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Red Schoendienst Newsbeat

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Yogi Berra Could Have Been a Cardinal for $500. They Said No

It’s another hot and humid St. Louis summer in July 1941. But that’s not what 16-year-old Lawdie Berra is thinking about right now. He’s sitting in the back seat of Cardinal General Manager Branch Rickey’s big black Lincoln on his way to Forest Park with his friend Joe Garagiola up front and some kid named Schoendienst fidgeting in the seat next to him. Poor guy is covered with angry red bites all over his arms and neck. Lawdie heard someone call him Red at the tryout camp in Sportsman’s Park just a few minutes ago, but these bites can’t be the reason.

Lawdie saw right away that Schoendienst can hit — from both sides of the plate — smacking line drives to all fields when it was his turn at bat. And he wasn’t bad at shortstop, either, though the Cardinal scouts kept asking him to shift over to second base. Albert, that’s his first name. Albert Schoendienst.

Schoendienst is one of the many out-of-town boys who saw the same Cardinal advertisement for an open tryout at Sportsman’s Park in the newspaper that also caught the attention of Lawdie and Joey. Anyone who wasn’t the property of a major league team was invited to try out for the Cardinals’ minor league system. Damn, there must have been 400, maybe 500 boys who showed up yesterday, chasing the dream of playing baseball in the major leagues.

That was far too many to judge in one afternoon, so Rickey told all the St. Louis kids to go home and come back the following day. The Cardinal GM wanted to see what the out-of-town kids could do first.

It isn’t every day when the cagiest general manager in baseball history makes a major mistake- and it’s an interesting read beyond that detail as well.


QLE Posted: April 18, 2020 at 12:40 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: branch rickey, cardinals, red schoendienst, what-ifs, yogi berra



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