At first, I couldn't understand why my Mom would want me to meet this older guy who she introduced me to. Then she said it; "Mr. Schmidt played for the Phillies." I remember thinking that's why he looked so big. After all, he played for the Phillies, which automatically made him larger than life.
Instead of playing Bingo, Mr.Schmidt and I talked about baseball. I vaguely remember him showing me a ring, which meant nothing to me at the time. Now, I know that must have been his ring from the 1944 World Series. That was Freddy Schmidt's rookie season and he pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball in the Cardinals win over the St. Louis Browns. Forget the Cardinals, it was the Phillies I wanted to know about. I asked him if he knew any of the current Phillies and he told me the only one he knew was Richie Ashburn. He told me he played with him on the Phillies. That didn't mean much to me then, because to me, Richie Ashburn was just a broadcaster, although my Dad had told me about what a great player he was in his day. Coincidentally, years later, I would meet Ashburn and ask him about Freddy Schmidt, who he remembered well. Ashburn told me he never knew why Freddy Schmidt wasn't around longer in the majors, because he was a pretty tough pitcher.
Part of that night and others afterward, were spent with Mr. Schmidt showing me how to hold a baseball to throw different pitches. It was a kid's dream.
While most of baseball has forgotten Freddy Schmidt, I haven't. He is one of the reasons why my love and respect for the game has grown so deep over the years. He pitched for just three seasons, but was a member of the 1944 World Champion St.Louis Cardinals, in his rookie season. He pitched just 29 games for the Phillies in 1947, his last in the majors.
Today - February 9, 2006 - is Freddy Schmidt's 90th birthday. According to what I've been able to find on-line, Mr.Schmidt is still alive, but who knows where? Hopefully, someone out there knows where and can either let me know or can thank Mr.Schmidt for those early lessons on the game of baseball.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Schmidt and thank you!
|YEAR / TEAM||W||L||ERA||SV||G||GS||IP||H||R||ER||HR||BB||KO|
|1945 Did Not Play||0||0||0.00||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Author's Note: If anyone knows more about the history of Freddy Schmidt or where he is today, I would love to hear about it. I can be reached through e-mail at Phillies1964@att.net. Thanks.