Results tagged ‘ all-time yankee all star catchers ’

June 24 – Happy Birthday Rollie Hemsley

Of the eight Yankee catchers who have made the AL All Star team, today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is perhaps the least recognized. That’s because he was actually the team’s second string catcher the year he was honored and it happened during WWII when America’s focus was more on the battles going on in Europe and the Pacific and not on baseball. Rollie Hemsley may not have been very well known as a Yankee, but prior to him wearing the pinstripes, the Syracuse, Ohio native had caught in the big leagues for thirteen seasons for five different big league ball clubs and made four other AL All Star teams. His best years were spent as the starting catcher for the Browns from 1934 through 1937. He hit a career-high .309 for St. Louis during the 1934 season and was better than adequate defensively, behind the plate.

The Yankees signed him in July of 1942, after he had been released by Cincinnati. New York needed an extra catcher because their starter, Bill Dickey had been injured. Hemsley ended up hitting .294 in the 31 games he appeared in for New York that season which got him an invite back the following year when he became Dickey’s primary backup. By 1944 Dickey was in military service and Hemsley pretty much shared the Yankee catching position with Mike Garbark. Though he was already 37 years-old at the time, Rollie thrived with the added playing time, hitting a solid .268 and earning his fifth and final All Star game nod.

During the 1945 spring training season, rookie catcher Aaron Robinson impressed the Yankee brass enough to feel they could sell Hemsley to the Phillies. Rollie was 40-years-old when he played his last game in the majors in 1947. He later became a big league coach for many years. He ended up catching in 1,482 big league games. He shares his birthday with this Yankee starting pitcher and this long-ago Yankee outfielder.

Here are the seven other Yankee catchers who have made the AL All Star team during their careers in pinstripes:

Bill Dickey (11 times)

Here are Hemsley’s Yankee and career playing stats.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1942 NYY 31 92 85 12 25 3 1 0 15 1 5 9 .294 .333 .353 .686
1943 NYY 62 199 180 12 43 6 3 2 24 0 13 9 .239 .290 .339 .629
1944 NYY 81 299 284 23 76 12 5 2 26 0 9 13 .268 .290 .366 .656
19 Yrs 1593 5511 5047 562 1321 257 72 31 555 29 357 395 .262 .311 .360 .671
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
SLB (5 yrs) 515 1932 1741 184 475 101 20 8 182 11 155 149 .273 .334 .368 .701
PIT (4 yrs) 252 789 727 93 192 37 16 2 101 5 40 56 .264 .302 .367 .670
CLE (4 yrs) 390 1415 1302 160 344 58 17 10 130 6 89 84 .264 .311 .358 .669
NYY (3 yrs) 174 590 549 47 144 21 9 4 65 1 27 31 .262 .297 .355 .652
PHI (2 yrs) 51 155 142 7 32 4 1 0 12 0 9 10 .225 .272 .268 .539
CIN (2 yrs) 85 241 231 16 35 9 2 0 14 0 10 19 .152 .187 .208 .395
CHC (2 yrs) 126 389 355 55 99 27 7 7 51 6 27 46 .279 .330 .454 .783
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/24/2013.