Red Schoendienst played 19 major league seasons, collecting 2,449 career hits and 10 All-Star nods before hanging up his cleats in the summer of 1963. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1989.
Schoendienst spent 15 of his 19 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and can still be spotted at Busch Stadium from time to time, hitting baseballs with a fungo bat to practicing infielders. He turned 88 years old in February.
In an attempt to help the Cardinals snap their seven-game losing streak on Saturday night, a few players donned knee-high striped socks. Matt Holliday was among the participants but had trouble initially finding pants short enough to properly expose the high socks. So, according to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, he grabbed a pair belonging to Schoendienst.
Let the legend begin.
Holliday belted a towering go-ahead home run to deep center field in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Cardinals a 5-4 lead over Kansas City. That score would hold and would keep St. Louis within a game of the NL Central-leading Brewers.
Holliday is now 5-for-9 with two homers, three runs scored, three walks and four RBI since returning from a two-week stay on the disabled list. You can bet he’ll be wearing Red’s pants again on Sunday afternoon.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉