Baseball Hall of Famer and St. Louis Cardinals’ legend Red Schoendienst turns 92 today.
And in another historic accomplishment, this year will mark his 70th consecutive season involved with Major League Baseball in some capacity, whether as a player, manager, or coach. Currently, he is a Special Assistant Coach for the Cardinals.
Born February 2nd, 1923, Schoendienst lived in Germantown, Illinois, about 40 miles from St. Louis. When he was still a teenager, Schoendienst suffered a major eye injury while working on fixing a fence.
It was after this injury that he learned to become a switch-hitter, as he had struggled to read certain pitches from right-handed pitchers. After stints in the minor leagues and being drafted into World War II, the Cardinals called up Schoendienst to the major league roster for spring training in 1945. While he was a second baseman in the minors, the Cardinals already had their second baseman, 1944 MVP Marty Marion, so they decided to move Schoendienst to left-field.
In his rookie season, he batted .278 in 137 games, and led the league with 26 stolen bases.
During the 1946 season, the Cardinals made another fielding switch, putting Marion at shortstop and Schoedienst at second base. St. Louis would once again make it to the World Series, winning their third title in five years.
A 10-time All-Star, perhaps his most famous moment during the All-Star Game occurred in the 1950 version. In the 14th inning, Schoendienst hit the game-winning home run for the National League.
Eventually, during the 1956 season, after playing with the Cardinals since the mid-40’s, St. Louis traded him to the New York Giants. The very next season, he was traded halfway through the year to the Milwaukee Braves. Overall, he still had a very productive season, garnering a career high 200 hits.
He would eventually return to the Gateway City, and a couple years later, he would retire after an eventful 19-year career.
During his playing career, he hit 773 RBI’s, 2,449 hits, and a career batting average of .289.
Despite being retired from playing, Schoendienst was nowhere near finished with baseball.
The day after the Cardinals were winners of the 1964 World Series over the Yankees, manager Johnny Keane stepped down from his position.
Enter Red Schoendienst.
His best season came in 1967, during which the Cardinals went 101-60, and won the World Series, giving Schoendienst his fourth World Series title. He would win his fifth and final World Series title with the “Whiteyball” Cardinals in 1982.
In a 14-year managerial career, which spanned from 1964-1975 (along with 1990), Schoendienst went 1041-955, 7-7 in postseason games, winning two NL pennants and the 1967 World Series, as stated above.
Since then, he’s continued to wear a major league uniform and has been a major part of the Cardinals organization. His career achievements in the field, at the plate, and in the dugout were recognized when in 1989, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The following year, the Cardinals retired his #2 jersey, immortalizing him with St. Louis forever. He also was inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
As of February 2015, Schoendienst is the oldest-living manager of a World Series-winning team.
A beloved figure on and off the field, in Cardinal Nation and across the country, Red Schoendienst has etched his name is baseball history, and may he have a wonderful 92nd birthday.
(Photo credit: stltoday.com)