Showing posts with label Catcher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catcher. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stanley Glenn, 84, Negro League catcher and president

Stanley "Doc" Glenn, a catcher with the Philadelphia Stars of the Negro Leagues died Saturday, April 16, 2011 due to natural causes at his home in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. He was 84.
Born Sept 19, 1926 in Wachatreague, VA, Glenn was a star at John Bartram High School in Philadelphia where he quickly drew the attention of the Stars Hall of Fame player / manager Oscar Charleston. Charleston signed him off of the sandlots in 1944 shortly after graduating from high school. Within a week of graduating, he was making $175 per month playing in the Negro Leagues.
Stanley Glenn (r.) at 2007 Judy Johnson Night / N. Diunte
Glenn played with the Stars through 1950, facing the likes of countless Hall of Famers in the Negro Leagues including: Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Monte Irvin, Ray Dandridge, Roy Campanella, Hilton Smith, and Willard Brown. He expertly detailed his recollections of not only his career, but of all of the greats he encountered in the Negro Leagues team-by-team in his 2006 autobiography entitled, "Don't Let Anyone Take Your Joy Away: An Inside Look at Negro League Baseball and Its Legacy."
His career, like many ballplayers at the time, was interrupted by World War II. He served as a technician in the Army Medical Corps during from September 1945 through November 1946, taking time off to play with the Stars when the opportunity presented itself. Upon his return from military service, he earned the nickname "Doc" for his physical therapy work performed during the war.
Glenn as a member of the Philly Stars
After Jackie Robinson's signing with the Brooklyn Dodger organization, many teams saw their top talent raided by major league organizations looking for the next baseball superstar. During the 1950 season, the hands of the Boston Braves scout Honey Russell reached down and signed Glenn to their Class-A affiliate in Hartford. As a catcher in the Braves organization, he faced stiff competition from the likes of Walker Cooper and Del Crandall. Nonetheless, Glenn played four seasons with Braves minor league outfits in Quebec, Lincoln, as well as Hartford before moving on to a career in the electrical supply business.
Glenn's Hartford teammate Gene Conley, who would go on to win championships in both MLB (Milwaukee Braves) and the NBA (Boston Celtics), was in his first year in pro ball when he pitched a game with Glenn as his catcher. Conley's performance that night was reminiscent of another lanky Negro League hurler.
"Stanley was my catcher the first season I played in A-ball," Conley recalled in a 2008 interview. "I liked him. I pitched a lot to him. I won my 20th game against Wilkes Barre. He was behind the plate when they gave me a night in Hartford. It was Gene Conley night. I pitched a shutout and beat Wilkes Barre 2-0 that night. After the last out, Stanley comes running out to the mound. Remember Podres jumping into Campanella's arms? He jumped up on me and said, 'I love you like a brother. You reminded me of Satch tonight!' He used to catch ol' Satch. I'll never forget that. It was a warm feeling. It was a good thing that he did; it made me feel good. The whole thing was nice. It was my 20th win, they gave me a night, and Stanley came out there and grabbed me. I tell people my first catcher told me I reminded him of Satchel Paige!"
Later in life with the resurgence of interest in the Negro Leagues, Glenn took the position as the president of the Negro League Baseball Players Association. He advocated for the rights of many of the former players and helped to create opportunities for them to share in the profits that many companies were making off of the renewed interest in the former league. He was a fixture at many events in the Philadelphia area, generously appearing to spread the word about the league and its history. 
Stanley Glenn Negro League Art Card / Author's Collection
Glenn was ceremoniously given his first baseball card by the Topps Company in 2007, when he was included in their Allen and Ginter set. His inclusion in the set opened up his career to a new generation of fans and collectors alike. He received a tremendous amount of fan mail after the printing of the card with requests for his signature and information on his career.
Mr. Glenn often appeared at the Delaware Blue Rocks annual Judy Johnson Tribute Night, where he graciously signed autographs and spoke about the history of Negro League baseball for many hours throughout the ballgame, often giving fans his home phone number to contact him with their questions. He was honored by the club in 2008 with special artwork bearing his image that was given to fans entering the stadium that evening. His passing dims another beacon that was able to illuminate the rich history of the Negro Leagues.
2010 Judy Johnson Tribute Night

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bob Scherbarth, 83, Boston Red Sox Catcher 1926-2009

Bob Scherbarth
Former Boston Red Sox Catcher, Bob Scherbarth died January 31, 2009 according to the Villas County News. As you are reading this, you might scratch your head to remember the name, as it doesn't exactly sit among the likes of Doerr, Pesky and Williams. Scherbarth's career lasted exactly one inning, appearing as a defensive replacement for Birdie Tebbets on April 23, 1950.

Scherbarth entered the Boston Red Sox organization in 1946 in Class B Roanoke, and retired from baseball after splitting the 1952 season with Class A Scranton and Class AA Birmingham. Scherbarth is part of a handful of major league position players who never had an at-bat in a Major League game. While Scherbarth's career may equate to a "sip of coffee," he was able to do what many men aspire to do, and that is to get a taste of the majors. Scherbarth will forever be a part of the select group that can call themselves major league baseball players. I attempted in late 2008 to interview him about his experiences that day, to find out if he knew that was going to be the only chance he had in the "big show." Sadly, Scherbarth was recovering from a stay in the hospital and wasn't up to taking the interview. He told me to try back in a few weeks, and my hesitation led me to find his number disconnected and the subsequent obituary detailing his passing. A private service was held to honor Scherbarth in Presque Isle, WI.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Johnny Blanchard, 76, New York Yankee Catcher / Outfielder 1933-2009

It must be something about the seasons changing, as I sadly report the fourth death this week of a Major Leaguer from the 1950's. Former New York Yankee catcher / outfielder Johnny Blanchard has died at the age of 76 in Robbinsdale, MN. Blanchard was signed by the Yankees in 1951, and made his debut in 1955 after serving the prior two seasons in the Korean War.

He spent most of his eight MLB seasons with the Yankees, playing in five World Series from 1960-1964. He had a sparkling performance in the 1961 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, where he hit two home runs to lead the Yankees to victory in five games.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ivan Rodriguez to sign with the Astros reports that catcher Ivan Rodriguez will sign with the Astros pending a physical exam after the World Baseball Classic. "Pudge" is currently batting .600 for the Puerto Rican team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The Astros have been auditioning many of their prospects in hopes of solidifying the catching position after the departure of Brad Ausmus to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Houston was one of the few teams able to offer Rodriguez their number one catching position. Hopefully durability is not an issue, as Rodriguez will be entering his 19th Major League season. His recent performance at the WBC hopefully indicates that Pudge is poised to have a strong 2009 season after batting .219 during the last two of months of 2008 with the Yankees.