Cards All-Time Top 40 – Frankie Frisch #17

The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their Most Valuable Player from 1931, second baseman Frankie Frisch.

Frank Francis Frisch

The Basics

Position

Bat

Thw

Total Yrs

Yrs in StL

HR

RBI

SB

Avg

Second Base

Both

Right

1919-1937

1927-1937

51

720

195

.312

The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ

All-Star

MVP

Cy Young

Gold Glove

1947

 -

2

3

1931

NA

NA

Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Frisch's career stats available from baseball-reference.com.

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (25): Acquired in one of the most unpopular trades in franchise history – for Rogers Hornsby after the 1926 season, Frisch had his work cut out to win over skeptical St. Louis fans. He did it by hitting .337 and losing the MVP race by one vote.

Frisch went on to become one of the leaders of the Gas House Gang in the 1930s and finished his Cardinal career with a .312 average, the eighth highest in franchise history.

Jerry Modene (18): A player whose numbers nowadays are generally considered to have been badly inflated by the era in which he played, the Fordham Flash was nevertheless a solid player – and let's not forget his managing the 1934 Cardinals – both on offense and defense; his great 1927 season (.337/.387/.472, with 48 stolen bases) may well have saved the franchise from the wrath of fans who wanted to lynch Sam Breadon for having the temerity to trade Rogers Hornsby.

Frisch's managing career went downhill considerably after those great 1934 and 1935 seasons, and his influence over the Veterans' Committee (which seemed, for awhile, intent on electing all of Frisch's old teammates and players to the Hall of Fame) may rankle today's writers and analysts, but he was nevertheless a great player whose ranking at #18 seems about right.

Ray Mileur (20): Traded by the Giants to St. Louis for fan favorite and future Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, Frankie Frisch responded by winning over the fans with his ability to consistently hit over .300, along with defense and base running both substantially better than Hornsby's.

Frisch played 11 seasons for St. Louis. A three time All-Star: 1933, 1934, 1935, Frisch was voted the National League MVP in 1931 after batting .311 with 10 home runs and 114 RBI.

The heart and soul of the famous Gas House Gang, Frisch led the team to a World Series title in only his second season, as player-manager. By the way, he was an All-Star that season and he played in 140 games and hit .305 while managing at the same time.

Frisch finished his playing career in 1937 with a .316 lifetime batting average, with 2880 hits, 1532 runs, 105 home runs and 1244 RBI. He also stole 419 bases in his 19 seasons in the Major Leagues. In 1999, Frisch ranked #88 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and he's a solid top 20 all-time St. Louis Cardinal.

Brian Walton (14): For the second day in a row, I seemingly respect an old-timer in these rankings more than my peers. Simply put, Frisch was the leader of the Gas House Gang, the most colorful and the winningest group of Cardinals, at least to that point.

Think what it would be like to be the man traded for Albert Pujols two months after the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series - plus that had been their first-ever championship! That is the storm into which Frisch was placed as the primary bounty received for Rogers Hornsby, the popular player-manager.

All the fiery, determined Frisch did was put together one of the greatest seasons ever, as Jerry noted above, for which Frisch was named National League Most Valuable Player. No tougher critic existed than his boss, Sam Breadon, majority owner almost the entire time from 1917 through 1947, a period that could be considered the best stretch of Cardinals baseball ever. Breadon later said, "In all the years I have had the Cardinals, no player ever played such ball for me as did Frank Frisch in 1927."

Frisch went on to rank in the top five in the League in stolen bases for eight straight seasons with St. Louis, sparking a Hall of Fame career during which the Cardinals won four pennants and two World Championships in his eleven years in the uniform.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

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