Don Blasingame – Schoendienst Replacement at Second Base

He made his major league debut at age 23 on September 20, 1955 in a 2-0 Cardinals win over the Chicago Cubs. Starting at second base and batting leadoff, his first career at-bat resulted in his first hit, a single off Sam Jones, and he scored on a Solly Hemus home run.

He was the replacement in 1956 when Frank “Trader” Lane decided it was time to move All Star Red Schoendienst. He was a very good bunter and was able to reach base 83% of the at bats when the bases were empty with his bunting skills. He hit into a double play only every 123 at bats which is one of the lowest ever in the major leagues.

His best season was in 1957 when he hit 8 home runs, 58 RBI’s, 101 hits, 21 stolen bases and had a .271 batting average. He then added 20 steals, 10 triples, 19 doubles while batting .274 in 1958 when he was named to the All Star team.  In 1959, Blasingame hit .289 with 26 doubles, both career highs.

The next year he married Miss Missouri, Sara Cooper, who was the daughter of former Cardinals star Walker Cooper.

Blasingame was a .258 career hitter with 21 home runs and 308 RBI in 1444 games. He is said to have just been happy to be a player and the All Star game was his highlight. In the  The Blasingame Story he is quoted to say,

I am Don Blasingame. They called me “Blazer.” I played second base for the St. Louis Cardinals. My friends from Corinth caught the train to come see me play. I also played for San Francisco and won the World Series playing for Cincinnati in 1962. One of the highlights of my career was playing in the 1958 All-Star game with the likes of Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams. When my career ended in the United States, I became interested in Japanese baseball where I was a manager, coach and scout for several years. I never missed the opportunity to play ball.

SABR article