Harold Patrick Reiser (March 17, 1919 – October 25, 1981), nicknamed "Pistol Pete", was an American professional baseball outfielder and coach, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB), during the 1940s and early 1950s. While known primarily for his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Reiser later played for the Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cleveland Indians.
Reiser in 1948.
|Born: March 17, 1919|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Died: October 25, 1981 (aged 62)|
Palm Springs, California
|July 23, 1940, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 5, 1952, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Runs batted in||368|
|Career highlights and awards|
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Reiser originally signed with his hometown Cardinals, but at age 19 he was among a group of minor league players declared free agents by Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Reportedly, Cardinal general manager Branch Rickey—mortified at losing a player of Reiser's caliber—arranged for the Dodgers to sign Reiser, hide him in the minors, then trade him back to St. Louis at a later date. But Reiser's stellar performances in spring training in both 1939 and 1940 forced the Dodgers to keep him. (Rickey would become GM of the Dodgers after the 1942 season and witness Reiser's injury-caused decline as a great talent.)
In 1941, his first season as a regular starter, Reiser helped the Dodgers win the pennant for the first time since 1920. He was a sensation that year, winning the National League batting title while leading the league in doubles, triples, runs scored and slugging percentage. He was also named a starter to the All-Star team and placed second in MVP balloting. On July 19 of the following year, Reiser crashed face-first into the outfield wall in St. Louis, trying to catch what turned out to be a game-winning inside-the-park home run by Enos Slaughter of the rival Cardinals in the bottom of the 11th inning. The loss cut the Dodgers' lead over the Cardinals to six games.
Despite missing just four games with the resulting concussion, he batted only .244 over his final 48 games that season, dropping his batting average from .350 to .310 for the year. The Dodgers ended up losing the pennant by two games to the Cardinals, who won 20 of their last 23 games and eventually the World Series.
Reiser gave great effort on every play in the field, and was therefore very injury-prone. He fractured his skull running into an outfield wall on one occasion (but still made the throw back to the infield), was temporarily paralyzed on another, and was taken off the field on a stretcher a record 11 times.
Leo Durocher, who was Reiser's first major league manager, reflected many years later that in terms of talent, skill and potential, there was only one other player comparable to Reiser: Willie Mays. He also said, "Pete had more power than Willie—left-handed and right-handed both. He had everything but luck."
Reiser, a switch hitter who sometimes restricted himself to batting left-handed because of injury, served in the United States Army during World War II, playing baseball for Army teams. While serving, he was injured again and had to learn to throw with both arms. Durocher said, "And he could throw at least as good as Willie [Mays, both] right-handed and left-handed."
When Reiser returned to the majors in 1946, he was still suffering from a shoulder injury from playing Army baseball. He later said: "It wasn't as serious as the head injuries, but it did more to end my career. The shoulder kept popping out of place, more bone chips developed, and there was constant pain in the arm and shoulder."
He was never the same hitter he was early in his career, but was still as fast as ever, stealing home a record seven times in 1946. In 1948, Ebbets Field became the first ballpark with padded outfield walls due to Reiser's penchant for running into them.
Reiser managed in the minors for several years (including the Kokomo Dodgers in 1956–57, among others), winning the 1959 Minor League Manager of the Year Award from The Sporting News. He served as a coach on Walter Alston's Los Angeles Dodger staff from 1960 to 1964 (including the 1963 world championship team). However, he was forced out in 1965 as manager of the AAA Spokane Indians as the result of a heart attack. His replacement was Duke Snider—the man who had once replaced him as Brooklyn Dodger center fielder.
When Leo Durocher became manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1966, he brought many of his former players to coach on his staff. Reiser was one of them (1966–1969; 1972–1974). He also coached for the California Angels in 1970–71.
In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time." They used what they called "Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome" to explain why a truly exceptional player whose career was curtailed by injury—despite not having had career statistics that would quantitatively rank him with the all-time greats—should nonetheless be included on their list.
The 1940 Brooklyn Dodgers finished the season in second place. It was their best finish in 16 years.1941 Brooklyn Dodgers season
The 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers, led by manager Leo Durocher, won their first pennant in 21 years, edging the St. Louis Cardinals by 2.5 games. They went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series.
In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, this team was referenced as one of "The Greatest Teams That Never Was", due to the quality of its starting lineup. Dolph Camilli was the slugging star with 34 home runs and 120 RBI. He was voted the National League's Most Valuable Player. Pete Reiser, a 22-year-old rookie, led the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and runs scored. Other regulars included Hall of Famers Billy Herman, Joe Medwick, Pee Wee Reese, and Dixie Walker. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers scored the most runs of any NL team (800).
The pitching staff featured a pair of 22-game winners, Kirby Higbe and Whitlow Wyatt, having their best pro seasons.1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the ninth playing of the mid-summer 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 8, 1941, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan, the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League.1942 Brooklyn Dodgers season
The 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers team won 104 games in the season, but fell two games short of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League pennant race.1946 Brooklyn Dodgers season
The 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers finished the season tied for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals. The two teams played in the first ever playoff series to decide the pennant, and the Cardinals took two straight to win the title.
With their star players back from the war, Brooklyn had jumped back into serious contention. They would be respectable until their move to Los Angeles 10 years later.
This season was the team's – and Major League Baseball's – last non-integrated one.1947 Brooklyn Dodgers season
On April 15, Jackie Robinson was the opening day first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball. Robinson went on to bat .297, score 125 runs, steal 29 bases and be named the very first African-American Rookie of the Year. The Dodgers won the National League title and went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the 1947 World Series. This season was dramatized in the movie 42.1949 Boston Braves season
The 1949 Boston Braves season was the 79th season of the franchise.1966 Chicago Cubs season
The 1966 Chicago Cubs season was the 95th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 91st in the National League and the 51st at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished tenth and last in the National League with a record of 59–103, 36 games behind the NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs would not lose 100 or more games in a season for another 46 seasons. One of the defining trades in Cubs history occurred on April 21, when the Cubs acquired future Cy Young Award winner Ferguson Jenkins in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.Americus Movement
The Americus Movement was a civil rights protest that began in Americus (located in Sumter County), Georgia in 1963 and lasted until 1965. It was organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee along with the NAACP. Its main goals were voter registration and a citizenship education plan.Bill Bevens
Floyd Clifford "Bill" Bevens (October 21, 1916 – October 26, 1991) was a right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher. He stood 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) and weighed 210 lb (95 kg). He signed with the New York Yankees at 20 in 1937, and spent seven seasons in their minor league system, throwing two no-hitters for the Wenatchee Chiefs before finally making his major league debut with the Yankees on May 12, 1944 at the age of 27.
In his third minor league season, he pitched his first no-hitter on September 21, 1939, against the Tacoma Tigers, winning 8-0 with the only opposing baserunner reaching on an error, giving his Wenatchee Chiefs their first playoff win after losing the first three games of the series to Tacoma.He pitched four years for the Yanks when they finally brought him up to the majors, amassing a career record of 40–36 with a 3.08 ERA. His best year was 1946, when he went 16–13 and 2.23. Although in the regular 1947 season, his last year in the majors, he won only seven and lost 13.
For 82⁄3 innings in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series Bevens had held the Dodgers hitless despite giving up a Series record ten walks. The Yankees were nursing a 2–1 lead. With one out to go for the first no-hitter in Series history, he walked right fielder Carl Furillo and then (intentionally) pinch-hitter Pete Reiser. Dodger manager Burt Shotton sent in Al Gionfriddo to pinch-run for Furillo and Eddie Miksis for the injury-slowed Reiser, and aging Cookie Lavagetto to pinch-hit for leadoff man Eddie Stanky. With two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth, Lavagetto swung and missed for strike one but then on Bevens' second (and last) pitch lined a double off the right field wall scoring both runners and winning the game for the Dodgers 3-2 with their only hit.On October 6, Bevens returned to the mound for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in the deciding Game 7, winning the world championship for the Yanks. It was the last major league game for the thirty-year-old Bevens.
"I do not use anything odd or unorthodox. I have a sinker, but it is a natural delivery. Fast ball, curve, change, and change in speeds. That is my repertoire." – Bill Bevens in Baseball Magazine (June 1947, Daniel M. Daniel)
He eventually landed another major league job with the Cincinnati Reds in 1952, but was sold to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals before he could see any action for the Reds.
Bevens died of lymphoma on October 26, 1991, five days after his 75th birthday.Culley Rikard
Culley Rikard (May 9, 1914 – February 25, 2000) was a professional baseball player. He played three seasons in Major League Baseball, 1941, 1942, and 1947, with the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League, primarily as an outfielder.
After a handful of games as a pinch hitter the first two seasons, he was drafted for World War II before the 1943 season.His best season was in 1947 when he played in 109 games with 324 at bats as a fourth outfielder. He batted .287 with four home runs and 32 runs batted in. On June 5, 1947, in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers he hit a line drive to center field. All-Star outfielder Pete Reiser caught the ball, but collided with the Ebbets Field wall, knocking him unconscious. Reiser famously received last rites by the Catholic Church, but eventually managed to recover with a concussion. The injury also caused a case vertigo which damaged his career.Rikard was released to Indianapolis of the American Association after the 47 season. Rikard was later traded to the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals during the 1949 season for Dino Restelli.
Rikard died in Memphis, Tennessee.Ike Pearson
Isaac Overton Pearson (March 1, 1917 – March 17, 1985) was an American professional baseball pitcher who appeared in 164 games in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies (1939–1942; 1946) and Chicago White Sox (1948). The native of Grenada, Mississippi, a right-hander, stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg). He signed with the Phillies off the campus of the University of Mississippi, and was a World War II veteran of the United States Marine Corps.Pearson compiled a lowly .206 winning percentage during his Major League career, but he pitched for some of the worst teams of his era. His Phillies clubs lost 106 (1939), 103 (1940), 111 (1941), and 109 (1942) games, and his White Sox team dropped 101 games (1948). He did appear in five games for the 1946 Phillies, who lost only 85 of 154 games that season. He is also known for having severely beaned star Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder Pete Reiser on April 23, 1941 — one of a series of injuries that derailed Reiser's promising career. Pearson led the National League in hit batsmen that season.
Pearson, a swingman who served as both a starting pitcher and a reliever, also led the NL in games finished that year, and compiled six saves, fourth in the league. All told he surrendered 611 hits and 268 bases on balls in 559 MLB innings pitched, with 149 strikeouts.
Pearson was buried at the Memphis National Cemetery.Joe Proski
Joe Proski (born April 19, 1939 in Green Bay, Wisconsin) is a Polish American retired athletic trainer who spent the majority of his career as the head trainer for the National Basketball Association (NBA) Phoenix Suns. After spending one season with the Chicago Bulls, Proski left for the Phoenix Suns in 1968. Proski served as the head athletic trainer in four NBA All-Star Games (1971, 1975, 1985 and 1995) and was named Head Athletic Trainer of the Year in 1988. Following the 1999–2000 NBA season, Proski retired from the NBA. His immediate successor for the position would be Aaron Nelson, who was recommended by Jeff Hornacek and became the assistant athletic trainer from 1993–2000. On April 1, 2001, Proski was inducted into the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor. In 2017, Proski was inducted into the Arizona Athletic Trainers' Association Hall of Fame.Proski's father, John Proski, was a trainer for the NFL Green Bay Packers. Following the construction of Lambeau Field (then known as City Stadium) in 1957, John Proski became the manager of the venue.Joe Proski went to Montana State University on a football scholarship and during the summers worked for a Los Angeles Dodgers minor league affiliate in his hometown of Green Bay as a clubhouse manager. The team's manager, Pete Reiser, urged Proski to pursue a career in training. Proski enrolled at the Gus Mauch Florida School for Athletic Trainers in Kissimmee, Florida and was certified in 1959. He eventually joined the Detroit Tigers physical therapy staff during spring training. His position with the Tigers led him to his first full-time training job with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs employed Proski for eight years before he left for the NBA. Proski worked as a trainer for the Chicago White Sox minor league affiliate in Tucson, Arizona during the NBA off-season.Kokomo Dodgers
The Kokomo Dodgers were a minor league baseball team based in Kokomo, Indiana that was a charter member of the Midwest League. They were affiliated with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and the franchise operated from 1955 through 1961. Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Orlando Cepeda played for Kokomo.
In 1955, Kokomo replaced the Danville Dans in the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League, playing as the Kokomo Giants, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The next season, Kokomo became an initial member of newly formed Midwest League, which grew out of the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League. The other Midwest League charter franchises were: Clinton Pirates, Dubuque Packers, Decatur Commodores, Michigan City White Caps, Paris Lakers, Lafayette Red Sox and Mattoon Phillies.Former Dodger Pete Reiser was the team's manager during the 1956 and 1957 seasons. The team won the Midwest League pennant in 1957, but lost in the playoffs.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.Los Angeles Dodgers award winners and league leaders
This is a list of award winners and league leaders for the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball franchise, including its years in Brooklyn (1883–1957).Newport Dodgers
The Newport Dodgers were a Northeast Arkansas League baseball team based in Newport, Arkansas, USA that played from 1936 to 1941. They were affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1936 to 1937, the Detroit Tigers in 1939 and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940–1941. They played their home games at Mann Field.Pete Reiser and Johnny Sain are the only two known major leaguers to play for the team when it was known as the Cardinals.Pete (nickname)
Pete is a nickname of:
Russell "Pete" Ashbaugh (1921-2009), American football player
Pedro Pete Astudillo (born 1963), Mexican American songwriter
Darrel Pete Brewster (born 1930), American former National Football League player and coach
Wilson Pete Burness (1904–1969), American animator and animation director, two-time Academy Award winner
Clarence Pete Carpenter (1914–1987), American jazz trombonist, musical arranger and composer for television shows
Charles "Pete" Conrad (1930-1999), American naval aviator and astronaut
Richard Pete Cooper (golfer) (1914-1993), American PGA golfer
Ulise Joseph Pete Desjardins (1907–1985), American diver, double gold medalist at the 1928 Olympics
Pietro Pete Domenici (born 1932), American politician and six-term senator from New Mexico
Pierre S. du Pont IV (born 1935), American lawyer, politician and former Governor of Delaware
Dee Pete Hart (American football) (born 1933), American football player
Wilbur Pete Henry (1897-1952), American National Football League player and coach
William J. Knight (1929-2004), American aeronautical engineer, politician, Vietnam War combat pilot, test pilot and astronaut
Ralph Pierre Pete LaCock, Jr. (born 1952), American former Major League Baseball player
Warren "Pete" Moore (born 1939), American singer-songwriter, original bass singer for Motown group The Miracles and record producer
George Pete Morrison (1890–1973), American silent western film actor
Linton Pete Muldoon (1887-1929), Canadian hockey coach, first coach of the Chicago Black Hawks
Charles Pete Orr (racing driver) (1956–2002), American stock car racing driver
Harding William Pete Peterson (baseball) (born 1929), American retired Major League Baseball player and general manager
Harold Patrick Pete Reiser (1919–1981), American Major League Baseball player
Alvin Pete Rozelle (1926-1996), longtime commissioner of the National Football League
James Pete Runnels (1928–1991), American Major League Baseball player
Petros Pete Sampras (born 1971), American retired tennis player
Kenneth Pete Shaw (American football) (born 1954), American former National Football League player
Alonzo Pete Tillman (1922-1998), American football player and coachVictoria Rosebuds
The Victoria Rosebuds were a minor league baseball team in the Double-A Texas League located in Victoria, Texas, between 1958 and May 27, 1961, when the club was transferred to Ardmore, Oklahoma, because of attendance woes. Club owner Tom O'Connor, Jr., a local rancher, suffered a heart attack in 1961, and without his continued support, the team was unable to remain in Victoria. Two weeks later, on June 10,
1961, Victoria received another club struggling at the gate, the Rio Grande Valley Giants, who transferred from Harlingen, Texas. The Rosebuds had originally moved to Victoria from Shreveport, Louisiana. after the 1957 season.
Both the Ardmore Rosebuds (who drew a total of almost 49,000 fans for the season) and Victoria Giants (a total of 43,000) disappeared from the TL map in 1962, succeeded by the Albuquerque Dukes and El Paso Sun Kings.
Several other minor league teams also called themselves the Victoria Rosebuds, including teams in the Southwest Texas League in 1910-11, the Gulf Coast League in 1926, (not to be confused with the present-day GCL in Florida), the Big State League in 1957, and the Lone Star League in 1977.
However, the Rosebuds/Giants' four years in the Texas League during the 1958–61 period (along with a return to the Texas loop in 1974 for one season as the Victoria Toros) represented the highest level of minor league team to represent the city. Victoria has always been by far the smallest market base in its respective leagues. The Texas League Rosebuds competed in a league against Houston and Dallas, with less than 20,000 inhabitants in Victoria. In 1910, the city supported the Rosebuds with a population of less than 5,000.
The Rosebuds' most successful season was in 1959, when they won the TL's regular-season championship before falling in the playoffs to the San Antonio Missions. The '59 Buds were managed by "Pistol Pete" Reiser, the former star Dodger centerfielder, who won the 1959 Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year Award for his efforts. Outfielder Carl Warwick, a future major leaguer, was the league Most Valuable Player, while Carroll Beringer, later a long-time MLB coach, was the TL's top pitcher.
A number of major league stars advanced from the Rosebuds, including Frank Howard and Tommy Davis
In 1977, Victoria was represented in the Class A Lone Star League by a team nicknamed the Rosebuds. Although the team finished under .500, at 38–42, the Rosebuds compiled the best overall record in the Lone Star's North Division and draw 14,000 fans. The league lasted only that one campaign before disbanding.
The Rosebuds played their games in Riverside Stadium, which was built in 1946. Riverside Stadium is still in use by the Victoria Generals in the Texas Collegiate League and by the University of Houston–Victoria Jaguars.