December 14, 1933 |
|June 11, 1955, for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 1957, for the Washington Senators|
|Runs batted in||4|
Jerald Lee Schoonmaker (born December 14, 1933) is an American former professional baseball player. An outfielder, Schoonmaker was signed to a $30,000 bonus contract by the Washington Senators of Major League Baseball in 1955 after a standout career at the University of Missouri. However, his career was hampered by the Bonus Rule, which compelled him to spend his first two years as a professional on the Washington roster. Then, after his only minor league season, he sustained a career-ending eye injury in December 1958.
Schoonmaker threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and weighed 190 pounds (86 kg). A three-sport (baseball, basketball and football) athlete in his hometown of Lebanon, Missouri, Schoonmaker batted close to .400 in his junior season at Missouri (when the Tigers won the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship) and captained the baseball team during his senior season. He won a silver medal with the United States team at the 1955 Pan American Games. After signing with Washington, he appeared in 20 games for the Senators in 1955, batting 46 times; then, after spending 1956 serving in the U.S. military, he spent his mandatory second year, 1957, on the Senator roster, playing in 30 contests but registering only 23 at-bats.
In 1958, Washington was finally permitted to send Schoonmaker to the minor leagues for much-needed experience, but he batted only .222 in 139 games, most of them with the Charlotte Hornets of the Class A Sally League. That offseason, he underwent surgery after an errant sliver of metal injured his left eye while he was working at a construction job. His vision compromised, he retired from professional baseball at the age of 25.