Position: Infielder; Outfielder
Teams: New York Giants,1924-1932; Pittsburgh Pirates,1933-1934; Chicago Cubs, 1935; Brooklyn Dodgers,1936
The saying goes that first impressions are hard to erase. If so, then Fred Lindstrom’s arrival at Cooperstown was the culmination of an uphill journey.
In 1924, the Giants had to rush an 18-year-old Lindstrom up to the big club when third baseman Heinie Groh suffered a knee injury. The Giants were on their way to winning their fourth consecutive NL pennant, and they needed Fred for World Series duty.
Considered a good gloveman at third base during his career, Lindstrom is best remembered for two ground balls that he didn’t field in the 1924 World Series. With the Series tied at three games each, the Giants led 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 7. Then a ground ball hit to Lindstrom bad-hopped off a pebble and bounced over his head. Two runs raced home to tie it up. In the 12th inning, disaster struck again.
Muddy Ruel doubled, and then Earl McNeely’s grounder hit the same pebble, or another just like it -- so the legend goes. The ball skipped over Lindstrom again, and the Senators won the world championship. He wasn’t charged with an error on either play, nevertheless, and he hit .333 in the Series.
Frederick Charles Lindstrom (1905-1981) was a pitcher in Chicago while he was growing up. Fred’s high school coach was Jake Weimer, a former major-leaguer and another of John McGraw’s many informants. McGraw liked what he heard and signed Lindstrom upon Fred’s high school graduation in 1922.
A .311 lifetime hitter, “Lindy” topped the .300 plateau seven times and twice slapped out over 230 hits. An accomplished place-hitter, he was quickly dubbed “The Boy Wonder” by Giants fans. Lindstrom’s most productive years were his nine years with the Giants. Freddie led the league in hits in 1928 with 231 while batting an impressive .358.
In 1930, he again collected 231 hits and pounded a career-high 22 homers while driving home 106 runs -- eye-opening numbers, even without his .379 batting average. Unfortunately, due to a plethora of lofty averages in a year in which the composite NL batting average was .303, Freddie’s .379 mark was good for only fifth place.
When McGraw stepped down in 1932, Lindstrom hoped to succeed McGraw, but when the job went to Bill Terry instead in 1933, Lindstrom asked to be traded and was obliged. He played in four more seasons with three teams, making it back to the World Series with the Cubs when they lost to Detroit in 1935.
After his major-league career, Lindstrom managed in the minor leagues and at Northwestern University in the 1950s. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1976.
Here are Fred Lindstrom's major league totals:
|BA||G||AB||R||H||2B ||3B||HR||RBI ||SB |
|.311||1,438||5,611 ||895||1,747 ||301||81||103 ||779 ||84|
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