Johnny Schmitz

John Albert "Bear Tracks" Schmitz (November 27, 1920 – October 1, 2011) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher with the Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles between 1941 and 1956. He missed playing in the majors from 1943 to 1945 due to World War II. His nickname was inspired by the way he shuffled to the mound and his size 14 feet. He was born in Wausau, Wisconsin.

At 6 ft (1.83 m), 170 lb (77 kg), Schmitz batted right-handed but threw lefty.

Johnny Schmitz
Johnny Schmitz
Born: November 27, 1920
Wausau, Wisconsin
Died: October 1, 2011 (aged 90)
Wausau, Wisconsin
Batted: Right Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 6, 1941, for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
September 7, 1956, for the Baltimore Orioles
MLB statistics
Win–loss record93–114
Earned run average3.55
Career highlights and awards


Originally signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1938, Schmitz was obtained by the Chicago Cubs from the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association as part of a minor league working agreement. He made his major league debut with the Cubs on September 6, 1941, at the age of 20. He was the fourth-youngest player that year. In his debut, he threw only one pitch.

Schmitz pitched marvelously in the short stint that would be his first major league season: in five games—including three starts—he went 2–0 with a 1.31 earned run average, and one complete game. That season was a foreshadowing of the success he would witness in the next few years of his career.

In 1942, Schmitz posted a solid 3.43 ERA despite a mediocre 3–7 record with the Cubs (who as a team went 68–86 that year). He would end up missing the next three years due to military service, but in 1946 he came back better than ever. An All-Star that year, he posted a 2.61 ERA in 41 games, 31 started. He went 11–11, with 135 strikeouts in 224+ innings pitched, allowing just six home runs in that time. He led the league in strikeouts and was second in hits allowed per nine innings that year (he allowing just 7.38H/9IP). He was fourth in the league in games started, fifth in innings, sixth in ERA and complete games (14) and seventh in game appearances. This performance put him at 30th place in MVP voting that year.

Schmitz' 1947 season was fairly disappointing—he posted a record of 13–18, leading the league in walks. His 3.22 ERA was still good for 10th in the league, as were his 97 strikeouts. His four saves were ninth in the league, and his three shutouts were sixth.

In 1948, Schmitz went 18–13 with a 2.64 ERA. He made the All-Star game for the second time of his career. He was 12th overall in MVP voting, third in the league in wins and complete games (18), fifth in ERA and sixth in games started (30). He also led the league in hits allowed per nine innings, giving up an average of only 6.92.

Schmitz' next two and a half seasons with the Cubs were less than stellar. In that time, he went a combined 23–35, posting a cumulative ERA of 4.80. Still, he finished 23rd in MVP voting in 1949.

It was this subpar performance that prompted a trade by the Cubs to the Brooklyn Dodgers (a team he'd won 18 games against) on June 15, 1951. Schmitz was sent from the Cubs along with Andy Pafko, Wayne Terwilliger and Rube Walker, to the Dodgers for Bruce Edwards, Joe Hatten, Eddie Miksis and Gene Hermanski.

Schmitz never played a full season with the Dodgers. In parts of the 1951 and 1952, Schmitz went 2–5 with a 4.96 ERA in 26 games, 10 of them started. On August 1, 1952, he was selected off waivers from the Dodgers by the New York Yankees. He ended up posting a 3.60 ERA in five games with them before being traded with Jim Greengrass, Bob Marquis and Ernie Nevel to the Cincinnati Reds for Ewell Blackwell. He gave up no runs in five innings of work (in three games total) for the Reds that year. Shoulder and arm problems would result in him playing less and less.

In the 1952/1953 offseason, Schmitz was purchased by the Yankees. He only appeared in three regular season games in 1953 with them before being picked up by the Washington Senators off waivers on May 12. His time with them in 1953 was quite similar to the last few seasons-he posted a 2–7 record.

1954 was quite a career revitalization for Schmitz. In 29 games, 23 of them started, he posted an 11–8 record to complement a 2.91 ERA, which was ninth best in the league. That success did not carry over to 1955, though. He went 7–10 that year with a 3.71 ERA.

In the 1955 offseason, Schmitz was traded by the Senators with Bob Porterfield, Tom Umphlett and Mickey Vernon to the Boston Red Sox for Karl Olson, Dick Brodowski, Tex Clevenger, Neil Chrisley and Al Curtis, a minor leaguer. He ended up appearing in only two games with the Red Sox in 1956 before being purchased by the Baltimore Orioles. He ended his career with them, playing his final game on September 7. He was released by the Orioles on October 18, 1956. Overall, he went 93–114 in his career, posting an ERA of 3.55. He walked 757 batters and struck out 746. He was a poor hitter overall with a .141 career batting average, although he did hit two home runs. As a fielder, he committed 23 errors for a .963 fielding percentage. He was involved in 43 double plays in his career.[1]

Until his death Schmitz lived in Wausau, Wisconsin, and was greens keeper at the American Legion golf club Wausau.[2]

Military service

Schmitz missed the end of the 1942 baseball season when he entered the navy. His work as a specialist 3rd class took him to the Pacific Theatre.[3][4] He was able to play baseball for military teams prior to his deployment.[4]

Other information

  • Schmitz wore number 7 in 1941 (one of the rare times in history a pitcher wore a single digit number), 23 in 1942, 53 from 1946 to 1950, 53 and 19 in 1951, 19, 45, and 40 in 1952, 35 and 31 in 1953, 31 in 1954, 20 in 1954 and 1955 and 21 and 40 in 1956.
  • It has been determined that Schmitz earned $21,000 in 1949.[5]
  • Quote: "Three inches in front of home plate it (Johnny Schmitz's curve ball) was up around your head; the catcher wound up catching it by your feet. He could drop it in a coffee cup." – Rex Barney in "Old Dodgers Were 'Patsies' for Him" (Baseball Digest: September 1996)

See also


  1. ^ "Johnny Schmitz Stats". Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "Johnny A. Schmitz". October 6, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  3. ^ "Baseball in Wartime – Those Who Served A to Z". Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Johnny Schmitz at the SABR Baseball Biography Project, by Bill Nowlin, Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "Johnny Schmitz Stats". Retrieved July 5, 2019.

External links

1941 Chicago Cubs season

The 1941 Chicago Cubs season was the 70th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 66th in the National League and the 26th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished sixth in the National League with a record of 70–84.

1942 Chicago Cubs season

The 1942 Chicago Cubs season was the 71st season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 67th in the National League and the 27th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished sixth in the National League with a record of 68–86.

1946 Chicago Cubs season

The 1946 Chicago Cubs season was the 75th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 71st in the National League and the 31st at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished third in the National League with a record of 82–71.

1947 Chicago Cubs season

The 1947 Chicago Cubs season was the 76th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 72nd in the National League and the 32nd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished sixth in the National League with a record of 69–85.

1948 Chicago Cubs season

The 1948 Chicago Cubs season was the 77th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 73rd in the National League and the 33rd at Wrigley Field, as well as the first of many seasons to be broadcast on television on WGN-TV while keeping its separate WBKB telecasts. The Cubs finished eighth and last in the National League with a record of 64–90.

1948 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1948 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 15th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 13, 1948, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of both the St. Louis Browns of the American League (who were the designated host team) and the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 5–2.

1949 Chicago Cubs season

The 1949 Chicago Cubs season was the 78th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 74th in the National League and the 34th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished eighth and last in the National League with a record of 61–93.

1950 Chicago Cubs season

The 1950 Chicago Cubs season was the 79th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 75th in the National League and the 35th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished seventh in the National League with a record of 64–89.

1951 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers led the National League for much of the season, holding a 13-game lead as late as August. However, a late season swoon and a hot streak by the New York Giants led to a classic three-game playoff series. Bobby Thomson's dramatic ninth-inning home run off Dodger reliever Ralph Branca in the final game won the pennant for the Giants and was immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.

1951 Chicago Cubs season

The 1951 Chicago Cubs season was the 80th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 76th in the National League and the 36th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished eighth and last in the National League with a record of 62–92.

1952 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers rebounded from the heartbreaking ending of 1951 to win the National League pennant by four games over the New York Giants. However, they dropped the World Series in seven games to the New York Yankees. Led by Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider, the high-powered Brooklyn offense scored the most runs in the majors.

1952 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1952 Cincinnati Reds season was the franchise's 63rd year as a member of the National League and its 71st consecutive year of operation in Major League Baseball. The Reds won 69 games, lost 85, and finished sixth, drawing 604,197 spectators to Crosley Field, next-to-last in the eight-team league.

1952 New York Yankees season

The 1952 New York Yankees season was the 50th season for the Yankees in New York and their 52nd overall, going back to their origins in Baltimore. The team finished with a record of 95–59, winning their 19th pennant, finishing 2 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. New York was managed by Casey Stengel. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in 7 games. This was their fourth consecutive World Series win, tying the record they had set during 1936–1939. It was also the first season that the Yankees aired their games exclusively on WPIX-TV which would last until the end of the 1998 season, the channel was also the home of the baseball Giants broadcasts from 1949, thus it was the first time ever that the channel had broadcast both the AL and NL baseball teams from the city, in 2016, when WPIX resumed FTA broadcasts of Yankees games in association with the current cable broadcaster YES Network, the channel returned to being the sole FTA broadcaster for the city's MLB franchises, as it is also currently the FTA broadcaster for the New York Mets.

1953 New York Yankees season

The 1953 New York Yankees season was the 51st season for the team in New York, and its 53rd season overall. The team finished with a record of 99–52, winning their 20th pennant, finishing 8.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. New York was managed by Casey Stengel. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in 6 games. This was the Yankees fifth consecutive World Series win, a record that still stands.

1953 Washington Senators season

The 1953 Washington Senators won 76 games, lost 76, and finished in fifth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium. This was their last winning season until 1962.

1956 Boston Red Sox season

The 1956 Boston Red Sox season was the 56th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 84 wins and 70 losses.

Bob Marquis

Robert Rudolph Marquis (December 23, 1924 – December 28, 2007) was an American outfielder, whose eight-year professional career from 1947–1954 included a stint with the Cincinnati Redlegs of Major League Baseball in its 1953 season. A native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Marquis batted and threw left-handed. He stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg).

Marquis began his professional career in 1947 with the Lufkin Foresters, hitting .346 with 22 doubles and 16 triples in 140 games. He was sent to the Beaumont Exporters in the New York Yankees system, where he played in four games, going 0-for-1 at the plate. In 1948, he played for Beaumont (two games) and the Quincy Gems (126), hitting a combined .333 with 15 home runs, 18 triples and 21 doubles.

Marquis split the 1949 season between Beaumont (20 games) and the Binghamton Triplets (106), hitting a combined .236 in 453 at-bats. He then hit .293 in 151 games for Beaumont in 1950. The next year, he hit .278 in 123 games with the Kansas City Blues. He returned to Kansas City in 1952, hitting .246 in 97 games. On August 28, 1952, he was traded to Cincinnati along with Jim Greengrass, Ernie Nevel, Johnny Schmitz and $35,000 in exchange for Ewell Blackwell. At the time, Baseball Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, who had been managerr of Marquis in the minor leagues in 1950, was the Redlegs in 1952.

Marquis made his big league debut on April 17, 1953. In 40 games with the Redlegs (as the Reds were known from 1953–1958), he hit .273 with two home runs, a triple and a double in 44 at-bats. Despite posting an OPS+ of 108, that would end up being his only year in the big leagues, he played his final game on July 7. He also spent 61 games in the minors that year; with the Portland Beavers he hit .271. Back in the minors in 1954, he hit .282 with 16 triples in 143 games for Beaumont.Marquis died in 2007 in Beaumont, Texas, at the age of 83. He was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Beaumont.

Les Layton

Lester Lee Layton (November 18, 1921 – March 1, 2014) was an American professional baseball player. An outfielder whose pro career extended for 11 seasons (1944–1954), he appeared in 63 Major League Baseball games for the 1948 New York Giants.

Layton was born in Nardin, Kay County, Oklahoma, and attended the University of Oklahoma. A right-handed batter and thrower, he stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kg). He signed with the Giants in 1944 and spent his first four seasons with the Jersey City Giants of the top-level International League. After batting .289 with 20 home runs for Jersey City in 1947, Layton made the 1948 varsity Giants' roster. In his first Major League at bat as a pinch hitter May 21 against the Chicago Cubs, Layton homered off Cubs' southpaw Johnny Schmitz. Used primarily as a pinch runner and pinch hitter by managers Mel Ott and Leo Durocher, Layton occasionally spelled corner outfielders Bobby Thomson and Willard Marshall.

He enjoyed his two biggest days as a Major League batsman in the mid-summer of 1948. On July 2, Layton cracked three hits (all singles) in five at bats against the Brooklyn Dodgers — two off Preacher Roe and one off Rex Barney — in a 6–4 Giant win at Ebbets Field. Then, three days later, Layton had a career-high four safeties (including two doubles) off Boston Braves' ace Johnny Sain in a 13-inning, 6–5 New York win at the Polo Grounds.During his Major League career, Layton collected 21 hits (including four doubles, four triples and two home runs) in 91 at bats. He returned to minor league baseball in 1949 and played six more seasons, including two productive years with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League in 1950–1951.


Schmitz is a common German surname (smith), which may refer to:

Bob Schmitz (1939–2004), American football player

Bruno Schmitz (1858–1916), German architect

Danny Schmitz (born 1955), American college baseball coach

Eugene Schmitz (1864-1928), Mayor of San Francisco, California at the time of the 1906 Earthquake

Greg Dean Schmitz (born 1970), American online film journalist

Hector Aron Schmitz or Ettore Schmitz (1861–1928), birthname of the Italian author Italo Svevo

James H. Schmitz (1911–1981), American science fiction writer

Jim Schmitz, American college baseball coach

Johannes Andreas Schmitz (1621–1652), Dutch physician

John G. Schmitz, American presidential candidate

Johnny Schmitz (1920-2011), American baseball player

Joseph E. Schmitz (born 1958), former US Department of Defense official and Blackwater executive

Kim Schmitz (born 1974), German entrepreneur

Leonhard Schmitz (1807–1890), German-born classical scholar and educator active mainly in the United Kingdom

Oliver Schmitz (born 1960), South African film director

Ralf Schmitz (born 1974), German actor

Richard Schmitz (1885–1954), mayor of Vienna, Austria

E. Robert Schmitz (1889–1949), a Franco-American pianist and composer

Sabine Schmitz (born 1969), German race driver

Sascha Schmitz (born 1972), German pop singer

Sigrid Schmitz (born 1961), German behavioral physiologist

Sybille Schmitz (1909–1955), German actressThe following places bear the name Schmitz:

Schmitz Lake, a lake in South Dakota

Schmitz Park (Seattle)

Schmitz Park Creek


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