Chick Hafey

Last updated

Chick Hafey
Born:(1903-02-12)February 12, 1903
Berkeley, California
Died: July 2, 1973(1973-07-02) (aged 70)
Calistoga, California
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
August 28, 1924, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1937, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
Batting average .317
Home runs 164
Runs batted in 833
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 1971
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Charles James "Chick" Hafey (February 12, 1903 – July 2, 1973) was an American player in Major League Baseball (MLB). Playing for the St. Louis Cardinals (19241931) and Cincinnati Reds (1932–1935, 1937), Hafey was a strong line-drive hitter who batted for a high average on a consistent basis.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team in St. Louis, Missouri, United States

The St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Busch Stadium has been their home ballpark since 2006. One of the most successful franchises in baseball history, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, the second-most in Major League Baseball and the most in the National League. Their 19 National League pennants rank third in NL history. In addition, St. Louis has won 13 division titles in the East and Central divisions.


Hafey was part of two World Series championship teams (in 1926 and 1931) as a Cardinal and also made history with the first hit in an All-Star game, starting in left field and batting cleanup for the National League in the 1933 game. He was selected by the Veterans Committee for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. In 2014, the Cardinals inducted him into their team hall of fame.

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

In baseball, a cleanup hitter is the fourth hitter in the lineup. They are the ones with the most power in the team and their most important job is to bring runs in, the cleanup hitter “cleans up the bases” meaning that if there are runners on the bases the cleanup hitter scores them in ergo the name. There is a whole theory on how a coach sets up his lineup card before the game so he gets the best outcome of his players during the game.

The 1933 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the first edition of the All-Star Game known as the "Midsummer Classic". This was the first official playing of the midseason exhibition baseball game between Major League Baseball's (MLB's) National League (NL) and American (AL) All-Star teams. The game was held on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, the home of the AL's Chicago White Sox. The game resulted in the AL defeating the NL 4–2, in two hours and five minutes.

Early life

Hafey was born on February 12, 1903 in Berkeley, California. He attended Berkeley High School. The St. Louis Cardinals signed Hafey out of high school as a pitcher. However, Cardinals general manager noticed Hafey's hitting abilities and decided that Hafey should become an outfielder. [1]

Berkeley, California City in California, United States

Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south and the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. The 2010 census recorded a population of 112,580.

Berkeley High School (California)

Berkeley High School is a public high school in the Berkeley Unified School District, and the only public high school in the city of Berkeley, California, United States. It is located one long block west of Shattuck Avenue and three short blocks south of University Avenue in Downtown Berkeley, and is recognized as a Berkeley landmark. The school mascot is the Yellowjacket.


St. Louis Cardinals

Hafey played in the minor leagues for the Fort Smith Twins of the Western Association in 1923. He moved to the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League the next year, hitting .360 before being called up to the Cardinals near the end of the season. He split time between the Cardinals and Syracuse Stars in 1925. [2] He spent the 1926 season with the Cardinals, but he played only 78 games. [3]

The Fort Smith Twins were a minor league baseball team in Fort Smith, Arkansas that existed in various incarnations from 1887 through 1953, playing a total of 36 seasons. From 1911 onward, the teams played in the Western Association.

The Western Association was the name of five different leagues formed in American minor league baseball during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Houston Buffaloes, Houston Buffalos, or Buffs were an American minor league baseball team, and were the first minor league team to be affiliated with a Major League franchise, which was the St. Louis Cardinals. The club was founded in 1888, and played in the Texas League at various levels throughout the majority of its existence. Most recently, from 1959 through 1961, the team played in the American Association at the Triple-A level of high minor league baseball as an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Buffaloes derived their nickname from Buffalo Bayou, the principal waterway through Houston to the Houston Ship Channel, outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. The team's last home was Buffalo Stadium, built in 1928. Before that, they played at West End Park from 1905–1928, and at Herald Park prior to that.

Hafey was the first major success of Rickey's expansive farm system, breaking through in 1927 when he led the National League in slugging. Hafey, however, had suffered multiple beanings in 1926. He developed sinus trouble and his vision deteriorated, and Hafey began to wear eyeglasses while playing. Although Specs Toporcer was the first baseball player to wear glasses, Hafey was the most prominent; he is one of two Hall of Famers with eyeglasses, Reggie Jackson being the other. Because his vision became so variable, Hafey was obliged to rotate among three different pairs of glasses.

Slugging percentage

In baseball statistics, slugging percentage (SLG) is a measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats, through the following formula, where AB is the number of at bats for a given player, and 1B, 2B, 3B, and HR are the number of singles, doubles, triples, and home runs, respectively:

Specs Toporcer American baseball player

George Toporcer was a professional baseball player and executive. He served primarily as a utility infielder during his eight seasons in Major League Baseball, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1921 through 1928. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. Toporcer is widely considered as the first major league baseball position player to wear eyeglasses on the playing field.

Reggie Jackson American professional baseball player and coach

Reginald Martinez Jackson is an American former professional baseball right fielder who played 21 seasons for the Kansas City / Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and California Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). Jackson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

In the field, Hafey was known for having a "rifle arm." He had a power peak, averaging 27 home runs and 114 RBI from 1928 to 1930. [4] In July 1929, Hafey tied a National League record with ten hits in ten consecutive at-bats. In August 1930, he hit for the cycle. In 1931, Hafey won one of the closest races for a batting title in history, hitting .349 to beat New York's Bill Terry by just .0002, and teammate Jim Bottomley by .0007. The title was only secured by a hit in Hafey's final at-bat of the season. Hafey was fifth in the voting for the 1931 MVP award. [5] When Hafey's Cardinals faced Al Simmons' Athletics in the 1931 World Series, it marked just the second time that two reigning batting champions had opposed one another in the Fall Classic.

Home run in baseball, a 4-base hit, often by hitting the ball over the outfield fence between the foul poles without 1st touching the ground; inside-the-park home runs—where the batter reaches home safely while the ball is in play—are possible but rare

In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to circle the bases and reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process. In modern baseball, the feat is typically achieved by hitting the ball over the outfield fence between the foul poles without first touching the ground or running to home plate and scoring a point, resulting in an automatic home run. There is also the "inside-the-park" home run where the batter reaches home safely while the baseball is in play on the field.

Bill Terry American baseball player

William Harold Terry was a Major League Baseball first baseman and manager. He stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 200 pounds (91 kg). Terry was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954. In 1999, he ranked number 59 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. The Giants retired Terry's uniform number 3 in 1984; it is posted on the facade of the upper deck in the left field corner of AT&T Park. Nicknamed "Memphis Bill", he is most remembered for being the last National League player to hit .400, a feat he accomplished by batting .401 in 1930.

Jim Bottomley American baseball player and coach

James Leroy Bottomley was an American professional baseball player. A first baseman, Bottomley played in Major League Baseball from 1922 through 1937 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Browns. He also served as player-manager for the Browns in 1937. Playing for the Cardinals against Brooklyn at Ebbets Field on September 16, 1924, Bottomley set the all-time single game RBI record with 12.

Although the soft-spoken Hafey was overshadowed by some of his raucous Cardinals teammates, he was frequently at odds with management. Hafey's 1931 and 1932 seasons both began late due to salary disputes. Cardinals general manager Rickey fined Hafey for being late and out of shape in 1931. In 1932, coming off his batting title, Hafey demanded that the previous year's fine be added to his 1932 salary. When Rickey refused, Hafey bolted from St. Louis' spring training camp. Rickey responded by trading Hafey to the last-place Cincinnati Reds.

Cincinnati Reds

Hafey was happy to join the Reds, who gave him the raise he had sought, but his career faltered. His vision was still erratic, and his persistent sinus condition cost him half of the 1932 season, though he hit .344. In 1933, he was chosen for the inaugural All Star Game, recording the first-ever All-Star hit. Although he maintained a solid batting average as a Red, his offensive production decreased.

In June 1935, suffering from sinus problems and influenza, he returned to his ranch near Berkeley and his relatives there said that he would not return to baseball that season. The team wanted team surgeons to perform sinus surgery, but Hafey planned to have a procedure performed by his own doctor. [6] He tried a minor league comeback in 1936, but he gave that up in April because he was experiencing vision problems and dizzy spells still attributed to sinusitis. [7]

Hafey announced that he would attempt another comeback with the Reds in February 1937. [8] Not long after that, Hafey abandoned that comeback due to a salary dispute. In May, he announced that he would work out with a Pacific Coast League team to work his way back to the Cardinals. [9] He hit .261 in 89 major league games that year. He was released before the 1938 season by general manager Warren Giles when they could not agree to contract terms. [10]

He finished his career batting .317, with 164 home runs and 833 RBI. Hafey played in four World Series, hitting .205 in 92 plate appearances. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included Hafey in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. They cited what they called "the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome," where a player of truly exceptional talent might rank with the all-time greats on merit, despite a career sharply curtailed by injury.


Hafey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. Sabermetrician Bill James has listed Hafey as one of ten examples of Hall of Fame inductees who do not deserve the honor. [11] In January 2014, the Cardinals announced Hafey among 22 former players and personnel to be inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for the inaugural class of 2014. [12]

See also

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  1. Cohen, Robert (2013). The 50 Greatest Players in St. Louis Cardinals History. Scarecrow Press. pp. 127–128. ISBN   0810892162 . Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  2. "Chick Hafey Minor League Statistics & History". . Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  3. "Chick Hafey Statistics and History". . Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  4. "Chick Hafey". Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  5. "1931 Awards Voting". Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  6. "Hafey out for season". The Pittsburgh Press . June 13, 1935. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  7. "Chick Hafey gives up idea of comeback try". The Tuscaloosa News . April 14, 1936. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  8. "Chick Hafey plans comeback attempt". Berkeley Daily Gazette . February 11, 1937. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  9. "Chick Hafey plans to return to big league". The Bulletin . April 30, 1937. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  10. Schottelkotte, Jim (July 11, 1973). "Hall of Famer Chick Hafey is recalled by friends". The Spokesman-Review . Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  11. "Bill James Answers All Your Baseball Questions", an April 2008 entry from the Freakonomics blog
  12. Cardinals Press Release (January 18, 2014). "Cardinals establish Hall of Fame & detail induction process". . Retrieved January 29, 2014.

Further reading

Preceded by
Hack Wilson
Hitting for the cycle
August 21, 1930
Succeeded by
Babe Herman