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St. Louis Cardinals great Red Schoendienst dead at 95

Albert Fred “Red” Schoendienst, a 10-time All-Star and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, died Wednesday at the age of 95.

Schoendienst spent 15 of his 19 MLB seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and later managed the team for 12 seasons, which included interim stints in 1980 and 1990. Schoendienst had a winning percentage of .522 and remained an employee of the team long after he retired from managing with the title of special assistant coach. He wore a Major League uniform as a player, coach, or manager for seven decades.

Red Schoendienst (1923-2018)

Schoendienst played in three World Series, helping the Cardinals claim the title in 1946 and the Milwaukee Braves in 1957. He again played for the Braves in the 1958 Series, but Milwaukee lost to the Yankees in seven games.

As a manager, Schoendienst led the Cardinals to the 1967 World Series crown and was on the team’s coaching staff for its championships in 1964 and 1982. He managed the Cardinals to a National League pennant in 1968 and was a coach on the team’s 1985 club that lost to the Royals in the Fall Classic.

Schoendienst briefly served in the Army during World War II, sustaining an eye injury while shooting a bazooka. He had been with the Cardinals organization from 1942-1944 and was invited back following his military stint. The ever-humble Schoendienst said he was “always grateful” the Cardinals gave him an opportunity to play, but the relationship provided mutual benefits.

Schoendienst led baseball with 26 stolen bases as a rookie in 1945. He was an All-Star for the first time a year later and led the league in at-bats and plate appearances in 1947. He also led the National League in at-bats in 1950, making his fourth All-Star appearance and leading the league with 43 doubles.

His best season was in 1957, when he finished third in the MVP race and was selected to his 10th All-Star Game. Schoendienst collected a league-high 200 hits in 648 at-bats for a .309 average and only 15 strikeouts.

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Red Schoendienst in 1983

In 8,479 career at-bats, Schoendienst hit .289/.337/.387 and struck out just 346 times while drawing 606 walks.

The second baseman was one of baseball’s best fielders, going the entire 1950 season, setting a league record in 1956 with a fielding percentage of .9934. He finished his career with a .983 fielding percentage in over 10,000 defensive chances.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 and was part of the Cardinals inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2014. He was inducted into the Milwaukee Braves Honor Roll at Milwaukee’s Miller Park on April 9, 2015.

“The history of the Cardinals is they keep their players around – (Lou) Brock, (Bob) Gibson, they’re all really helpful,” former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said in 2013. “But the difference with Red is, he’ here for the first day of spring training… He watches every pitch. And it’s amazing, his insights. And they can come from the hitting side, infield side, the pitching side.”

An iconic fixture at Busch Stadium, Schoendienst had a stent placed in his heart in May of 2017 following a minor heart attack.  

Schoendienst wed the former Mary Eileen O’Reilly in 1951 and they remained married until her death in 1999. Their 48-year marriage produced three daughters – Colleen, Cathleen, and Eileen – and their son, Kevin.