Wally Schang


Wally Schang

Walter Henry (Wally) Schang (August 22, 1889 - March 6, 1965) was a catcher in Major League Baseball. From 1913 through 1931, he played for the Philadelphia Athletics (1913-1917, 1930), Boston Red Sox (1918-1920), New York Yankees (1921-1925), St. Louis Browns (1926-1929) and Detroit Tigers (1931). Schang was a switch-hitter and threw right handed. He was born in South Wales, New York.

Career

Most baseball historians agree that Wally Schang was the greatest offensive catcher of the World War I era. When Schang wasn't catching, his managers usually played him in the center field, right, or at third base, in order to keep his productive bat in the lineup. His defensive work was also outstanding, although he holds the American League career record for most errors by a catcher, with 218.

Schang was discovered by George Stallings in 1912, when he played in the sandlots of upstate New York for the Buffalo Pullmans. Schang started his major league career with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1913. Schang's Athletics were the best team in baseball his rookie year. They won the 1913 World Series in five games against the New York Giants and returned the next year only to be swept by the 1914 Miracle Braves, which was managed by Schang's mentor, George Stallings.

But after Connie Mack sold his talented players looking for cash, Schang played for three last-place Athletics teams before finally being sold to the Boston Red Sox before the 1918 season. Schang was the regular catcher for that club, the last Red Sox team to win it all until 2004. Soon thereafter, Boston owner Harry Frazee earned his dubious fame in Boston sports history by selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Schang followed Ruth in 1921, becoming the first in the great string of Yankees catchers that include names of Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard and Thurman Munson.

Schang served as the Yankees regular catcher for three straight American League pennants and was a member of the 1923 World Champion team. Three years later Schang moved again, this time to the awful St. Louis Browns. Nevertheless, he hit a career-high .330 in his first season with St. Louis, as the team improved greatly, managing first-division finishes in 1928 and 1929. The following year, Schang returned to Philadelphia as a backup for Mickey Cochrane. The Athletics of 1930 were coming off a World Championship and repeated that year. It was the fourth WS title of Schang in his career, which ended the next season with the Detroit Tigers.

In a 19-season career, Schang hit a .284 batting average with 59 home runs and 710 RBI in 1842 games played. In 32 World Series appearances, he hit .287 (27-for-94) with one home run and eight RBI.

Following his majors career, Schang played for several seasons with Western Association and Canadian clubs, and then turned to managing in minor leagues. In 1945, he retired to a farm he operated at Dixon, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains.

Schang died in St. Louis, Missouri, at age 75.

Post-Season Appearances

*1913 World Series
*1914 World Series
*1918 World Series
*1921 World Series
*1922 World Series
*1923 World Series

Highlights

*6-time hit .300 or more
*8-time appeared in 100 or more games (including 134 in 1921)
*4-time appeared in the Hall of Fame BBWAA voting (1950, 1956, 1958, 1960)
*Had a 20-game hitting streak (1916)
*Hit home runs from both sides of the plate (September 9, 1916)
*Is the only major league player to be on three different World Championship clubs
*Holds an American League game-record for catchers throwing out six potential base stealers (May 12, 1915)
*Holds an AL record for catchers with eight assists in a game (May 12, 1920)
*Was the regular catcher of the leading AL pitchers of his time, including future Hall of Famers Chief Bender, Lefty Grove, Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Eddie Plank and Babe Ruth.
*Through 2005, Schang ranks seventh on the all-time list of Most Career Stolen Bases by a Catcher (121), behind Roger Bresnahan (212), Ray Schalk (177), Jason Kendall (148), Red Dooin (133), Carlton Fisk (128) and Johnny Kling (123), and over John Wathan (105) and Iván Rodríguez (104).

Trivia

*In the early 20th century, when players with facial hair became a rarity in baseball, Wally Schang became the last major leaguer to sport a moustache, in 1914. After that, is reported that the first players to sport moustaches during the regular season were Dick Allen (St. Louis Cardinals) and Felipe Alou (Oakland Athletics), both in 1970.

ources

* [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/S/Schang_Wally.stm Baseball Library]
* [http://www.thebaseballpage.com/players/schanwa01.php The Baseball Page]
* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/schanwa01.shtml Baseball Reference]
* [http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Schang.Wally.Obit.html The Deadball Era]
* [http://www.thediamondangle.com/sitt/schang.html The Diamond Angle]
* [http://www.1918redsox.com/players/schang.htm 1918 Boston Red Sox]
* [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/submit/Kates_Maxwell1.stm Baseball Beards]


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