Former major leaguer Freddy Schmidt passed away on Saturday at the age of 96 in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, reports the Lehigh Valley (PA) Express-Times.
Schmidt has special significance to the St. Louis Cardinals, as he had been the club’s oldest living former player for the last two-plus years. A right-handed pitcher who appeared in 1944, 1946 and 1947 with St. Louis, Schmidt missed the 1945 season when drafted into the Army for World War II service.
Schmidt began his minor league career in the Cardinals system in 1937 after being signed out of a tryout camp.
After leaving the Cardinals via trade, Schmidt appeared briefly with the Phillies and Cubs in 1947, but that concluded the major league segment of his career. In 85 major league games including 15 starts, he went 13-11 with a 3.75 ERA.
The Hartford, Connecticut native continued to pitch in the minor leagues through 1953, then settled in Pennsylvania, where he had worked and lived since. Schmidt was also the oldest living ex-Phillie.
The new titleholder as the oldest living former Cardinal is Bill Endicott, age 94. The outfielder, then 27 years of age, appeared in just 20 games for the 1946 Cardinals after returning from service during World War II. 17 of his appearances were as a pinch-hitter but the left-handed batter hit just .200. Endicott did not make the post-season roster for Eddie Dyer’s club that went on to win the World Series.
1946 was only season the Acorn, Missouri native appeared in the majors. Like Schmidt, Endicott had worked his way up through the extensive Cardinals system. After his MLB debut, he played just one more partial season in the minors before his release in June 1947.
The living player who played for the Cardinals the longest time ago is none other than Stan Musial. “The Man,” now just three days away from his 92nd birthday, first arrived in the bigs in September 1941.
Here is my log of the how the title of oldest living Cardinal player has evolved since Lee Cunningham, who was also the oldest living former major leaguer, passed away in the summer of 2005.
||Age at death
|Bill Endicott (94)
|(also oldest MLB
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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