George Pfister holding a painting of himself as a Dodgers player (Courtesy of Sharon Pfister collection)

George Pfister

This article was written by Rory Costello

George Pfister holding a painting of himself as a Dodgers player (Courtesy of Sharon Pfister collection)George Pfister spent 56 years in Organized Baseball. However, he played just once in the majors, with the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers. It came on September 27, in the second to last game of the NL pennant-winners’ season. Pfister, then 23 years old, came in for the last five innings – but there was just one hitch. As it was later reported, he took the field without an approved contract, in violation of the rules.1

The catcher’s career was subsequently interrupted by World War II. He missed the following four seasons in the service. When Pfister returned, he played in the minors from 1946 through 1951. He became a player-manager in Class D ball in 1948 and got back to Triple A as a player-coach in 1951.

In 1952, Pfister served as Brooklyn’s bullpen coach. His playing career concluded in 1953, save for a one-game fill-in appearance in 1957. He continued to manage in 1953, as well as parts of ’54 and ’56. Pfister became an executive in 1954 and remained in baseball in that capacity until the day he died in 1997.

His duties included assistant farm director and then head of the chain for the New York Yankees from 1965 to 1974 – the period known as “The Horace Clarke Years,” while baseball’s most dominant franchise was in eclipse. Pfister had learned about building farm systems as part of the one Branch Rickey built in Brooklyn. He helped pave the way for the Yankees’ return to glory in the late 1970s.

More than two decades in the Commissioner’s office followed. As the image above shows, he was honored with an oil painting to commemorate reaching half a century in the game.


George Edward Pfister was born on September 4, 1918, in Bound Brook, New Jersey. This town in Somerset County is about a 45-minute drive from New York City. Pfister remained connected to it throughout his life.

George was the second of two children born to Francis “Frank” Pfister, a private family chauffeur, and his wife Mary (née Ondiro). He had an older brother, also named Francis. The family was of German descent on Frank’s side and Austrian on Mary’s.2

As he reminisced in 1988, while growing up in Bound Brook, young George always looked forward to the annual carnival outside St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church. The main attraction? “Big league ballplayers always seemed to show up at Father [James A.] Harding’s events. . .Pfister recalls when Phillies catchers Charlie Berry and Frankie ‘Blimp’ Hayes and Phillies pitcher Whitey Wilshere showed up, and he’ll never forget when Yankees Lefty Gomez and Joe DiMaggio came to his hometown. ‘I met them all at the carnival,’ Pfister said. ‘To this day, whenever I see Joe DiMaggio, one of the first things he says to me is, ‘How’s Bound Brook?’”3

Pfister attended Bound Brook High School, where he played basketball as well as baseball. In 1937, the basketball team won the boys’ title for Group III of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. One of Pfister’s teammates in both sports was Lou Welaj, younger brother of Johnny Welaj, who went on to play as a big-league outfielder for four seasons (1939-41; 1943).4 The season after winning the state title, the starting backcourt combo became the hoops team’s co-captains.5 They co-captained the baseball squad as well. Pfister, then a first baseman, was described as “a classy fielder and one of the strongest hitters on the squad.”6 Lou Welaj, an infielder, was also a Dodgers farmhand from 1942 to 1950 (he too was in the service from 1943 through 1945).

In June 1938, not long after Pfister and Welaj had graduated, a New Jersey newspaper reported that “Bound Brook High’s two crack diamonders” were drawing attention from college and Organized Baseball scouts. Pfister was watched, along with several other young players, by Jack “Rip” Egan, coach at Providence College and a scout for the Boston Red Sox. Another observer was Chuck Ward, the baseball coach at New Jersey’s Rutgers College (as it was then known). Pfister was playing in the local Industrial League. He was set to travel to Ruppert Stadium in Newark to work out with the Newark Bears, then the Yankees’ top farm club. The article noted “his fine work with the unbeaten [Bound Brook High] Crusader team, including a .411 batting average.”7

Pfister first signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, whose scouts he’d impressed while playing semipro ball. One of his old carnival acquaintances, Charlie Berry, moved him back behind the plate to stay. Berry was then an A’s coach.8 As Pfister told it in 1952, he’d originally been a catcher at Bound Brook but was converted to first base because there were two other catchers, and he was the tallest of the lot. Berry noted Pfister’s strong throwing arm, though, and said he should return to catching.9

Pfister was supposed to start his pro career with Williamsport, an A’s farm club in the Eastern League (Class A).10 However, the available records do not show him as having played for the Grays. Instead, he was sent to Lexington of the North Carolina State League (Class D). There he hit .228 in 92 at-bats across 35 games in 1939. Despite good size – six feet even and 200 pounds – he did not hit a homer. Indeed, over the course of 11 seasons he hit just 11 in 703 games.

In 1940, Pfister played for Reading (Pennsylvania), an unaffiliated team in the Interstate League (Class B). After hitting .253 in 64 games, he entered the Dodgers organization in 1941. Reading had joined the Dodgers chain, but he suited up for another Class B team: the Durham Bulls of the Piedmont League. His average climbed to .269 in 101 games. He hit a total of three homers in those two seasons.

Pfister got his “cup of coffee” with Brooklyn amid a logjam of games down the stretch as the first-place Dodgers sought to fend off the St. Louis Cardinals. On the road in Philadelphia, the team played five games in three days from September 20 through September 22.11 Manager Leo Durocher had just two catchers – Mickey Owen and Herman Franks – and sought an able-bodied third-stringer. Another receiver, veteran Babe Phelps, had last played in June and was sitting out the season at home in Maryland.12 However, Pfister (whose minor-league season had already ended) lived reasonably close by in Bound Brook. His purchase was announced on the 20th; he joined the big club in Philadelphia the same day.13 Owen and Franks carried the catching load for the series with the Phillies. The Dodgers (including Pfister) then traveled to Boston.14 They clinched the National League pennant there on the 25th. After an off day, going into the game of Saturday, September 27 at Ebbets Field, they were preparing for the upcoming World Series against the Yankees.

Marty Appel, a New York Yankees historian and author of Pinstripe Empire (2012), heard about the gray area of the story firsthand from Pfister when they worked together in the Yankees front office. Apparently, whoever was responsible for producing a contract for Pfister to sign never did so. Ironically, he went on to validate and record countless contracts during his long front-office career.15

At any rate, the opponent that afternoon was again the Phillies, who were having an abysmal year and dwelling deep in the cellar. In the top of the fifth inning, Durocher removed Owen and brought in Pfister. By the 1951 account of baseball historian Lee Allen, had the skipper known about the contract issue, Pfister might not have been used.16 Thus, he could have become a “phantom major leaguer” (i.e., someone who was on a big-league roster but never entered a game). The following year, though, Pfister told Dodgers beat writer Harold C. Burr that he tried to explain to Durocher that he wasn’t eligible – but Leo inserted the rookie anyway, barking, “You’re holding up the game. Go in and catch and we’ll straighten it out afterward.”17

Pfister was handling another rookie, Ed Albosta, who was making just his second appearance in the majors; the first had come more than three weeks previously. Albosta took a 3-0 lead into the sixth – in fact, he had a no-hitter through 5 2/3 – but gave up five runs and was removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning. The Phillies went on to win, 7-3. As for Pfister, he flied out and grounded out in his two plate appearances. On defense, he started a double play and threw out two of the three runners who tried to steal on him – future managers Danny Murtaugh and Bobby Bragan. Brooklyn Eagle writer Tommy Holmes said that Pfister “looked like a whale of a young catcher. . .the kid must have a rifle concealed in the sleeve of his sweat shirt.”18

As Lee Allen noted, had the Phillies (managed by Doc Prothro) known that Pfister was not under contract, they could have protested and the Dodgers would have forfeited. It was a moot point, from the perspectives of both the game score and the pennant race. However, when the National League released the official 1941 records, Pfister was not included. He told Allen that he had a hard time convincing friends that he’d appeared in a big-league game, adding, “I couldn’t prove it by the averages, anyway.”19

The following year, he noted to Burr that “John McDonald, the road secretary, was afraid it would cause a rhubarb and it was decided to leave my name out of the box score.”20 At least one newspaper, however (New York’s PM), showed a box score that included Pfister. Supporting Allen’s version – and the big-picture story – the final 1941 NL totals in The Sporting News omitted Pfister.21 Baseball encyclopedias eventually got him back on the record.22

On the afternoon of September 28, in the regular season’s finale, Durocher again removed Owen in the top of the fifth. This time, however, the substitute was Franks. A week later at Ebbets Field, in Game Four of the World Series, came Owen’s infamous ninth-inning error that led to a game-winning rally for the Yankees.

In January 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II, it was reported that Pfister had enlisted in the Army and was at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Had he not entered the service, he was apparently ticketed for Montreal in the International League.23

Pfister wound up in the US Army Air Forces. He continued his training at Fort Logan, Colorado, and went to Europe in 1943.24 In July 1945, then holding the rank of First Sergeant, he was awarded the Certificate of Merit while serving in France with a pathfinder squadron of the 439th Troop Carrier Group.25 That was the 93rd Troop Carrier Squadron, which took part in the D-Day invasion and in the Rhine, Bulge, and Saar Basin campaigns.26 No evidence has surfaced that he played ball in the service.

Pfister was discharged on September 19, 1945, at Fort Dix in New Jersey. He planned to resume his baseball career after a period of rest.27 In 1946, when he was 27 years old, he played for Fort Worth of the Texas League (Class AA). He was the primary catcher for the Cats, hitting .261 in 122 games with one homer and 42 RBIs. The following year, though, he injured a leg on Opening Day and was out of action for the entire season.28 It was a gruesome accident suffered while sliding into second. Pfister said, “I was in the hospital three months. . .my foot was separated from the leg. It washed me up as a player.”29

It later emerged that his broken right ankle had not been properly set; it required surgery after the 1952 season.30 In the interim, Pfister said, “I hobbled around and kept catching.”31

At age 29 in 1948, Pfister accepted his first assignment as manager, with Pulaski (Virginia) in the Appalachian League (Class D). In addition to being skipper – none of his charges that year ever made it to the majors – Pfister played in 51 games. He fattened his average up to .361 in 202 at-bats against the circuit’s kid pitchers. Pulaski won the regular-season title and the playoffs.32George Pfister (SHARON PFISTER COLLECTION)

Pfister stayed with Pulaski in 1949; again, his roster included no future big-leaguers. That year the Counts finished second in the Appy League’s regular-season standings and lost in the playoffs. Pfister played more (100 games) and hit even better (.373 in 399 at-bats with a career-high three homers) than he had the year before.

For the 1950 season, Pfister got a new assignment: Hazleton (Pennsylvania) of the North Atlantic League. This was still Class D competition, and Pfister continued to feast at the plate, hitting .334 in 332 at-bats across 102 games. As skipper, he still didn’t have the benefit of any prospects who made it to The Show. On a personal level, though, he met his wife to be, Olga Urosevich, a Hazleton native who was employed as a registered nurse at Hazleton State General Hospital.33 George and Olga were married on October 20, 1951.34

During the three seasons from 1948 through 1950, Pfister’s work in the bushes did not attract any coverage in The Sporting News. Yet he did get mentioned in another national publication, the Saturday Evening Post. The August 26, 1950 issue ran a story titled “It’s a Long Way to the Majors” that focused on a young Hazleton pitcher named Joe Oliffe. It described the skipper and his methods. “Pfister, who is highly regarded by Branch Rickey as a handler of young players, works his boys hard. He maintains a strict curfew and holds a lot of morning practice sessions.”35

He also got local ink, notably in Hazleton. On June 18, 1950, he hit the first grand slam of his pro career to win the opener of a doubleheader against Lebanon. The Hazleton Plain Speaker wrote, “George was so overjoyed to see the ball go over the fence that he hopped several feet in the air en route from first to second. Upon his arrival at home plate, he was subjected to a vigorous pounding by his ecstatic Dodgers, while the big crowd of over 2,000 roared its approval.” Pfister noted modestly, “I’m good for about two each season, so I have another one coming.”36 As it turned out, he tied his career high with three that year.

In 1951, Pfister jumped back up to Class AAA Montreal as a backup/platoon partner for Toby Atwell, a lefty swinger who worked all games against right-handed pitching. Pfister, then 32, replaced career minor-leaguer Ken Staples, who’d broken a finger and then entered the Army.37 The Dodgers chose to summon Pfister despite numerous other options in their system, including Steve Lembo, who’d played five games in the majors for them in 1950. Examining U.S. and Canadian papers from the time, none shed any light on the subject. However, later reports stated, plausibly, that Pfister also served Royals manager Walter Alston as a coach.38

Montreal won the International League championship and then faced the Milwaukee Brewers, champs of the American Association, in the Junior World Series. Atwell played all six games of the series, won by the Brewers. Pfister made just one appearance, grounding out as a pinch-hitter.39

Pfister was in the running to remain a backup at Montreal in 1952.40 Instead, the big club in Brooklyn named him bullpen coach. replacing the departed Clyde Sukeforth. He told Harold Burr that August, “I’m green on this job. And I’m humble too.” The good soldier added, “I’ve worked out a sort of philosophy. It’s keep your eyes and ears open at all times – and your mouth shut.”41

Pfister also provided interesting observations about relief ace Joe Black. In addition to being the team’s quickest reliever to get loose, Black would pitch from a spot four feet behind the practice mound, so the plate would look bigger when he pitched from the regulation distance. Pfister went on to talk about the good-natured razzing from the Ebbets Field fans, who would yell things like, “Hey George, better get busy. That humpty-dumpty [that manager Charlie] Dressen has started isn’t going to make it.”42

When number-one catcher Roy Campanella chipped a metacarpal that July, Pfister might have been activated if necessary – neither Dressen nor club VP Buzzie Bavasi contemplated calling up another receiver or using Gil Hodges (who’d come up as a catcher but had last played there in 1948).43 Instead, primary backup Rube Walker played every inning of nine games behind the plate in eight straight days. Thus, the player contract that the Dodgers had stashed in the dugout for Pfister was never used.44

Already that year Pfister was showing signs that he wanted to be an executive. The team dubbed him “vice president of Trades and Rumors for the ‘dream’ deals he concocts. ‘If I was a general manager,’ George cracked, ‘I would trade Bobby Morgan for Cloyd Boyer,’ to which Preacher Roe observed: ‘That’s why you’re not a general manager.’”45 As it later turned out, Pfister and Boyer were longtime colleagues in the Yankees organization.

In February 1953, Pfister was named manager of Pueblo, the Dodgers’ affiliate in the Western League (Class A). He replaced Bill McCahan, who quit to go into business.46

Pfister put himself into 67 games in his last full season as a player, tied for most as catcher on the club. The veteran showed a feisty spirit, nearly getting into a fight with Chris Kitsos of Des Moines after tagging Kitsos out at the plate. Teammates had to break them apart.47 He handled one future big-league pitcher that season, Karl Spooner, who was briefly spectacular with Brooklyn the following September. Pfister described Spooner as “an Ed Lopat with speed. He throws a lot of different pitches; they’re all effective.”48

February 1954 brought a report that Pfister had shifted to the front office. He was named business manager of Thomasville (Georgia), a Dodgers farm team in the Georgia-Florida League (Class D).49 He was also one of three managers the club employed that year and one of two in 1956, though it’s not clear for how many games.

As the 1957 season dawned, Pfister was listed as business manager of Macon in the South Atlantic League, a Class A affiliate of the Dodgers.50 That August 16, the 38-year-old made his first playing appearance in four years and the last of his career. He caught the last six innings as Macon was routed, 18-0. The team’s only available catcher developed a sore shoulder, so Pfister offered his services to manager Goldie Holt.51

Pfister moved back to Thomasville in 1958, and then to the Orlando Dodgers in the Florida State League in 1959.52 He was still with Orlando in 1961. That June, the Orlando Sentinel quoted him on the Dodgers’ signing of a local prospect, pitcher Jack Billingham.53

In February 1962, Pfister joined the Yankees organization as business manager for Greensboro (North Carolina) in the Carolina League (Class A). He hadn’t intended to go to the Dodgers’ archrivals – he was supposed to be GM of Evansville (Indiana), a new entry backed by Los Angeles in the Southern Association (Class AA). But when that loop folded, the Dodgers went without a Double-A affiliate that year. Pfister, who had a two-child family to support, landed in Greensboro.54

Ahead of the 1964 season, Pfister became assistant farm director, reporting to Johnny Johnson.55 That December, Johnson named Pfister secretary of the Yankees farm system.56

Major-league baseball’s inaugural amateur draft took place in June 1965. Pfister was involved in the Yankees’ draft decisions for 10 years, with generally good results:



#1 pick
in June
regular draft

Other selections
in regular draft
who made it
to the majors
with the Yankees

Selections from other draft phases
who made it
to the majors
with the Yankees

Other selections
who made it
to the majors
with other teams


Bill Burbach

Stan Bahnsen, Tom Shopay


Danny Thompson, Darcy Fast, Mickey Scott, Tommy Gramly


Jim Lyttle

Steve Kline, Rusty Torres


Gary Timberlake, Joe Pactwa, Darrell Evans


Ron Blomberg

Larry Gowell, Jim Deidel, Loyd Colson, Roger Hambright

Frank Baker, Terry Ley

Mike Reinbach, Sam Ewing, Steve Rogers, Gerry Pirtle, Norm Angelini


Thurman Munson

George Zeber


Wayne Nordhagen, Duane Kuiper, John Andrews


Charlie Spikes


Ken Crosby, John Tamargo, Larry Hardy, Jim Barr


Dave Cheadle

Doc Medich


Fred Lynn, Don DeMola


Terry Whitfield

Ron Guidry, Larry Murray


Mike Paxton, Mike Pazik


Scott McGregor

Ken Clay, Mickey Klutts, Darryl Jones, Bob Kammeyer

Rick Anderson

Larry Wolfe


Doug Heinold

Mike Heath, Kerry Dineen


LaMarr Hoyt, Garth Iorg, Craig Mitchell


Dennis Sherrill

Dave Bergman, Jerry Narron, Dennis Werth


Ken Phelps



Of the 10 first-round picks from the June draft, the clear standout was Thurman Munson (1968), but only one never made it to the majors (Doug Heinold, 1973), and only two (Dave Cheadle, 1970 and Scott McGregor, 1972) reached the top level with other teams. The Orioles got the better of the 10-player 1976 deal that included McGregor, but Charlie Spikes was part of the vital 1972 trade that brought Graig Nettles to the Yankees.

Most of the other players listed had minimal or modest big-league careers – but Ron Guidry was another main cog in the World Series champions of 1977 and ’78. Doc Medich and LaMarr Hoyt also helped build those champs by way of trade, as part of deals including Willie Randolph and Bucky Dent. Stan Bahnsen was AL Rookie of the Year with the Yankees in 1968 and stayed in the majors through 1982. Of those who didn’t sign with the Yankees, the biggest “ones that got away” were Darrell Evans, Steve Rogers, and Fred Lynn.

Marty Appel joined the Yankees organization in 1968. Looking back in 2022, Appel described his colleague as “a cigar-smoking old-school ‘Rickey guy’” – as Pfister liked to call himself. Pfister oversaw all records, making sure that contracts, options, and other such affairs were in proper order. He kept those records, handwritten on oversized index cards, in a rolling tub near his desk. Pfister liked to talk about his tub.57

In the summer of 1970, Johnny Johnson resigned from the Yankees to assume new duties in Commissioner Bowie Kuhn’s office. Lee MacPhail, New York’s executive VP and GM, promoted Pfister to business manager, player development.58 A feature article on Pfister appeared that August in the Central Jersey Home News. It described how he, colleague Clyde Kluttz (whose focus was on-field operations), and the organization’s minor-league managers formed consensus evaluations of prospects. Pfister’s pithy remark: “We put the player where we think he can play.” With regard to new draftees, he added, “It’s not so much how well they do in these games as it is to become acclimated to professional baseball. . . getting into the routine of things.”59

In June 1974, columnist Dick Young reported that Pfister would be leaving the Yankees to join Kuhn’s staff, which was going through some changes.60 However, one of the holdovers was Johnny Johnson (who eventually became president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues in 1979). Pfister’s new role became official that August.61 He continued to monitor transactions, making sure that all was in order.62

A 1980 report quoted Pfister weighing in on a dispute with junior college coaches over the system then in place, which permitted juco players to be selected in both the January and June amateur drafts. Many coaches of such programs were unhappy with the setup. Pfister said, “I can assure you it was not done to give the scouts a jump on the coaches. We’re not picking on the junior colleges or anyone else. But the junior colleges cannot deny a young man the opportunity to sign, and the major league team does not have an obligation to the college coaches, only to the boy and his family.”63

In 1986, Pfister was quoted again on another issue related to baseball’s talent pool – this time, the influx of Latino players. At the time, a U.S. Department of Labor quota capped the number of work visas available to foreigners at 10 per team. Pfister said, “If some teams had their way, they’d be signing 50 to 60 Latins.”64

As of the 1988 feature, Pfister was assistant director of baseball operations in the office of Commissioner Peter Ueberroth. He was a regular attendee at All-Star Games and the World Series. He had a seat in the dugout and thus was visible in broadcasts, though he was seldom identified. From his office at Park Avenue in Manhattan, Pfister continued to run the immigration program dealing with foreign players. He also played a major role in the free agent draft and in dealing with the scouting staffs of the major-league teams (which then numbered 26).65

In addition, he was also involved with the Rules Committee, with revisions in baseball’s official rule book and with interpretation of rules throughout the season. Pfister took part in 1988’s crackdown on balks, a policy that he defended. He observed, “Whitey Herzog [then managing the St. Louis Cardinals] originally raised the argument that the pitcher’s not really stopping if he’s already lifting his foot up while he’s still coming down with the ball, and he was right. The rule has always been there. You have to come to a stop. The pitchers will just have to work on doing it right.”66

In 1991, Pfister was honored as a “King of Baseball.” This award has been given by Minor League Baseball each year since 1951 to recognize a veteran of professional baseball for longtime dedication and service.

Pfister remained with the Commissioner’s office for 23 years, up until his death from a heart attack on August 14, 1997, in Somerset (New Jersey) Hospital.67 At the time of his death, the 78-year-old was serving as supervisor of baseball operations. He had served under two more Commissioners after Kuhn and Ueberroth: A. Bartlett Giamatti and Fay Vincent.

Pfister was survived by his wife Olga; daughters Sharon and Catherine; and his brother Francis.68 A funeral Mass took place at St. Joseph’s, followed by burial in Bound Brook Cemetery.69 Looking back in 2022, Sharon Pfister stated, “My Dad was a special man who gave of himself without asking for anything in return. He lived a good life doing what he loved: baseball.”70

In 2002, the Commissioner’s office donated Pfister’s voluminous records of baseball’s drafts to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. There are 22 boxes containing thousands of pages of data sheets, correspondence, and other materials. Even after the advent of computers, much was either handwritten or typed. They remained in the museum’s archives for more than 10 years but were finally examined and catalogued in 2015. The George Pfister MLB Draft Papers were then made available for public viewing at the museum’s Giamatti Research Center.71

George Pfister had a favorite memory of his brief time in the majors and his career overall. It came from off the field: the train ride from Boston back home to New York after the Dodgers had clinched the 1941 pennant. He recounted the names of several teammates: Pee Wee Reese, Luke Hamlin, Dolph Camilli, and Cookie Lavagetto. He said, “I was a 23-year-old kid, and that train ride left a big impression on me.

“Even in the minors, it was the guys you met, the friendships you made that really stuck with you. The money was nothing to get that excited about; it was the camaraderie that made it all worthwhile.”72



Special thanks to Sharon Pfister, daughter of George Pfister, and SABR member Marty Appel for their input. Continued thanks to Eric Costello for additional research.

This biography was reviewed by Bill Nowlin and Jan Finkel and fact-checked by Jeff Findley.


Photo Credits

Courtesy of Sharon Pfister collection



1 Lee Allen, “On the Lee Side,” as seen in Evening Telegram (Herkimer, New York), January 10, 1951: 2. Harold C. Burr, “’Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun,” Brooklyn Eagle, August 3, 1952: 20.

2 U.S. census records, 1920 through 1950, accessed via Some records show the father’s name spelled “Frances.”

3 Carl Barbati, “Baseball has left a path of Central Jerseyans,” Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey), May 22, 1988: 34.

4 Harry Frezza, “Bound Brook High School’s 1937 state title-winning boys basketball team to be honored,”, October 3, 2018 (

5 “Crusaders List Grid Slate – Card Cagers, Mermen Drill,” Courier-News, November 30, 1937: 14.

6 “Crusader Nine Shapes Up – Trout Season Opens Apr. 15,” Courier-News, March 30, 1938: 14.

7 “Sportsland,” The Courier-News, June 23, 1938: 21.

8 “Berry Got Grays’ Rookie to Switch to Catching,” Binghamton Press, March 10, 1939: 29.

9 Burr, “’Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.”

10 “From Army Front,” The Sporting News, January 22, 1942: 6. Barbati, “Baseball has left a path of Central Jerseyans.” “George Pfister, pro baseball player,” Courier-News, August 15, 1997: 25.

11 The games originally scheduled for May 9 and September 4 were postponed and made up in doubleheaders on September 20 and 21. (Official National League Schedule, 1941 – accessed on eBay.)

12 See Cort Vitty’s SABR biography of Phelps.

13 “Dodgers Acquire Catcher Pfister,” Albany Times-Union, September 21, 1941: B-1.

14 Barbati, “Baseball has left a path of Central Jerseyans.”

15 E-mail from Mary Appel to Rory Costello, May 16, 2022 (hereafter Appel e-mail #1).

16 Allen, “On the Lee Side.”

17 Burr, “’Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.” Tommy Holmes offered a similar account three years previously – see “A Farewell Look at Dodgertown,” Brooklyn Eagle, March 15, 1949: 17. See also Jack O’Connell, “Stanley Deal: Yanks Win for Now,” Hartford Courant, August 16, 1997.

18 Tommy Holmes, “Reiser Pulls Ligament; Phils Halt Dodgers,” Brooklyn Eagle, September 28, 1941.

19 Allen, “On the Lee Side.”

20 Burr, “’Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.”

21 “Reiser, N.L. Swatting Monarch, Took Four Other First with Bat,” The Sporting News, December 25, 1941: 7.

22 The 1956 edition of the Official Encyclopedia of Baseball and the first edition (1969) of the Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia both show Pfister.

23 “From Army Front.”

24 “George Pfister, Former Dodger, Released by Army,” Courier-News, September 22, 1945: 25.

25 “George Pfister Wins Certificate,” Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), July 17, 1945: 5.

26 “George Pfister, Former Dodger, Released by Army.” This article does not mention Pfister in connection with D-Day, just the other three campaigns, but numerous references describe the unit’s role.

27 “George Pfister, Former Dodger, Released by Army.”

28 “Pfister named to Pilot Pulaski in Appy League,” The Sporting News, April 7, 1948: 26.

29 Burr, “‘Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.”

30 “Major Flashes,” The Sporting News, November 26, 1952: 23.

31 Burr, “‘Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.”

32 Burr, “‘Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.”

33 Olga T. Pfister obituary,, June 20, 2009 (

34 “Sports in Shorts,” Hazleton (Pennsylvania) Plain Speaker, October 18, 1951: 25.

35 (No author listed), “It’s a Long Way to the Majors,” Saturday Evening Post, August 26, 1950: 104.

36 “Dodgers Out to Widen 2-Game Margin over Lebanon,” Plain Speaker, June 19, 1950: 16.

37 “Royals Lose Staples to Army,” Sherbrooke (Quebec) Daily Record, March 27, 1951: 12. Lloyd McGowan, “Montreal Romp Sparked by Unheralded Pair,” The Sporting News, September 12, 1951: 23.

38 “George Pfister to serve at local baseball post,” Thomasville (Georgia) Times, February 8, 1954: 8. “Pfister Named GM Here,” Orlando Sentinel, January 8, 1959: 37.

39 Sam Levy, “Sweep Capped Sudsville’s Happiest Season Since ’36,” The Sporting News, October 17, 1951: 21.

40 Lloyd McGowan, “Alston Faces Big Rebuilding Job as Royals Start Drills,” The Sporting News, March 19, 1952: 24.

41 Burr, “‘Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.”

42 Burr, “‘Great Life,’ Says Pfister of Bull Pen Sun.”

43 Roscoe McGowen, “X-Ray Shows Broken Digit; Campy’s Hand Put in Cast,” The Sporting News, July 30, 1952: 7.

44 “Contract Stashed in Dugout for Emergency,” The Sporting News, August 15, 1956: 16.

45 Oscar Ruhl, “From the Ruhl Book,” The Sporting News, June 4, 1952: 12.

46 “Geo. Pfister New Pueblo Boss,” The Sporting News, February 11, 1953: 22.

47 “Spooner Fans 63 in 39 Frames,” The Sporting News, July 22, 1953: 33.

48 Bob Asbille, “Spooner, Pioneer Flop Sensation in Western,” Elmira Star-Gazette, July 14, 1953: 13. Originally published in the Des Moines Register.

49 “Caught on the Fly,” The Sporting News, February 17, 1954: 32.

50 “Directory of League and Club Officials,” The Sporting News, April 17, 1957: 28.

51 “G.M. Helps Behind Plate,” The Sporting News, August 28, 1957: 39.

52 “Bob Feemster Sells Orlando Club in Florida State League to Dodgers,” The Sporting News, January 14, 1959: 23. “Pfister Named GM Here.”

53 “Billingham Signs Pact,” Orlando Sentinel, June 15, 1961: 25.

54 Moses Crutchfield, untitled column, Greensboro Daily News, August 8, 1962. Bob Williams, “A.A.’s Chances of Survival May Hinge on Omaha,” The Sporting News, November 17, 1962: 17.

55 Til Ferdenzi, “Maris Shakes ‘Nightmare,’ Takes Slash in Yankee Pay,” The Sporting News, January 4, 1964: 6. See also “Directory of League and Club Officials,” The Sporting News, April 13, 1963: 26.

56 “Yankees Name Bill Harbour Secretary of Farm System,” The Sporting News, December 12, 1964: 7. The headline appears to be in error – the article states that Harbour was named secretary of the scouting department.

57 Appel e-mail #1.

58 Jim Ogle, “Bombers Pick Three for New Executive Posts,” The Sporting News, August 8, 1970: 19.

59 Barry Levine, Bound Brook’s Pfister Gets ‘Yanked,’” Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey), August 2, 1970: 48.

60 Dick Young, “You’re Need Here, Henry,” syndicated column, drawn from Lansing (Michigan) State Journal, June 2, 1974: 31.

61 Ray Saul, “Speaking of Sports,” Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania), August 6, 1974L 18,

62 Appel e-mail #1.

63 Stan Isle, “Junior Colleges Cry Foul on Draft,” The Sporting News, March 15, 1980: 51.

64 Glen Macnow, “The Boys of Winter,” Detroit Free Press, February 4, 1986.

65 Barbati, “Baseball has left a path of Central Jerseyans.”

66 Barbati, “Baseball has left a path of Central Jerseyans.”

67 “George Pfister dead at 78,”, August 14, 1997 (

68 “George Pfister, pro baseball player.”

69 “George Pfister dead at 78.”

70 E-mails from Sharon Pfister to Rory Costello, May 23 and July 26, 2022.

71 Matt Kelly, “Draft Records in Cooperstown,” National Baseball Hall of Fame website, unspecified date circa spring 2015 ( Claudette Scrafford, Guide to the George Pfister MLB Draft Papers, Cooperstown, New York: National Baseball Hall of Fame Archives, May 2015. Available at

72 Barbati, “Baseball has left a path of Central Jerseyans.”

Full Name

George Edward Pfister


September 4, 1918 at Bound Brook, NJ (USA)


August 14, 1997 at Somerset, NJ (USA)

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