Stan Musial says former St. Louis teammate Red Schoendienst always had a way of finding greatness. Now, greatness has found Schoendienst.
Schoendienst, the former Cardinals second baseman and manager, was elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday by a vote of theveterans committee, an 18-man panel created 32 years ago to consider players passed over by the regular balloting of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
While Schoendienst will be making the trip to Cooperstown this summer, former New York Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto will have to wait for another day.
Umpires and executives are eligible too, and one-time National League ump Al Barlick will join Schoendienst and BBWAA selections Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski as 1989 inductees on July 23 at Cooperstown, N.Y.
Schoendienst, who led NL second basemen in fielding a record seven times, spent 18 years in the major leagues - including 14 with the Cardinals. He also managed the club to two pennants and one world championship in the 1960s.
"Red had an outstanding career and the greatest pair of hands I've ever seen in baseball," said Musial, a Hall of Famer and a member of the veterans committee.
Barlick, known for a booming voice that projected balls-and-strikes calls loud enough to be heard on radio broadcasts, was one of the youngest umpires ever to make it to the majors when he was called up to the National League in 1940.
He was only 25 then, but earned the respect of players and managers over a career that spanned 27 full seasons and part of another. He worked seven World Series and seven All-Star games and has served as an umpire consultant for the NL since retiring after the 1971 season.
"I think it's a miracle that I got in," Barlick, 73, said by telephone from his home in Gilbert, Ariz. "Other than that, I really don't have anything to say."
Barlick missed two seasons while serving in the Coast Guard and two more with a heart problem.
Schoendienst, a .289 career hitter who batted over .300 seven times, was a lot more expressive. Reached at his apartment in St. Petersburg, where the Cardinals are in spring training and he is working as a coach, he said he felt deserving of the honor.
"My wife thought I should be in a long time ago, but that's wives," the 66-year-old native of Germantown, Ill., said. "She asked me, `When is the announcement?' I said, 3 o'clock. She said, `I'm not going shopping.'
"Anytime you can stop a gal from going shopping, that's pretty big news."
The vote was another setback for Rizzuto, who has been open about his disappointment at not being picked, especially after his crosstown rival of the 1940s and 1950s, Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese, was elected in 1984.
Seventeen of the 18 committee members were present during 51/2 hours of deliberations. Although no vote total was announced, it takes 14 for election and there was not sufficient support for Rizzuto, the 1950 American League Most Valuable Player who played on nine Yankee pennant winners and has seven World Series rings.