Myer, Buddy : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Myer, Buddy

Charles Solomon Myer

The laconic second baseman won the 1935 American League batting title when he hit .349 for the Washington Senators; his 215 hits were second in the league. A lifetime .303 hitter over a brilliant 17-year career, Myer was from a small Mississippi town (his father was Jewish - it is unclear of Myer's relationship with Judaism) and was originally signed by Cleveland; but he refused to report to their minor league affiliate, believing he was good enough to start in the majors (he was right). A left-handed batter who was so adept at dragging the ball that he beat out 60 bunts in one season, Buddy also had a great batting eye -- he racked up more than double the number of bases-on-balls as he did strikeouts! Senators owner Clark Griffith once said in the mid-1930s that he would not sell Myer for less than half a million dollars, an incredible amount at the time. Myer is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 16, 1904 - d. October 31, 1974

Career Highlights:
While playing at Mississippi A&M, Myer accepted an offer to join the Cleveland Indians organization. After he refused to report to Cleveland's minor league team in Dallas, however, he was released and signed to play with New Orleans, a minor league team in the Southern League. That year (1925), he was outstanding for New Orleans -- he hit a rousing .336 -- and sparked the interest of quite a few major league clubs. He signed with the Washington Senators, and was called up late in the 1925 season. After appearing in 4 regular season games, Buddy was pressed into action in the World Series when the Senators' third baseman was injured. Myer played in three games and hit .250 as Washington lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3.

The next year, Myer took over as Washington's regular shortstop and hit .304 -- the first of nine seasons in which he hit over .300! The following season, however (1927), the Senators, wanting a more impressive glove man at shortstop, traded Buddy to the Boston Red Sox. They soon regretted their decision. In 1928, Myer was outstanding for the Sox, hitting .313 and leading the league in stolen bases with 30; he even finished ninth in the MVP voting! Topper Rigney, the man traded for Myer, played only 45 games for the Senators, and Senators owner Clark Griffith called it :"the dumbest trade I ever made." Obsessed with getting Buddy back, Griffith gave up five players to re-obtain Myer for the 1929 season.

When Buddy returned to the Senators (he remained with the club for the rest of his career), it was as a second baseman, and he became one of the best in the American League. He improved his fielding -- he led the league in 1931 and 1938! -- and continued his prowess with the bat. In 1933, he was a key contributor to the Senators' pennant drive, hitting .302. Although Washington lost the World Series to the New York Giants, 4-1, Myer hit .300 in the Series. Two years later, Buddy had the best year of his career. He established an AL record for the most double plays by a second baseman with 138, and was among the league leaders in every major hitting category except home runs. He won the batting crown by going 4-5 on the final day of the season to edge out Joe Vosmik .3489 to .3469. Vosmik had the lead by one percentage point entering the final day, but unwisely chose to sit out to protect his fragile lead. Myer was an All-Star that season, and finished fourth in the MVP voting as Hank Greenberg won the award.

Following his stellar 1935 season, Myer developed a strange stomach ailment that hampered him during the entire 1936 season. Finally, in August, he was sent home for the season after appearing in only 51 games. In 1937, however, he returned to form, hit .293, and was again selected as an All-Star. In 1938, he hit .336 (fourth in the AL) in 127 games, but that was his last full season. Numerous injuries over the next three seasons caused his productivity to gradually diminish, and he eventually retired after the 1941 season. One of the greatest Jewish players in the history of baseball, Myer retired with an outstanding .303 career average, 2,131 hits, and a tremendous 131 triples (81st all-time).

Career Dates:
Myer played for the Washington Senators, 1925-27, and 1929-41, and the Boston Red Sox, 1927-28.

Second base (for 1340 games), although he played 237 games at shortstop and 219 at third base. He also played 13 games in the outfield.

Physical description:
5'10", 163 pounds
Throws right, bats left

Career Statistics:
Games: 1923
Batting Avg.: .303
Slugging Avg.: .406

At-bats: 7038
Hits: 2131
Doubles: 353
Triples: 130

Home Runs: 38
Home Run %: 0.5
Runs: 1174
RBI: 850

BB: 965
Strike Outs: 428
Stolen Bases: 156

Pinch Hitting
At-bats: 94
Hits: 20

Fielding Statistics
Put-outs: 4224
Assists: 5153
Errors: 311
Double-plays: 1134

Total Chances per Game: 5.4
Fielding Avg: .968

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Also, read a chapter from Jewish Baseball Stars by Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow

encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Great Jews in Sports, by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
The Baseball Encyclopedia: Tenth Edition (New York: McMillan, 1996)