SABR

Barney Schultz

This article was written by John Stahl.

“Eleven saves in two months. That’s more than Schultz had in his whole big-league career,” fumed Gene Mauch in September 1964. “He never saw the day he could get us out before,” continued the frustrated Philadelphia manager.1 In the last 60 games of the Cardinals’ 1964 season, Barney appeared 30 times, all in relief, winning once and saving 14 games as the Cardinals rushed past Mauch’s Phillies and captured the National League pennant. After Barney’s successful appearance in Game One of the 1964 World Series, Cardinals manager Johnny Keane declared, “Without him, we wouldn’t be here.”2

George Warren Schultz was born in Beverly, New Jersey, on August 15, 1926, the third of four sons born to Leo and Madeline Schultz, His father was a steelworker; his mother was born in Northern Ireland.3 An uncle gave him the nickname Barney.4 Growing up in South Jersey, Barney constantly played baseball, once noting that he “always seemed to have a ball and glove.” An older kid next door introduced him to the knuckleball, and he was immediately hooked on its bizarre, unpredictable movement. “He could make it dance,” remembered Schultz admiringly. 5

Although the “knuckler” is inherently hard to grip, Schultz found his fingers could do it, and so he began throwing it. Later, as a star pitcher for his Burlington High School team, Schultz still fiddled with the knuckleball, using it as a change-of-pace when he was well ahead in the count. He showed enough promise that in 1944 he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies organization.

Schultz spent the next six years pitching in the low minor leagues. Hampered by a sore arm, he never pitched above Class B. In 1950 he finally moved up to the Class A minor-league level, pitching in the South Atlantic League for the Macon Peaches. This was the first season since 1945 that Schultz’s arm felt completely pain-free. He pitched a career-high 237 innings in 36 games, both starting and relieving. He allowed 189 hits and 94 earned runs. His won/loss record hovered around the .500 mark all season, and he finished with a 13-14 record. He struck out 168 while walking 123 and posted a 3.57 earned-run average.

In 1951 Schultz began with the Des Moines Bruins in the Class A Western League. With the Des Moines mayor throwing out the first pitch, Barney started the Bruins’ home opener and hurled a complete-game 9-1 victory over Sioux City, walking six hitters. On July 5, with a 4-6 record, 48 walks and 49 strikeouts in 94 innings, Schultz was put on waivers by Des Moines. Bob Howsam, the young, aggressive general manager of the Western League’s Denver Bears, brought Schultz to Denver.

Surrounded by a confident, winning organization, Schultz improved. His control reappeared, as he walked only 43 while striking out 78 in 104 innings. Although his 7-8 record was modest, his 2.75 ERA was the lowest among Denver’s starting pitchers for the season.

Schultz began the 1952 season clearly established as a starting pitcher for Denver. He won his first three games and by the end of May had a 4-2 record with a 2.87 ERA. Throughout a very competitive pennant race, Schultz emerged as one of the Bears’ leaders. He started the pennant-clinching game and watched in awe as Denver’s fans “went berserk,” celebrating the Bears’ first Western League pennant since 1913.6 Denver defeated Sioux City and Omaha to win the postseason playoff. Against Omaha Schultz contributed a masterful 3-1 complete-game playoff victory, as his knuckleball was “fluttering over the plate with rare consistency.”7 At season’s end, he had a 17-9 record, leading the team in innings pitched (239), strikeouts (148), and ERA (3.18).

 

After spending spring training with the Triple-A Hollywood Stars, Schultz again pitched for Denver in 1953, finishing 13-7 with a 4.16 ERA in173 innings. In 1954 Denver sold him to St. Louis Cardinals, who assigned him to the Triple-A Columbus Red Birds managed by Johnny Keane.

On February 20, 1954, Schultz married Frances Elder, an avid baseball fan. They had three children, George Jr., Barbara, and Paul.

During the first half of the 1954 season, used as both a starter and a reliever, Schultz got off to a poor 1-5 start. Beginning in July, Keane began using him strictly as a reliever, and Schultz quickly turned his season around, helping Columbus reach an unexpected playoff berth. He had a string of 34 consecutive scoreless innings. Schultz finished the season with an 8-8 record in 119 innings, striking out 69 while walking 44.

During spring training, the 28-year-old Schultz pitched his way onto the 1955 Cardinals opening day roster as a relief specialist. He saw action early, relieving in the Cardinals’ 14-4 Opening Day loss in Chicago and several days later in the home-opening 12-11 victory over the Cubs. Then he suffered several bad outings, and on June 16 was sent down to Double-A Houston.8 With the Cardinals he got into 19 games, compiled a 1-2 record, pitched 29⅔ innings and finished with an ERA of 7.89.

Schultz failed to make the Cardinals’ roster in 1956 and 1957. Both seasons the Cardinals assigned him to Johnny Keane’s Triple-A Omaha Cardinals. As a reliever in 1956 (with ten starts), he posted a 9-12 record, pitching 118 innings with a 4.19 ERA. In 1957 he appeared in 44 games (three starts), posting an 8-7 record and pitching 121 innings with a 2.38 ERA. He struck out 86 while walking only 39.

Schultz began 1958 with Omaha, but on May 25 was traded to the Triple-A Charleston Senators for a minor league outfielder. Schultz posted an 8-5 record in 97 innings at Charleston, a Detroit affiliate. He finished the season with a 3.62 ERA, walking only 26 hitters while striking out 72.

Opening 1959 again with the Senators, Schultz again quickly established himself as a reliable fireman. He appeared in 27 of the team’s first 52 games. The Tigers brought up the the 32-year-old Schultz on June 7. In early July the Tigers sent him back to Charleston, where he spent the rest of the season. In April 1960, Detroit sold Schultz to the Chicago Cubs, who sent the 33-year-old Schultz to their Triple-A affiliate, the Houston Buffs. Although a Chicago affiliate, Houston’s organization had strong St. Louis connections. Marty Marion, a former star shortstop for the Cardinals, together with a St. Louis businessman had purchased a substantial share of the Buffs in late 1959. Marion hired former Cardinal and future Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter as manager. Schultz quickly became a favorite of Slaughter’s and saw plenty of work in 1960. By season’s end he had appeared in 53 of Houston’s 154 games, all but three in relief, workied146 innings and posted a 3.02 ERA. He maintained struck out 103 and walked just 41. Schultz earned another serious look by the big leagues, this time with the Cubs in 1961.

The 1961 Cubs employed an unusual “college of coaches” framework with the manager, or “head coach,” periodically rotating from the minor-league system. In 1961 the head coach position rotated eight times among four coaches.9 Within this fluid and highly distracting environment, Schultz tried to earn a relief spot on the Cubs’ roster. After a brief start in the minors, the team called him up.

For the first time in his now 17-year baseball career, Schultz played most of his season in the big leagues. He became the Cubs’ third reliever, appearing 41 times, recording seven saves, and posting a 7-6 record. He pitched 66⅔ innings and had a 2.70 ERA, the lowest among Cubs relievers. The Cubs stayed with their college of coaches framework again in 1962. This time, the head coach position rotated three times among three coaches. Again a weak staff of starting pitchers provided plenty of work for Chicago’s relievers. Schultz was now 35 years old, and the Cubs affectionately nicknamed him Mr. Old Folks.10

Mr. Old Folks promptly went out and pitched even more in 1962, exceeding his prior-year totals for appearances and innings pitched. Schultz appeared in 51 games, logging a 5-5 record with five saves. He pitched 77⅔ innings with a 3.82 ERA, the second lowest among Chicago’s relievers. He tied Elroy Face’s major-league record for consecutive game appearances with nine.

In early 1963 the Cubs changed their coaching rotation experiment. Bob Kennedy was the coach/manager for the entire season. Schultz was once again in the Cubs’ bullpen at the start of the season, but on June 24 the Cubs put him on waivers. He had pitched 27⅓ innings in 15 games with a 1-0 record, two saves, and a 3.62 ERA.

At the urging of Johnny Keane, who was now the Cardinals’ manager, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine traded for Schultz. When Barney rejoined the Cardinals, he found a crowded bullpen. Bobby Shantz and Ron Taylor both appeared in more than 50 games in 1963 and pitched a combined 212 innings. For his part, Schultz pitched in 24 games, finishing with a 2-0 record and a 3.58 ERA.

After the season, Devine placed Schultz on waivers. No major-league team claimed him. Although disappointed, he again persevered. He told the author of a book published in 1991 that as an incentive to encourage him to report in 1964 to the Cardinals Triple-A Jacksonville affiliate, the team offered him work with the organization after he retired as a player.11 So Schultz began the 1964 season as a Jacksonville Sun. Working out of the bullpen, he started the season on fire. In his first 13 appearances, covering 26 innings, he did not allow an earned run. By mid-June, Schultz had extended his scoreless streak to 32⅔ innings in 15 relief appearances. By mid-July, Schultz’s pitching numbers showed 35 appearances, 74 innings pitched, a 6-4 record, and a microscopic 0.85 ERA. At that point the Suns occupied first place with a 59-38 record.

As Schultz and the Suns surged forward, the parent St. Louis club seemed to be in a holding pattern around the .500 mark. Searching for player to help spark the club, Keane pressed Devine to promote Schultz. Finally yielding to Keane’s persistence, Devine returned Schultz to the major leagues.12

Schultz was recalled on July 31. The Cardinals were starting a three-game series at home against Cincinnati. The Cardinals had just won six of seven but were in sixth place with a 53-49 record, trailing first-place Philadelphia by seven games. Sixty games remained.

Keane used Schultz immediately; in the Cardinals’ first ten games after Barney’s return, Keane pitched him five times. After one game, Keane asked Schultz about his control. “Do you know where that knuckleball is going when you throw it,” Keane asked, “or are you just hoping it will fool them?” Schultz deadpanned, “John, when I have my stuff, I know where the ball is going on four out of five pitches.” Keane smiled.13 Schultz quickly became the closer in the Cardinals bullpen.

On August 17, however, Busch shocked the players by asking for Bing Devine’s resignation. Busch immediately replaced Devine with Bob Howsam, who Schultz knew from his time with the Denver Bears.

Suddenly the 1964 Cardinals jelled. Twelve victories in a 15-game homestand in late August and early September catapulted the club from the doldrums back into contention. Keane used Schultz in six of the 15 games. By the end of the homestand, the club had improved its record to 77-61 and was tied for second place.

Schultz appeared eight times during the subsequent 18-game road trip, as the Cardinals posted a 12-6 record. They finished the trip by winning five games in a row at Pittsburgh. As the Cardinals came home for their final six games, the club stood in third place behind Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

St. Louis began its last six home games by sweeping a three-game series from the Phillies, who faded out of contention with a ten-game losing streak. Schultz saved two of the games. Then the last-place Mets came into town for the final three-game series of the season and proceeded to win the first two games. When Cincinnati lost to Philadelphia on Friday night and both teams had Saturday off, the 1964 National League pennant race came down to the last game. Cincinnati won and the Cardinals beat the Mets. With an 11-4 lead and one out in the ninth, Keane fittingly summoned Schultz to finish the Cardinals’ final victory.14

This was Schultz’s 30th appearance in the Cardinals’ last 60 games. He appeared in seven of the Cardinals’ last nine games, He finished 1964 with one win, 14 saves, and a 1.64 ERA. The Cardinals ended in first place with a 93-69 record.

At the team’s victory party, Schultz overheard Keane proclaiming, “I am the happiest man in the world.” Schultz quickly corrected him. “I started playing for Keane back in 1954, but I have to disagree with him. I’m the happiest man in the world.”15

St. Louis hosted Game One of the 1964 World Series. Schultz pitched three effective innings in relief of Ray Sadecki as the Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees, 9-5. After the game, Schultz again gave Keane full credit for his success. “He’s the one who made me a relief pitcher,” Barney said. “He’s the one who had faith in me. He’s done more for me than any man in baseball.16

The Yankees won Game Two, 8-3. Schultz did not fare as well in Game Three, at Yankee Stadium He entered the 1-1 game in the ninth inning. On Schultz’s first pitch of the inning, Mickey Mantle blasted a game-winning home run. The towering homer reached the third tier of the right-field stands. Mantle later listed the home run as one of the top five thrills of his baseball career.

In the Cardinals’ locker room after the game, Schultz seemed stunned. He spoke briefly with reporters before he disappeared into the trainer’s area. “The ball I threw was down the well,” Schultz said sadly. It was knee high and across the plate. It didn’t break.”17

Fran Schultz was also stunned by the blast. She had proudly stood with her camera in hand waiting to take a picture of Schultz’s first pitch in Yankee Stadium. As he warmed up, Fran noticed a well-known movie star sitting nearby. As she momentarily turned her camera toward the star, she missed the first and only pitch Schultz would ever throw in Yankee Stadium. She could only watch as Schultz trudged off the field.

Schultz’s reaction to the devastating home run impressed his catcher, Tim McCarver, who said, “Was (Schultz) screaming at my bad call? Was he bitching about what a lousy catcher I was? Was he blaming me for calling for his knuckler? Nope. Not Schultz.”18

The Cardinals eventually won the World Series in seven games. Schultz pitched in four of the games, giving up nine hits and eight earned runs in four innings. His ERA was a lofty 18.00.

In 1965 Schultz was with the Cardinals until late August, when he was sent back to Jacksonville. He rejoined the Cardinals briefly at the end of the season. In all he made 34 appearances, pitched 42⅓ innings, and had a 3.83 ERA. His record was 2-2 with two saves. At Jacksonville, he was 0-1 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings.

In 1966 the Cardinals made Schultz a player-coach with their Tulsa Oilers affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. For the first half of the season, Schultz was used strictly as a coach. His friendly yet detail-oriented nature made him a natural at the position. During the second half of the season he returned to the bullpen, and found he could still pitch effectively. Tulsa made the playoffs. Schultz finished 1966 with a 2-0 record, 25 appearances, 25 innings pitched, and a 3.24 ERA.

The Cardinals made Schultz their minor-league pitching instructor in 1967. Late in the season, he joined the Cardinals as a coach so he could pick up time toward a pension. The Cardinals won the World Series and Schultz got another World Series ring but ended up about three days short of the pension requirement

In 1968, Schultz resumed his duties as a minor-league pitching instructor and finally, in his 24th year in professional baseball, met the pension requirement when the Cardinals again added him as a coach. He remained a Cardinals minor-league pitching instructor through 1970.

In 1971 Schultz became the Cardinals’ pitching coach, and remained in that position through 1975. In 1977, he was the pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs. For the next three seasons he was a special-assignment coach for the Cubs. After that, Schultz finished his coaching career in Japan with the Osaka Hawks.19

In 1982 Schultz retired from professional baseball. After playing in more than 25 states and three countries, he retired to Edgewater Park in southern New Jersey. In 1988 he was elected to the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame.20 In his 80s, still in awe of the game he devoted his life to and continued to love, he said, “I’d have to say I owe everything to baseball.”21

 

Sources

Michael Fedo, One Shining Season. New York: Pharos Books, 1991.

“Schultz is Cardinal Hero With Three Innings of Effective Relief Pitching.” New York Times, October 8, 1964

Fifteenth Census of the United States (1930), Population Schedule, New Jersey, Burlington, Beverly City, 2nd District, Sheet 9A, Line 37

Barney Schultz player file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Frank Haraway, “Bears End 39 Year Drought, Grizzlies Take Flag In Finale.” Denver Post, September 12, 1952

Frank Haraway, “Bears Win Series Opener, 3-1, Rain Washes Out, Tonight Game Here Saturday.” Denver Post, September 19, 1952

“Birds Send Moford, Schultz Down, Get Woolbridge, Wright.” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 16, 1955

Richard J. Puerzer, “The Chicago Cubs’ College of Coaches – A Management Innovation That Failed,” The National Pastime – A Review of Baseball History. Cleveland: Society for American Baseball Research, 2006: 3-17

James Enright, “Landrum Holds Monicker Crown—Three Nicknames.” The Sporting News, June 1, 1963

“Maxvill Elated at Promotion, Loses No Time Joining Birds – Club Drops Hobbie, Buys Schultz.”

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 1, 1964

Bob Burnes, “The Bench-Warmer.” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 1, 1964

Bob Addie, “Cards Take Pennant, Wallop Mets.” Washington Post, October 5, 1964

Neal Russo, ‘We Had Differences, But I Respect Him.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 10, 1964

“Schultz is Cardinal Hero With Three Innings of Effective Relief Pitching.” New York Times, October 8, 1964

“First Pitch in the Last of Ninth ‘Didn’t Break and Mantle Acted.’ ” New York Times, October 11, 1964: S5

Peter Golenbock, The Spirit of St. Louis. New York: HarperCollins: 465

http//www.hotstovers.org/index.php

 

Notes

1 Michael Fedo, “One Shining Season”(New York, Pharos Books, 1991), 123

2 “Schultz is Cardinal Hero With Three Innings of Effective Relief Pitching”, New York Times, October

8, 1964

3 Fifteenth Census of the United States (1930), Population Schedule, New Jersey, Burlington, Beverly City,

2nd District, Sheet 9A, Line 37

4 Barney Schultz player file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame

5 Fedo, op. cit., 124

6 Frank Haraway, “Bears End 39 Year Drauht, Grizzlies Take Flag In Finale”, Denver Post, September 12, 1952

7 Frank Haraway, “Bears Win Series Opener, 3-1, Rain Washes Out, Tonight Game Here Saturday’”

Denver Post, September 19, 1952

8 “Birds Send Moford, Schultz Down, Get Woolbridge, Wright”, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 16, 1955

9 Richard J. Puerzer, “The Chicago Cubs’ College of Coaches-A Management Innovation That Failed”, The National Pastime-A Review of Baseball History, The Society for American Baseball Research, Cleveland, Ohio, 2006, 3-17

10 James Enright, “Landrum Holds Monicker Crown—Three Nicknames”, The Sporting News, June 1, 1963

11 Fedo, op. cit., 123

12“Maxvill Elated at Promotion, Loses No Time Joining Birds-Club Drops Hobbie, Buys Schultz”,

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 1, 1964

13Bob Burnes, “The Bench-Warmer”, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 1, 1964

14Bob Addie, “Cards Take Pennant, Wallop Mets”, Washington Post, October 5, 1964

15 Neal Russo, ‘We Had Differences, But I Respect Him,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 10, 1964

16 “Schultz is Cardinal Hero With Three Innings of Effective Relief Pitching,” The New York Times, October 8, , 54

17 “First Pitch in the Last of Ninth ‘Didn’t Break and Mantle Acted,” The New York Times, Ocobter 11, 1964, S5

18 Peter Golenbock, “The Spirit of St. Louis,” Harper Entertainment, New York, Chapter 57, Gashouse Gang Redux, 465

19 Fedo, op. cit., 131,132

21 Ibid., 133

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