Sunday, March 17, 2013

Today's Baseball Birthday...Pete Reiser

Today is St. Patrick's Day, but instead of green, we go Brooklyn Dodger Blue and celebrate the birthday of former National League batting champion Pete Reiser.

 It seems to me that Pete Resier is the forgotten man in the era of the great Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the 1940s and 1950s.

With great ball players like Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, Gil Hodges, and Roy Campanella, the former Dodgers outfielder is often overlooked.

Resier made his big league debut as a Dodger on July 23rd, 1940, playing in 58 games, collecting 66 hits.

1941 made Reiser a household name in Faltbush.

Playing in 137 games, Pete led the N.L. in runs, triples, slugging percentage, total bases, hit by pitches, and batting average, a cool .343 in 601 plate appearances.

That .343 BA made him the first rookie to ever lead the N.L. in hitting.

After hitting .310 in 1942 Resier served in the U.S. Army, in WWII, during the 43-44-45 seasons.

Reiser returned in 1946 to lead the N.L. in stolen bases, with 34, his second straight year (1942 also) leading the N.L.

Pete Reiser only knew one way to play baseball, and that was full steam ahead, and his aggressive, all out play caused many an injury, including having to be taken off on a stretcher quite a few times.

Many knowledgeable baseball people, including Reiser's Dodger Manager, Leo Durocher, think his many injuries kept Pete from being one of the great players of the era.
Leo Durocher once said of Reiser..."Pete had more power than Willie(Mays) — left-handed and right-handed both. He had everything but luck."

Pete played for the Dodgers through the 1948  season, then played for the Boston Braves in '49-'50, the Pittsburgh Pirates in '51 and the Cleveland Indians in '52.

In 10 big league seasons, in 861 games, Peter Reiser played in three All-Star Games, hit .295, with 58 home runs and 368 RBI.

Happy Birthday Pete!

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