Gerald Wickham Gardner
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.
Jerry Gardner had a lifelong professional baseball career that spanned from the 1930's until his death at 85 in 2006. He played in the minors for at least fifteen years, managed in the minors, then went on to scout for over 35 years.
Jerry's first full year in baseball was 1939, when he played for the Albuquerque Cardinals. He hit .227 with 3 HR and 62 RBI. Returning to Albuquerque, he improved to .253 in 1940 with six homers and 79 RBI. In 1941, he briefly was with the Sacramento Solons and the Pocatello Cardinals (.225, 1 HR, 13 RBI) but spent most of the year with the Fresno Cardinals, hitting .207 with six homers and 54 RBI. He returned to Fresno in '42 and batted .222 with 2 HR and 20 RBI. He also made stops that year with the Decatur Commodores (.273, 0 RBI) and the Houston Buffaloes (.244, 5 RBI).
In 1947, Gardner hit .258/~.331/.425 with the Anaheim Valencias, with a career-high 82 RBI. He batted .424 in brief action for the 1948 San Bernardino Valencias, but was primarily with the Wenatchee Chiefs, hitting .223 with 15 HR (tying his career-high, set in 1947) and driving in 53. He did not play much for the 1949 Tacoma Tigers, hitting .284 with 14 RBI.
Jerry was the player-manager of the 1950 Mayfield Clothiers and batted .281/~.431/.434. He scored 91 times in 105 games, drawing 87 walks and stealing 16 bases for the pennant-winners. In 1951, he hit .268 with 14 HR and 61 RBI for Mayfield.
In 1952, Gardner was player-manager of the Burlington-Graham Pirates. They finished last and he hit .195/~.301/.258 in 76 games in the field. He moved on to the 1953 Visalia Stars as player-manager for a middle-of-the-pack outfit. He batted .199/~.315/.316 that season.
During 1954, Jerry was on the Phoenix Stars and hit .286 with 12 HR and 58 RBI. In 1955, he batted .293 with one homer and 18 RBI for Phoenix. He hit .287 with 3 HR and 12 RBI for the Douglas Copper Kings in 1956 and also had his second brief stint in the Pacific Coast League, this time with the Hollywood Stars, going 1 for 7 with two walks and a strikeout. This was the end of his playing career.
He scouted for the Pittsburgh Pirates, signing Barry Bonds, then moved on to the Atlanta Braves as West Coast scouting director and finished his career with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was honored as Scout of the Year (1994, West Coast) by the Professional Baseball Scouts of America.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1947||Anaheim Valencias||Sunset League||2nd||none||League Champs||replaced Jack Rothrock|
|1948||Anaheim/San Bernardino Valencias||Sunset League||--||none||replaced by Claude "Bob" Williams June 25|
|1950||Mayfield Clothiers||KITTY League||73-45||1st||Pittsburgh Pirates||League Champs|
|1951||Mayfield Clothiers||KITTY League||66-53||3rd||Pittsburgh Pirates||Lost in 1st round|
|1952||Burlington-Graham Pirates||Carolina League||45-92||8th||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|1953||Visalia Stars||California League||67-73||5th||Hollywood Stars|
|1954||Phoenix Stars||Arizona-Texas League||93-47||1st||none||none League Champs|
|1955||Phoenix Stars||Arizona-Mexico League||80-59||3rd||Pittsburgh Pirates||none|
|1956||Douglas Copper Kings||Arizona-Mexico League||73-58||2nd||Pittsburgh Pirates|