ORIGINAL ARTICLE UPDATED WITH FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS
10 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. 4431 Lindell Blvd. St. Louis, Missouri 63108
Funeral being handled by Shrader Funeral Home
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to BackStoppers, Catholic Charities of St. Louis, Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments-St. Louis or Great Rivers Habitat Alliance. A service of the SCHRADER Funeral Home and Crematory. Friends may sign the family’s on-line guestbook at Schrader.com.
By Rob Rains
In baseball lore, needing only one name to be instantly identified marks you as a legend.
Red was all of that, and more. Nobody wore a Cardinal uniform longer and nobody wore it better.
Red Schoendienst, who spent the majority of his life wearing a Cardinals uniform as a player, manager, coach and special instructor, died on Wednesday, the team announced. He was 95.
Schoendienst, a fixture at the ballpark for decades, had been in poor health for months and had not been well enough to attend a game at Busch Stadium this season, missing opening and the reunion of the 1968 team.
“Red was one of the greatest Cardinals of all time, and a beloved member of the Cardinals organization for over six decades,” Cardinals’ Principal Owner & Chief Executive Officer William DeWitt, Jr. said in a statement “His influence on this organization cannot be overstated. Red was a great player, a great manager, and a wonderful mentor to countless players, coaches, and members of the front office. He was also a fan favorite who connected with millions of Cardinals fans across multiple generations. He will be sorely missed.”
In a statement released by the Cardinals, the Schoendienst family said, “Red Schoendienst has passed away today surrounded by his family. He had a life full of happiness for 95 years. He inspired all that knew him to always do their best. Red was a great ball player, but his legacy is that of a great gentleman who had respect for all. He loved his family, friends, teammates, the community and his country. He will be greatly missed.”
Schoendienst’s death was announced on the video board before the start of the third inning of the Cardinals’ game on Wednesday night and the Busch Stadium crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Schoendienst was in his 67th season with the Cardinals, serving as a senior special assistant. This was his 76th year in professional baseball, beginning in 1942 when he signed a minor-league contract with the Cardinals out of a tryout camp at the age of 19, having hitched a ride to St. Louis from his hometown of Germantown, Ill., in a milk truck.
Schoendienst made his debut with the Cardinals in 1945, replacing the man who would become his longtime roommate, and best friend, Stan Musial, who was serving in the Army during World War II. Schoendienst was unable to serve in the military because of an eye injury he suffered as a youth.
Even after Musial returned, Schoendienst became a fixture in the lineup for the next decade, including helping the Cardinals win the 1946 World Series, before he was traded to the New York Giants in 1956. From there, he moved on to the Milwaukee Braves, where he played in two more World Series, before returning to St. Louis to finish his 19-year playing career.
A 10-time All-Star as a player, Schoendienst retired in 1963, served as a coach for the 1964 World Championship team and was named the manager in 1965, succeeding Johnny Keane. Schoendienst led the Cardinals to the 1967 World Championship and the NL pennant and managed the team through the 1976 season.
He also served as the team’s interim manager in 1980 and 1990 and ranks second all-time for wins in franchise history, behind Tony La Russa.
Schoendienst was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1989 and was the oldest Hall of Famer. His uniform number 2 was retired by the Cardinals in 1996.
In a statement, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said, “Red Schoendienst was one of the most beloved figures in the rich history of the St. Louis Cardinals. … Red was a teammate, manager and friend of many of the greatest players in the history of baseball.
“The connection between Red and the fans of St. Louis spanned multiple generations and he was a wonderful ambassador for our game.”
In a message posted on Twitter former Cardinal Albert Pujols said, “It was a privilege to know and learn from one of baseball’s best, Red Schoendienst. Truly one of the greatest mentors in the game. He always made time for me and I will cherish the great times we spent together. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.