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February 1, 2013
A Hall of Famer Turns 90
Happy 90th birthday wishes a day early for Baseball Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst. An icon to both St. Louis and Milwaukee fans, he played alongside Stan Musial on the Cardinals' 1946 World Series champs (after spending his rookie year in '45 as Stan's fill-in in left field) and into the mid-'50s. (Below, receiving a warm greeting as a coach during Spring Training 2005.)
Sent to the Giants in one of many ill-conceived trades by GM Frank Lane, Red moved onto the Braves early in 1957, and quickly became the final piece in that club's championship puzzle. After tuberculosis cost him the 1959 season and part of 1960, he returned to St. Louis as a player-coach. Again, he was Stan's teammate -- and again he was a .300 hitter coming off the bench in 1961 and '62. But that wasn't the end of his story: Red succeeded Johnny Keane as Cardinals manager and was the skipper on the 1967 World Champs and '68 NL pennant winners. He had two brief, later stints as their manager, 1980 and '90 -- serving between the departure of Whitey Herzog and the arrival of Joe Torre. I got to chat with Red several times during my time in St. Louis and always found him cordial, wise and deeply passionate about the game.