Long Service Field Perfomers

This article was written by Ted DiTullio

This article was published in the 1979 Baseball Research Journal


When a major league player closes out his active play around the ages of 35 to 40, where does he turn if he wants to continue his direct contact with the diamond activity? He becomes a coach, a manager, or an umpire. A former player could also become a club executive, a scout, broadcaster, etc., but in those positions he ceases to be a field performer. Our objective in this article is to discuss those persons who had particularly long careers (35 years) by totaling their years as a player, coach, manager, or umpire.

Some baseball figures spent their entire professional careers in one or more of the four different categories. The exaggerated example, of course, is Connie Mack who was a player for II years and a manager for 53 years, including three years when he was player-manager. Of course, he was also the president of the Philadelphia Athletics, the club he managed, and this undoubtedly was the controlling factor in his enormous longevity. He finally gave up the reigns in 1950 when he was 88.

Connie Mack managed 20 years longer than any other manager, with John McGraw next with 33 years. A near parallel was achieved in the coaching ranks by Nick Altrock who served 46 years with the Washington Senators, 1912-1957. During much of this period his good friend, Clark Griffith, headed the club as manager or president. The coach next in line in number of years was George Susce, who served 29 years with six different clubs, winding up with the Texas Rangers in 1972. Frank Crosetti coached for 25 years and Jim Turner 24.

Bill Klem makes the list of long service field performers based on his 36 years as an umpire, the longest of any arbiter. He was not a player, coach or manager. On the other hand, Hank O’Day, an ump for 35 years, was also a player and manager. So was George Moriarty. Eddie Rommel and Charlie Berry served successively as player, coach, and umpire.

Deacon McGuire is credited with 26 years as a player, but he didn’t serve in other capacities long enough to make the list. The same applies to Eddie Collins and Bobby Wallace, who played for 25 years.

Are there any persons on the long-service list who spent time in all four categories of player, coach, manager, and umpire? Technically only one, and that is because Wilbert Robinson served as a fill-in umpire in 1898 when he was a catcher with the Baltimore Orioles. However, this is not significantly different than crediting, for example, Red Schoendienst with a year as a player based on his three at bats with Milwaukee in 1959.

Is the long service field performer a thing of the past? In the first place, it is unlikely that the extreme cases of Mack and Altrock would be duplicated. In the second place, the probability of former major league players moving into the umpire ranks seems to be fading with time. The only former major league player now umpiring in the majors is Bill Kunkel. Having made those two qualifications, we can say that opportunities still exist for long careers for field performers. Several already have long careers in the works: Jim Hegan, 58, coach for the Yankees, is in his 36th season. Red Schoendienst has 35 years at age 55; Eddie Yost 35 years at 52; and Yogi Berra 34 years at 54.

Those persons who had careers of 35 years or more in the four categories of field performance are listed below. The years in each category do not always add to the total because the person may have served in a dual capacity, such as player-manager. The age refers to the person’s age in his last year of diamond activity.

 

Performer

Player

Coach

Manager

Umpire

Period

Years

Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connie Mack

11

53

1886-1950

61

88

Nick Altrock

19

46

1898-1957

55

81

Jimmy Dykes

22

8

21

1918-1964

45

67

John McGraw

16

33

1891-1932

42

59

Bill McKechflie

11

7

25

1907-1953

42

67

Hank O’Day

2

35

1884-1927

41

64

Casey Stengel

14

2

25

1912-1965

41

75

Mel Harder

20

22

1928-1969

41

59

Honus Wagner

21

19

1

1897-1951

40

77

Bill Dinneen

12

29

1898-1937

40

61

Leo Durocher

17

4

24

 

1925-1973

40

68

Frank Crosetti

17

25

1932-1971

40

61

Robert Emslie

3

35

1883-1924

38

65

Wilbert Robinson

17

3

19

1

1886-1931

38

68

Johnny Cooney

20

21

1921-1964

38

63

George Moriarty

13

2

22

1903-1940

37

56

Eddie Rommel

13

2

22

1920-1959

37

62

Bill Klem

36

1905-1940

36

66

Art Fletcher

13

19

5

1909-1945

36

60

Charlie Grimm

20

2

19

1916-1961

36

62

Chuck Dressen

8

12

16

1925-1966

36

67

Al Lopez

19

17

1928-1969

36

60

Tony Cuccinello

15

21

1930-1969

36

61

Jim Hegan

17

19

1941-1979

36

58

Charlie Berry

11

5

21

1925-1962

35

59

Eddie Yost

18

17

1944-1979

35

52

Red Schoendienst

19

4

12

1945-1979

35

55

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