Albert Fred Schoendienst
St. Louis Cardinals
Born: February 2, 1923, Germantown, IL
Signed: Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before 1942 season
Major League Teams: St. Louis Cardinals 1945-1956; New York Giants 1956-1957; Milwaukee Braves 1957-1960; St. Louis Cardinals 1961-1963
As a Manager: St. Louis Cardinals 1965-1976, 1980, 1990
Hall of Fame Induction: 1989
Died: June 6, 2018, Town and Country, MO (age 95)
Amazingly, 67 of Red Schoendienst's 76 years in baseball were spent as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Schoendienst was a 10-time All-Star, a steady hitter and an above-average defender who led all National League second basemen in fielding percentage in six different seasons. He enjoyed his finest seasons in the early 1950s, batting over .300 three seasons in a row and hitting a career-high .342 in 1953. He won his first World Series ring with the Cardinals in 1946 and he won the All-Star game for his league in 1950 with a 14th inning home run. Schoendienst departed St. Louis in a highly unpopular trade with the Giants in June 1956. A year later, he was dealt to the Braves and he won his second World Series ring when Milwaukee defeated the Yankees in seven games in the 1957 series. Schoendienst led the league that season with 200 hits.
After three seasons as a back-up infielder and pinch-hitter back with the Cardinals in the early 1960s, he retired as a player and began his lengthy coaching and managing career. In 2,216 career games, Schoendienst collected 2,449 hits while batting .289. He'd manage his Cardinals in parts of 14 different seasons, over four different decades, winning the National League pennants in 1967 and 1968. His lifetime managerial record was 1,041-955 with a World Series title in 1967. He served as a coach for the Cardinals (1961-1964, 1979-1995) and Athletics (1977-1978) and won two more World Series rings as a member of the Cardinals coaching staff in 1964 and 1982. Schoendienst was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989, and the Cardinals retired his #2 in 1996.
Some text for this post originally appeared on my 1956 Topps blog.
Building the Set
June 19, 2021 from Moorestown Mall Baseball Card Show - Card #338
Following our youngest son Ben's flawless performance of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy at his piano recital, our family headed to the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey to browse a real live baseball card show. Traditionally, I only venture into malls for baseball card shows and I can't honestly remember the last time, pre-pandemic, I had stepped foot into a mall. The show was small, hosted by S&B Sports Promotions, with about a dozen tables and not much vintage to offer, but it was a sight for sore eyes. It took us only about 15 minutes to scout the whole place out and I was lucky enough to find a friendly dealer with 1960s and 1970s Topps cards in great shape, in order and (best of all) reasonably priced. I took my time going through his 1965 Topps commons, settling on 29 cards we needed and adding a card from the star pile, this Schoendienst card, to give us 30 new cards total. I spent an even $100 (after a generous dealer discount) and this Schoendienst card was by far the most expensive at $20.
The Card / Cardinals Team Set
After an hour or so of walking around with the jersey, and asking dealers if they were interested in buying it, we came to the conclusion there was only one dealer present who would probably buy it from us - Mr. Mint. We weren't fans of the guy, but my Dad didn't want to disappoint his friend, so we approached Rosen's table. My Dad asked him if he'd be interested in buying the Schoendienst jersey and I don't think Rosen ever said hello. There was no small talk. Rosen looked it over begrudgingly and said, "$300" to my Dad. My Dad agreed on the spot and Rosen tossed the jersey over his shoulder onto the table behind him. He then opened his briefcase and counted out three crisp $100 bills into my Dad's hand and that was it. No thank you, no conversation, no joy whatsoever. And that was our first and last experience with Mr. Mint. We'd see him at future shows and we'd occasionally joke about asking him if he still had the Schoendienst jersey.
As a postscript, my Dad's friend was thrilled. My Dad made an elaborate show of handing over the proceeds, pretending as if he only received $100 but then telling a tale of exaggerated and lengthy negotiations that ultimately netted the $300 sales price. He told his Mr. Mint story for years.
As the back of the card indicates, this was Schoendienst's first season as a manager, replacing the departed Johnny Keane (#131) who took the team to the World Series the year before. The Cardinals struggled, finishing in seventh place in the league with a record of 80-81-1. They'd slowly rebound, winning the World Series again in 1967 and winning the National League pennant in 1968.
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card: 1948 Bowman #38
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (24): 1951-1953, 1956-1962, 1965-1976, 1988, 1990
Most Recent Mainstream Card: 2019 Topps Update Iconic Card Reprints #ICR-41
652 - Schoendienst non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/10/21.
1956 Topps Blog