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Birdie Tebbetts

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George Robert Tebbetts

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[edit] Biographical Information

Birdie in 1957
"There ought to be a second-string or Junior Hall of Fame for guys like me. I had a lifetime average of .270 and I'm proud of it. I poured my life's blood into it. I clawed and scrambled and fought and hustled to get it." - Birdie Tebbetts

Birdie Tebbetts played for 14 years in the big leagues and managed for 11 seasons. He entered the Air Force in August 1942 and was discharged in February 1946.

As a player, Tebbetts was a good enough catcher that he never played any other position in the majors. He appeared in the All-Star game four times, and a couple of times was in the top 20 in the MVP voting.

Tebbetts had a reputation for being a plain speaker, once saying that some of his 1950 Boston Red Sox teammates were "moronic malcontents".

Although he played over half of his career with the Detroit Tigers, he never managed them. The one team that he both played for and managed was the Cleveland Indians, for whom he played in 1951 and 1952 at the end of his playing career, and whom he managed from 1963 to 1966 at the end of his managing career. He was the manager in 1956 when Frank Robinson came up as a rookie with the Cincinnati Redlegs. He also managed Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews in Milwaukee.

A heart attack in 1965 presaged the end of his managing career, and after his managing days he became a scout for 28 years with the New York Mets (1968-1974), New York Yankees (1975-1982), Cleveland Indians (1984-1988), and Baltimore Orioles (1989-?).

He was nicknamed Birdie as a youth by his aunt because of his high-pitched voice. As a kid, his hero was Bill Haeffner, who loaned Birdie a catcher's glove to get him started at the position. Oddly for a ballplayer, Birdie graduated from Providence College with a degree in philosophy. He was there at the same time as Al Blanche. He then did post-graduate work at the University of New Hampshire.

[edit] Notable Achievements


Preceded by
Buster Mills
Cincinnati Redlegs Manager
1954-1958
Succeeded by
Jimmie Dykes
Preceded by
Chuck Dressen
Milwaukee Braves Manager
1961-1962
Succeeded by
Bobby Bragan
Preceded by
Mel McGaha
Cleveland Indians Manager
1963
Succeeded by
George Strickland
Preceded by
George Strickland
Cleveland Indians Manager
1964-1966
Succeeded by
George Strickland

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1953 Indianapolis Indians American Association 82-72 4th Cleveland Indians Lost in 1st round
1954 Cincinnati Redlegs National League 74-80 5th Cincinnati Redlegs
1955 Cincinnati Redlegs National League 75-79 5th Cincinnati Redlegs
1956 Cincinnati Redlegs National League 91-63 3rd Cincinnati Redlegs
1957 Cincinnati Redlegs National League 80-74 4th Cincinnati Redlegs
1958 Cincinnati Redlegs National League 52-61 -- Cincinnati Redlegs replaced by Jimmy Dykes on August 14
1961 Milwaukee Braves National League 12-13 4th Milwaukee Braves replaced Chuck Dressen (71-58) on September 3
1962 Milwaukee Braves National League 86-76 5th Milwaukee Braves
1963 Cleveland Indians American League 79-83 6th Cleveland Indians
1964 Cleveland Indians American League 46-44 6th Cleveland Indians replaced George Strickland (33-39) on July 3
1965 Cleveland Indians American League 87-75 5th Cleveland Indians
1966 Cleveland Indians American League 66-57 -- Cleveland Indians replaced by George Strickland on August 20
1967 Marion Mets Appalachian League 37-27 2nd New York Mets none

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