It was 70 years ago today that Albert “Red” Schoendienst began his remarkable career in Major League Baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals are marking the milestone by honoring Red with a special pre-game ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the Reds.
“We want to mark this amazing milestone by letting Red know how much he means to the entire Cardinals family,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We encourage fans to join us in showing their affinity, affection and appreciation for No. 2 as he celebrates 70 years and counting in Major League Baseball.”
The team is asking fans to join Cardinals players, broadcasters and team officials in taping video messages where they say their name while announcing that they love Red too. Share your video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Vine using the hashtag #LoveRed2. More information is at cardinals.com/lovered2.
Tonight Red, who will be joined by his family, will be honored with a special ceremony at 7 p.m. He and fans will enjoy congratulatory video messages from players throughout the game and the team will wear a commemorative No. 2 “70 Years in Uniform and Counting” patch on their sleeves.
Red made his Major League Baseball debut on April 17, 1945, when the Cardinals played the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The young man from Germantown, Ill., joined the team to fill in for left fielder Stan Musial, who was serving in the U.S. Navy. That game, Red went 1 for 4 with a triple and run scored.
The following year, in 1946, Red moved positions ultimately settling into second base. St. Louis won the World Series over the Boston Red Sox that year as Red began to develop into one of the best hitting and fielding second basemen of all time.
He played 19 years with the Cardinals, Giants and Braves, and was a 10-time All-Star. In 1953, Red put together his finest season when he established career highs with a .342 batting average, 15 home runs and 79 RBI. On the Cardinals’ career lists, Red ranks fourth in at-bats (6,841) and pinch hits (54), fifth in games played (1,795), sixth in runs scored (1,025) and hits (1,980), seventh in doubles (352) and eighth in total bases (2,657). He led the N.L. with 200 hits in 1957, and seven times he led or tied for the league lead in fielding percentage.
Red served as a coach on the 1964 World Championship team and was named manager when Johnny Keane resigned at the conclusion of the season. Red piloted St. Louis to a World Series victory over the Red Sox in 1967 and another N.L. pennant in 1968 en route to a 12-year tenure as skipper, the longest in franchise history until Tony La Russa surpassed him in 2008. Red ranks second in franchise records with 1,041 managerial wins.
Red was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, had his number retired by the club in 1996 and was an inaugural member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014. He currently serves as a special assistant to general manager John Mozeliak. Throughout his career, Red has been a model teammate, a mentor, and above all, a leader.