Tuesday, January 12, 2010

#18 Charlie Grimm

Charlie Grimm, known as "Jolly Cholly", was a very popular player and manager, and his immense likeability was only slightly better than his play in the field.

Born in 1898 in St Louis, Missouri, Grimm debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1916 at the age of 17, the team for whom he was a batboy as a child. The signing by Connie Mack was the beginning of a playing career that lasted 21 seasons and saw him finish with 2299 hits and a .290 lifetime average.

After short stays in Philly and St Louis, he joined the Pirates in 1920. He played first base for the Pirates for five years, peaking with a .345 average and 99 RBI in 1923, both totals would be his career high. He was traded to the Cubs after the 1924 season, and it was here that he made his mark. He was the club's first bagger for 8 years, and was one of the most recognizable and well-liked players on the club. He was even given the job as manager in 1932, a job he held until 1938, two years after the closing of his playing career. He batted .364 in two World Series.

Grimm went into business with Bill Veeck in 1941, buying the Milwaukee club of the American Association. He managed the club, and also entertained the fans by playing the banjo for them on occasion. Grimm returned to manage the Cubs in 1944, and managed the Braves from 1952-56. He had one last stint as manager for the Cubs in 1960, and one ended like to other managerial helm had before. Shortly into the 1960 season, Grimm and Cubs Broadcaster a former shortstop Lou Boudreau traded jobs, with Grimm going to the radio booth. After finishing out the season, he returned back to the Cubs playing field as a coach, and soon moved into the front office. He stayed on staff for the Cubs for the rest of his life, his last position being as special assistant to manager Dallas Green.

Grimm died in November of 1983 of cancer in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Grimm is one of those guys where everyone who knew him had a story about his good nature and generosity. There is one tale when Grimm was coaching third on a particularly lackluster afternoon. Marvin Rickert belted a drive to right, and was easily headed to third with a stand up triple. Grimm frantically waved Rickert around and motioned for him to hit the dirt at third base. As Rickert slid into the bag, he was greeted by Grimm, who was sliding into the bag from the other direction.

The Autograph: Grimm autographs can be found for 10 dollars and up. He regularly signed through the mail and at Wrigley Field, as well as Spring Training.

Grimm on Parade, 1953

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