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Rollie Hemsley

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Ralston Burdett Hemsley

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Catcher Rollie Hemsley was an All-Star five times during a playing career that lasted nearly two decades. Following his playing days, he was a minor league manager and big league coach.

Hemsley reached the majors in 1928 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and became a regular behind the plate in 1930. The next season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he backed up Gabby Hartnett, and following the 1932 campaign, he was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds, where he was a backup to Ernie Lombardi.

Dealt to the St. Louis Browns late in the 1933 season, Hemsley became a regular starter once again. With St. Louis, he hit .309 in 1934 and was an American League All-Star in 1935 and 1936. His average dipped to .222 in 1937, and prior to the next season, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for four players.

With the Indians, Hemsley initially backed up regular catcher Frankie Pytlak, but after Pytlak was injured, he took over as the starter behind the plate. He earned another selection to the All-Star team in 1939. On Opening Day 1940, he caught Bob Feller's no-hitter, and he made the AL All-Star squad for the fourth time that summer.

Following a brief stint with the Reds in 1942, Hemsley moved on to the New York Yankees. While playing for New York, he was primarily a backup but earned a fifth selection to the All-Star Game in 1944.

During World War II, Hemsley entered the Navy in August 1944 and was discharged in October 1945. He briefly returned to the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1946 and 1947.

Following his playing days, Hemsley became a minor league manager. With the Columbus Red Birds in 1950, he was named Minor League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. After stints as a Philadelphia Athletics coach in 1954 and a member of the Washington Senators staff in 1961 and 1962, he returned to the minors to manage again. With the Indianapolis Indians in 1963, he was again named The Sporting News Manager of the Year. He also played and coached in the Cuban Winter League.

Following his baseball days, Hemsley sold real estate in a Washington, DC suburb.

Harlond Clift in the January 1982 issue of Baseball Digest said that Hemsley was the best man at his wedding.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 5-time AL All-Star (1935, 1936, 1939, 1940 & 1944)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1943 (he did not play in the World Series)

[edit] Year-by-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1949 Nashville Vols Southern Association 95-57 1st Chicago Cubs League Champs
1950 Columbus (OH) Red Birds American Association 84-69 3rd St. Louis Cardinals League Champs
1951 Texas City Texans Gulf Coast League none replaced by William Rogers Aug 9th
1952 Toledo Mud Hens / Charleston Senators American Association 46-107 8th none
1956 Charlotte Hornets South Atlantic League 79-61 2nd Washington Senators Lost in 1st round
1963 Indianapolis Indians International League 86-67 1st Chicago White Sox League Champs
1964 Cedar Rapids Red Raiders Midwest League 51-69 6th Cincinnati Reds
1969 Waterloo Hawks Midwest League 52-72 7th Kansas City Royals

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