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Ray Schalk

Catcher
Born: August 12, 1892(1892-08-12)
Harvel, Illinois
Died: May 19, 1970 (aged 78)
Chicago, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
August 11, 1912 for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 15, 1930 for the New York Giants
Career statistics
Batting average     .253
Hits     1,345
Runs batted in     594
Stolen bases     177
Teams

As Player

As Manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1955
Election Method     Veteran's Committee

Raymond William Schalk (August 12, 1892 - May 19, 1970[1 ]) was a Major League Baseball catcher noted for his fine handling of pitchers and outstanding defensive ability.[1 ][2] He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.[3]

1914 E145-1 Cracker Jack baseball card

Born in Harvel, Illinois[1 ], Schalk played for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association before being sold to the Chicago White Sox.[4] He made his major league debut in 1912, playing 23 games behind the plate.[1 ] He assumed the everyday role of catcher the following year, playing in 129 games, batting .244 and stealing 14 bases.[1 ] Schalk played on the 1917 world champion White Sox team and was one of the honest players in the Black Sox Scandal of the 1919 World Series, hitting .304 for the series.[5]

On April 30, 1922, he caught Charlie Robertson's perfect game against the Detroit Tigers.[6] Two months later, on June 27, Schalk hit for the cycle. Schalk's playing time diminished in 1927 as he assumed the role of manager, which he held into the 1928 season. Over the two seasons, he won 102 games and lost 125, for a .449 winning percentage. Schalk had a disagreement with team owner Charles Comiskey over his salary, and left the White Sox to become a player-coach with the New York Giants in 1929 but appeared in only five games before retiring.[7]

He finished his career with a .253 average, 1345 hits, 11 home runs, 594 RBI, 579 runs and 177 stolen bases.[1 ] Schalk established himself as one of the league's outstanding defensive catchers by leading the league's catchers in fielding percentage eight times, putouts nine times, double plays four times and assists twice.[8 ] His .989 fielding average in 1922 tied the American League record at the time.[8 ] He set Major League catching records for putouts, and still holds the Major League career record for double plays (217) and the American League career mark for assists.[8 ][9] Schalk set standards for longevity for catchers, catching 100 or more games for 11 straight seasons.[10] When Schalk retired, he held the mark for most games played behind the plate with 1,726.[10] He also established himself as one of the finest baserunning catchers, setting a single-season stolen base record for the position in 1916 with 30 stolen bases, which stood until John Wathan stole 36 bases in 1982.[10] His record for 177 career stolen bases as a catcher still stands.[10]

Schalk's reputation as a defensive stand out is enhanced because of the era in which he played. In the Deadball Era, catchers played a huge defensive role, given the large number of bunts and stolen base attempts, as well as the difficulty of handling the spitball pitchers who dominated pitching staffs.[7] He caught every type of pitch imaginable, such as shine balls, spitballs, knuckleballs, and emory balls from some of the greatest pitchers of his day, [11] including Ed Walsh, Eddie Cicotte, Dickie Kerr, Urban Faber, and Ted Lyons. [11] No catcher has approached Schalk's record for career double plays, and none has led the league in fielding percentage eight times. [11] Schalk held the record for most no-hitters caught, with four, until a rules change in the early 1990s disallowed one of the games.[7]

Schalk's career batting average of .253 is the lowest of any position player in the Hall of Fame.[10] That he was selected by the Veterans Committee for enshrinement in 1955 is largely a tribute to his outstanding defensive skills[10] and to the fact that he played to win the infamous 1919 World Series.[12]

A museum in Nokomis, Illinois is dedicated to Schalk and two other Hall of Famers, Jim Bottomley and Red Ruffing. The Little League ball fields in Litchfield, Illinois, near his birthplace of Harvel, are named for him. Schalk is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

See also

External links

References

Preceded by
Eddie Collins
Chicago White Sox Manager
1927-1928
Succeeded by
Lena Blackburne
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