Dickey Kerr

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Dickey Kerr
Dickey Kerr.jpg
Born: (1893-07-03)July 3, 1893
St. Louis, Missouri
Died: May 4, 1963(1963-05-04) (aged 69)
Houston, Texas
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 25, 1919, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
October 24, 1925, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record53–34
Earned run average3.84
Career highlights and awards

Richard Henry Kerr, otherwise known as Dickey Kerr, was born in St. Louis, Missouri July 3, 1893 to Richard J., and Anna Kerr.[1] Previously, known as Anna Tieman prior to marrying Dickey's father.[1] Dickey's father made his living as a firefighter before getting a job working on rafts along the Mississippi.[1] His father had a large family to support. Dickey had eight siblings.[1] Prior to playing baseball, Dickey Kerr competed in amateur boxing.[1] Kerr started playing baseball at the age of fourteen years old alongside amateur adult baseball players.[1]

In the year of 1909, Dickey, and one of his brothers joined the Paragould Scouts a league in N.E. Arkansas.[1] At the age of 16, this is where the left hander's professional baseball career began to take off.[1] Dickey played for a few different lower level baseball teams from the ages of sixteen to twenty-two. A couple of the teams he played for were the Cairo Egyptians, and the Cleburne Railroaders.[1] The first minor league team that Dickey played for was the Milwaukee Brewers.[1] In two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers he pitched 484 innings.[1] Dickey played in the minor leagues from 1913 to 1918, and won a hundred and seventeen games during this time.[2]

Richard Henry Kerr married Cora Downing at the age of twenty-one, on July 7, 1914.[1] Cora also went by her nickname. The same as her famous husband. Cora was also known as "Pep".[1] The couple remained married all the way up until Kerr's death. He died just before their 49th wedding anniversary.[1]

It was Buck Weaver, and Clearance "Pants" Rowland that recommended Dickey Kerr for the major leagues and the Chicago White Sox team.[1] This happened during the "work or fight order" of World War I.[1] At the time Dickey was about 5’7 and weighed 155 pounds.[1] Dickey was living in Fairbanks – Morse, Wisconsin, and was working in a factory.[1] Buck Weaver was a mechanic at one of the other plants at the same factory that Dickey Kerr was working.[1]

The owner of the Chicago White Sox at the time was Charles Comiskey, and the manager was William J. Gleason, or as he was better known as, "Kid" Gleason.[2][3] The White Sox played at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois.[2] Kerr played for the Chicago White Sox from 1919 to 1921.[4] Eight of Dickey's teammates took bribes to throw the 1919 World Series.[4] They would forever become known as the Chicago Black Sox.[4] His teammates that were permanently banned from Major League Baseball after throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds were Chick Gandil, Happy Felsch, Eddie Cicotte, Claude Williams, Buck Weaver, Fred McMullen, and Swede Risberg.[5] They had taken bribes from a gambler named, Joseph "Sport" Sullivan. Mobsters such as Arnold Rothstein may have also been involved.[2] A trial was held, and all men were found not guilty.[2] Dickey on the other hand showed great integrity during the 1919 World Series.

The owner of the White Sox was known for being cheap with his players.[2] Dickey was not involved in the 1919 World Series scandal, but the owner Charles Comiskey refused to give Kerr what he believe to be a fair raise.[2] Dickey held out for more pay, and refuse to play.[4] This resulted in a suspension from the White Sox.[4] Dickey went on to play exhibition games with other teams.[2][1] The result from this was a suspension from the Major Leagues by Commissioner Kenesaw Landis.[4] Kerr did not play Major League Baseball from 1922 to 1924.[4]

Dickey returned to semi professional leagues, for a short period of time [1] In 1925, Kerr made a short come back in to the major leagues, and played for the White Sox.[4] Kerr had a 53–34 career record.[6] From 1927 to 1938, Kerr played for a few minor league teams before eventually retiring from his playing career.[4] In 1927, Dickey Kerr permanently left the major leagues, and never played, for the minors again.[2] However, things did not end there for Mr. Kerr. He went on to coach in the minor leagues, and college baseball.[2]

From 1927 to 1940, Kerr coached for a few different teams.[6] The first team he coached for was the Rice University Owls in Texas.[6] At that time, the school was known as Rice Institute.[6] He also coached in Washington, and West Virginia before accepting a position in Florida.[6] Kerr began managing the Daytona Beach Islanders in the year of 1940.[6]

It was his coaching that led him to Stan Musial.[6] Dickey was the person that told Stan, then beset by arm problems, to switch from being a pitcher to a batter.[2] It is quite possible that Dickey's mentoring helped Stan, rise to the level of success he gained.[7] Musial eventually went on to gain 3000 hits in his career.[2] In 1958, right before Musial's batting accomplishment, Dickey Kerr was working for an electric company.[2] This is when Stan gave his friend a house, for his birthday.[2] He purchased the home for some where around $10,000–$20,000, and his income at the time was only about $100,000.[2] Kerr lived there all the way up until the time of his passing in 1963.[2]

Although Kerr was never introduced into the Baseball Hall of Fame, his accomplishments have received some recognition. He "received the inaugural Tris Speaker Memorial Award from the Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.",[1] an award given to athletes, and baseball officials that have made some sort of exceptional contribution towards the game.[8] He also received a key to the city of Houston during a night honoring him in 1961, at Busch Stadium.[1] People did unsuccessfully try to get Dickey considered for the Baseball Hall of Fame.[1] There was also a statue dedicated to the Astrodome of Dicky Kerr.[9]

Kerr lost his fight with cancer, and died May 4, 1963, and his final resting place is in Houston, Texas at the Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery.[1] Dickey had died before the statue's dedication.[9] Although, his good friend Stan Musial was present at the Second Annual Old Timer's Game in honor of Kerr.[9] The Statue since has changed locations a few times. The bronze statue of Richard "Dickey" Kerr started at the Astrodome, and then it spent some time at the Houston Sports Museum until its closing.[9][10] In 2013 and 2014, the statue was moved to Constellation Field, for the Sugar Land Skeeters to showcase.[9][10] That is the last known time of the Dickey Kerr statue being on display, for sports fans. The last known people to possess the piece of art from baseball's history is the Finger Family, and their curator Tom Kennedy.[10][9]

In the 1988 film Eight Men Out, about the Black Sox scandal, Kerr was portrayed by actor Jace Alexander. The film inaccurately portrayed[11] Kerr as a right-handed pitcher when in fact he was a lefty.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Dickey Kerr | Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Andrew (November 7, 2012). "The Baseball Historian: How Stan Musial Gave Dickey Kerr of the Chicago Black Sox His White Picket Fence". The Baseball Historian. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "Kid Gleason | Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dickey Kerr | Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  5. ^ 1904–1979., Farrell, James T. (James Thomas) (2007). Dreaming baseball. Briley, Ron, 1949–, Davidson, Margaret, 1936–, Barbour, James, 1933–. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. ISBN 9780873388979. OCLC 76074365.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Dickey Kerr | Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  7. ^ Andrew (November 7, 2012). "The Baseball Historian: How Stan Musial Gave Dickey Kerr of the Chicago Black Sox His White Picket Fence". The Baseball Historian. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Scandal on the south side : the 1919 Chicago White Sox. Huhn, Rick, 1944–, Nowlin, Bill, 1945–, Levin, Len. Phoenix, AZ. ISBN 9781933599953. OCLC 913215266.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Dickie Kerr Statue: A Brief History". The Pecan Park Eagle. July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Update on the Dickie Kerr Statue". The Pecan Park Eagle. March 23, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  11. ^ "Eight Men Out (1988) - IMDb" – via www.imdb.com.

External links[edit]