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Bob O'Farrell

Catcher
Born: October 19, 1896(1896-10-19)
Waukegan, Illinois
Died: February 20, 1988 (aged 91)
Waukegan, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 5, 1915 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
September 23, 1935 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
Batting average     .273
Hits     1120
RBI     549
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • 1926 NL MVP

Robert Arthur "Bob" O'Farrell (October 19, 1896 – February 20, 1988) was a former major league baseball catcher and manager who played for 21 seasons on four National League teams, including the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants. O'Farrell also played for the Cincinnati Reds, albeit briefly. He was considered as one of the greatest defensive catchers of his generation.[1]

O'Farrell was born in Waukegan, Illinois where he grew up a Chicago White Sox fan. He signed with the Cubs in 1915 after playing an exhibition game for his local semi-professional team. [2] His first manager was Roger Bresnahan, who helped O'Farrell with his catching skills. [3] After a season in the bench, O'Farrell was sent to Three-I League where spent two years before advancing to the majors as a backup catcher.

By 1922 he became the starter, where he hit .322 that season. He fractured his skull during a 1924 game while chasing a foul ball on an old mask. He missed most of the season, and lost his job to future Baseball Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett.[4] He was traded in the start of the 1925 season for Mike Gonzalez and Howard Freigau.

He won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1926 in which he had a .293 batting average. That same year he led the Cardinals to their first World Series championship, defeating the mighty New York Yankees in seven games, by throwing out Babe Ruth trying to steal second base for the last out of the 1926 World Series. The next season, the Cardinals traded their manager Rogers Hornsby to the New York Giants for Frankie Frisch and Jimmy Ring while O'Farrell was named manager. He led the Cardinals to a second place finish, behind the Pittsburgh Pirates even though the Cardinals won three more games than last season.[5] He only played in 61 games that season because of a sore arm.[6] The owner of the Cardinals at that time, Sam Breadon was unhappy that the Cardinals didn't win the pennant, and that O'Farrell was leaving his pitchers too long during games. [7] He was given a $5,000 bonus to step down and replaced by Bill McKechnie. He was soon traded to the Giants for George Harper.

He played for the Giants during John McGraw's remaining tenure with the club, until 1932.[8] He played a few seasons in the minors afterwards, with the exception of being player-manager of the 1934 Cincinnati Reds. He was fired midway towards the season with a last-place record of 30-60. He retired from professional baseball in 1938.

After retirement he ran a bowling alley in Waukegan which was open for over 30 years. O'Farrell died in Waukegan at the age of 91.

References

  1. ^ Mike Eisenbath. The Cardinals Encyclopedia. Temple University Press. p. 253. ISBN 1566397030.  
  2. ^ Lawrence Ritter. The Glory of Their Times. Collier Books. p. 240. ISBN 0688112730.  
  3. ^ Ritter: p. 241.
  4. ^ Ritter: p. 235.
  5. ^ Eisenbath: p. 254.
  6. ^ Eisenbath: p. 254.
  7. ^ Leonard Koppett. The Man in the Dugout. Temple University Press. p. 105. ISBN 1566397456.  
  8. ^ Ritter: p. 239.

External links

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