Friday, March 14, 2014

Red Schoendienst (#512)

Continuing the theme from the last post, today we have 91-year-old Albert “Red” Schoendienst, a baseball lifer, first as a player for several teams from 1942 to 1963, then as a manager and coach for the Cardinals since his retirement as a player.

Red was signed by the Cardinals in 1942, and was a shortstop in their farm system from 1942-44. He made the Cardinals at the start of 1945, and was the team’s regular left fielder during his rookie season. He also led the league with 26 stolen bases that year.

From 1946 to 1956 Red was the Cardinals’ 2nd baseman. He was also their lead-off hitter for his first 4 seasons, before dropping to the #2 slot for the duration of his Cardinals’ tenure. He led the NL with 43 doubles in 1950, and made the all-star team every season from 1946-55 (except for 1947). He also played in the 1946 World Series.

Red began the 1956 as the 2nd baseman, then was traded to the New York Giants in mid-June for shortstop Al Dark (who we just looked at in the last post). Seven other players were involved in the deal, including outfielder Jackie Brandt going to the Giants.

A year and a day later, Red moved on to the Milwaukee Braves in exchange for 3 players, including Bobby Thomson, slugger of 1951’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”. He manned the 2nd base post for the Braves in ’57 and ’58, and the team played the Yankees in the World Series both years, winning it in 1957. Schoendienst hit .278 and .300 in those two post-seasons.

Red missed almost the entire 1959 season with tuberculosis. He returned at the start of 1960, and started most games through July 1st. The Cardinals started Chuck Cottier in the 2nd game of the doubleheader that day, and stuck with him for the rest of the season, relegating Schoendienst to the bench for the rest of the season. He was released in October.

The Cardinals picked him up during spring training in 1961, and used him as coach and part-time player for the next 3 seasons. His final game as a player was in July 1963.

After the Cardinals’ 1964 World Series victory, manager Johnny Keane resigned to manage the Yankees, and Schoendienst was elevated to manager. The team went to the World Series in ’67 and ’68, winning in 1967. Red continued to manage the Cards through the 1976 season, then coached for the Athletics from 1977-78.

Red returned to the Cardinals in 1979, as a coach and later a special advisor to the GM. He also managed the team for a few dozen games at the end of the 1980 and 1990 seasons.

Schoendienst was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Veterans Committee. Soon afterwards, the Cardinals retired his #2 uniform.


Hackenbush said...

Classic card from a great Cardinals era.

Jim from Downingtown said...

I just now realized he's got his arm on the dugout rail. All this time, I thought that was the green grandstand wall on the far side of the field!