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Frankie Frisch
#2 | Second baseman | St. Louis Cardinals

     Frisch played 8 seasons with the New York Giants, followed by 11 with the Cardinals.


Frank Francis Frisch: "The Fordham Flash"

     A great all-around athlete who jumped directly from college to the New York Giants, played on eight pennant-winners in 19 big league seasons.  A fine switch-hitter, Frisch compiled a run of 11 straight .300 seasons and set fielding records for chances and assists with the Cardinals in 1927.  As player-manager with St. Louis, he instilled the rollicking all-out style of hard-nosed play that prompted sportswriters to tab the Cardinals "The Gashouse Gang."

 

     He played in 8 world championships - 4 with the Giants and 4 with the Cardinals - and hit .294 in 50 postseason games.  Tutored long and hard by John McGraw on hitting, fielding and sliding; he became the team captain and a favorite of McGraw, making up for modest offensive results in his first two seasons with spectacular fielding and baserunning.  He also rarely struck out - in 17 full seasons, only twice did he fan more than 18 times. 

 

     From 1921 to 1926, he struck out just 107 times in 3,423 at-bats, an astonishing feat.  During these years, Frisch averaged over 100 runs scored per season, never batted below .324, and stole bases with abandon.  He was an instrumental part of the Giants four straight pennants, from 1921 to 1924, and hit .363 in those four World Series.  But when the Giants faded in 1925 and 1926, he took much of the blame from McGraw, and in 1927 he joined the St. Louis Cardinals.

     There, he had the impossible task of replacing Rogers Hornsby, who had won six straight batting titles (with a six-year batting average of .397), six straight on-base titles and six straight slugging titles, but who had had a falling out with Cards owner Sam Breadon.  As longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Bob Broeg said, "Frisch didn't make them forget the Rajah, but he made them remember the Flash."  In his first season in St. Louis, Frisch hit .337 and finished second in the MVP voting.  He also had 641 assists and 1,059 chances at second base, season records which have endured, and he led the league in fielding average.

     By 1930, Branch Rickey's farm system had produced enough talent to surround Frisch to take them to the World Series.  The Cardinals lost to the Yankees in 1928 in four games and to the Athletics in 7 in 1930, but beat the A's in 7 in 1931 and the Tigers in 7 in 1934.  The 1931 squad included Hall of Famers Dizzy Dean, Chick Hafey, Jim Bottomley and Burleigh Grimes, plus solid players like Ripper Collins, Pepper Martin and Pal Derringer.  Bottomley and Hafey left in 1932 for the Cincinnati Reds, but by 1934 the Cards "Gashouse Gang" - the raucously talented and unpredictable group of ballplayer-characters - included HOFers Dazzy Vance, Joe Medwick, and Leo Durocher, Grimes, Dizzy Dean and Dizzy's brother Paul Dean (who won 19 games that year), plus player-manager Frisch.

     Frisch managed with the same fire with which he had played.  He loved to argue with, show up, and humor umpires.  After he left the Cardinals, Frisch managed 10 more years with the Pirates and Cubs.  He did radio play-by-play for the Boston Braves in 1939 and for the Giants in 1947 and was a Giants coach in 1948.

 

 


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