Raymond William Schalk (August 12, 1892 – May 19, 1970) was an American professional baseball player, coach, manager and scout. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball for the Chicago White Sox for the majority of his career. Known for his fine handling of pitchers and outstanding defensive ability, Schalk was considered the greatest defensive catcher of his era. He revolutionized the way the catching position was played by using his speed and agility to expand the previously accepted defensive capabilities for his position. Schalk was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.
Schalk with the Chicago White Sox in 1920
|Catcher / Manager|
|Born: August 12, 1892|
|Died: May 19, 1970 (aged 77)|
|August 11, 1912, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 15, 1929, for the New York Giants|
|Runs batted in||594|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veteran's Committee|
Born in Harvel, Illinois to German immigrant parents, Schalk grew up in Litchfield, Illinois. He dropped out of high school to enter the printer's trade, learning to operate a linotype machine. When career advancement proved difficult in that trade, he began to play professional baseball.
By the age of 18 in 1911, Schalk split time between the Class D Taylorville Christians in the Illinois–Missouri League, where he hit .387, and the Class A Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association. In 1912, he posted a .271 batting average in 80 games for Milwaukee and attracted the attention of the Chicago White Sox because of his aggressive approach to the catching position. The White Sox purchased him from the Brewers for $10,000 and two other players.
Schalk made his major league debut the day before his twentieth birthday on August 11, 1912. He appeared in 23 games that season, batting .286, but it was his defense behind the plate that impressed the most. White Sox coach Kid Gleason helped him hone his skills and, by the following year, Schalk had become the starting catcher in place of Billy Sullivan, and led the American League catchers in putouts.
He soon developed a reputation as one of the best defensive catchers in major league baseball. Before Schalk, most catchers were large and slow of foot. Schalk was a small, agile man — he was only 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall — who caught with the energy and mobility of a fifth infielder. Due to his small size and youthful appearance, he was often the butt of jokes from opposing players. One time, a policeman refused to let him into the locker room at Comiskey Park, mistaking Schalk for a child.
In 1914, he batted .270 in 136 games and once again led the league in putouts by a catcher. Despite the White Sox's sixth-place finish, he ranked sixth in voting for the 1914 American League Most Valuable Player Award. He continued to improve in 1915, batting .266 with a .366 on-base percentage, and leading American League catchers in fielding percentage, caught stealing percentage and putouts as the White Sox rose to third place.
In 1916, Schalk had a career-high 30 stolen bases (a record for a catcher, until John Wathan broke it in 1982) and led the league in fielding percentage, putouts assists and range factor as the White Sox finished in second place, only two games behind the Boston Red Sox. His pitch-calling skills were evident as he guided the White Sox pitching staff to the lowest earned run average in the league.
He batted only .226 in 1917, but his on-base percentage was .331 and he led all American League catchers in putouts for a fifth consecutive year. He once again guided the White Sox pitching staff to the lowest earned run average in the league as they won 100 games to win the American League pennant by 9 games over the Boston Red Sox, and went on to defeat John McGraw's New York Giants in the 1917 World Series, four games to two, for their last world championship until 2005.
In 1918, he recorded his first putout at second base against the St. Louis Browns. On a hit and run play, the Browns' Ray Demmitt ran past second base as Shoeless Joe Jackson made a catch in deep left field off the bat of Joe Gedeon. Schalk, in the middle of the diamond, ran to second base to take the relay from White Sox shortstop Swede Risberg and tagged Demmitt out. The White Sox fell to sixth place in the 1918 season, however, as Schalk batted only .219.
They rebounded in 1919 to recapture the American League pennant, with Schalk hitting a career-high .282 and leading the league in putouts for a seventh consecutive season. The 1919 World Series, which the White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds, was shrouded in a controversy which became known as the Black Sox Scandal. Several White Sox players were accused of intentionally throwing games. This was in sharp contrast to Schalk, who played to win, hitting for a Series .304 batting average and later being absolved from any wrongdoing. He told investigators he knew something was wrong when pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams didn't throw the pitches he had called for. The White Sox lost the series five games to three, and eight of their players were banned for life from major league baseball as complicit in the scandal, but not Schalk. Years later, Schalk said that the conspirators caught a break when one of the "Clean Sox," pitcher Red Faber, was forced to sit out the Series with the flu. Schalk believed that had Faber been available, there would have never been a fix (since Faber would have likely gotten starts that went to Cicotte and Williams).
He had another good year in 1920, hitting .270 with a .362 on-base percentage and a career-high 61 runs batted in. He led the American League for an eighth consecutive year in putouts as the White Sox finished in second place. The 1922 season was one of his finest. On April 30, 1922, he caught Charlie Robertson's perfect game against the Detroit Tigers, the last perfect game in the major leagues until Don Larsen's in the 1956 World Series. Two months later, on June 27, he hit for the cycle. He ended the season with a .281 average, hit 4 home runs and drove in 60 runs. He led the league in putouts, and tied the American League record for fielding percentage for a catcher at .989. He finished third in voting for the 1922 American League's Most Valuable Player Award.
By 1924, the wear and tear of catching began to catch up with him. He had played in 100 games or more in 11 consecutive seasons, but injured three fingers on his throwing hand which limited him to 57 games and a career-low .197 batting average in 1924. He rebounded in 1925 to play in 125 games, bat .274 with a career-high .382 on-base percentage, and lead the league in baserunners caught stealing. In November 1926, he succeeded Eddie Collins as the White Sox player-manager at the age of 33. His playing time diminished in 1927, as he appeared in only 16 games while concentrating on managing the team. Over the two seasons he played and managed, he won 102 and lost 125 for a .449 won-lost percentage. He then had a salary disagreement with team owner Charles Comiskey, and left the White Sox to become a player-coach with the New York Giants in 1929, but appeared in only five games before retiring as a player at the age of 36.
In an 18-year major league career, Schalk played in 1,762 games, accumulating 1,345 hits in 5,306 at bats for a .253 career batting average along with 11 home runs, 594 runs batted in, 579 runs, 177 stolen bases, an on-base percentage of .340 and a .981 fielding percentage. He established himself as one of the American League's outstanding defensive catchers by leading AL catchers in fielding percentage eight times, putouts nine times, double plays four times and assists twice. He set major league catching records for putouts, and still holds the major league career record for double plays (217) and the American League career mark for assists. No catcher has approached Schalk's record for career double plays, and none has led the league in fielding percentage eight times. He held the record for most no-hitters caught (four), until a rules change in the early 1990s disallowed one of them. Schalk's 51.32% career caught stealing percentage ranks eighth all-time among major league catchers. He caught 144 shutouts in his career, ranking third all-time among catchers behind Yogi Berra and Carlton Fisk.
He set standards for longevity for catchers, catching 100 or more games for 11 straight seasons. His major league record of 1,726 games caught stood until 1945 when it was broken by Rick Ferrell. He also established himself as one of the finest baserunning catchers, setting a single-season stolen base record for the position in 1916 with 30, which stood until John Wathan stole 36 bases in 1982. His record for 177 career stolen bases as a catcher still stands.
Schalk helped revolutionize the way the catcher's position was played. He is credited with being the first catcher to back up infield throws to first base and outfield throws to third base. He claimed to be the only major league catcher to have made a putout at every base, and once made three assists in one inning. He also became known for his handling of the White Sox pitching staff and his pitch-calling skills. His reputation as a defensive standout is enhanced due to the era in which he played: in the deadball era, catchers played a much greater defensive role than subsequently, given the large number of bunts and stolen base attempts, as well as the difficulty of handling the spitball pitchers who dominated pitching staffs. He had to catch every type of pitch imaginable, including shine balls, spitballs, knuckleballs and emory balls from pitchers such as, Ed Walsh, Eddie Cicotte, Dickie Kerr, Urban Faber and Ted Lyons.
Schalk's career batting average of .253 is the lowest of any position player in the Hall of Fame. That he was selected by the Veterans Committee for enshrinement in 1955 is largely a tribute to his outstanding defensive skills and to the fact that he played to win the infamous 1919 World Series for the White Sox.
Schalk became a coach for the Chicago Cubs in 1930 and 1931, and later managed the Buffalo Bisons in the Double-A International League from 1932 to 1937. He also managed the Indianapolis Indians, the Oklahoma City Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers minor league teams. In 1944, he became a scout for the Chicago Cubs. He was assistant baseball coach at Purdue University for 18 years before retiring from baseball at 72. In 1955, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He was invited to catch the first ball of the 1959 World Series–the White Sox' first appearance in the World Series in 40 years–thrown out by fellow Hall of Fame member and former White Sox pitcher Red Faber.
A museum in Nokomis, Illinois, is dedicated to Schalk and two other Hall of Famers, Jim Bottomley and Red Ruffing. The Little League ball fields in Litchfield, Illinois, near his birthplace of Harvel, are named for him. He died of cancer on May 19, 1970, at the age of 78, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.
| Hitting for the cycle
June 27, 1922
In 1912, the Chicago White Sox debuted one of the most enduring and famous logos in baseball – a large "S" in a Roman-style font, with a small "O" inside the top loop of the "S" and a small "X" inside the bottom loop. This is the logo associated with the 1917 World Series championship team and the 1919 Black Sox. With a couple of brief interruptions, the dark blue logo with the large "S" lasted through 1938 (but continued in a modified block style into the 1940s). Through the 1940s, the White Sox team colors were primarily navy blue trimmed with red.1915 Chicago White Sox season
The 1915 Chicago White Sox season involved the White Sox finishing third in the American League.
With the acquisitions of Eddie Collins (over the winter) and Joe Jackson (in August), Chicago now had the two hitters they needed to win the 1917 and 1919 AL pennants.1916 Chicago White Sox season
The 1916 Chicago White Sox finished second in the American League, just two games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox. By this time, the nucleus of the 1917–19 dynasty was in place. Chicago would win the World Series the following season.1918 Chicago White Sox season
Depleted of most of their stars due to World War I, the Chicago White Sox had a relatively bad year in 1918, going 57–67 and finishing in the second division. They had won the American League pennant in 1917 and would win another in 1919.1920 Chicago White Sox season
The 1920 Chicago White Sox season was a season in American baseball. The team was in contention to defend their American League pennant going into the final week of the season. However, for all intents and purposes, the season ended on September 26, when news of the Black Sox Scandal became public. Owner Charles Comiskey suspended the five players who were still active (the sixth, ringleader Chick Gandil, opted to retire after the 1919 season). At that time, the White Sox were only a half-game behind the Cleveland Indians, but went 2–2 over their last four games to finish two games out. They would not finish in the first division again until 1936.1922 Chicago White Sox season
The 1922 Chicago White Sox season was a season in Major League Baseball. The team finished with a 77–77 record, excluding a tied game that was not included in the standings. They finished sixth in the American League, 17 games behind the pennant-winning New York Yankees. The White Sox scored 691 runs and allowed 691 runs for a run differential of zero.1923 Chicago White Sox season
The 1923 Chicago White Sox season was a season in Major League Baseball. The White Sox finished seventh in the American League with a record of 69 wins and 85 losses.1924 Chicago White Sox season
The 1924 Chicago White Sox season was a season in major league baseball. Despite the best efforts of player-manager Eddie Collins, the White Sox finished last in the American League for the first time.1927 Chicago White Sox season
The 1927 Chicago White Sox season was a season in Major League Baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League, 39 games behind the pennant-winning New York Yankees.1928 Chicago White Sox season
The 1928 Chicago White Sox season was a season in Major League Baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League, 29 games behind the pennant-winning New York Yankees.1955 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1955 followed a system established for odd-number years in 1953.
The eligibility of retired players was extended; previously, a player could not be on the BBWAA ballot if he had retired more than 25 years prior. The ballot could now include those who had been retired for up to 30 years.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and elected four: Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons, and Dazzy Vance.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier players.
It selected two players, Frank Baker and Ray Schalk.Byrd Lynn
Byrd "Birdie" Lynn (March 13, 1889 – February 5, 1940) was a Major League Baseball catcher from 1916-1920. During that time, he played for the Chicago White Sox and was the back-up to Hall of Fame catcher Ray Schalk.
In 116 games, Lynn had 211 career at-bats, with 50 hits, for a .237 batting average. He won American League pennants with the White Sox in 1917 and 1919. Lynn had just one at-bat in each of those year's World Series and did not get a hit.Charlie Robertson's perfect game
Charlie Robertson's perfect game was a Major League Baseball game that took place on April 30, 1922, between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Robertson, pitching for the White Sox, retired all 27 batters he faced to pitch a perfect game.Jake Freeze
Carl Alexander "Jake" Freeze (April 25, 1900 – April 9, 1983) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who appeared in two games for the Chicago White Sox in July 1925. The 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m), 150 lb. right-hander was a native of Huntington, Arkansas.
Both of Freeze's major league appearances were on the road against the St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park. On July 1 and July 2 he pitched a total of 3.2 innings in relief and allowed seven runs, but only one of them was an earned run, so his lifetime ERA stands at 2.45.
His manager (and teammate) was future Hall of Famer Eddie Collins. Other notable teammates who would one day be members of the Baseball Hall of Fame were Red Faber, Harry Hooper, Ted Lyons, and Ray Schalk.Joe Adams (baseball)
Joe Edward "Old Wagon Tongue" Adams (October 28, 1877 – October 8, 1952) was a Major League Baseball player and minor league manager. He was also known as "Old Wagon Tongue."A 6'0" pitcher from Cowden, Illinois, Adams appeared in one game for the St. Louis Cardinals on April 26, 1902, at the age of 24. He pitched four innings and allowed nine hits. He also walked two players, hit another, and gave up six runs (four earned), resulting in a career ERA of 9.00. Adams also had two at-bats, but did not reach base either time.
Adams also played semi-pro baseball in both Illinois and Iowa. He later served as a minor league manager, and in 1911 managed future Hall of Famer Ray Schalk in his first professional season with the Taylorville Christians. Adams had previously managed the Pana Coal Miners in 1907 and the Shelbyville Queen Citys in 1908, both in the Eastern Illinois League. According to the 1908 Spalding Guide, Adams was the "godfather" of the Eastern Illinois League, which began in 1907 in Pana.Besides Shalk, other baseball figures Adams was associated with included Hall of Famer Frank Chance and minor leaguers Bert King and Dick Kinsella. By 1932 Adams owned a restaurant in Jackson, Missouri. Adams died in Montgomery City, Missouri at the age of 74 and is currently buried at Myers Cemetery in Herrick, Illinois.
Adams' nickname of "Wagon Tongue" has been regarded by multiple baseball writers as one of baseball's all-time great nicknames.John Wathan
John David Wathan (; born October 4, 1949) is a former Major League Baseball catcher and manager for the Kansas City Royals. In 1982, he stole 36 bases, breaking the single-season record for catchers set by Ray Schalk in 1916 despite his suffering a fractured ankle earlier in the season.Wathan, nicknamed "The Duke" for his dead-on impersonations of John Wayne, was drafted in the first round, fourth overall in the 1971 MLB Draft from the University of San Diego, where he played college baseball for the Toreros in 1968–70.Wathan played ten seasons with the Royals from 1976 to 1985 where he played in 860 games, averaging a career .262 batting average with 21 home runs and 261 RBIs. Wathan has his best season in 1980 in which he played in 126 games, and had a .305 batting average.
After he retired, Wathan coached for the Royals in 1986 before becoming the manager of Kansas City's AAA Omaha Royals farm club and he was promoted manager for the big-league Royals on August 28, 1987. He managed five seasons in Kansas City, having two winning seasons in 1988 and 1989 and finishing second in the American League West both times. He was fired early in the 1991 season after a 15–22 start.In 1992, Wathan began the season as the third-base coach of the California Angels, but he was named acting manager midway through the campaign when Buck Rodgers was badly hurt in a bus accident and took a medical leave of absence. Wathan led the Angels to a 39–50 record until Rodgers was well enough to return. He spent 1994 as a Boston Red Sox coach, worked as a color analyst on Royals telecasts in 1996 and 1997, and has worked as a scout and minor league instructor for a number of organizations since. In 2006-07, Wathan was a roving baserunning and bunting instructor in Kansas City's farm system, and in 2008 he served the Royals as a special assistant to the director of player development.
Two of John's sons, Derek and Dusty, played professional baseball. Derek played minor league baseball from 1998 to 2008, while Dusty played briefly for the Royals in 2002 and is the current third-base coach of the Philadelphia Phillies.List of Chicago White Sox managers
The Chicago White Sox is a U.S. professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox are members of the American League Central Division in Major League Baseball. In baseball, the head coach of a team is called the manager, or more formally, the field manager. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field. Since the inception of the team in 1901, it has employed 40 different managers. The White Sox's current manager is Rick Renteria, who was appointed on October 3, 2016.
The franchise's first manager was Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, who managed the team for two seasons and led them to the American League championship in their inaugural season. Fielder Jones, who managed the team from 1904 to 1908, led the team to its second American League championship and its first World Series championship (no World Series was played in 1901), defeating the White Sox's crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cubs, in the 1906 World Series. Pants Rowland and Kid Gleason managed the White Sox to American League championships in 1917 and 1919, respectively, with the White Sox winning the 1917 World Series but losing the 1919 World Series in the infamous Black Sox scandal. The White Sox did not win another American League championship until 1959, with Al López as their manager. The White Sox lost the 1959 World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The White Sox next captured the American League pennant in 2005 and, with Ozzie Guillén as their manager, defeated the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series.The longest–tenured White Sox manager was Jimmy Dykes, who managed the team for 1,850 games from 1934 to 1946. The only other White Sox managers who have managed more than 1,000 games are Lopez with 1,495, Guillén with 1,135, and Tony La Russa with 1,035. Dykes' 899 wins and 940 losses also lead all White Sox managers. Jones' winning percentage of .592 is the highest of any White Sox manager. Five White Sox managers have served multiple terms managing the team. Nixey Callahan was the White Sox manager in 1903 and part of 1904, and then again from 1912 to 1914. Johnny Evers served two terms as manager, separated by a bout of appendicitis in 1924. Eddie Collins served as interim manager for 27 games in 1924 season while Evers was ill and then served as the full–time manager in 1925 and 1926. Lopez served three terms as manager: the first from 1957 to 1965; then for 11 games during the 1968 season, before being hospitalized with appendicitis; and then returning for another 53 games from the end of the 1968 season through the beginning of the 1969 season. Les Moss served as interim manager for two games in 1968, replacing Eddie Stanky before being replaced by Lopez. After Lopez was hospitalized later that season, Moss took over as manager again for 34 games before Lopez returned. Hall of Famer Frank Chance was hired to manage the team for the 1924 but illness forced him to retire before managing any games. Eleven Hall of Famers have managed the White Sox: Griffith, Hugh Duffy, Collins, Evers, Ed Walsh, Ray Schalk, Ted Lyons, Lopez, Bob Lemon Larry Doby and Tony LaRussa. Lopez and LaRussa were elected as manager; the others were elected as players.List of Chicago White Sox nicknames
In the last 100-plus years, the Chicago White Sox have had many players with colorful and memorable nicknames from "Shoeless Joe" Jackson to "Old Aches & Pains" Appling, Minnie the "Cuban Comet" Minoso, "Little Louie" Aparicio, "Black Jack" McDowell, and Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas. These are some of the best.
Dick Allen: "Wampum"
Sandy Alomar: "Iron Pony"
Luis Aparicio: "Little Louie"
Luke Appling: "Fumblefoot" or "Kid Boots" or "Old Aches & Pains"
Cuke Barrows, Roland Barrows: "Cuke"
Bruno Block, James John Blochowicz: "Bruno"
Ken Boyer: "Cap" or "Captain"
Smoky Burgess, Forrest Harrill Burgess: "Smoky"
Iván Calderón: "Ivan The Terrible"
Norm Cash: "Stormin’ Norman"
Eddie Cicotte: "Knuckles"
Rocky Colavito, Rocco Colavito: "Rocky"
Eddie Collins: "Cocky"
José Contreras: "Commander"
Joe Crede: "Clutch Norris"
Bucky Dent, Russell Earl O’Day: "Bucky" or "Bucky 'Fucking' Dent"
Octavio Dotel: "Ol' Dirty"
Richard Dotson: "Dot"
Brian Downing: "Incredible Hulk"
Red Faber, Urban Clarence Faber: "Red"
Carlton Fisk: "Pudge"
Nellie Fox, Jacob Nelson Fox,: "Nellie", "Little Nel", or "The Mighty Mite"
Freddy García: "Chief"
Ralph Garr: "Road Runner"
Kid Gleason, William Gleason: "Kid"
Goose Gossage, Richard Michael Gossage: "Goose" or "The White Gorilla"
Craig Grebeck: "The Little Hurt"
Bo Jackson, Vincent Edward Jackson: "Bo"
Joe Jackson: "Shoeless Joe"
Bobby Jenks: "Big Bad Bobby Jenks"
Lance Johnson: "One Dog"
Ted Kluszewski: "Big Klu"
Paul Konerko: "Paulie"
Carlos Lee: "El Caballo"
Ted Lyons: "Sunday Teddy"
Jack McDowell: "Black Jack"
Catfish Metkovich, George Michael Metkovich: "Catfish"
Minnie Miñoso, Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Miñoso: "Minnie" or "The Cuban Comet"
Blue Moon Odom, Johnny Lee Odom: "Blue Moon"
Magglio Ordóñez: "El Caribe Mayor (The Caribbean Mayor)" or "Mags"
Tom Paciorek: "Wimpy"
Don Pall: "The Pope"
Herbert Perry: "The Milkman"
Bubba Phillips, John Melvin Phillips: "Bubba"
Billy Pierce: "Billy the Kid"
Scott Podsednik: "Pods"
Carlos Quentin: "TCQ"
Tim Raines: "Rock"
Alexei Ramírez: "The Cuban Missile"
Ray Schalk: "The Cracker"
Tom Seaver: "Tom Terrific"
Bill Skowron: "Moose"
Moose Solters, Julius Joseph Soltesz: "Moose" or "Lemons"
Nick Swisher: "Dirty Thirty"
Frank Thomas: "The Big Hurt"
Jim Thome: "Big Jimmy" or "Mr. Incredible"
Javier Vázquez: "The Silent Assassin"
Robin Ventura: "Batman"
Dayán Viciedo: "The Tank"
Ed Walsh: "Big Ed"
Skeeter Webb, James Laverne Webb: "Skeeter"
Hoyt Wilhelm: "Old Sarge"
Walt Williams: "No Neck"
Taffy Wright, Taft Shedron Wright:: "Taffy"
Early Wynn: "Gus"
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.