Henri Rondeau, Washington Senators, 1916
|Outfielder / Catcher|
May 5, 1887|
|Died: May 28, 1943
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
|April 11, 1913, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 1, 1916, for the Washington Senators|
|Runs batted in||37|
Henri Joseph Rondeau (May 5, 1887 – May 28, 1943) was an American baseball player. He played professional baseball as an outfielder and a catcher for 17 years from 1909 to 1925, including parts of three seasons in Major League Baseball for the Detroit Tigers in 1913 and the Washington Senators from 1915 to 1916. He also played in all or parts of 12 seasons with the Minneapolis Millers in the American Association.
Rondeau was born in Danielson, Connecticut, in 1887. He played baseball as a boy in Danielson and began playing organized baseball as a second baseman for the Perseverance team out of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, in the Mill League.
In 1909, while playing for the Perseverance team, Rondeau was discovered by Jesse Burkett and signed to play with his Worcester Busters team in the New England League. He played for Worcester, principally as a first baseman but also as an outfielder, in 1909 and 1910. Late in the 1910 season, after injuries to the Worcester catchers, Burkett moved Rondeau to that position. In 1911, he was sold to the Providence Grays in the Eastern League. After the 1911 season, he was traded to the Jersey City Skeeters of the International League. He compiled a .311 batting average in 90 games for the Skeeters.
On September 16, 1912, Rondeau was drafted by the Washington Senators in the Rule 5 draft, but the Senators then sold him to the Detroit Tigers two days later for $4,000. After watching him earn the backup catcher position during spring training, E. A. Batchelor of the Detroit Free Press described Rondeau as a "scrappy" player who regularly engaged in heated dialogue with umpires over ball and strike calls – a fighting spirit that Batchelor concluded would make Rondeau valuable to the Tigers. Rondeau appeared in 36 games for the 1913 Detroit Tigers, including 12 games as the team's starting catcher and four games as the starting first baseman. He compiled a .186 batting average with the Tigers. In August 1913, he suffered sun stroke and was hospitalized for several days.
After his release from the hospital, he was traded by the Tigers to the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. He hit .378 for Minneapolis in 19 games at the end of the 1913 season and continued to play well for Minneapolis in 1914, appearing in 150 games with a .308 batting average and .412 on-base percentage. He was converted from a catcher to an outfielder in July 1914 by Minneapolis manager Joe Cantillon.
In August 1914, the Millers traded Rondeau to Washington Senators. Clark Griffith of the Senators parted with four major league players in exchange for Rondeau, making him the most expensive recruit for the 1915 Senators. Rondeau appeared in only 14 games with the Senators in 1915, 11 as the team's starting left fielder and the others as a pinch-hitter, as his batting average plummeted to a career low .175 against big league pitching.
On May 10, 1915, after a poor performance in his tryout with the Senators, Rondeau was sold by the Senators to the Minneapolis Millers. Clark Griffith stated at the time that he had given Rondeau a fair trial. He compiled a .333 batting average in 129 games for the Millers.
After another strong season with Minneapolis, Rondeau returned to the Senators in 1916. He appeared in 50 games, 33 as a left fielder and 17 as a right fielder, and compiled a .222 batting average and .311 on-base percentage. He appeared in his last major league game on July 1, 1916. On July 5, 1916, Rondeau was returned to the Millers.
In three major league seasons, Rondeau had a .206 batting average and .311 on-base percentage in 99 games and 272 at bats. He played 59 of his major league games as an outfielder and 16 games as a catcher. As of the end of the 2015 season, Rondeau is the only major league baseball player in history named "Henri".
Rondeau returned in July 1916 for a third run with Minneapolis in between stints with the Washington Senators. This time, Rondeau remained with the Millers as a starting outfielder for nine more years, running through the 1924 season. He compiled a career high .382 batting average in 16 games during the 1916 season. In all, he batted over .300 seven times for the Millers: .382 in 1916, .378 in 1913, .333 in 1915 and 1920, .312 in 1923, .308 in 1914, and .302 in 1924. Rondeau was one of 42 players from 1902 to 1952 to play in 10 or more seasons as a member of the American Association. Minnesota manager Joe Cantillon in 1921 referred to Rondeau as "an institution" with the team.
Little Rock and Hartford
After leaving the Millers, Rondeau played one more minor league season in 1925, splitting the season between the Little Rock Travelers and the Hartford Senators. On September 1, 1925, while playing for Hartford, he collapsed during the eighth inning of a game and was carried to the clubhouse by his fellow players. A doctor stated that Rondeau had suffered a heart attack.
- "Henri Rondeau". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
- "Outfielder Rondeau Most Expensive Player Among Recruits; Cost Griffith Four Valuable Men, but He Offers No Regrets". The Washington Post. March 14, 1915. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Henri Rondeau Minor League Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
- "Rondeau Is Sold to Detroit for $4,000". The Washington Times. September 19, 1912. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
- E. A. Batchelor (March 25, 1913). "Rondeau Fighting Kind of Ball Player: Eastern League Recruit Everlastingly Scrapping on Ball Field – Is in There to Win at All Times". Detroit Free Press. p. 12 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Griffmen Get Catcher Rondeau from Minneapolis". The Washington Post. August 13, 1914. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Harper and Rondeau Sold to Minneapolis: Harper and Rondeau Cut Loose by Griffith". The Washington Herald. May 11, 1915. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Rondeau to Minneapolis: Griff Parts with Rondeau". The Washington Post. July 6, 1916. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- A search of the Baseball-Reference.com web site reveals only one player named "Henri".
- American Association Almanac at www.americanassociationalmanac.com
- "Pep Keeps Rondeau Young in Game". New Castle Herald. April 16, 1921. p. 13.
- "Rondeau Collapses". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 12, 1925. p. 4.
- "Henri Rondeau, Former Catcher in Majors, Dies". The Indianapolis Star. May 29, 1943. p. 17 – via Newspapers.com.