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Edward Raymond Stanky (September 3, 1916 – June 16, 1999), nicknamed "The Brat", was an American second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball. He played for the Chicago Cubs (1943–1944), Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1947), Boston Braves (1948–1949), New York Giants (1950–1951), and St. Louis Cardinals (1952–1953). He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, and his original nickname, "The Brat from Kensington," is a nod to the neighborhood where he grew up.

'All he can do is win'

Stanky was famous for his ability to draw walks; he drew 100 walks each in 6 different seasons, twice posting 140. In 1946, Stanky hit just .273, but his 137 walks allowed him to lead the league in OBP with a .436 figure, edging out Stan Musial - who led in 10+ batting departments. His best season was probably in 1950 with New York, when he hit an even .300 and led the league in walks (144) and OBP (.460). On August 30 of that year, he tied a Major League record when he drew a walk in seven consecutive plate appearances. He accomplished the feat over a two-game span. He was referred to as "Burwell" rather than Stanky in the "Jackie Robinson Story."

His Giants manager Leo Durocher once summed up Stanky's talents: "He can't hit, can't run, can't field. He's no nice guy... all the little SOB can do is win." Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto still complained years later about a play during the 1951 World Series where Stanky kicked the ball loose from Rizzuto's glove. One season, whenever he was the runner on third base, Stanky developed the habit of standing several feet back of the bag, in left field. If a fly ball was hit, he would time its arc, then take off running so as to step on third base just as the catch was being made. In this way he would be running towards home at full speed from the beginning of the play, making it almost impossible to throw him out. This tactic was made illegal following the season. Stanky was also (in)famous for what came to be called "the Stanky maneuver", where he would take advantage of his position on second base to distract opposing batters by jumping up and down and waving his arms behind the pitcher.

Manager of Cardinals and White Sox

Stanky appeared in three World Series in the five years between 1947 and 1951 — with three different National League champions, the Dodgers, Braves and Giants. In the days following the 1951 World Series, in which Stanky appeared in all six games for the Giants (batting .136), he was traded to the Cardinals and was named their playing manager. In 1952, his Cardinals won seven more games than they had in 1951 and he was chosen as Major League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. Ironically, the Redbirds did not move up in the standings: they finished in third place in 1952, as they had done in 1951. His period as Cardinal manager coincided with the slow decline of its strong 1940s teams, a fallow period for its farm system, and the ownership transition between Fred Saigh and August "Gussie" Busch, and by 1955, the team had fallen further in the NL standings. He was fired May 27, 1955, with the Redbirds having won 17 of 36 games.

Stanky briefly managed in minor league baseball, then served as a coach for the Cleveland Indians (1957-58) and a front-office and player development executive for the Cardinals (1959-64) and New York Mets (1965), before succeeding Al Lopez as the manager of the Chicago White Sox after the 1965 campaign. His 1967 White Sox team — built on speed and pitching, but hampered by an impotent offense — contended for the American League pennant until the final week of the season in a thrilling, four-team race. They were defeated by the non-contending Kansas City Athletics in consecutive games, however, and finished three games out of first place. Then, in 1968, the White Sox got off to a terrible start and were 34-45 when Stanky was fired on July 11.

Success as college baseball coach

After his firing in Chicago, Stanky became the head baseball coach of the University of South Alabamamarker in 1969, where he compiled a 488-193 (.717) record, with five NCAA Baseball Tournament appearances over 14 seasons. He returned to the professional arena briefly in when he was named manager of the Texas Rangers, succeeding Frank Lucchesi in the middle of the MLB season. He won his debut game on June 22, but, having second thoughts about leaving his adopted state of Alabamamarker, he immediately resigned and resumed his post as coach at South Alabama. His career MLB managerial mark was 467-435 (.518).

Stanky was inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. He died at age 83 in Fairhope, Alabamamarker, leaving four children: Beverly, Kay, Maryann, and Mike. His father-in-law, Milt Stock, was a Major League infielder and coach during the first half of the 20th century.

See also


  1. Spink, J.G. Taylor, ed., 1952 Official Baseball Register. St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1952

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