, Jr. "Change of Pace". The Pittsburgh Courier. November 9, 1963. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Search Results for "Dick Stuart" and "Stone Fingers" in 1965 at Newspapers.com
  4. ^ Search Results for "Dick Stuart" and "Strangeglove" in 1965 at Newspapers.com
  5. ^ Bodley, Hal. "Once Over Lightly: Platoon Baseball?". The Wilmington Evening Journal. January 26, 1973. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  6. ^ Shapiro, Milton J. (1966). Laughs from the Dugout. New York, NY: J. Messner. p. 121. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Jackson, Frank. "Dick Stuart: A DH before his time". The Hardball Times. August 28, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  8. ^ Kaese, Harold (1974). A rooter's guide to the Red Sox : facts, fun, and figures. Boston, MA. Reproduced in Holtzman, Jerome (2005). Jerome Holtzman on Baseball: A History of Baseball Scribes. Champaign, Il: Sports Publishing, L.L.C. p. 197. ISBN 1-58261-976-X. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  9. ^ Associated Press. "Big Stu Breaks Promise But It's Maz' Fault". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 15, 1960. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  10. ^ Brendan C. Boyd and Fred C. Harris, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book, Little Brown & Co., 1973, p. 77.
  11. ^ Time Magazine article

Further reading[edit]

Articles[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Jenkinson, Bill. Baseball's Ultimate Power: Ranking the All-Time Greatest Long-Distance Home Run Hitters. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press. pp. 80-83. ISBN 978-1-59921-544-0.

External links[edit]