Don Gutteridge, 96, the
oldest living former St. Louis Cardinals player, died on Sunday at his
Pittsburg, Kansas home due to pneumonia. The
seventh-oldest former Major League player debuted with the Cardinals on
September 7, 1936, exactly 72 years prior to his passing.
Gutteridge was a member
of the rough-and-tumble Gas House Gang Cardinals from 1936-1940 and logged four
more years with the Browns from 1942-1945, spending by far his most productive
years in St. Louis.
The third baseman
registered career highs in triples (15), home runs (nine) and RBI (64) in 1938.
That same season, Gutteridge was named the fastest man in the National League
and over his career, ranked in the top 20 in the league in triples and stolen
bases four times.
After leaving the
Redbirds, Gutteridge led off the 1944 World Series for the Browns from the
second base position as they fell to Billy Southworth’s Cardinals in the
Streetcar Series. He posted career highs in doubles (35) in 1943 and stolen
bases (20) as a Brown in 1944.
Gutteridge played for the
Boston Red Sox in the 1946 World Series against the Cardinals. He went 2-for-5
with an RBI as he covered for future Hall-of-Famer Bobby Doerr, who missed Game
Six with a migraine.
The Cardinals, led by
Harry Brecheen, Harry Walker, Enos Slaughter and Marty Marion won the Series
four games to three. But, to show how different this era was, 1946 was the first
time ever that the BoSox lost a World Series. Yet until 2004, when they again
faced the Cardinals, they weren’t destined to win it again.
Gutteridge was sold to
the Pirates in March 1948, where he ended his 12 years in the majors. Overall,
he logged a .256 career batting average and .956 fielding percentage, primarily
as a second and third baseman. He scored 586 runs and had 200 doubles, 64
triples, 39 home runs and 391 RBIs over 4202 career at-bats.
He remained active in the
game for the next 40 years, managing the Chicago White Sox for 281 games in 1969
and 1970 and scouting for the Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees and
the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gutteridge has been enshrined in
at least four Halls of Fame, including Kansas,
Missouri, the St. Louis Browns and the
Columbus, Ohio Baseball Halls of Fame.
The last living St. Louis
Brown who played in the 1944 World Series, Gutteridge leaves behind just 44
surviving former Browns players, according to historian Bill McCurdy. Former
catcher Herman Franks, age 94, now becomes the oldest living former Cardinal. He
played with the club for 17 games in 1939.
Brian Walton can be reached via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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