Freddie Lindstrom

Frederick Charles Lindstrom (November 21, 1905 – October 4, 1981) was a National League baseball player with the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers from 1924 until 1936. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

At the age of 23, Lindstrom hit .358 for the Giants and was named The Sporting News Major League All Star team's third baseman ahead of Pittsburgh's Harold "Pie" Traynor.[1] Two years later, he repeated the honor while scoring 127 runs and batting .379, second only to Rogers Hornsby among right-handed batters in National League history.[2]

In 1930, Giants manager John McGraw ranked Lindstrom ninth among the top 20 players of the previous quarter century.[3] Babe Ruth picked him as his NL all-star third baseman over Traynor for the decade leading up to the first inter-league All Star game in 1933.[4] Modern-day statistics guru Bill James, who rates Lindstrom No. 43 on his all-time third basemen list, placed him among the top three under-21 players at that position and called the 1927 Giant infield of Lindstrom, Hornsby, Travis Jackson and Bill Terry the decade's best.[5] From his rookie season in 1924 through 1930 as a Giants third baseman, a span of seven years during which he batted .328 and played brilliantly in the field, Lindstrom seemed headed for a place among the game's all-time greatest players. "Those hands of his (Lindstrom's) are the talk of the baseball world. Sensational playing places him among greatest in game," wrote sports writer Pat Robinson of the New York Daily News in the spring of 1929, after Lindstrom finished second the previous year to St. Louis Cardinal first baseman Jim Bottomley in the National League's Most Valuable Player balloting.[6] "The best third sacker in the National League, one of the greatest third basemen the game has ever produced," gushed William Hennigan in the New York World.[7] "Lindstrom hit peaks of third basing never before attained during the final month of last season," added Ken Smith in the New York Evening Graphic. "An outstanding individual of the game, another Hornsby, Wagner, Cobb, or Speaker, this kid, ace fielder, hitter, thinker and runner." [8]

Joe Foley, in This Sporting Life, echoed a common theme among baseball writers during that stretch of Lindstrom's career when he named his perfect team: "Sisler on first, Lajoie at second, Wagner at short, Lindstrom at third, Ruth, Speaker and Cobb in the outfield, Kling catching and Brown, Walsh, Bender and Mathewson taking turns pitching." [9]

In 1931, injuries including a chronic bad back and broken leg, brought about his switch to the outfield where for several years he remained an above-average but no longer All Star player until his retirement after 13 seasons in 1936.[10]

Freddie Lindstrom
Freddie Lindstrom 1924 crop
Third baseman / Outfielder
Born: November 21, 1905
Chicago, Illinois
Died: October 4, 1981 (aged 75)
Chicago, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 15, 1924, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
May 15, 1936, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.311
Home runs103
Runs batted in779
Teams
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1976
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Early life

Born on Chicago's South Side not far from Comiskey Park, Lindstrom as a youngster was an ardent White Sox fan, often playing hooky from school to watch their games. He was devastated when his hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and other teammates were banned from baseball for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series.[11] Three years later, after a tryout with the Cubs didn’t pan out, he signed a contract at the age of 16 with the New York Giants. A sophomore at Chicago's Loyola Academy at the time, he was assigned to the Toledo Mud Hens where he played for two years with such future Giant teammates as Travis Jackson and Bill Terry.[12]

New York Giants

Called up in 1924 and eventually replacing the injured Heinie Groh at third base, 18-year-old Lindstrom batted .333 in the World Series including four hits in one game against Washington's Walter Johnson while playing errorless baseball in the field.[13] The youngest player ever in a post-season game, he was described by Johnson after the fifth game as "a wonder, easily the brightest star in this series."[14] But a bad-hop bouncer over his head in the 12th inning of the seventh game gave the series to the Senators and became an enduring moment in baseball lore. "So they won it," Lindstrom later recalled. "(Giants pitcher) Jack Bentley, who was something of a philosopher, I think summed it up after the game. ‘Walter Johnson,’ Bentley said, ‘is such a loveable character that the good Lord didn't want to see him get beat again.’"[15]

Playing in an era when fielders’ gloves were little more than padded strips of leather with a baseball-sized pocket in the palm, Lindstrom for three of the next four seasons led National League third basemen in fielding percentage. He also topped the league in assists in 1928, finishing second with 34 double plays and 506 total chances. All while posting 231 hits in both 1928 and 1930 including nine hits in a double header, a record never surpassed to this day.[16] A million-dollar infield," said writer Arnold Hano of the late-1920s Giant quartet. "Fans would come early just to watch their fielding-practice magic." In an essay on Willie Mays’ famous 1954 back-to-the-plate catch off Cleveland's Vic Wertz, Hano claimed that an even more sensational play was Lindstrom's full-length, leaping grab before crashing into the outfield wall in a 1932 Giants-Pirates game that the New York Herald Tribune later called "the greatest catch ever made in the Polo Grounds."[17] During his nine seasons with the Giants, Lindstrom batted .318 (fourth on the team's all-time list in the 20th century), while demonstrating his ability to come through in the clutch with pennant-chasing hitting streaks in September 1928 that raised his average from .342 to .358 and in 1930 from .354 to .379.[18] As late as 1935 while playing center field for the Chicago Cubs, his .427 batting average during a stretch of 21 consecutive victories was credited by such Chicago newsmen as John P. Carmichael and Warren Brown as the main factor in the Cubs’ drive for the NL championship.[19]

Often referred to as "the last of the great place hitters" on McGraw teams that emphasized advancing runners into scoring position rather than relying on the long ball,[20] Lindstrom in 1931 was led to believe that he would succeed the long-time Giants manager. "We’re making that change we spoke about next year," Lindstrom, recuperating from a broken leg, said he was told by Giants’ club secretary Jim Tierney. "McGraw is going out and we want to make you manager."[21] Instead, for reasons that some traced to Lindstrom's leadership role in a player revolt against their often dictatorial manager (a charge he consistently denied, although admitting that he often spoke out against the feisty skipper nicknamed Little Napoleon), club owner Horace Stoneham chose first baseman Bill Terry to replace McGraw.[22] Although the two remained friends, Terry traded Lindstrom to Pittsburgh in 1933 because, Terry said, "Fred no longer has that burst of speed he used to have."[23]

Pirates, Cubs, and Dodgers

Playing in the outfield between Lloyd and Paul Waner, Lindstrom regained his elite status as a player by finishing second on the Pirates to shortstop Arky Vaughan by four percentage points with a .310 batting average (eighth highest in the National League), hitting 39 doubles and leading the league's center fielders with a .986 fielding average.[16]

But after one outstanding season, Lindstrom again found himself involved with a team expected to contend for a pennant struggling with controversy. First, George Gibson was fired as manager 51 games into the season with the Pirates mired in fourth place. His replacement, Pie Traynor, moved Lindstrom to left field and then to the bench after breaking his finger in a fungo game.[24] At season's end, despite fielding .990 and again outhitting Lloyd Waner while playing in 43 fewer games, Lindstrom was traded to the Chicago Cubs where he quickly became what Cubs manager Charley Grimm later called "a vital asset" in the team's 1935 league championship.[25] Starting at third base ahead of Stan Hack, he was later shifted to fill a void in center field. There, Grimm said, as boss of the outfield he allowed only seven pop flies to fall safely during that 21-game streak. He also drove in the winning run, or scored it, in seven of the games including three singles and a double off Dizzy Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals in the pennant-clinching contest. "And why isn’t Lindstrom in the Hall of Fame?" Grimm asked in a 1968 interview.[26]

After the Cubs lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, however, the following January he was released and later signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. After only 26 games and a .264 batting average on a Casey Stengel-led team known as the Daffy Dodgers for their often inept play (Stengel was fired at season's end), the onetime Boy Wonder turned Silver Fox at the age of 30 for his prematurely graying hair abruptly retired from baseball following a collision with infielder Jimmy Jordan while going for a routine pop fly. "I have been in this league 12 years," Lindstrom reportedly said, "and it never happened to me until I put on a Brooklyn uniform." [27]

In 13 years in the major leagues, Lindstrom was in 1438 games played, compiling a .311 batting average (1747-5611), with 895 runs, 301 doubles, 81 triples, 103 home runs and 779 RBI. His on-base percentage was .351 and slugging percentage was .449. He hit .300 or better seven times. Lindstrom recorded six 5-hit games. He hit for the cycle on May 8, 1930. In 11 World Series games (1924 and 1935), he hit .289 (13-45) with four RBI.

Later career and personal life

In later years, Lindstrom managed minor league teams at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Knoxville, Tennessee. After coaching the Northwestern University baseball team for 13 seasons, he was appointed postmaster of Evanston, Illinois, a position he held until 1972. He died nine years later and is buried with his wife, Irene, in Chicago's All Saints Cemetery.[28] The youngest of their three sons, Chuck Lindstrom, played briefly for the 1958 Chicago White Sox, walking and tripling for a perfect 1.000 batting average and on-base percentage in two plate appearances.[29]

Legacy

Freddie Lindstrom plaque
Plaque of Freddie Lindstrom at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Although many modern-day baseball historians refer to Traynor as the era's premier fielding third baseman, the Pirate Hall of Famer led the league in errors five times including 37 in 1931 and 27 in both 1932 and 1933. Lindstrom's high mark was 21 errors in both 1928 and 1930. For the seven comparable seasons that Lindstrom played third base, his fielding percentage tops that of Traynor each year.[30]

McGraw's list shows no bias for Giants, naming only Hornsby at No. 7 in the Top 10 and the great Christy Mathewson at No. 16. The first five, in order, were Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Willie Keeler, Eddie Collins and Babe Ruth. No other third baseman was cited.

Donald Dewey and Nick Acocella (All Time All Star Baseball Book, Elysian Fields Press, 1992) list Lindstrom as the New York Giants all-time third baseman. The esteemed sportswriter, Red Smith, placed him at third base on an all-time New York all-star team that had no room for the likes of Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider or Mel Ott[31]

John Kieran (Sports of the Times), reported the following: "Arthur Nehf was sitting in the Chicago dugout talking about the Giant hitters. He talked of Roush, Jackson, Terry and Hogan and then remarked decisively that Freddie Lindstrom was the cleverest of them all at the plate and the hardest man to fool in the clutch." [32]

Lindstrom's four hits in Game 5 of the 1924 World Series stood as the rookie record until matched by San Francisco's Buster Posey in the 2010 series.

Along with a 24-game hitting streak in 1930 and a 25-game streak in 1933, Lindstrom also ranks among the all-time top 10 in lifetime strikeouts to batting average ratio, 276 strikeouts to .311 batting average in 6,104 plate appearances. Lloyd Waner, Pie Traynor and Arky Vaughan are also on the list. (Graham Womack, Baseball Past & Present, May 25, 2011.)

Lindstrom led the league in outfield assists in 1932 and putouts in 1933. He came to the Pirates as "a strong defensive player and even better right-handed line drive hitter." (Dave Finoli and Bill Rainer: The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia, 1933.)

Lindstrom was included in the balloting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame starting in 1949, but he never received more than 4.4% of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).[33] Former Giants teammates Terry and Frankie Frisch joined the Veterans Committee in 1967, and aided the elections of several of their former teammates, including Jesse Haines in 1970, Dave Bancroft and Chick Hafey in 1971, Ross Youngs in 1972, George Kelly in 1973, Jim Bottomley in 1974, and Lindstrom in 1976.[34][35]

Lindstrom's selection, along with some of the other selections made by Terry and Frisch, has been considered one of the weakest in some circles.[36] According to the BBWAA, the Veterans' Committee was not selective enough in choosing members.[37] Charges of cronyism were levied against the Veterans' Committee.[38] This led to the Veterans Committee having its powers reduced in subsequent years.[39] In 2001, baseball writer Bill James ranked Lindstrom as the worst third baseman in the Hall of Fame.[40]

See also

References

  1. ^ The Sporting News, Dec. 5, 1928. Reach Official American League Baseball Guide, Philadelphia, 1928. pp. 64, 67.
  2. ^ Freddie Lindstrom, Baseball Reference.com
  3. ^ International News Service, New York, May 7, 1930.
  4. ^ Babe Ruth, Christy Walsh Syndicate, July 5, 1933.
  5. ^ New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Free Press, 2001, p. 127.
  6. ^ Pat Robinson, New York Daily News. John Kieran (Sports of the Times)
  7. ^ William Hennigan, New York World, Feb. 15, 1929.
  8. ^ Kenneth Smith, New York Evening Graphic, Feb. 18, 1928.
  9. ^ Joe Foley, This Sporting Life, 1930.
  10. ^ Broeg, The Sporting News, March 17, 1973.
  11. ^ Donald Honig, The October Heroes, Simon & Schuster, 1979, p. 257–9.
  12. ^ John K. Eichmann, Sports Scoop, January 1974, p. 6.
  13. ^ John Leventhal, The World Series, Black Dog Publishers, 2001, pp. 66–69.
  14. ^ Walter Johnson, Christy Walsh Syndicate, Oct. 9, 1924.
  15. ^ Honig, The October Heroes, p. 278.
  16. ^ a b Freddie Lindstrom, BaseballReference.com.
  17. ^ Arnold Hano, A Day in the Bleachers. Da Capo Press, 1954, p. 168.
  18. ^ Sports Scoop, pp. 7–8.
  19. ^ "Grimm Calls ’35 Cubs His Best", Chicago Tribune, September 2, 1968, p.2 Sports.
  20. ^ Hano, Greatest Giants of Them All, p. 178.
  21. ^ Honig, The October Heroes, pp. 266–67.
  22. ^ Joseph Durso, The Days of Mr. McGraw. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969, p. 213. Anthony J. Connor, Baseball for the Love of It, MacMillan, 1982, pp. 94–95.
  23. ^ Hano, Greatest Giants of Them All, p. 195.
  24. ^ Sports Scoop, p. 8.
  25. ^ "Grimm Calls," Chicago Tribune, September 2, 1968, p.2 Sports.
  26. ^ "Grimm Calls", p. 2 Sports.
  27. ^ Tot Holmes, Dodgers Blue Book, 1981, p. 34. Fred Stein, Mel Ott: The Little Giant of Baseball, McFarland & Co., 1999, p. 146.
  28. ^ Connor, Baseball for the Love of It, pp. 266–67. Freddie Lindstrom, SABR Encyclopedia, June 25, 2010. Freddie Lindstrom, Baseball Reference.com.
  29. ^ "Charlie Lindstrom". Baseball Reference.
  30. ^ Lindstrom, Traynor Baseball Reference.com
  31. ^ Smith, "Sports of the Times", New York Times, Jan. 28, 1975.
  32. ^ Kieran, New York Times, undated 1930.
  33. ^ "Freddie Lindstrom Statistics and History". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  34. ^ "This Annotated Week in Baseball History: April 8–14, 1897". Hardballtimes.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  35. ^ Jaffe, Jay (July 28, 2010). "Prospectus Hit and Run: Don't Call it the Veterans' Committee". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  36. ^ Jaffe, Jay (July 28, 2010). "Prospectus Hit and Run: Don't Call it the Veterans' Committee". Baseball Prospectus. Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  37. ^ "Baseball Brouhaha Brewing". The Evening Independent. January 19, 1977. p. 1C. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  38. ^ Sullivan, Tim (December 21, 2002). "Hall voter finds new parameters unhittable". The San Diego Union Tribune. p. D.1. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
  39. ^ Booth, Clark (August 12, 2010). "The good news: Baseball Hall looking at electoral revamp". Dorchester Reporter. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  40. ^ James, Bill (2001). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Joe Cronin
Hitting for the cycle
May 8, 1930
Succeeded by
Hack Wilson
1924 New York Giants season

The 1924 New York Giants season was the franchise's 42nd season. The team finished first in the National League with a record of 93–60, winning the NL pennant for the fourth consecutive season, a record that still stands, as of 2016. They went on to the World Series, losing to the Washington Senators in seven games.

1924 World Series

In the 1924 World Series, the Washington Senators beat the New York Giants in seven games. The Giants became the first team to play in four consecutive World Series, winning in 1921–1922 and losing in 1923–1924. Their long-time manager, John McGraw, made his ninth and final World Series appearance in 1924. The contest concluded with the second World Series-deciding game which ran to extra innings (the first had occurred in 1912). Later, the Senators would reorganize as the Minnesota Twins, again winning the World Series in a game which ran to extra innings in 1991.

Walter Johnson, after pitching his first 20-victory season (23) since 1919, was making his first World Series appearance, at the age of 36, while nearing the end of his career with the Senators. He lost his two starts, but the Senators battled back to force a Game 7, giving Johnson a chance to redeem himself when he came on in relief in that game. Johnson held on to get the win and give Washington its first and only championship. The seventh game is widely considered to be one of the most dramatic games in Series history.

Johnson struck out twelve Giants batters in Game 1 in a losing cause. Although that total matched Ed Walsh's number in the 1906 World Series, it came in twelve innings. Johnson only struck out nine in the first nine innings.

In Game 7, with the Senators behind 3–1 in the eighth, Bucky Harris hit a routine ground ball to third which hit a pebble and took a bad hop over Giants third baseman Freddie Lindstrom. Two runners scored on the play, tying the score at three. Walter Johnson then came in to pitch the ninth, and held the Giants scoreless into extra innings. With the score still 3–3, Washington came up in the twelfth. With one out, and runners on first and second, Earl McNeely hit another grounder at Lindstrom, and again the ball took a bad hop, scoring Muddy Ruel with the Series-winning run.

This was the only World Series championship victory during the franchise's time in Washington. As the Minnesota Twins, the team won the World Series in 1987 and 1991.

1925 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1925 New York Giants season was the franchise's 43rd season. The team finished in second place in the National League with an 86-66 record, 8½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1927 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1927 New York Giants season was the franchise's 45th season. The team finished third in the National League with a record of 92–62, 2 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1928 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1928 New York Giants season was the franchise's 46th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with a 93–61 record, 2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1930 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1930 New York Giants season was the 48th in franchise history. The team finished third in the National League with a record of 87–67, 5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1931 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1931 New York Giants season was the franchise's 49th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with an 87-65 record, 13 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1933 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1933 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 52nd season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 47th in the National League. The Pirates finished second in the league standings with a record of 87–67.

1934 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 53rd season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 48th in the National League. The Pirates finished fifth in the league standings with a record of 74–76.

1935 Chicago Cubs season

The 1935 Chicago Cubs season was the 64th season for the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 60th in the National League and the 20th at Wrigley Field. The season saw the Cubs finish with 100 wins for the first time in 25 years; they would not win 100 games in another season until 2016. The Cubs won their 14th National League pennant in team history and faced the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, but lost in six games.

The 1935 season is largely remembered for the Cubs' 21-game winning streak. The streak began on September 4 with the Cubs 2.5 games out of first place. They would not lose again until September 28. The streak propelled the Cubs to the National League pennant. The 21-game winning streak tied the franchise and major league record set in 1880 when they were known as the Chicago White Stockings.

1936 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1936 Brooklyn Dodgers fired manager Casey Stengel after another dismal campaign, which saw the team finish in 6th place.

1940 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1940 New York Giants season was the franchise's 58th season. The team finished in sixth place in the National League with a 72-80 record, 37½ games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

1942 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1942 New York Giants season was the franchise's 60th season. The team finished in third place in the National League with an 85-67 record, 20 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1962 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1962 followed a new system for even-number years. Since 1956 the Baseball Writers' Association of America and Veterans Committee had alternated in their duties, but the BBWAA, voting by mail to select from recent major league players, had elected no one for 1958 and no one for 1960. Now there would be a second, "runoff" election in case of no winner. At the same time the Veterans Committee resumed meeting annually to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

The provision for a runoff election was not necessary yet, for the writers elected two new candidates on their first ballot, Bob Feller and Jackie Robinson. The Veterans Committee also selected Bill McKechnie and Edd Roush, both of whom were still alive to be interviewed and invited to the induction ceremonies.

1976 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1976 followed the system in place since 1971.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected two, Bob Lemon and Robin Roberts.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected three players: Roger Connor, Cal Hubbard, and Freddie Lindstrom.

The Negro Leagues Committee also met in person and selected Oscar Charleston.

Chuck Lindstrom

Charles William Lindstrom (born September 7, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played briefly for the Chicago White Sox during the 1958 season. He is also the son of Baseball Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom.

A catcher standing 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 175 pounds (79 kg), batting and throwing right-handed, Lindstrom was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent on June 17, 1957. Fifteen months later, he was in the Major Leagues, coming into the fifth inning of a game September 28, 1958 versus the Kansas City Athletics as a defensive replacement for Johnny Romano. The first pitch from pitcher Hal Trosky was fumbled by Lindstrom as a passed ball, but he settled down and did not make another error.In his first at bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, Lindstrom led off with a walk, scoring on a double by Don Mueller. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, he tripled, driving in Johnny Callison with another run. He was on deck for a third plate appearance when Sammy Esposito struck out looking to end the White Sox' last offensive inning in a game they won 11-4. This would be Lindstrom's only Major League game, as he was sent down to the minor leagues the following season, never returning to the Major Leagues.

Lindstrom is one of only four players to hit a triple in their one and only MLB at bat, the others being Eduardo Rodríguez (1973), Scott Munninghoff (1980), and Eric Cammack (2000). And with a triple, a walk, a run, and a run batted in during two plate appearances, Lindstrom had one of the best one-game careers in the history of baseball, along with John Paciorek.

Lindstrom retired shortly thereafter and went on to a successful 23-year coaching career with Lincoln College, highlighted by a 29-10 record in 1972 and five successive years of 20-win seasons starting with 1972.

Frederick Lindstrom

Frederick Lindstrom may refer to:

Freddie Lindstrom (1905–1981), American baseball player

Frederick B. Lindstrom (1915–1998), American academic; professor of sociology

Fredrik Lindström (writer) (born 1963), Swedish film director, radio and TV presenter, writer, linguist and comedy performer

Fredrik Lindström (biathlete) (born 1989), Swedish biathlete

Fredrik Olaus Lindström (1847–1919), Swedish architect

Johnny Vergez

Jean Louis Vergez (July 9, 1906 – July 15, 1991) was an American professional baseball player. A third baseman, his career lasted for 18 seasons (1926–43) and included all or parts of six years (1931–36) in Major League Baseball and extensive service in the Pacific Coast League. Born in Oakland, California, to French immigrants, he graduated from nearby Alameda High School and attended Saint Mary's College of California. Vergez threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kg).

Vergez achieved early success in 1929–30 with his hometown team, the Oakland Oaks, hitting over .300 each season, and smashing 46 and 29 home runs. He was the PCL's All-Star third baseman in 1929. Acquired by the New York Giants, he succeeded Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom as the Giants' regular third baseman in 1931. Starting in 152 games as a rookie, Vergez reached career highs in hits, batting average (.278) and runs batted in (81).

But 1932 was a year marred by personal tragedy. Just prior to the start of the regular season, his infant son, John Louis, was stricken with poliomyelitis and died. Although Vergez was able to play in 118 games, his production declined considerably. His manager, Bill Terry, assured the grieving Vergez a place on his 1933 roster. That season, Vergez rebounded to hit a career-high 16 home runs in 123 games. But, suffering from appendicitis, he could not play during the September stretch drive nor in the 1933 World Series, won by the Giants in five games with Travis Jackson at the hot corner. The following season, 1934, saw a sharp fall-off in Vergez' play. He batted only .200 in 320 at bats in what would be his final campaign as a New York Giant.

On November 1, 1934, he was traded to the second-division Philadelphia Phillies with Pretzel Pezzullo, Blondy Ryan and George Watkins for shortstop Dick Bartell. He played in 148 games for the 1935 Phillies and led National League third basemen in double plays. But he hit only .249, and after appearing in only 15 games for the Phils in 1936, he was sold to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals gave him a nine-game trial, then sent him to the minor-league Sacramento Solons.His MLB career at an end, Vergez played for almost eight full seasons in the Pacific Coast League with Sacramento (1936–38) and then, from 1939–43, as the player-manager of the Oakland Oaks. He later scouted for the Giants and was the head baseball coach at Saint Mary's College, where he tutored future MLB third baseman Andy Carey. He died in 1991 at age 85 in Oroville, California.

Tom Padden

Thomas Francis Padden (October 6, 1908 – June 10, 1973) was an American professional baseball player and manager. The catcher appeared in 399 Major League games during the 1930s and 1940s, 379 of them with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1932–1937). He also appeared for the Philadelphia Phillies (17 games in 1943), and Washington Senators (three games, also in 1943) during the World War II manpower shortage. A native of Manchester, New Hampshire, he stood 5 feet 8¼ inches (1.73 m) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg).

Padden attended The College of the Holy Cross and graduated from Saint Anselm College. He began his professional baseball career in 1928 with his hometown Manchester Blue Sox. He made his Major League debut on May 29, 1932, for the Pirates in a road game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. His two best seasons were 1934, when he batted .321 in 82 games, and 1935, in which he had career-highs of 97 games played, 302 at bats, and 35 runs scored.

Career totals include a batting average of .272, 318 hits, including 40 doubles and two home runs, a .345 on-base percentage, 110 runs batted in, and 122 runs scored. His two home runs came off Al Smith of the New York Giants on August 26, 1935, and Al Hollingsworth of the Cincinnati Reds on August 7, 1936. He was an average defensive catcher for his era, with a lifetime fielding percentage of .977. Notable Pirate teammates who were future Hall of Famers were Burleigh Grimes, Waite Hoyt, Freddie Lindstrom, Pie Traynor, Arky Vaughan, Lloyd Waner, and Paul Waner.

Padden spent the 1948 season as manager of his hometown Manchester Yankees of the Class B New England League, an affiliate of the New York Yankees. In 1949 he managed the Galt Terriers of the Inter-County League in southern Ontario. He also played occasionally. He managed the Terriers to a first-place finish, but his team lost to the Brantford Red Sox in seven games in the league's playoff semifinals.

He died in Manchester at the age of 64 of a ruptured pancreas. He is buried in Saint Joseph Cemetery, Bedford, New Hampshire.

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