Ray Blades

Francis Raymond Blades (August 6, 1896 – May 18, 1979) was an American left fielder, manager, coach and scout in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Ray Blades
Left fielder / Manager
Born: August 6, 1896
McLeansboro, Illinois
Died: May 18, 1979 (aged 82)
Lincoln, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 19, 1922, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 25, 1932, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average.301
Home runs50
Runs batted in340
Managerial record107–85
Winning percentage.557
Teams
As player

As manager

As coach

Career highlights and awards

Scouted on the sandlots by Rickey

A native of McLeansboro, Illinois, Blades was first scouted as a baseball player as a teenager in 1913. Branch Rickey, then the manager of the St. Louis Browns, spotted Blades during a sandlot game for the St. Louis city championship. Seven years would pass, however, before Rickey would sign Blades to a contract; by that time, 1920, however, Rickey was working for the Browns’ National League rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Blades threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m) tall and weighed 163 pounds (74 kg). After apprenticing in the minor leagues, Blades reached the Cardinals in 1922. Hampered by a severe knee injury, he appeared in over 100 games only three times – from 1924 to 1926 – but he hung on as a spare outfielder for ten major league seasons (1922–28; 1930–32), all with the Cardinals, and batted .301 lifetime. In his finest season, 1925, he hit .342 in 462 at-bats. He appeared in three World Series (1928, 1930 and 1931). Beginning a transition to a management career, he was a playing coach for the Cardinals from 1930–32.

Manager, coach and scout

Blades was known as a ferocious competitor with a terrible temper, and he carried that reputation with him as a manager in the Cardinals’ farm system. He managed at the top level of the St. Louis organization with the Rochester Red Wings and Columbus Red Birds from 1933–38 and was named skipper of the Cardinals in 1939.

Upon his appointment, he prohibited alcohol drinking among his players. In his first season, the Cards responded to Blades’ tough regimen, winning 92 games and improving from sixth to second place in the National League. But the Cardinals slumped in the early weeks of 1940, winning only 14 of their first 38 games and plunging back into sixth place. On June 7, Blades was fired and ultimately replaced by Billy Southworth.

He then coached in the National League for the Cincinnati Reds (1942), Brooklyn Dodgers (1947–48) and Chicago Cubs (1953–56), in addition to a one-year return to the Cardinals (1951). He managed again in minor league baseball, spending two non-consecutive years (1941 and 1943) as skipper of the New Orleans Pelicans and three seasons (1944–46) at the helm of the St. Paul Saints, which then was one of the Dodgers' two top-level farm teams. He also worked in Brooklyn's farm system as a managerial consultant (1949–50) and scouted for the Cubs from 1957 into the early 1960s.

Rejected Dodger interim post in 1947

After 1940, Blades never managed again full-time in the big leagues, although during his tenure with Brooklyn he and a fellow coach, Clyde Sukeforth, turned down the job as acting manager of the 1947 Dodgers after the suspension of Leo Durocher for the season. Rickey, by then president of the Dodgers, ultimately turned to Burt Shotton, one of the team's scouts, and under Shotton Brooklyn won the 1947 NL pennant. During the following year, 1948, Blades served as interim Dodger pilot for a single game, when Durocher left Brooklyn for the New York Giants job, and Shotton succeeded him a second time. The Dodgers won Blades' one game at the helm, 4–2, on July 16, 1948, against the Reds. His final record as a big-league manager was 107–85 (.557).

Ray Blades died in Lincoln, Illinois at the age of 82 in 1979.

See also

References

  • The St. Louis Star-Times, 1938.
  • J. G. Taylor Spink, ed., The Baseball Register, 1956 edition. St. Louis: C.C. Spink & Son.

External links

1923 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1923 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 42nd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 32nd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 79–74 during the season and finished 5th in the National League.

1924 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1924 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 43rd season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 33rd season in the National League. The Cardinals went 65–89 during the season and finished 6th in the National League.

1925 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1925 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 44th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 34th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 77–76 during the season and finished 4th in the National League.

1926 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1926 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 45th season in St. Louis, Missouri and their 35th in the National League. The Cardinals went 89–65 during the season and finished first in the National League, winning their first National League pennant. In the World Series, they defeated the New York Yankees in 7 games, ending it by throwing out Babe Ruth at second base in the ninth-inning of Game 7 to preserve a 3–2 victory. This was Rogers Hornsby's only full season as manager for the team.

Catcher Bob O'Farrell won the MVP Award this year, batting .293, with 7 home runs and 68 RBIs. Led by RBI champion Jim Bottomley, the offense scored the most runs in the NL.

1928 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1928 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 47th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 37th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 95–59 during the season and finished first in the National League. In the World Series, they were swept by the New York Yankees.

1930 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1930 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 49th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 39th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 92–62 during the season and finished first in the National League. In the 1930 World Series, they lost to the Philadelphia Athletics in six games.

1931 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1931 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 50th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 40th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 101–53 during the season and finished first in the National League. In the World Series, they beat the Philadelphia Athletics in 7 games.

1932 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1932 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 51st season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 41st season in the National League. The Cardinals went 72–82 during the season and finished 6th in the National League.

1939 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1939 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 58th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 48th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 92–61 during the season and finished 2nd in the National League.

1940 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1940 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 59th season in St. Louis, Missouri and 49th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 84–69 during the season and finished 3rd in the National League.

1942 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1942 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the National League with a record of 76–76, 29 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

1948 Brooklyn Dodgers season

Leo Durocher returned as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers to start the 1948 season but was fired in mid-season. He was replaced first by team coach Ray Blades and then by Burt Shotton, who had managed the team to the 1947 pennant. The Dodgers finished third in the National League after this tumultuous season.

The 1948 Dodgers were very much a work in progress, beginning to coalesce into the classic "Boys of Summer" teams of the 1950s. Gil Hodges was in the opening day lineup, but as a catcher. He would only be shifted to first base after the emergence of Roy Campanella. Jackie Robinson started the season at second base—Eddie Stanky had been traded just before the start of the season to make room for Robinson at his natural position; he had played first base during his 1947 rookie season. Pee Wee Reese was the only "Boys of summer" regular to already be ensconced at his position, shortstop. Billy Cox had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason, but as one of nine players who would see time at third for the team that year, he only played 70 games at the position. Carl Furillo was already a regular, but in center field. Duke Snider was brought up to the team in mid-season, and it was not until 1949 that Furillo moved to right field and Snider became the regular center fielder.

Preacher Roe and Ralph Branca were in the starting rotation, but Carl Erskine only appeared in a handful of games, and Don Newcombe would not join the staff until the following year.

1951 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1951 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 70th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 60th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 81–73 during the season and finished 3rd in the National League.

1953 Chicago Cubs season

The 1953 Chicago Cubs season was the 82nd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 78th in the National League and the 38th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished seventh in the National League with a record of 65–89.

1956 Chicago Cubs season

The 1956 Chicago Cubs season was the 85th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 81st in the National League and the 41st at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished eighth and last in the National League with a record of 60–94.

1960 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to Baseball Hall of Fame for 1960 followed a system established after the 1956 election. The Veterans Committee was meeting only in odd-numbered years (until 1962). The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and, same as in 1958, it elected no one. For the third and final time the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown were canceled because there was no one to induct. It was also the last time until 2013 that there were no living inductees (all three members of that induction class, all deceased, were voted in by the Veterans Committee).

Burt Shotton

Burton Edwin Shotton (October 18, 1884 – July 29, 1962) was an American player, manager, coach and scout in Major League Baseball. As manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947; 1948–50), he won two National League pennants and served as Jackie Robinson's first permanent Major League manager.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers managers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team that plays in the National League Western Division. The Dodgers began play in 1884 as the Brooklyn Atlantics and have been known by seven nicknames since (including the Grays, Grooms, Superbas, and Robins), before adopting the Dodgers name for good in 1932. They played in Brooklyn, New York until their move to Los Angeles in 1958. During the teams existence, they have employed 32 different managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.

List of St. Louis Cardinals coaches

The St. Louis Cardinals, based in St. Louis, Missouri, are a professional baseball franchise that compete in the National League of Major League Baseball (MLB). The club employs coaches who support – and report directly to – the manager. Coaches for various aspects of the game, including pitching, hitting, baserunning and fielding, give instruction to players to assist them in exercising the major disciplines that must be successfully executed to compete at the highest level. These specialized roles are a relatively new development, as coaches initially did not have specific roles and instead had titles such as "first assistant", "second assistant", etc. St. Louis Cardinals coaches have played an important role in the team's eleven World Series titles. Many are retired players who at one time played for the team. Coaching is often part of the path for Major League managerial hopefuls, as a coach's previous experiences typically include managing and/or coaching at the minor league level. Charley O'Leary and Heinie Peitz, both former Cardinals players, became the first coaches the Cardinals employed as positions separate from the manager in 1913.

The longest-tenured coach in Cardinals' franchise history is Red Schoendienst, who has filled a variety of roles for the St. Louis Cardinals. First, he played 15 seasons as a second baseman for the Cardinals before becoming an on-field coach in 1962 in his penultimate season as an active player. He continued to coach through 1964, and the next season, became the Cardinals' manager. Returning as an on-field coach for the Cardinals in 1979, Schoendienst remained in that capacity until 1995. Since 1996, he has served as a special assistant to the general manager as a coaching advisor. In all, Schoendienst has coached for St. Louis for 38 total seasons. He has also worn a St. Louis Major League uniform in eight different decades, won four World Series titles as part of on-field personnel and two more World Series titles since moving into his role as an advisor.The current longest-tenured coach through 2015 is third-base coach José Oquendo, who has been coaching for the Cardinals since 1999. The latest addition is assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller, who was hired before the 2015 season. The longest-tenured on-field coach in franchise history is Buzzy Wares; he is also the only coach for the Cardinals with a consecutive on-field season streak of 20 or more seasons with 23. Schoendienst is the only other with 20 or more total seasons; he also had a streak of 17 consecutive seasons. Dave Duncan and Dave McKay are both tied for third with 16 total seasons and both with a streak of 16 consecutive seasons. Jose Oquendo is also tied with Duncan and McKay with 16 years during the 2015 season as it marks his 16 consecutive season as an on field coach. Others with ten or more seasons include Mike González, Johnny Lewis, Marty Mason, Gaylen Pitts and Dave Ricketts. Dal Maxvill is the only former Cardinals coach to have become a general manager for the Cardinals. Ray Blades, Ken Boyer, González, Johnny Keane, Jack Krol, Marty Marion, Bill McKechnie, Schoendienst and Harry Walker have all also managed the Cardinals. Cardinals coaches who have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum include Bob Gibson, McKechnie and Schoendienst.

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