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Benny Borgmann

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Bernhard Borgmann

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 170 lb.

Infielder Benny Borgmann played and managed in the minors and scouted. He starred in basketball. He hit .304 and scored 1,015 runs as a player.

He was a minor league player from 1928 to 1942. He debuted with the Wilkes-Barre Barons, hitting .308/~.385/.345 and fielded .932 as a shortstop. In 1929, he played for the Pittsfield Hillies and hit .264/~.339/.325. He tied Arlie Pond for third in the Eastern League in stolen bases (27). He fielded .971 when playing third base, second-best in the EL.

In 1930, Benny hit .292 for Pittsfield and .370 for the Harrisburg Senators. Back with Wilkes-Barre in 1931, the 34-year-old hit .263 while playing second base. Borgmann was back at short in 1932 with the Greensboro Patriots. He batted .321 and led the Piedmont League in runs (122 in 123 games) and steals (51).

Borgmann split 1933 between the Columbus Red Birds (.340/~.401/.390, 28 SB in 90 games; third in the American Association in steals) and the Rochester Red Wings (.341/~.420/.409 in 30 games). He stole 35 bases and scored 89 runs while playing in arguably the top two minor leagues of the era.

Borgmann played all of 1934 with Rochester and hit .279/~.325/.358 with 86 runs and 18 steals, playing second base and third base alongside Johnny Mize. In 1935, the veteran became a player-manager for the Huntington Red Birds and hit .307 with 92 runs. The 38-year-old stole 35 bases to lead the Middle Atlantic League.

In 1936, he hit .314, scored 90 runs and swiped 26 bases for Huntington. With the 1937 Portsmouth Red Birds, Benny hit .348, scored 114 runs and stole 22 bases. He guided Portsmouth to the 1938 MAL title, scoring 101 times in 117 runs and hitting .315/~.374/.386.

Borgmann also managed the 1939 Sacramento Solons to a title, but his playing performance fell at age 42, only hitting .231 in 58 games. He did not play in 1940, only managing Sacramento, but was back in the field for 2 games in 1941 (0 for 5 for the Syracuse Chiefs) and for 63 games for the 1942 Allentown Wings (.258).

Overall, Benny played 1,438 games in the minors, collecting 1,671 hits and 1,015 runs while stealing 284 bases. Never a slugger, he only cracked 11 homers. His average was .304.

He managed in the minors from 1935 to 1950. He scouted for the St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins ( -1968), Seattle Pilots (1969), Milwaukee Brewers (1970-1971), and Oakland A's (1972-1974).

Borgmann was also a pro basketball player, leading the American Basketball League in scoring 4 times (1926-1927, 1928-1929, 1929-1930, 1930-1931). He was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1961.

[edit] Year-by-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
1935 Huntington Red Birds Middle Atlantic League 60-58 5th St. Louis Cardinals
1936 Huntington Red Birds Middle Atlantic League 60-69 6th St. Louis Cardinals
1937 Portsmouth Red Birds Middle Atlantic League 72-57 3rd St. Louis Cardinals Lost in 1st round
1938 Portsmouth Red Birds Middle Atlantic League 79-50 1st St. Louis Cardinals League Champs
1939 Sacramento Solons Pacific Coast League 88-88 4th St. Louis Cardinals League Champs
1940 Sacramento Solons Pacific Coast League 90-88 5th St. Louis Cardinals
1941 Syracuse Chiefs International League 70-83 6th none
1942 Allentown Wings Interstate League 68-69 4th St. Louis Cardinals Lost in 1st round
1946 Rochester Red Wings International League 7th St. Louis Cardinals replaced Burleigh Grimes
1947 Allentown Cardinals Interstate League 3rd St. Louis Cardinals Lost League Finals replaced Specs Garbee
1950 Houston Buffaloes Texas League 8th St. Louis Cardinals replaced Kemp Wicker May 24

Sources include 1929-1930, 1934 and 1939 Spalding Guides, The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball ed. by W. Lloyd Johnson, The International League: Year-by-Year Statistics by Marshall Wright

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