In memory of former St. Louis Cardinals: 2012

Our annual feature remembering 10 former St. Louis Cardinals who passed away during 2012, including the oldest then-living ex-Cardinal.

The title of the oldest living former St. Louis Cardinals player was held by one man for over two years. However, Freddy Schmidt passed away in November. A right-handed pitcher who appeared in 1944, 1946 and 1947 with St. Louis, Schmidt lived to the age of 96.

 

The new titleholder as the oldest living former Cardinal is Bill Endicott, age 94. The outfielder, then 27 years of age, appeared in just 20 games for the 1946 Cardinals after returning from service during World War II.

 

Those who held the title before Endicott and Schmidt are as follows. In 2010, Don Lang, the 95-year-old former third baseman from the 1948 club, left us. Herman Franks, then 95, passed away in 2009, preceded by 96-year-old Don Gutteridge in 2008 and Ernie Koy, aged 97 upon his death in 2007. 100-year-old Lee Cunningham passed in 2005.

 

After Schmidt, the oldest Cardinals who died during the course of this past year were Bud Byerly at 91 and Cliff Chambers, age 90.

 

In terms of the living player who played for the team the longest time ago, 92-year-old Stan Musial holds the distinction. "The Man" first arrived in the bigs in September 1941. Red Schoendienst, who debuted in April 1945, is second on this list.  

 

 

January 4: Paul Faulks, age 87

 

The former Navy man fought in World War II and Korea and in his later years, spent two decades with the Cardinals in a number of roles before retiring in 1987. Most notably, Faulks was the head administrator of the Cards minor league system.

 

January 21: Cliff Chambers, age 90

 

"Lefty" came up in the Cubs system. After serving in the Air Force during World War II and two more seasons in Triple-A, he joined Chicago in 1948 before moving to Pittsburgh. After throwing a no-hitter during his 2 ½ seasons with the Bucs, he was dealt to the Cardinals in a salary dispute. The seven-player deal included Joe Garagiola heading east. Chambers finished his MLB career with St. Louis in 1953.

 

January 26: Bud Byerly, age 91

 

The right-handed pitcher, one of the last few surviving members of the Cardinals' 1944 World Series champion club, passed away in St. Louis. Eldred William Byerly pitched 21 seasons in professional ball. That included parts of 11 years in the majors from 1943-60 with St. Louis, Cincinnati, Washington, Boston and San Francisco mostly as a reliever.

 

February 11: Gene Crumling, age 89

 

A catcher from Pennsylvania, Crumling's entire Major League career consisted of six games for the 1945 Cardinals, during which he collected a lone hit in 12 at-bats. He was called up to back up Del Rice when starter Ken O'Dea was injured. Crumling returned to the minors until retiring in 1952 at the age of 33. Oddly, the right-handed thrower was known as "Lefty," reflecting his childhood throwing motion.

 

February 17: Howie Nunn, age 76

 

After five seasons in the minors, the right-hander made the Cardinals' bullpen in 1959. His ERA was 7.59 ERA in 16 games for St. Louis before he was returned to Triple-A. In April 1960, the Cardinals sold Nunn's contract to Cincinnati. He retired after spending much of 1962 and all of 1963 back in the minors.

 

May 28: Harry Parker, age 64

 

The right-handed reliever had two short stints with St. Louis, totaling 25 games in the 1970-71 seasons and again in 1975. Parker spent most of his MLB time with the Mets and finished his career with the 1976 Indians.

 

June 4: Pedro Borbon, age 66

 

Most baseball fans remember Borbon for his bullpen work as a member of the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati in the 1970s. However, the right-hander from the Dominican concluded his 12-year MLB career with 10 games in relief for the 1980 Cardinals. Oddly, his son Pedro also finished his major league career as a Cardinal, in 2003.

 

July 7: Chick King, age 71

 

The outfielder appeared in just 45 big league games over five seasons in the 1950's. He broke in with the Tigers and also played for the Cubs before wrapping up his major league time by playing five games with the 1959 Cardinals.

 

November 17: Freddy Schmidt, age 96

 

The right-handed pitcher had a 16-year professional career that included parts of three seasons with the Cardinals, 1944, 1946 and 1947. Schmidt threw two shutouts for the 1944 club and added 3 1/3 shutout relief innings in the World Series. He was traded to the Phillies in 1947, then moved to the Cubs on waivers. He continued to pitch in the minors until 1953.

 

November 23: Chuck Diering, age 89

 

The local product signed with the Cardinals in 1941, but missed three years of minor league play due to World War II. The outfielder reached the majors in 1947 and remained with the Cardinals for five more years, through 1951. The right-handed hitter then went to the New York Giants for two years and three more with the Baltimore Orioles, finishing his nine-year MLB career in 1956. Diering spent part of his final season, 1957, with St. Louis' Triple-A Omaha club.

 

 

Remembering the Browns

 

Former St. Louis Browns player Les Moss (87) also passed away in 2012. 

 

Previous years' articles: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006

 

 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

 

© 2013 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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