May 23 – Happy Birthday Bill Drescher

Most Yankee fans have never heard of today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant but if you happened to have loved the Bronx Bombers and also lived in my hometown of Amsterdam, New York back in 1942, you remember him well. That’s because that was the year Bill Drescher was the starting catcher for the Amsterdam Rugmakers, the Yankee affiliate in the old Class C Canadian American League. It was the 21-year-old Drescher’s first season of professional baseball and according to his Rugmaker Manager at the time, a guy named Tom Kain, the native of Congers, NY seemed like a natural both at the plate and behind it. Dresher hit .301 in 100 games for Amsterdam that season and was featured in a New York Times article that described him as “a carbon copy” of the Yankees’ Hall-of-Fame receiver, Bill Dickey. In fact, that same article went on to say that if Dickey, who was nearing the end of his outstanding career at the time, could hang on for two or three more seasons it would be Drescher who would take his place as the Yankee starting catcher.

Dickey did his part but when the time came to replace him, Drescher was not ready. He did make his first appearance behind the plate in the Bronx during the 1944 season and then got his real shot the following year, when he caught 48 games for what would be Manager Joe McCarthy’s final full season as Yankee Manager. He hit .270 and fielded adequately but the following year WWII ended and all of the Yankees’ catchers returned to the game. Drescher ended up getting lost in that crowd and spending the rest of his professional playing career catching in the Yankee farm system. He died in 1968 at the very young age of 47.

May 23rd is also the birthday of this former Yankee Manager and this other former Yankee manager.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1944 NYY 4 7 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .143 .143 .143 .286
1945 NYY 48 138 126 10 34 3 1 0 15 0 8 5 .270 .313 .310 .623
1946 NYY 5 6 6 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 .333 .333 .500 .833
3 Yrs 57 151 139 10 37 4 1 0 16 0 8 5 .266 .306 .309 .615
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/23/2013.

6 Comments

Pingback: May 23 – Happy Birthday Buck Showalter « Pinstripe Birthdays

The Glory Days of the Rugmakers. It must have been great to have about 55 games a year at the old Mohawk Mills park. The old wooden fences, social clubs associated with the rug mills. It must have been a great time to be a young Yankee fan. Interesting game tonight and the decision to walk Bautista with no outs and a man on second? Enjoyed watching the Boys from BeanTown choke to the Indians!

Phil,

I agree. Imagine being able to watch future Yankees like Vic Raschi, Johnny Blanchard, Joe Collins and Spec Shea play right in our own backyard?

Colon turns 37 today. He looked his age in that sixth inning last night but up until then he was looking very sharp.

Bill Drescher’s wife was my high school math teacher. Amazing lady. It was evident that Bill was the love of her life :)

Bill Drescher’s wife Jane is alive and well living in Woodland Hills, CA. She will turn 92 next month! She and Bill had one child, a son who they also named Bill. Their son Bill passed away at the age of 58 in November 2011, orphaning his son Logan Clayton Wright Drescher age 12 and his daughter Kate Miranda Drescher age 24.

Sorry to hear about Billy Jr. I went to Congers elementary with him and we used to hang out.

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