Bill Dickey

Position: Catcher
Teams: New York Yankees, 1928-1943; 1946
Manager: New York Yankees, 1946
Managerial Record: 57-48

Until Yogi Berra came along, Bill Dickey was not only known as the greatest Yankees catcher but as one of the greatest catchers of all time.

Bill Dickey
In the eight World Series the Yankees participated in while Bill Dickey was with
the club, Dickey caught every inning of every game.

Born in Bastrop, Louisiana, William Malcolm Dickey (1907-1993) grew up in Arkansas. After high school, he attended Little Rock College in 1925, where he was a pitcher and catcher. Lena Blackburne, manager for Little Rock in the Southern Association, spotted Dickey and signed him that year. For several seasons thereafter, Bill played with both Little Rock and their associate teams in the lower minors.

Since Little Rock was an unofficial tributary team for the White Sox, most major-league teams took little notice of him. Of course the Yankees scouted him and, when their investigation proved worthwhile, purchased him in 1928. He caught in 10 games at the end of that season, joining one of the greatest teams of all time.

In 1929, Dickey’s first full season, he batted .324 and completed the outstanding lineup. He was Lou Gehrig’s roommate, and they were a matched set -- quiet and consistent. Dickey was a steady .300 hitter, 10 times topping the .300 mark. His mark of .362 in 1936 was a record for backstoppers.

Over the four-year period from 1936 to 1939, the left-handed Dickey took advantage of the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium to pop 20-plus homers a year and drive in 100-plus runs.

A hard worker and a fierce competitor, Dickey handled Yankee pitching staffs on eight World Series teams, winning seven championships. His 17-year career spanned the era from Ruth to DiMaggio. Bill caught 100 or more games for 13 consecutive seasons, a record that would stand until Johnny Bench appeared. When Dickey retired, he held the records for putouts and fielding average.

A quiet leader and generally calm on the field, Bill lost his cool one day in 1932 and received a one-month suspension and a fine after he broke baserunner Carl Reynolds’s jaw with one punch after a collision at home plate. After catching only 71 games during the 1943 season, Dickey hit a two-run homer in the fifth and final game of the World Series that fall against the Cardinals to propel the Yanks to the championship.

Bill enlisted in the Navy at age 36, missing the 1944 and 1945 seasons. He returned but played in only 54 more games to finish his career in 1946. When the Bombers were working with a young kid named Berra, Bill was called in to show the youngster the way to do it. Dickey was named to the Hall of Fame in 1954.

Here are Bill Dickey's major league totals:


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