Don Gutteridge: Oldest Cardinal Dies at 96

Member of the Gas House Gang St. Louis Cardinals and the club's oldest former player passes away.

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 brwalton@earthlink.net.

 

© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

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