Earlier this month, on June 6th, 2018 St. Louis Cardinal great Red Schoendienst passed away at age 95. My condolences to friends and family. In this post I’d like to pay homage to this 1989 Hall of Fame inductee and I’d like to start with his name.
His full name is listed as Albert Fred Schoendienst. The term of endearment “Red” was more than likely taken from his middle name and his extremely red hair. The pronunciation of his last name has more variants then Topps Finest Baseball. But according to Baseball-Reference.com it’s pronounced \SHANE-deenst\ respectively.
Red told the story of an incident he had as a 16-year-old that would’ve altered his life entirely. While working on a fence a nail injured his left eye. He almost lost that eye but with time and no surgery it healed but not without side effects. Red suffered headaches for years and it would eventually take effect on his right-handed batting. He found it difficult to pick up on certain pitches so he taught himself how to bat left-handed.
In an 1989 interview with “5 On Your Side” Red shared how he got started in baseball. Sportsman Park in Greenville, Mississippi was the destination, Red hitchhiked via a milk truck and slept on a park bench in an effort to try out and make the team.
He made the team and on April 17, 1945 he debuted as the Cardinals left-fielder. The following year he would transition to second-base where he flourished into the best pair of hands in the game and led the league in fielding percentage six times.
Over his 19 year playing career Red spent 15 of those years with the Cardinals. He was a 10x All-Star and 2x World Series Champion. Oh and that bad eye, he hit over 300 seven times and his career numbers are: Runs 1,223 | Hits 2,449 | Batting Average .289
Red was also a coach and successful manager. All in all he had a total of 70 years of service in Major League Baseball in some way, shape or form. St Louis Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright told Fox Sports this about Red Schoendienst.
“He knew more about the game, had seen more, experienced more and had more to teach and give than anybody I’ve ever seen. A great baseball mind. A great Cardinal man.”
ROOKIE CARD OF HALL OF FAMER RED SCHOENDIENST
1948 Bowman, Card No. 38 (shop eBay)
The 1948 Bowman measures 2-1/16″ X 2-1/2″ packs were distributed at the national level and sold for a penny, they came with one card and one piece of bubblegum. 1948 is also the year that Bowman made their debut into the baseball card world and ironically enough the complete set featured 48 cards. With an aggressive business strategy, Bowman found themselves as the only card manufacturer to dominate nationally in its distribution.
Card number 38 of our featured Hall of Famer gives collectors a black and white action photo. I love the pose and really appreciate the background of the ball park. Photo sits on a white border and surprisingly to me the overall card stock on this set holds up really well as decent looking copies can still be found today. However, a well centered one can be difficult to find.
The card back gives us black ink on gray cardboard. Not much eye appeal but we do get player bio towards the top of the card. Player commentary at center of card and of course advertisements: Bolony Bubble Gum – “the Bubble Gum with three different flavors.” Bowman was not a baseball card company they were a bubble gum manufacturer that used baseball cards to sell bubble gum. Genius concept!
As of the date of this post very-good to excellent copies (4’s) sell for $145.00-$180.00; excellent-mint copies (6’s) sell between $265.00-$325.00; near-mint to mint copies (8’s) sell in the $940.00-$1,250.00 range. And in May of 2017 a mint (9) copy sold for $7,332.00 respectively.