George Sisler

George Harold Sisler (March 24, 1893 – March 26, 1973), nicknamed "Gorgeous George", was an American professional baseball player for 15 seasons, primarily as first baseman with the St. Louis Browns.

Sisler played college baseball for the University of Michigan. He then started his major league career in 1915 and became one of the game's stars. In 1920 and 1922, Sisler had batting averages over .400 and won the American League batting titles. His 257 hits in 1920 set an MLB single-season record that stood until 2004. An attack of sinusitis in 1923 caused Sisler's play to decline, but he continued to play in the majors until 1930. After Sisler retired as a player, he worked as a major league scout and aide. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

George Sisler
George-sisler
Sisler in 1915
First baseman / Manager
Born: March 24, 1893
Manchester, Ohio
Died: March 26, 1973 (aged 80)
Richmond Heights, Missouri
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
June 28, 1915, for the St. Louis Browns
Last MLB appearance
September 22, 1930, for the Boston Braves
MLB statistics
Batting average.340
Hits2,812
Home runs102
Runs batted in1,175
Managerial record218–241
Winning %.475
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
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
Induction1939
Vote85.8% (fourth ballot)

Early life

Sisler was born in the unincorporated hamlet of Manchester (now part of the city of New Franklin, a suburb of Akron, Ohio[1]). His paternal ancestors were immigrants from Northern Germany in the middle of the 19th century. When he was 14, Sisler moved to Akron to live with his older brother so that he could attend an accredited high school. When Sisler was a high school senior his brother died of tuberculosis, but Sisler was able to move in with a local family and finish school.[2]

In 1911, Sisler signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates to play minor league baseball in the Ohio–Pennsylvania League, but he never played in the league or earned any money[3] and instead played college ball for the University of Michigan. As a freshman pitcher, Sisler struck out 20 batters in seven innings during a 1912 game.[4] He lettered in baseball from 1913 to 1915.[5] At Michigan he played for coach Branch Rickey while earning a degree in mechanical engineering.[3]

After he graduated from Michigan, Sisler sought legal advice from Rickey about the status of his contract with Pittsburgh. The three-time Vanity Fair All-American had become highly sought-after by major league scouts. Rickey talked to Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss about releasing Sisler from the contract he had signed as a minor, but Dreyfuss maintained his claim to Sisler. Rickey wrote to the National Commission, baseball's governing body, who ruled that the contract was illegal. Rickey, now managing the St. Louis Browns, signed Sisler to a contract worth $7,400.[3]

Major league career

Sisler entered the major leagues as a pitcher for the Browns in 1915. He posted a career pitching record of 5–6 with a 2.35 earned run average in 24 career mound appearances.[6] He defeated Walter Johnson twice in complete-game victories. In 1916, Sisler moved to first base, and finished the season with a batting average above .300 for the first of seven consecutive seasons. He also had 34 stolen bases that season, and stole at least 28 bases in every season through 1922.[6]

In 1917, Sisler hit .353, registered 190 hits and stole 37 bases. The next year he hit .341 and stole a league-leading 45 bases.[6] He then enlisted in the army, joining several major league players in a Chemical Warfare Service unit commanded by Rickey. Sisler was preparing to go overseas when World War I ended that November.[7]

George Sisler 1921
1921 baseball card of Sisler

In 1920, Sisler played every inning of each game.[8] He stole 42 bases (second in the American League), collected a major league-leading 257 hits for an average of .407 and ended the season by hitting .442 in August and .448 in September.[6] His batting average was the highest ever for a 600+ at-bat performance. In breaking Ty Cobb's 1911 record for hits in a single season, Sisler established a mark which stood until Ichiro Suzuki broke the record with 262 hits in 2004. (Suzuki, however, collected his hits over 161 games during the modern 162-game season as opposed to 154 in Sisler's era.) Sisler finished second in the AL in doubles and triples, as well as second to Babe Ruth in RBIs and home runs.

Jim Barrero of the Los Angeles Times asserts that Sisler's record was largely overshadowed by Ruth's 54 home runs that season. "Of course, Ruth's obliteration of the home run record drew all the attention from fans and newspapermen, while Sisler's mark was pushed to the side and perhaps left unappreciated during what was a golden age of pure hitters", Barrero wrote.[8] As his popularity increased, Sisler drew comparisons to Cobb, Ruth and Tris Speaker. Sisler, however, was much more reserved than those three stars. Writer Floyd Bell described Sisler as "modest, almost to a point of bashfulness, as far from egotism as a blushing debutante... Shift the conversation to Sisler himself and he becomes a clam."[9]

In 1922, Sisler hit safely in 41 consecutive games, an American League record that stood until Joe DiMaggio broke it in 1941. His .420 batting average is the third-highest of the 20th century, surpassed only by Nap Lajoie's .426 in 1901 and Rogers Hornsby's .424 in 1924. Sisler also led the AL in hits (246), runs (134), stolen bases (51), and triples (18). He was chosen as the AL's Most Valuable Player that year,[6] the first year an official league award was given, as the Browns finished second to the New York Yankees. Sisler's 1922 season is considered by many historians to be among the best individual all-around single-season performances in baseball history.[10]

A severe attack of sinusitis caused him double vision in 1923, forcing him to miss the entire season. He defied some predictions by returning in 1924 with a batting average over .300. Sisler later said, "I planned to get back in uniform for 1924. I just had to meet a ball with a good swing again, and then run. The doctors all said I'd never play again, but when you're fighting for something that actually keeps you alive – well, the human will is all you need."[3] Sisler never regained his previous level of play, though he continued to hit over .300 in six of his last seven seasons and led the AL in stolen bases for a fourth time in 1927.[6]

In 1928, the Browns sold Sisler's contract to the Washington Senators, who in turn sold the contract to the Boston Braves in May. After batting .340, .326, and .309 in his three years in Boston, he ended his major league career with the Braves in 1930, then played in the minor leagues.

Sisler accumulated a .340 lifetime batting average over his 16 years in the majors and stole 375 bases during his career. He had 200+ hits in six seasons. He hit over .300 thirteen times, including two seasons in which he hit over .400; 1926 was the only full season in which Sisler’s average was less than .300. He stole over 25 bases in every year from 1916 through 1922, peaking with 51 the last year and leading the league three times. He holds the Baltimore Orioles' records for career batting average, triples, and stolen bases, as well as batting average, on-base percentage, hits, on-base plus slugging, and total bases in a season. In 1939, Sisler became one of the first entrants elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.[6]

Career statistics

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB AVG OBP SLG FLD%
2,055 8,267 1,284 2,812 425 164 102 1,178 375 143 472 .340 .379 .468 .987

Later life and legacy

After his playing career, Sisler reunited with Rickey as a special assignment scout and front-office aide with the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Sisler and Rickey worked with future Hall of Famer Duke Snider to teach the young Dodgers hitter to accurately judge the strike zone.[11] Sisler was part of a scouting corps that Rickey assigned to look for black players, though the scouts thought they were looking for players to fill an all-black baseball team separate from MLB. Sisler evaluated Jackie Robinson as a potential star second baseman, but he was concerned about whether Robinson had enough arm strength to play shortstop.[12] With the Pirates in 1961, Sisler had Roberto Clemente switch to a heavier bat. Clemente won the league batting title that season.[13]

Sisler's sons Dick and Dave were also major league players in the 1950s. Sisler was a Dodgers scout in 1950 when his son Dick hit a game-winning home run against Brooklyn to clinch the pennant for the Phillies and eliminate the second-place Dodgers. When asked after the pennant winning game how he felt when his son beat his current team, the Dodgers, George replied, "I felt awful and terrific at the same time."[14] A passage in The Old Man and the Sea refers to Dick Sisler's long home run drives.[13] Another son, George Jr., served as a minor league executive and as the president of the International League.

Sisler also spent some time as commissioner of the National Baseball Congress.[15] He died in Richmond Heights, Missouri, in 1973, while still employed as a scout for the Pirates.

In 1999 editors at The Sporting News ranked Sisler 33rd on their list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". Outside of St. Louis' Busch Stadium, there is a statue honoring Sisler. He is also honored with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[16] In October 2004, Ichiro Suzuki broke Sisler's 84 year old hit record, collecting his 258th hit off of Texas Rangers pitcher Ryan Drese. Sisler's daughter Frances (Sisler) Drochelman and other members of his family were in attendance when the record was broken.[17] While in St. Louis for the 2009 All-Star game, Ichiro Suzuki visited Sisler's grave site.[18] Tarpon Springs, Florida honored George by naming the former spring training home of the St. Louis Browns "Sisler Field". The fields were later taken over by the local Little League teams, and are still in use.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ DeLorme. Ohio Atlas & Gazetteer. 7th ed. Yarmouth: DeLorme, 2004, p. 51. ISBN 0-89933-281-1.
  2. ^ Lowenfish, Lee (2009). Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 53–55. ISBN 0803224532.
  3. ^ a b c d Warburton, Paul (2010). Signature Seasons: Fifteen Baseball Legends at Their Most Memorable, 1908–1949. McFarland. pp. 68–79. ISBN 0786457732.
  4. ^ Cook, William (2007). August "Garry" Herrmann: A Baseball Biography. McFarland. p. 190. ISBN 0786430737.
  5. ^ Ballew, Bill (2012). "Team spotlight: Maloney looks to build on Michigan's baseball tradition" (PDF). Baseball The Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "George Sisler". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  7. ^ Huhn, pp. 73-74.
  8. ^ a b Barrero, Jim (September 15, 2000). "Out of sight". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  9. ^ Huhn, p. 114.
  10. ^ Kennedy, Kostya (March 14, 2011). The Streak. Sports Illustrated Magazine, Volume 14, No.ll, p. 64.
  11. ^ McDonald, William (2011). The Obits: The New York Times Annual 2012. Workman Publishing Company. p. 315. ISBN 0761169423.
  12. ^ Tygiel, Jules (1997). Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy. Oxford University Press. pp. 56–59. ISBN 0195106202.
  13. ^ a b Cushing, Rick (2010). 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates: Day by Day: A Special Season, an Extraordinary World Series. Dorrance Publishing Co. p. 380. ISBN 1434904989.
  14. ^ "Sisler vs. Sisler". Toledo Blade. 1950-10-02. p. 24.
  15. ^ Stein, Fred (2002). And the Skipper Bats Cleanup: A History of the Baseball Player-manager, with 42 Biographies of Men who Filled the Dual Role. McFarland. pp. 162–166. ISBN 0786462671.
  16. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". stlouiswalkoffame.org. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  17. ^ "258...plus 1". SportsIllustrated.CNN.com. 2005-10-01. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
  18. ^ Ichiro Suzuki pays respects at George Sisler's gravesite – ESPN
  19. ^ https://www.tarponspringslittleleague.com/news_article/show/602946?referrer_id=2278297

External links

Preceded by
Ty Cobb
Single season base hit record holders
1920–2004
Succeeded by
Ichiro Suzuki
Preceded by
Cliff Heathcote
Dave Bancroft
Hitting for the cycle
August 8, 1920
August 13, 1921
Succeeded by
George Burns
Dave Robertson
Preceded by
Eduard Benes
Cover of Time Magazine
March 30, 1925
Succeeded by
John Ringling
1920 St. Louis Browns season

The 1920 St. Louis Browns season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Browns finishing 4th in the American League with a record of 76 wins and 77 losses.

1922 St. Louis Browns season

The 1922 St. Louis Browns season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Browns winning 93 games, the only time in franchise history that the Browns topped the 90 win plateau. In the American League standings, the Browns finished in second place behind the New York Yankees. The Browns set a franchise record with 712,918 fans coming to watch the games. This was approximately 100,000 higher than the previous high.

1924 St. Louis Browns season

The 1924 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 4th in the American League with a record of 74 wins and 78 losses. This was George Sisler's first season as manager.

1925 St. Louis Browns season

The 1925 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 3rd in the American League with a record of 82 wins and 71 losses.

1926 St. Louis Browns season

The 1926 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 7th in the American League with a record of 62 wins and 92 losses.

1928 Boston Braves season

The 1928 Boston Braves season was the 58th season of the franchise. The team finished seventh in the National League with a record of 50–103, 44½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the offseason, Rogers Hornsby was traded to the Braves. It was the second trade in as many seasons for Hornsby, who had been traded to the New York Giants during the previous offseason. Hornsby managed to be the league's most productive hitter. He won his seventh batting title in 1928 with a .387 average, and led the league in on-base percentage (.498, a figure that only Hornsby himself topped among National Leaguers in the 20th century), slugging percentage (.632), and walks (107).

1930 Boston Braves season

The 1930 Boston Braves season was the 60th season of the franchise.

Dave Sisler

David Michael Sisler (October 16, 1931 – January 9, 2011) was a professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1956 through 1962. Early in his career, Sisler was a starter, then later was used as a middle reliever and occasionally as a closer. He reached the majors in 1956 with the Boston Red Sox after he completed a two-year obligation in the active military. After three-and-a-half seasons with the Red Sox, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1959 and served the team through the 1960 season. Before the 1961 season, he was selected by the Washington Senators in the 1960 Major League Baseball expansion draft, for whom he played the 1961 season. He was then traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1962, playing one season at the major league level, and one in their minor league system.

His most productive years came with Boston, where he won 24 games from 1956 to 1958, averaging 138 innings each season. After that, he appeared strictly as a reliever and saved a career-high 11 games for the Senators. In a seven-season career, Sisler posted a 38–44 record with a 4.33 ERA in 247 appearances, including 29 saves, 12 complete games, one shutout and 656⅓ innings. Sisler retired from baseball after the 1963 season to become an investment firm executive, a career that lasted for over 30 years, retiring as a vice-chairman for A. G. Edwards.

His father, Hall of Famer George Sisler; and one of his brothers, Dick Sisler, also played baseball at the major league level; while another brother, George Sisler, Jr., was a general manager for several minor league baseball teams, and later became president of the International League from 1966 to 1976.

Dick Sisler

Richard Alan Sisler (November 2, 1920 – November 20, 1998) was an American professional baseball player, coach, and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was the son of Hall of Fame first baseman and two-time .400 hitter George Sisler. Younger brother Dave Sisler was a relief pitcher in the 1950s and 1960s with four MLB teams, and older brother George Jr. was a longtime executive in Minor League Baseball (MiLB).

George Sisler (disambiguation)

George Sisler (1893–1973) was an American Major League Baseball player and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

George Sisler may also refer to:

George Sisler Jr. (1917–2006), American minor league baseball general manager and president of the International League, son of the aforementioned George Sisler

George K. Sisler (1937–1967), United States Army officer, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War

George Sisler Jr.

George Harold Sisler Jr. (August 1, 1917 – December 31, 2006) was an American professional baseball player and executive. The son of Hall of Fame first baseman and two-time .400 hitter George Sisler and the brother of two Major League Baseball players, Dick and Dave, George Jr. was a longtime executive in minor league baseball, especially in the Triple-A International League (IL); at his death, the IL calculated that Sisler had been associated with that league for 52 of its 124 years of existence. He also served in the majors as chief assistant to St. Louis Cardinals vice president and de facto general manager William Walsingham Jr. during the late 1940s and early 1950s.A three-sport star at Colgate University, Sisler had a brief playing career in minor league baseball. Baseball Reference lists him as having played from 1939–1941 in the lowest levels of the minors in the organizations of St. Louis' two MLB teams of the era, the Browns and the Cardinals. After World War II, he focused on his front-office career. In the minors, he was the general manager of the Columbus Red Birds of the Triple-A American Association in 1953 and 1954 before taking over in 1955 as front-office boss of the Cardinals' other top-level affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings of the International League. Sisler spent 11 seasons, through 1965, in the Rochester post, navigating transitions when the Cardinals sold the team to a community organization and, then, in 1961, when the Red Wings ended their 33-year relationship with St. Louis and affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.

In 1966, Sisler was elected president of the International circuit itself, serving another 11 seasons through 1976. Then, he accepted a new challenge when he returned to Columbus to take the executive reins of the Clippers when that franchise (now in the International League) moved to Ohio's capital from Charleston, West Virginia. He spent 13 seasons (1977–1989) as the Clippers' general manager, with the team winning International League championships in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1987 and Western Division titles in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984. Sisler then retired to a consulting role, working with the IL office through his formal retirement in 1999 at age 82.Four times Sisler was selected the International League's Executive of the Year, and in 1989 he was presented with the King of Baseball award given by Minor League Baseball.

Sisler died from Alzheimer's disease in Worthington, Ohio, at age 89. The year after his 2006 death, he was one of the first two new inductees to the resurrected International League Hall of Fame, which had had no new members since 1963.

Hitting streak

In baseball, a hitting streak is the number of consecutive official games in which a player appears and gets at least one base hit. According to the Official Baseball Rules, such a streak is not necessarily ended when a player has at least 1 plate appearance and no hits. A streak shall not be terminated if all official plate appearances result in a base on balls, hit by pitch, defensive interference or a sacrifice bunt. The streak shall terminate if the player has a sacrifice fly and no hit.Joe DiMaggio holds the Major League Baseball record with a streak of 56 consecutive games in 1941 which began on May 15 and ended July 17. DiMaggio hit .408 during his streak (91-for-223), with 15 home runs and 55 runs batted in.

Ivan Howard

Ivan Chester Howard (October 12, 1882 – March 30, 1967) was an American professional baseball infielder who played for four seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). Howard was the younger brother of major leaguer Del Howard. He played for the St. Louis Browns during 1914 and 1915, primarily as a first baseman, after which he was replaced by George Sisler, then was purchased by the Cleveland Indians on February 20, 1916, for whom he played chiefly at second base in the 1916 campaign. His career came to an end with 27 games played in 1917.

He was later the manager of the Oakland Oaks minor league team in the Pacific Coast League from 1923 to 1929.

List of Baltimore Orioles team records

This is a list of team records for the Baltimore Orioles baseball franchise. Records include when the franchise was the Brewers and Browns.

List of Major League Baseball annual stolen base leaders

Major League Baseball recognizes stolen base leaders in the American League and National League each season.

List of Major League Baseball hit records

This is a list of Major League Baseball hit records.

Bolded names mean the player is still active and playing.

List of Major League Baseball single-season records

This is a list of single-season records in Major League Baseball.

Ohio–Pennsylvania League

The Ohio–Pennsylvania League (1905–1912) was among scores of minor league baseball organizations that popped up throughout the country in the early 20th century. During its seven-year lifespan, the league comprised dozens of local teams that served as training grounds for athletes and officials who would later distinguish themselves in major league baseball.

The association had its beginnings in March 1905, when league president Charlie Morton invited six prospective members to a meeting in Akron, Ohio. In May 1905, eleven teams joined the Protective Association of Independent Clubs, which formed the basis of the Class C Division Ohio–Pennsylvania League. Ultimately, the league trimmed down to eight teams from the following cities: Akron, Newark, Niles, Youngstown, and Zanesville in Ohio, and Homestead, Lancaster, and Sharon in Pennsylvania;.That September, the Youngstown Ohio Works won the league championship, although sources disagree on the team's final record. As one researcher writes: "The Reach Guide (1906) credits Youngstown with an 84–32 won-lost record where the Spalding Guide of the same year lists a 90–35 record. The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (1993) tells a third story, giving Youngstown an 88–35 mark".By the end of its seven-year lifespan, in 1912, the Ohio–Pennsylvania League had enlisted the membership of no less than 40 ball clubs based in over 20 cities. While the Ohio–Pennsylvania League was disorganized (like many of its counterparts), it provided regional sports teams with an alternative to the established minor-league system. Baseball luminaries who were once connected to the league include Billy Evans, Lee Fohl, Bill Phyle, and Everett Scott. Future Hall-of-Fame infielder George Sisler signed his first professional contract with an Akron club associated with the O-P League, although he never actually played for the team.

Sisler

Sisler or Šisler may refer to:

Cathy Sisler, American artist, born in Wisconsin

Dave Sisler (1931–2011), former pitcher who played in Major League Baseball 1956–1962

Dick Sisler (1920–1998), American player, coach and manager in Major League Baseball

George Sisler (disambiguation), several people with this name, including:

George Sisler (1893–1973), American Major League Baseball first baseman and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Jan Šisler (born 1988), footballer from Czech Republic playing currently for FK Jablonec 97

Jiří Šisler (born 1984), Czech footballer

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