Vern Rapp

Vernon Fred "Vern" Rapp (May 11, 1928 – December 31, 2015) was a Major League Baseball manager and coach. A career minor league catcher and a successful skipper in the minors, Rapp had two brief tours of duty as a big league manager.

Vernon Rapp
Born: May 11, 1928
St. Louis, Missouri
Died: December 31, 2015 (aged 87)
Broomfield, Colorado
Batted: Right Threw: Right

Minor League playing career

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Rapp signed his first playing contract out of high school in 1945 with his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. A right-handed batter and thrower, he reached the triple A level with the Columbus Red Birds in 1948, but never made it to the major leagues. After missing two seasons due to military service during the Korean War, Rapp was released by the Cardinals in 1955, and signed with the independent Charleston Senators of the American Association for the 1956 season. The experience provided him his first managing job, when, at age 27, he succeeded Danny Murtaugh as field boss of the last-place Senators. As player-manager, Rapp guided his club to only 19 victories in 59 games.

The following season, Rapp joined the New York Giants organization, and batted .302 with eleven home runs for their triple A affiliate, the Minneapolis Millers. After spending 1957 with the Louisville Colonels, Rapp became a player/coach with the Denver Bears. Denver was a New York Yankees affiliate when he joined the club in 1958, and he remained with them through 1960, by which time they were a Detroit Tigers affiliate. During three seasons with the Denver Bears, he became associated with Denver owner Bob Howsam, who would play an influential role later in Rapp's career.[1]

Seasons Games AB Hits 2B 3B HR Avg. Slg. TB
16 1016 2974 792 139 45 84 .266 .428 1273

While managing the Modesto Reds in 1961 and the Denver Bears in 1976, Rapp inserted himself into the line-up as a pinch hitter once each season, getting a hit both times. He also made two pitching appearances with Modesto in 1961 without giving up a run. With the Arkansas Travelers in 1966, Rapp actually started a game, and pitched two innings. He also got a double in his only at-bat of the game.

Minor League manager

In 1961, Rapp became manager of the Yankees' class C affiliate, the Modesto Reds, and guided them to a 57–82 record. He was promoted to the class B Greensboro Yankees in 1962, where he managed Roy White and Mel Stottlemyre among other future major leaguers.

After spending two years out of baseball, he rejoined the Cardinals in 1965 — now led by GM Howsam — as manager of their Class double A Tulsa Oilers and Arkansas Travelers affiliates. In 1969, Howsam, by now running the Cincinnati Reds, hired Rapp as manager of the triple A Indianapolis Indians, and in seven years Rapp won two American Association pennants there. He returned to Denver and continued his success in 1976 as manager of the Bears (by then a farm team of the Montreal Expos), winning both the regular season Association pennant and playoff championship.

St. Louis Cardinals

His success in Denver led to his hiring as Cardinals' manager for 1977. Rapp took over after the twelve-year reign of Red Schoendienst, a longtime favorite as a Redbird player and pilot. While the 1977 Cardinals improved by eleven games and placed third in the National League East, Rapp's disciplinarian, minor league style of managing made him very unpopular with his players,[2] particularly Al Hrabosky and Bake McBride. Hrabosky was ordered to shave his trademark horseshoe mustache, which was part of the carefully cultivated "Mad Hungarian" persona that he felt helped make him an effective closer. Hrabosky later said that being beardless made him feel "like a soldier going to war without his rifle", and demanded a trade following one season without facial hair courtesy of Rapp's rule against it.[3]

When the Cards suffered through a seven-game losing streak that saw their record fall to 5–11 early in the 1978 season, Rapp was fired April 25 following a win at Olympic Stadium against the Expos.[4] Coach Jack Krol succeeded him for two games, but another former Cardinal star, Ken Boyer, was ticketed for the permanent job.

The Sports Huddle, WHDH in Boston

Inspired by the outpouring of tributes lavished on retiring Boston Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski, the producers of Boston phone-in radio show The Sports Huddle on radio station WHDH, decided to do a satirical tribute to Rapp, who also planned to retire at the end of the 1983 season after five years as first-base coach of the Montreal Expos (1979–83).[5] On October 2, the last day of the regular season, they proceeded with their tongue in cheek tribute to Rapp, including a mock telethon in which phone callers were invited to pledge money to Rapp's retirement fund (a substantial sum was actually pledged, though no money was collected), and a song to the tune of Bye Bye Birdie ("Bye Bye Vern Rapp").

The program turned out to be anything but a spoof, though. Cardinal broadcaster Mike Shannon spoke admiringly of the man, and Rapp, reached by telephone in Montreal, was choked up by the whole affair. WHDH also conducted a telephone interview with Sheldon Bender, vice-president of player personnel for the Cincinnati Reds. Until the station called, Bender was unaware that Rapp was leaving the Cardinals. Bender suggested Rapp at a meeting the next day at which the Reds' bosses were discussing whether to fire Manager Russ Nixon. One thing led to another, and Rapp received a surprise phone call from Howsam, who had returned from his own retirement to try to arrest the declining fortunes of the Reds.[6]

Bender admitted "Vern wasn't a candidate for the job until the station called." Rapp decided that managing the Reds was worth unretiring for, and accepted the job on October 5. WHDH sent Rapp the cassette recording of what turned out to be a most momentous broadcast.[7]

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds were only a half game back of first place with a 23–22 record, when things began to unravel. On May 27 against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, Reds pitcher Mario Soto shoved third base umpire Steve Rippley for incorrectly calling a long foul ball down the left field line hit by Cubs third baseman Ron Cey a home run. After conferring, the umpires changed their decision and ruled it a foul ball. However, for shoving Rippley, Soto was ejected, prompting him to charge the field and attack Cubs coach Don Zimmer, which triggered a ten-minute bench-clearing brawl.

The Reds won the game, completing a three-game sweep of the Cubs, and followed that with a two-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The next day, National League president Chub Feeney suspended Soto five games for the incident on the 27th.

The Reds lost fourteen of their next seventeen, and had fallen ten games back of the San Diego Padres when a second incident involving Soto occurred on June 16. Leading off the fifth inning, Soto threw several brushback pitches at Atlanta Braves slugger Claudell Washington, who had homered in his last at-bat. Washington tossed his bat in the direction of Soto, appeared to go out to retrieve it, but instead walked toward the mound. Umpire Lanny Harris attempted to restrain Washington, but was thrown to the ground. Soto used the distraction to punch Washington. Several of Washington's teammates attempted to hold Washington to the ground. While they were doing that, Soto fired the baseball into the crowd of players, striking Braves coach Joe Pignatano. He was suspended three games for this incident; Washington received a five-game suspension for shoving Lanny Harris.[8]

Following an 8–19 month of July, the Reds began maneuvering to replace Rapp. On August 15, 1984, Cincinnati reacquired veteran Pete Rose, who had been playing for the Montreal Expos at the time, and immediately fired Rapp so Rose could become a player-manager.[9] His career MLB managerial record was 140 wins in 300 games, for a winning percentage of .467.


  1. ^ "A Designated Disadvantage". Sports Illustrated. July 21, 1975.
  2. ^ "This Card Is Certainly No Joker". Sports Illustrated. June 20, 1977.
  3. ^ "Famous facial hair in baseball". StlToday. April 23, 2009.
  4. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals 7, Montreal Expos 2". April 25, 1978.
  5. ^ "The Week (September 2–8)". Sports Illustrated. September 17, 1979.
  6. ^ "The Cincinnati Reds today hired Vern Rapp". The New York Times. October 5, 1983.
  7. ^ "Scorecard". Sports Illustrated. October 17, 1983.
  8. ^ "Cincinnati Reds 2, Atlanta Braves 1". June 16, 1984.
  9. ^ "Hal McCoy: Scaling barbed-wire fences all part of the job". Springfield News-Sun. October 24, 2009.

External links

1962 New York Yankees season

The 1962 New York Yankees season was the 60th season for the team in New York, and its 62nd season overall. The team finished with a record of 96–66, winning their 27th pennant, finishing 5 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins. New York was managed by Ralph Houk. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they defeated the San Francisco Giants in 7 games. It was their 20th World Championship in franchise history, and their last until 1977.

1965 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1965 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 84th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 74th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 80–81 during the season and finished seventh in the National League, 16½ games behind the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. It was also the last full season for the original Busch Stadium.

1966 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1966 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 85th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 75th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 83–79 during the season and finished sixth in the National League, 12 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1969 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1969 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. It consisted of the Reds finishing in third place in the newly established National League West, four games behind the NL West champion Atlanta Braves. The Reds were managed by Dave Bristol, and played their home games at Crosley Field, which was in its final full season of operation, before moving into their new facility in the middle of the following season.

1971 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1971 Cincinnati Reds season consisted of the Reds finishing in a fourth place tie with the Houston Astros in the National League West, with a record of 79–83, 11 games behind the NL West champion San Francisco Giants. The Reds were managed by Sparky Anderson, and played their first full season of home games at Riverfront Stadium, which had opened at mid-season in the previous year. This was the team's only losing season of the 1970s.

1977 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1977 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 96th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 86th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 83–79 during the season and finished third in the National League East, 18 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

Vern Rapp took over as the Cardinals' manager this year, after the twelve-year reign of their longtime manager Red Schoendienst. On August 29, Cardinals left-fielder Lou Brock broke the modern-day stolen base record, by stealing bases 892 and 893 in a game against the Padres in San Diego.

1978 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1978 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 97th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 87th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 69-93 during the season and finished fifth in the National League East, 21 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

1983 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1983 throughout the world.

1984 Cincinnati Reds season

The Cincinnati Reds' 1984 season consisted of the Cincinnati Reds attempting to win the National League West. It marked the return of Bob Howsam as General Manager, after Dick Wagner was fired during the 1983 season. The Reds finished in fifth place that year, as they escaped last place in the NL West, which the team had finished in 1982 and 1983.

Al Hrabosky

Alan Thomas Hrabosky (; born July 21, 1949) is a former Major League Baseball player from 1970–1982 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves and is currently the color commentator on Cardinals regular season broadcasts on FSN Midwest.

Hrabosky's nickname is The Mad Hungarian because of his unusual last name and colorful character.

American Association (20th century) Manager of the Year Award

The American Association Manager of the Year Award was an annual award given to the best manager in minor league baseball's American Association. In 1953, George Selkirk won the first ever American Association Manager of the Year Award. In 1997, Dave Miley won the final American Association Manager of the Year Award.

Fourteen managers from the Indianapolis Indians won the Manager of the Year Award, more than any other team in the league, followed by the Omaha Dodgers/Royals (5); the Evansville Triplets (4); the Denver Bears/Zephyrs, Louisville Colonels/Redbirds, and Minneapolis Millers (3); the Iowa Oaks/Cubs, Nashville Sounds, and Wichita Braves/Aeros (2); and the Buffalo Bisons, Oklahoma City 89ers, and Toledo Sox (1).

Seven managers from the Montreal Expos Major League Baseball (MLB) organization won the Manager of the Year Award, more than any other, followed by the Cincinnati Reds organization (6), the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Kansas City Royals organizations (4), the Milwaukee Braves organization (3), the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, New York Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals organizations (2), and the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Texas Rangers organizations (1).

Charley Feeney

Charles V. "Charley" Feeney (November 26, 1924 - March 17, 2014) was an American sportswriter in New York, New York, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for more than 40 years.

Harry Diddlebock

Henry Harrison Diddlebock (June 27, 1854 – February 5, 1900) was a sportswriter and Major League Baseball manager. Formerly a head sportswriter for two Philadelphia newspapers, Diddlebock managed 17 games with the St. Louis Browns in the 1896 season. He had a 7–10 record (a .412 winning percentage).

Indianapolis Indians

The Indianapolis Indians are a professional Minor League Baseball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team plays in the International League. The Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Indians play at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. The team's mascot is Rowdie the Bear.

Founded in 1902, the Indianapolis Indians are the second-oldest minor league franchise in American professional baseball (after the Rochester Red Wings). The 1902 and 1948 Indians were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.

Mario Soto (baseball)

Mario Melvin Soto (born July 12, 1956) is a former Major League pitcher, mostly as a starter, for the Cincinnati Reds from 1977 through 1988. He currently works in the Reds' front office.

Mo Mozzali

Maurice Joseph "Mo" Mozzali (December 12, 1922 — March 2, 1987) was an American professional baseball outfielder, scout and coach. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Mozzali threw and batted left-handed, stood 5 feet, 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighed 158 pounds (72 kg).

Mozzali played all but one full season of his 12-year (1946–48; 1950–58) career in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization. The year he did not, 1947, was spent in the New York Giants organization with the Minneapolis Millers. Although he never reached Major League Baseball as a player, he was a fixture at the Triple-A level as a member of the Columbus Red Birds and the Omaha Cardinals of the American Association.Mozzali also spent time in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. A huge favorite of local fans, he was a member of the Cervecería and Leones clubs in three seasons spanning 1951–55, before joining the Industriales de Valencia in the 1956–57 campaign. During those four seasons, he posted a .315 batting average with 86 runs and 74 run batted in in 156 games, clubbing 185 hits, 38 doubles, five triples, three home runs, and 10 stolen bases. He also played with Caracas in the 1952 Caribbean Series, batting .240 (6-for-25) with five runs and two RBIs.After spending one season as the playing manager of the Albany Cardinals of the Georgia–Florida League, Mozalli retired from the field. He batted .298 with 80 home runs in 1,463 minor league games.Mozzali then became a scout for the Cardinals, serving from 1959 through 1976. He spent the 1977 and 1978 seasons as a member of the big-league Cardinals' coaching staff, during the managerial tenures of Vern Rapp and Ken Boyer. He then resumed his former job as a Redbird scout.

Mozzali died in Lakeland, Florida, at the age of 64.

Rapp (surname)

Rapp is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Adam Rapp (born 1968), American novelist

Alfred Rapp (1933–2011), German politician

Anders Rapp (1927–1998), Swedish geomorphologist

Anthony Rapp (born 1971), American stage and film artist

Barbara Rapp (born 1972), Austrian artist

Bernard Rapp (1945–2006), French film director and television news presenter

C. J. Rapp, American beverage inventor

Danny Rapp (1941–1983), American musician

Elizabeth Farrow Rapp (1926–2010), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player

Emily Susan Rapp (born 1974), American author and academic

George Rapp (1757–1847), pietist, German-American religious leader of the Harmony Society

Jean Rapp (1771–1821), French lieutenant general

Karl Friedrich Rapp (1882–1962), German engineer, founder of Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH

Katharina Rapp (born 1948), German artist

Lea Bayers Rapp (born 1946), American non-fiction writer

Marcello Rapp, better known as "Cello Dias", bass guitarist for Against All Will

Mitch Rapp, fictional character

Nicki Rapp (born 1972), American video game voice actress

Peter Rapp (born 1983), German long jumper

Philip Rapp (1907–1996), film and television director and screenwriter

Ray Rapp (born 1945), a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly

Richard Rapp, former New York City Ballet dancer

Siegfried Rapp (1915–1982), German one-handed classical pianist

Taylor Rapp (born 1997), American football player

Tom Rapp (1947–2018), American singer-songwriter

Torsten Rapp (1905–1993), Swedish Air Force general

Vern Rapp (1928–2015), Major League Baseball manager and coach

St. Joseph Saints

The Saint Joseph Saints was a primary name of the minor league baseball team that was based in St. Joseph, Missouri during various seasons between 1886 and 1953. Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Dizzy Dean and Earl Weaver played for St. Joseph teams.

Steve Rippley

Thomas Steven Rippley (born May 2, 1954 in St. Petersburg, Florida) is a former professional baseball umpire. He worked in the National League from 1983 to 1999, and throughout both major leagues from 2000 to 2003. Rippley wore uniform number 27 through his NL career, but changed to number 3 when the umpiring staffs were merged in 2000.

Rippley umpired 2,514 regular season major league games in his 21-year career. He umpired in four division series (1996, 1997, 2001, and 2002), three League Championship series (1992, 1998, and 2000), three World Series (1996, 1999, and 2001 (crew chief)), and the 1990 All-Star Game.

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