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Jack Heidemann

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Jack Seale Heidemann

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[edit] Biographical Information

Jack Heidemann, who was the regular shortstop for the Cleveland Indians in 1970 and 1971, had an eight-year major league career. He attended Brenham High School.

Originally drafted 11th overall by the Indians in the 1967 amateur draft, he made his debut on May 2, 1969 at the age of 19. The sixth-youngest player that year in the Majors, he appeared in three games, and was hitless in three at-bats.

In 1970, as the ninth-youngest player in the league, Heidemann - at 6'0" and 178 pounds - took the starting job at shortstop away from Larry Brown. As the team's starter, he hit only .211 with 6 home runs, although he did collect a hit in his first at-bat of the season. He was the only starting player not to hit 10 home runs for the Indians that year.

Heidemann was able to keep his job in 1971, at least to the extent that he played more games at shortstop than any of the other six players tried at the position. In 81 games that year, he hit only .208 with no home runs and 9 RBI. This former first round draft pick obviously wasn't living up to what was expected of him. Heidemann suffered a couple of injuries that limited his playing time that season. One of those may have occurred during the "250-foot home run" where Tommy McCraw hit a fly ball that resulted in several Cleveland players - Heidemann, Vada Pinson and John Lowenstein - colliding into each other. McCraw was credited with an inside-the-park home run on the play. See November 21 Birthdays.

He played in only 10 games in 1972, relinquishing his starting job to Frank Duffy. In those 10 games, he came to bat 20 times and hit only .150. Duffy remained the Indians' starter for most of the 1970s.

Heidemann did not play any Major League baseball in 1973. Although he was traded to the Oakland Athletics with Ray Fosse for Dave Duncan and George Hendrick, he was re-acquired by the Indians before the 1974 season began.

1974 was Heidemann's best season in terms of batting average, even though he hit only .247. He started out the season with the Indians, but after collecting only one hit in his first 11 at-bats, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Luis Alvarado and Ed Crosby on June 1st. Mike Tyson was the Cardinals' regular shortstop that year and hit .223. Heidemann hit .271 in 47 games (but only 70 at-bat), and didn't displace Tyson. Tyson remained a starter for most of the decade in St. Louis, moving to second base when Garry Templeton reached the majors in 1976.

Heidemann was traded to the New York Mets with Mike Vail for Ted Martinez before the 1975 season. With Bud Harrelson hurt for most of the year, Mike Phillips was the starting shortstop for the Mets, while Jack got into 61 games as his main back-up. Heidemann started the 1976 season with the Mets, but hit only .083 in his first 12 at-bats, and then was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor leaguer Tom Deidel. With the Brewers in 1976, where SS Robin Yount was in the third season of a Hall of Fame career, Heidemann hit .219 with two home runs while playing mainly third base and second base. Overall, he hit .209 that year, collecting 10 RBI.

He finished his career in 1977, playing his final game on May 10th of that year. Used almost exclusively as a defensive substitute and pinch runner in the five games he played that year, he collected no hit in one at-bat, although he did score a run. He was in spring training with the Brewers in 1978, but he was the last player cut when the Brewers decided to head north with another young infielder, Paul Molitor, who was also starting out a Hall of Fame career.

Overall, Heidemann hit .211 in his career with 9 home runs and 75 RBI. He was a .966 career fielder. He compares most statistically to Alvarado, for whom he was traded, and he spent 5 seasons with Dick Tidrow, John Lowenstein and Phil Hennigan - longer than any other teammates. He collected his final hit off Dave Roberts and his final home run off Bill Lee.

At last check, he lived in Tempe, AZ. His son, Mike Heidemann, played in independent baseball. His father-in-law, Bill Cutler, served as President of the Pacific Coast League. His nephews, Brett Bordes, Greg Bordes and Jim Patterson - who are also Cutler's grandchildren - have all played in the minor leagues. The Bordes' father, Charles Bordes played in the minor leagues.

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