Beloved St. Louis Cardinals legend Albert Fred "Red" Schoendienst has died at the age of 95.
"Red was one of the greatest Cardinals of all time, and a beloved member of the Cardinals organization for over six decades," said Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. "His influence on this organization cannot be overstated. Red was a great player, a great manager, and a wonderful mentor to countless players, coaches, and members of the front office. He was also a fan favorite who connected with millions of Cardinals fans across multiple generations. He will be sorely missed."
"Red Schoendienst has passed away today surrounded by his family," the Schoendienst family said in a statement released by the team. "He had a life full of happiness for 95 years. He inspired all that knew him to always do their best. Red was a great ball player, but his legacy is that of a great gentleman who had respect for all. He loved his family, friends, teammates, the community and his country. He will be greatly missed."
For 67 years, Schoendienst was an integral and visible part of the Cardinals organization. Originally signed out of nearby Germantown, Illinois for a reported $75 per month (and after he hitchhiked to an open tryout), Schoendienst starting in 1945 spent parts of 19 seasons in the majors, most of them as a Cardinals player and most of those as the team's starting second baseman. Along the way, he batted .289/.337/.387 with 2,449 hits; 427 doubles; and 1,223 runs scored. Schoendienst made the All-Star Game 10 times, notched four top-10 finishes in the NL MVP balloting, and spent almost 15,000 defensive innings at the keystone. Schoendienst also played in three World Series: with the Cardinals in 1946 and as a member of the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and 1958.
After his playing career ended, Schoendienst served as a coach for the Cardinals and then replaced Johnny Keane as manager following the 1964 season. He would wind up managing the Cardinals for 12 full seasons and then parts of two others on an interim basis. Schoendienst would lead them to a World Series title in 1967 and a pennant in 1968. In all, Schoendienst logged more than 2,000 games each as a player, coach, and manager at the major-league level.
Schoendienst was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Veterans Committee and was an inaugural member of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014. His uniform No. 2 was retired by the Cardinals in 1996. Schoendienst -- who is survived by his four children, eight living grandchildren, and seven great grand children -- had been the oldest living Hall of Famer.