Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 59

Dick Bartell was a shortstop with the Phillies from 1931-1934. Nicknamed "Rowdy Richard", for his hustling nature and aggressiveness toward the opposing team, Bartell debuted with the Pirates at age 19 in 1927.

With Pittsburgh, Bartell became a regular, splitting time between second base and shortstop, and hit over .300 three straight seasons. After the 1930 season, Bartell was traded to Philadelphia for infielder Tommy Thevenow and pitcher Claude Willoughby. Bartell would continue his solid batting, as he hit over .300 while scoring over 100 runs twice (in 1932 & 1934) and made an all-star team (in 1933) in 4 seasons with the Phillies.

Bartell was likely best known for his efforts and his style of play around the second base bag. During an era when players regularly went hard into opposing infielders with their spikes upward, to get an advantage, Bartell was a master of that sort of cleat action. He was once identified as, "probably the most-hated gent in the National League," by a sports writer. The tough-nosed Bartell told the reporter, "I've never gone out of my way for trouble and I've never side stepped. If some of these guys around figure on getting tough, why, that'll be all right with me." A fiery guy who spoke like that today would surely be loved by Philadelphia phans.

Much like so many other players who excelled in a Phillies uniform during the 1930's, Bartell was shipped out of town to help pay bills. After the 1934 season, Bartell was traded to the Giants for 4 players and cash. Bartell would help the Giants go to two straight World Series in 1936 and 1937. In that 1937 pennant season, he made another all-star team and finished 6th in MVP voting with 14 homers, 62 RBI, 91 runs scored and a .306 batting avg.

Bartell would spend time with both Detroit and the Cubs before landing back with the Giants in 1941. In 1943 he began two years of military service, during World War II. Bartell returned to the Majors and played in 5 games in 1946, then retired from playing. He would go on to manage in the minors and coach for Detroit and Cincinnati.


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