Schoendienst remembered for legacy on field, in dugout
“Red was an amazing worker,” said Bruce Sutter, who played for the Cardinals when Schoendienst was a coach in the 1980s. “He loved baseball. He loved to be out there just hitting fungoes. He was a special person.
“Young players today, they need some of the things passed down that we went through. Red was the voice of that generation.”
He was elected to 10 All-Star Games, hit .300 or higher seven times and finished his career with a .982 fielding percentage. He had a career .289 batting average with 2,449 hits in 19 seasons.
Schoendienst went from coach to manager of the Cardinals in 1965 and went on to hold the longest managerial tenure in club history until Tony LaRussa.
“Red is quite a human being. He treats us like men, lets us play our game and gives our young players confidence,” said Hall of Fame Orlando Cepeda in 1967, when Schoendienst led the Cardinals to the World Series title.
As manager, Schoendienst led the team to pennants in 1967 and 1968, won the 1967 World Series and had a .522 winning percentage in 12 seasons. He wore a major league uniform as a player, coach, or manager for seven decades.
"Gentleman Red Schoendienst was a star second baseman and ambassador, devoting his life to the game he loved,” said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. “The 10-time All-Star and three-time World Series-winner will be remembered for clutch hitting, impenetrable defense and for spending more than 70 years in baseball, including 19 as a player and 14 as Cardinals manager. He was especially beloved in St. Louis, where ‘This Old Redbird,’ as he called himself, wore a Cardinals uniform longer than anyone else in the franchise’s history. In 1942, with only a quarter in his pocket, Red hitched a ride on a milk truck from his hometown in Illinois to St. Louis for a try-out with the Cardinals. Forty-seven years later, he was elected to the Hall of Fame. Rest in Peace, Redbird."
Samantha Burkett is a freelance writer from Fairport, N.Y.