Red Schoendienst 1952 #091
by William Szczepanek
“Red” Schoendienst was a switch-hitting second baseman who played for the Cardinals (1945–56, 1961–63), Giants (1956–57) and Braves (1957–60). He was a player, coach or manager for 69 consecutive years. As manager of the Cardinals he led them to pennants in 1967 and 1968 with a World Series Championship in 1967. He was Manager of the year for both seasons.
At 6 feet tall and 170 pounds Red was a spindly guy but could play with the best. During tryouts he did not make the Cardinals team, but was eventually signed. Schoendienst became a top prospect with a remarkable minor league career before being drafted for the military in 1944. He made it to the Majors in 1945 as a left fielder and was moved to second base alongside shortstop Marty Marion. Red was a superior fielder and set the league record fielding percentage of .9934 in 1956, which he held for 30 years until it was broken by Ryne Sandberg. He would lead the National League in fielding percentage 6 times. He was first in double plays turned in 1953 and 1954. Red was then traded to the Giants and then to the Milwaukee Braves where he played in two World Series’ in 1957 and 1958.
Before the 1959 season Schoendienst was diagnosed with tuberculosis and had part of his lung removed. He returned to action part-time in 1960, 1961 and 1962 batting .257, .300 and .301. Schoendienst finished his 19-year career with a .289 lifetime average with 2,449 hits. He led the league in stolen bases (26) in 1945, doubles (43) in 1950, and hits (200) in 1957. He would hit .342 in 1953 and miss the batting title by a couple of points.
A personal highlight of Red’s career occurred in the 1950 All-Star Game, when he won the game for the National League with a home run in the top of 14th. He was elected to 10 All Star teams.
There's nothing to it. Baseball isn't that tough to play. ─ Red Schoendienst
“A lot of guys had the privilege of playing with or for Red over the years, and I’m proud I was one of them. He is one of the kindest, most decent men I’ve ever known in my life. Even more important than having been his teammate or roommate, however, is having been his friend for so many years. They don’t come any better.” ─ Stan Musial
Schoendienst was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1989.
You can check out Schoendienst's statistics at Baseball Reference.com.