Del Crandall

Less than four months after his 19th birthday, Del Crandall became the youngest starting catcher in baseball history when he supplanted 32-year-old Bill Salkeld of the Boston Braves in 1949. Returning to the Milwaukee Braves in 1953 after a two-year tour in the military, Crandall was named to eight All-Star teams during the Braves’ first ten seasons in Milwaukee (1953-1962) and established his reputation as arguably the best defensive catcher of the era, annually ranking among the league leaders in practically every important defensive statistic. “[Crandall] is like a coach on the field. He can spot a flaw in my motion as soon as it shows up,” said teammate Carl Willey.[1] Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Joe L. Brown, quick to point out Crandall’s underrated offensive abilities, maintained that “Crandall is the best all-around catcher in the league.”[2]

A career in baseball was far from foretold when Delmar Wesley Crandall was born on March 5, 1930, in Ontario, California, the second of three children of Richard and Nancy Crandall. Del and his sisters, Barbara and Betty, grew up with modest means during the Depression in Fullerton, about 25 miles east of Los Angeles in the fertile croplands of Orange County where both of his parents worked in the citrus-packaging industry. In the year-round warm climate, Del was drawn to the local sandlots in Fullerton and began shagging fly balls as a 9-year-old. “I became a catcher,” Crandall told the author, “when I was in fifth grade. I was a pudgy little kid and not a very good athlete, but I was enthusiastic. Art Johnson, a coach, came to my elementary school, Maple School. He looked at me with a mask and a catcher’s glove and I told him I can catch. That was the first challenge in my young life.”[3] Around the same time Del also met Pep Lemon, a former minor-league catcher who ran the local recreation department and managed the semipro Fullerton Merchants. “Everything I learned was from Pep Lemon,” he recalled. “He was the most influential man in my baseball career.”

A big growth spurt transformed Crandall from a scrawny, 5-foot-tall freshman to a slender, 6-feet-1 high-school senior. Years earlier, Lemon had taken Crandall under his wing and taught him the art of catching and how to throw and release the ball. “At the age of 16, [Pep] let me catch Hal Gregg who was [then] a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers,” recalled Crandall of his opportunities to practice with current and former Merchants players and occasionally big leaguers. “That was a boost for my confidence.”

A standout catcher at Fullerton High School and in the local American Legion league, Crandall began attracting interest from major-league scouts by the time he was 16 years old. According to Crandall, his father was extremely supportive and invested in his career even though he did not play baseball because of poor eyesight. His father did not want him to sign with the Dodgers, Yankees, or Cardinals because they had too many prospects in their farm system. Dodgers scout Tom Downey pursued Crandall relentlessly, but Del rejected their $20,000 signing bonus (about 20 times the family’s income in 1946) because of the “bonus baby” stipulation requiring him to remain on the big-league roster for two years and lose invaluable minor-league experience. Instead Boston Braves scout Johnny Moore signed Crandall to a two-year contract with the team’s Triple-A affiliate, the Milwaukee Brewers, for a $4,000 salary. “That was more money that my parents or I had ever seen,” said Crandall.

The still 17-year-old Crandall reported to Austin, Texas, for spring training with the Brewers in 1948, but struggled at the plate and was sent to join the Class C Leavenworth (Kansas) Braves at their camp in Whitesville, North Carolina. A poor hitter in high school, Crandall was batting under.200 when Leavenworth manager Harold “Dutch” Hoffman suggested that he cut down on his swing. “Dutch told me that I have to hit pepper every day, so I did with Joe Nezgoda,” Crandall said. “After three or four weeks, I started to hit. I was able to do the same things in a game that I did in pepper.” He developed a home-run stroke (his 15 round-trippers were fifth best in the Western Association that year), batted. 304, and got an unexpected promotion at the end of the season. “Both catchers with the [Triple-A] Milwaukee Brewers broke their little fingers,” said Crandall. “I got called up at the end of the season and then caught all seven games in the American Association playoffs. It was fate and got me exposure.”

One of the last players cut during spring training with the Brewers in 1949, Crandall was assigned to the Evansville (Indiana) Braves in the Class B Three-I League, where he fell under the tutelage of manager Bob Coleman, a former big-league catcher who had piloted the parent club a few years earlier. “It was a break to work under him,” said Crandall. “He was a defensive-minded coach who encouraged me to throw and pick runners off.” Boston manager Billy Southworth and general manager John Quinn personally scouted the young phenom, who batted .351 in 38 games at Evansville. “It was a surprise when told me they were calling me up,” Crandall said. “I had just turned 19 years old. [Braves owner] Lou Perini sent a private plane to get me. When I called my parents, I told my mother that I am going to Boston. And she asked ‘What for?’ ”

The reigning National League-champion Braves made room for Crandall by trading backup catcher Phil Masi to the Pittsburgh Pirates. After making his debut as a pinch runner for catcher Bill Salkeld on June 17, Crandall started the next day at Crosley Field in Cincinnati and went hitless in three at-bats. With eight hits in his next 15 at-bats and six runs batted in, Crandall cemented his place as the Braves backstop and started about two-thirds of the games the rest of the season. Named to The Sporting News’ Rookie All-Star Team, Crandall finished with a .263 batting average and 34 runs batted in (in 228 at-bats) and was runner-up to Brooklyn Dodgers’ pitcher Don Newcombe for the Rookie of the Year Award.[4]

With his red hair kept short in the crew-cut style of the era, his fair skin, and his blue eyes, Crandall may have appeared like an all-American boy, but he had a brash, confident personality and was unfazed as a teenager playing in the big leagues. “I was cocky to a degree,” he said. He recalled an episode in his rookie year when the Braves flew his parents to Boston to see him play. It was August 27, 1949, and Crandall was the starting catcher after enjoying a three-hit game the previous evening. With one out in the top of the first inning and Johnny Sain pitching to the Reds’ Peanuts Lowrey, Crandall took issue with the arbiter just behind him. “Jocko Conlan was the umpire,” said the big redhead. “After two pitches right down the center of the plate, I said ‘Jocko, I think those two pitches were strikes.’ And [Conlan] got furious. He jerked his mask off and came around in front of me. He said, ‘No busher is going to come up here and tell me how to umpire.’ My response was, ‘You can stick that busher up your ass.’ ”[5] Not surprisingly, that remark earned Crandall his first major-league ejection as a player.

Unlike the short (5-feet-9 or 10) and stocky catchers of the time, Crandall was tall and muscular, weighed about 190 pounds, and blessed with athleticism. Southworth hailed him as the “greatest prospect ever.”[6] Ushering in a new style of aggressive play behind the plate, Crandall was known for his bullet arm, catlike, quick movements behind the plate, and his unusual flexibility. However, he drew criticism from some veterans who took offense at how he ran all over the park and threw to all three bases to keep runners on. “When I got to the big leagues, picking off guys was not done that much,” said Crandall. “Fielders were just not used to a catcher throwing to pick off a runner. Certainly the manager did not encourage the first or third baseman to cover the bag.”

Expecting a breakout season in 1950, Crandall played in only 79 big-league games over the next three years. In his sophomore season, he was sidelined by a broken finger, then returned as a backup after the Braves had acquired the league’s best-hitting backstop, Walker Cooper. Crandall’s hitting suffered and he finished with a disappointing .220 batting average in 255 at-bats. His career was interrupted for the next two years when he was drafted into the Army during spring training in March 1951. Stationed in Fort Ord, California, Crandall served in the infantry and saw active duty in Japan.

A day before he was inducted into the service, Crandall eloped to Las Vegas with his high-school sweetheart from Fullerton, Frances Sorrells, and got married.[7] They had six children (Del Jr., Ron, Billy, Jeff, Tim, and Nancy) and lived in Fullerton in the offseason, where Del joined his mentor, Pep Lemon, in the park district. In 1959 the Crandalls moved to Brookfield, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee.

Rumors about the Braves’ future trumped the excitement of Crandall’s return to the club’s spring training in Bradenton in 1953. “There were so many rumors swirling,” he recalled, “and how a move to Milwaukee would also cause scheduling conflicts. No one knew the impact of the move. We didn’t know what to expect.” Less than a month from Opening Day, National League owners by a unanimous vote allowed owner Lou Perini to move the team to Milwaukee. “We were all surprised by the announcement the Braves were moving,” said Crandall. “Teams just didn’t move in those days.” (It was the first franchise shift in major-league baseball since 1903.)

Crandall returned to a dramatically different team than the one he had left in 1950. Quinn had assembled from the team’s farm system a core of youngsters (Billy Bruton, Johnny Logan, and Eddie Mathews, pitchers Lew Burdette and Bob Buhl) for the 1953 season; they were followed by Hank Aaron and pitcher Gene Conley in 1954. Along with the ageless Warren Spahn, these home-grown players created the nucleus for the club’s unparalleled success throughout the decade.

Braves manager Charlie “Jolly Cholly” Grimm compared Crandall to his former Cubs teammate, Hall of Fame catcher Gabby Hartnett: “[Crandall] has everything in his favor – perfect poise, sound judgment, and aggressiveness.”[8] Known for his patience with youngsters, Grimm gave Crandall time to round into playing shape. He had caught about 40 games each summer for the Fort Ord base team, but suffered from a sore arm during much of spring training.[9] Ready for the traditional Opening Day game in Cincinnati, Crandall caught Max Surkont’s three-hitter, stroked a leadoff double and scored in the fifth inning in the club’s 2-0 victory. Off to a fast start, Crandall was hitting .301 on June 29 and was named to the first of his eight All-Star teams with the game to be in Cincinnati on July 14. But on July 8 he was nicked on the right hand by a foul tip and missed two weeks. Though he struggled in the second half (.243 batting average), he finished with 15 home runs, 51 runs batted in, and a .272 batting average for the second-place Braves.

The Braves drew 1,826,397 in their first season in Milwaukee, setting set a new National League attendance record that they broke the following year when they became the first NL team to top the 2 million mark. “It was unbelievable to play in Milwaukee,” said Crandall. “We drew a lot of fans from Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and of course Milwaukee. The fans were tremendous.” The Braves led the NL in attendance in the first six seasons (1953-1958) in Milwaukee, proving that baseball could thrive in the Upper Midwest; their success paved the way for an unprecedented shift in franchises during the decade. “I do not believe that the Milwaukee Braves experience will ever be duplicated,” Crandall said of the city’s love for the Braves, especially in the 1950s.

Over the course of the decade, Crandall established a reputation as one of the best defensive catchers of his generation, indeed big-league history. “Pep Lemon had installed in me the value of defense,” Crandall said of his catching philosophy. “I always looked at myself as a defensive catcher first. I think it was the enthusiasm I had playing the game. I didn’t get tired and tried to be alert to anything that happened on the field. Hitting did not detract from my catching.” In light of various traditional and advanced metrics, Crandall’s list of accomplishments is Hall of Fame-worthy. Durable despite broken fingers and annual injuries, Crandall led the NL in games caught five times, in fielding percentage four times, and in putouts three times. Distinguishing himself with his rifle arm, he paced the league in assists six times, in runners caught stealing five times, and in double plays twice.[10] “Good catching demands desire,” said Walker Cooper about Crandall’s reputation. “That’s one reason what Del Crandall is so well regarded by baseball people.”[11]

Named team captain as a 24-year-old in 1954, Crandall was a quiet team leader, field general, and capable hitter. Typically batting eighth for most of his career, Crandall annually belted between 15 and 26 home runs, knocked in between 46 and 77 runs, and hit at about a .260 clip between 1953 and 1960. Only Roy Campanella and Yogi Berra exceeded Crandall’s offensive output among catchers. As an All-Star in 1954 and 1955, Crandall hit 21 and a career-high 26 home runs respectively (though his batting average dropped to .242 and .236) while the Braves finished in third place and second place to their archrival Dodgers. Crandall’s most memorable moment at the plate occurred in 1955 in the first game of a September 11 doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies with Herm Wehmeier on the mound. “We had two outs in the ninth inning and the score was 4-1 with the bases loaded,” said Crandall. “I fouled off a few pitches and then with a 3-and-2 count I hit a grand slam to win the game.” It was one of his four career grand slams and five walk-off home runs.

Crandall became a master at recognizing hitters’ weakness and understanding his pitchers’ tendencies. His expertise in game-calling played no small role in the success of the Braves in the mid- to late 1950s and for baseball’s best righty-lefty duo, Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette. (The third member of the “Big Three,” Bob Buhl, preferred Del Rice as his personal catcher.) “I think he knows more about what I can do in a game situation than I do,” Spahn told The Sporting News.[12] Asked he handled Spahn and Burdette when they were on the mound, Crandall replied modestly, “Spahn had such great control and was so good – great delivery, deception, and concentration – he’d just hit your glove. He developed a screwball when he couldn’t throw as hard anymore.” But Crandall was more forthcoming with the fidgety, nervous, and temperamental righty Burdette. “I think I made a contribution with Burdette. I think he relied on me to do things. Sometimes he’d go into his windup before I even gave him a sign. He’d say, ‘I knew what you’d call.’ We had a close relationship. He trusted me.”

The Braves appeared poised in 1956 to take their first pennant since their move to Milwaukee, but got off to a slow start, resulting in Grimm’s being fired after 46 games. New manager Fred Haney instituted a more strategic and disciplined approach than the laid-back, players’ manager Jolly Cholly. The Braves responded to the manager change, won 11 consecutive games, and enjoyed a 3½-game lead after Labor Day. Despite suffering an injury to his elbow in a collision with the Pirates’ Dick Cole on June 19, Crandall seemed to have solved his hitting woes and began September batting .261 and slugging a career-best .481. While the Dodgers won 18 of 28 games in September, the Braves struggled under pressure and won just 14 of 27. Crandall slumped, too, hitting just .157 for the month. In the heat of the pennant race, Haney sent Buhl, Burdette, and Spahn to the mound in 15 of the last 17 games, but lost the pennant by a single game on the season’s last weekend. “I view the last weeks of the 1956 season as a sign that we were not ready to win the pennant,” Crandall told the author reflectively about the team’s collapse. “We had changed managers and Haney had our ballclub doing things that were foreign to us, like Adcock or Mathews bunting. It was a confusing time for us. The veterans in Brooklyn knew how to win.”

“I don’t have any recollection that we prepared for the 1957 season any differently,” Crandall replied when asked how the Braves reacted to their collapse the previous September. However, he noted a change in his skipper. “Haney settled in to manage our ballclub the way it should be. Let the big hitters hit.” Lauded by Birdie Tebbetts as “the one man the Braves must have all the way if they hope to win the pennant,” the pull-hitting Crandall had been criticized in the offseason for his low batting average (.238) and was the subject of serious trade rumors involving first baseman Frank Thomas of the Pittsburgh Pirates.[13] The “hardest worker in camp,” Crandall shortened his powerful swing because of lingering pain from his collision with Cole the previous year and attempted to become more of a spray hitter in 1957.[14] The result was a slight improvement in batting average (.253), but was accompanied by a loss in power as Crandall’s slugging percentage dropped 40 points.

A ten-game winning streak from August 4 through 15 catapulted the Braves to the team’s first pennant in Milwaukee behind the league’s most potent offense (a league-high 199 home runs and 772 runs scored) and arguably its best pitching staff. Crandall said the team’s personality reflected their former manager. “The way we played in 1957 goes back to Charlie Grimm and the fact that he let us play. Grimm was not a big one on strategy. Fortunately, we had Mathews, Logan, Adcock, Bruton, and Aaron. We were hard-nosed and that showed up in 1957. We became a ballclub capable of winning the World Series.”

According to Crandall, the Braves didn’t have a loud, vocal leader; rather, the team came together and each players recognized his role. Nonetheless, opponents acknowledged Crandall as a leader for his inspirational play, knowledge of the game, and manager-like presence on the field. He was undaunted facing the heavily favored New York Yankees in the World Series. “All the players read the papers and knew what was written in New York,” he said of the disparaging comments. “We knew we had a good ballclub and had confidence. We weren’t intimidated at all.”

Notwithstanding his confidence, Crandall recalled how he felt overwhelmed by the historical majesty of baseball’s most celebrated park, Yankee Stadium, at the beginning of Game One. “I was intimidated by Yankee Stadium,” he said honestly. “I remember warming up Warren Spahn for the first game and my knees were shaking. Spahnie threw a screwball in the dirt and I threw the ball back to second. Then my nervousness was gone.” The starter in five of the seven games (Buhl and Rice were batterymates in Games Three and Six), Crandall steadied a nervous Burdette, pitching on two days’ rest in the pressure-packed Game Seven. In the eighth inning Crandall connected for a towering home run to left field, giving the Braves a seemingly insurmountable 5-0 lead. “I realized the impact of my home run with bases loaded [with Yankees] in the bottom of the ninth,” he said. En route to his third consecutive complete-game victory, Burdette had given up three singles in the inning, but got Moose Skowron to hit a hard two-out grounder to third base. Eddie Mathews backhanded it and stepped on third base to force out Jerry Coleman, giving the Braves an exciting – indeed, unexpected – championship. Crandall noted that the Braves won despite long odds and serious injuries to key players (Bruton, Adock, Buhl). “You talk about destiny, well, you can’t rule that out,” he said of the magical season.

Hailed as “one of the finest catchers in baseball and a big factor in the brilliant success of the World Champion Braves pitching staff,” Crandall, in full catching gear, graced the April 21 cover of Sports Illustrated as the 1958 season opened.[15] Abandoning his experimentation with spray hitting, Crandall enjoyed perhaps his best season at the plate, hitting .272 with 18 home runs and 63 runs batted in, while established career highs with 23 doubles, a .457 slugging percentage, and an .805 OPS (slugging percentage plus on-base percentage). Crandall had a discerning eye at the plate and struck out only 477 times in 5,583 career plate appearances. The Braves pulled away from Pittsburgh and San Francisco by going 38-20 in the last two months of the season and cruised to their second consecutive pennant.

In a rematch with the Yankees in the World Series, Crandall started all seven games. His five hits in 14 at-bats helped stake the Braves to a three games to one lead. However, Yankees hurlers limited the Braves to just 20 hits and five runs in the next three games (Crandall went 1-for-11) en route to a come-from-behind World Series championship. “It took a while for us to get over our loss in 1958,” said Crandall, admitting that he had fully expected the Braves to win.

“I thought we’d get back and win it in 1959,” Crandall told the author. In early June it appeared as though the Braves were well on their way to their third pennant in a row, but they played sub-.500 ball in June, July, and August (42-44) to drop into third place by September. A hallmark of consistency, Crandall caught a career-high 146 games (142 starts), belted 21 home runs, and drove in 72 runs for the high-scoring offense, but the team had one glaring weakness. “I went to Haney because of second base,” Crandall said. “[Red] Schoendienst was out [with tuberculosis] and we tried [Johnny] O’Brien, [Bobby] Avila, and [Felix] Mantilla. But they were not everyday players and couldn’t cover the ground Schoendienst could. I told [Haney] we needed Chuck Cottier. For some reason Haney didn’t want to bring him up. We wound up in a tie with the Dodgers, but it should not have been that way.” By winning their last two games of the year, the Braves finished the season tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers to force the National League’s third best-of-three playoff series. Then the Braves quickly lost two heartbreaking one-run games (the second was a 12-inning affair) and finished in second place. It was the last time they seriously contended for the pennant.

Often overlooked in discussions of the great teams of the 1950s, the Braves had a remarkable four-year run. Twice they lost the pennant during the last games of the season and twice they won in dominating fashion. “We would be looked at as a team a lot differently if we would have been able to pull [four consecutive pennants] off,” Crandall said. “We were close. We weren’t ready to win in 1956 and did not have the personnel in 1959.”

During Crandall’s last four years with Milwaukee (1960-1963), the Braves were an aging team in transition. After his final durable season behind the plate (141 games caught) and impressive hitting (a career-high 158 hits, as well as 19 home runs, 77 RBIs, and a .294 average) for the second-place Braves in 1960, Crandall missed almost all of 1961 with a sore arm. In his absence, 20-year-old Joe Torre established himself as the catcher of the future, but Crandall, just 31 years old, thought he had earned the right to come back and compete for the job.

Crandall’s relationship with the Braves became strained when general manager John McHale suggested that he play in spring training without a contract because of his arm problems. Crandall was insulted. “I told [McHale], ‘You know, I’ve been a big part of this ballclub for ten years and have represented the Braves on and off the field. I was important to you, and the Braves needed me. I was naïve to think that when I needed the Braves, you’d be there,’ ” Crandall told the author. “That leaves a sour taste in your mouth.” Splitting time with Torre, Crandall rebounded to post a career-high .297 batting average and continued his customary excellent defensive play in 1962. He was named to his final All-Star team and won his fourth Gold Glove Award in five years.

An era came to an end when majority owner Lou Perini sold the Milwaukee Braves to a consortium of six Chicagoans in November 1962. Bobby Bragan, the team’s fourth Opening Day manager in five years, installed Torre as the primary catcher; Crandall struggled, batting a career-low .201. “It became increasingly obvious that Bobby Bragan and I did not get along,” he said. “We had big disagreements and it led to bad feelings. I told him [Bragan] that I think it time for him to trade me.” In the offseason, Crandall was sent to the San Francisco Giants in a seven-player trade that brought outfielder Felipe Alou to the Braves. Crandall wasn’t surprised by the trade. “You deal with each year. You take ten years of being important to a ballclub and suddenly in the next year you are not important. That changes your view of the club.”

Like many aging veterans, Crandall spent his final years as a baseball nomad, serving as a backup catcher for the Giants (1964), Pittsburgh Pirates (1965), and finally the Cleveland Indians (1966). Serving as Sam McDowell’s personal catcher in Cleveland, Crandall was praised for his patience in developing the young fireballer. Indians GM Gabe Paul wanted to sign Crandall to a Triple-A contact in 1967, but, Crandall recalled, “The things that were easiest – the defensive aspects of the game – were now difficult.” After 16 years in the big leagues and 1,479 games caught (14th most in history at the time), Crandall announced his retirement. One of the most honored catchers in baseball history, he finished with 179 home runs, 657 runs batted in, a .254 batting average, and a secure reputation as one of the era’s best signal-callers.

Crandall embarked on a successful career as manager in 1969. After leading the the Albuquerque Dodgers, a Los Angeles affiliate, to the Texas League championship in 1970, he was one of the most sought-after skippers in baseball.

Hired by the Brewers in 1971 to lead their Triple-A Evansville affiliate, Crandall made it back to the big leagues the following year when he took over the parent club in midseason and guided the Brewers through several lean, talent-poor years (1972-1975). Although the team finished no better than fifth under Crandall, the former backstop was considered an attentive instructor who stressed fundamentally sound baseball. He was largely credited with developing Darrell Porter into a hard-nosed, All-Star catcher in his own mold. Praised for leading essentially an expansion team to respectability by 1974 (76-86 in the tough AL East), Crandall was fired before the last game of the 1975 season amid speculation that Hank Aaron would become the new manager.[16] He finished with a 271-338 record with the Brewers.

Crandall spent the next two years in the Angels organization. He led the Salinas Angels to the league championship in the Class A California League in 1976 and was the first-base coach for the parent club in 1977. The following year Crandall returned to the Dodgers and guided their Albuquerque Dukes affiliate in the Pacific Coast League to four league championships in five years.

In 1983 the Seattle Mariners hired Crandall in midseason to lead a moribund team en route to its third season of over 100 losses during its seventh year as an expansion franchise. The following season he was replaced by former Braves teammate Chuck Cottier prior to Labor Day weekend with the team 17 games under .500. Crandall’s résumé also includes work as a color commentator for the Chicago White Sox (1985-1988) and Milwaukee Brewers (1992-1994) Crandall retired from baseball in 1997 after his third minor-league managerial stint in the Dodgers organization. Asked why catchers are successful managers, he said, “Catchers have a better relationship with and exposure to what their manager is thinking. You have a close relationship with the pitching staff and have a chance to manage pitchers better.”

As of 2013, Crandall resided with his wife in Brea, California, just a few minutes from Fullerton, where he grew up. Discussing the Braves’ victory over the Yankees in 1957, he seemed as excited as he had been more than a half-century earlier. “There is never anything better than winning a World Series,” he told the author. Then, in a contemplative moment, he revealed how profoundly his years in Milwaukee had affected him even in retirement. “The things you miss the most are all the friendships you made. You miss all the good times you’ve had winning baseball. You miss the people and the fans who watched us play. The fans at County Stadium were so enthusiastic.”

In May 2021 Crandall died at the age of 91. He was the last surviving member of the Boston Braves.

Last revised: May 6, 2021 (ghw)


This biography is included in the book “Thar’s Joy in Braveland! The 1957 Milwaukee Braves” (SABR, 2014), edited by Gregory H. Wolf. To download the free e-book or purchase the paperback edition, click here.




Milwaukee Journal

Milwaukee Sentinel

The Sporting News



Author’s interview with Del Crandall on July 30, 2012.



[1] The Sporting News, October 1, 1958, 56.  

[2] The Sporting News, December 10, 1958, 19.  

[3] The author expresses his gratitude to Del Crandall, who was interviewed on July 30, 2012. All quotations from Crandall are from this interview unless otherwise noted.  

[4] The Sporting News, January 16, 1949, 7.  

[5] The game took place on August 27, 1949.  

[6] The Sporting News, March 8, 1950, 5.  

[7] Jim Murray, “Murray’s Pulling for Pirates,” Milwaukee Sentinel, September 13, 1965, 12.  

[8] The Sporting News, April 29, 1953, 36.  

[9] The Sporting News, March 11, 1953, 9.  

[10] Six times Crandall led the league in Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Average, an advanced metric that measures the number of runs above or below average the player was worth based on the number of plays made. See   

[11] The Sporting News, March 14, 1956, 7.  

[12] The Sporting News, April 6, 1955, 3.  

[13] The Sporting News, January 11, 1956, 11.  

[14] The Sporting News, April 17, 1957, 15.  

[15] Del Crandall and Len Woodcock, “Del Crandall on the Art of Catching,” Sports Illustrated, April 21, 1958,  

[16] “Brewers Fire Crandall,” (AP), Meriden (Connecticut) Morning Press, September 29, 1975, 13.

Full Name

Delmar Wesley Crandall


March 5, 1930 at Ontario, CA (USA)


May 5, 2021 at Mission Viejo, CA (USA)

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