The honor of being the oldest living former St. Louis Cardinals player has been a hot potato in recent times, but was less so in 2011. For the first time in the last five years, the man who I believe holds that spot did not pass away during the course of the previous 12 months.
Based on my
research, I believe Freddie
Schmidt continues to be the oldest living former Cardinal. A right-handed
pitcher who appeared in 1944, 1946 and 1947 with
Those who held the title before Schmidt are as follows. In 2010, Don Lang, the 95-year-old former third baseman from the 1948 club, left us. Herman Franks, then 95, passed away in 2009, preceded by 96-year-old Don Gutteridge in 2008 and Ernie Koy, aged 97 upon his death in 2007. 100-year-old Lee Cunningham passed in 2005.
The oldest Cardinals who died during the course of this past year were Danny Litwhiler, 95, and 93-year-old Marty Marion.
In terms of the living player who
played for the team the longest time ago, I believe 91-year-old Stan Musial now holds the distinction.
"The Man" first arrived in the bigs in September 1941, about a year and a half
2011 Cardinals deaths by date
January 18: George Crowe, age 89.
"Big George" was a former Negro
Leagues player and
February 3: Ron Piché, age 75.
The native Québecer concluded his
six-year MLB career with 20 appearances out of the Cardinals pen in 1966. The
right-hander spent part of 1966 and all of 1967 in Triple-A before
February 12, Gino Cimoli, age 81.
The outfielder spent just one
big-league year with
February 15, Joe Frazier, age 88.
A reserve outfielder in parts of three seasons with St. Louis, 1954-56, Frazier was most famous for his stint managing the New York Mets from 1976 into the 1977 season. Ironically, he was replaced by another ex-Cardinal, Joe Torre, who was still an active player. In 1982, Frazier managed in the Cardinals minor league system at Triple-A Louisville.
March 12: Mitchell Page, age 59.
The former major league player
(second in the 1977
|Marion in St. Louis (2005)|
March 15: Marty Marion, age 93.
The defensive wizard known as
"Slats" and "The Octopus" wasrecognized as the top defensive
shortstop of his era as well as the Cardinals' all-time best shortstop until
Ozzie Smith emerged.
March 18: Charlie Metro, age 91.
Metro was an outfielder with the Tigers and A's and later briefly managed the Cubs (1962) and Royals (1970). He spent a number of years as a coach and scout and managed one season in the Cardinals system, at Triple-A Tulsa in 1966.
July 12: Howard Hilton, age 47.
The 1985 draftee from the
September 23: Danny Litwhiler, age 95
The outfielder first came up with
the 1940 Phillies and made the 1942 All-Star team before being dealt to the
Cards in June 1943. He played on the 1943 and 1944 champs, logging his career
high of 82 RBI with the latter club. He remained with
October 2: John Romonosky, age 82.
The right-handed pitcher from
November 3: Bob Forsch, age 61.
Just a week after he threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 7 of the World Series, Bob Forsch died suddenly. After 15 seasons with the Cardinals, the right-hander ranks third all-time in franchise history with 163 victories. Forsch was a member of the 1982 World Championship team and is one of only 28 pitchers in MLB history to throw multiple no-hitters (1978 and 1983).
November 3: Matty Alou, age 72.
November 11: Charlie Lea, age 54.
The former Montreal Expos hurler
spent seven seasons in the majors and tossed a no-hitter in 1981. Having pitched
December 21: Bud Bloomfield, age 75.
First signed in 1957, the third
baseman had one of the shortest Cardinals careers on record.
Remembering the Browns
Former St. Louis Browns players Perry Currin, Fred Sanford and Duane Pillette also passed away in 2011. The latter was the starting pitcher in the Brownies' final game.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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