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Del Rice
Born: October 27, 1922(1922-10-27)
Portsmouth, Ohio
Died: January 26, 1983 (aged 60)
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
May 2, 1945 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
August 31, 1961 for the Los Angeles Angels
Career statistics
Batting average     .237
Home runs     79
Runs batted in     441
Career highlights and awards

Delbert Rice Jr. (October 27, 1922 – January 26, 1983) was a professional baseball catcher, coach and manager in Major League Baseball.[1]

A native of Portsmouth, Ohio, Rice was contracted as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1941. The right-handed hitter played the bulk of his career for the Cardinals (1945-55; 1960), where he was a regular or semi-regular from 1947-52. In the 1946 World Series, he caught all three of Harry Brecheen's victories, as the Cardinals triumphed over the Boston Red Sox.[2][3] Rice was known for his strong defensive skills, leading National League catchers in fielding percentage in 1948 and 1949, and tieing for the lead in double plays in 1949, 1950 and 1951.[2][4]

He was traded to the Milwaukee Braves in the middle of the 1955 season, where he served as a reserve catcher behind Del Crandall, but was pitcher Bob Buhl's "personal" catcher.[5] He finished his career with the Chicago Cubs (1960), Baltimore Orioles (1960), and Los Angeles Angels (1961). One of the 18 games Rice caught as a Cub was Don Cardwell's no-hitter (May 15, 1960).[6]

Rice played in the major leagues for 17 years (1945-61), appearing in 1,309 games with a .237 batting average along with 79 home runs. He was selected as a reserve in the 1953 All-Star Game.[7] Rice also had a career in the National Basketball League, playing four seasons for the Rochester Royals from 1946 until 1950, when Fred Saigh, the Cardinals owner, asked him to concentrate on baseball.[2][8]

Rice was a longtime member of the Angels' organization. As a veteran free agent, Rice was the first player ever to sign with the Los Angeles Angels[9]. After he played in their maiden 1961 campaign, he was the first-base coach for the club (1962-66). He spent the 1967 season as a coach for the Cleveland Indians, but then returned to the Angels as a minor league manager and had success at the AAA level. He was named Minor League Manager of the Year for 1971 by The Sporting News after leading the Salt Lake City Bees to a divisional title in the Pacific Coast League.[10]

He was rewarded with a promotion to skipper of the 1972 Angels, but after one season and a 75-80 (.484) fifth-place finish, he was replaced by Bobby Winkles.[11] He remained with the club, however, as a scout.

He died in Garden Grove, California, of cancer at the age of 60.[12]


External links

Preceded by
Lefty Phillips
California Angels Manager
Succeeded by
Bobby Winkles


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