Lon Warneke – “The Arkansas Hummingbird”

The life of Warneke was a busy one. He was nicknamed “The Arkansas Hummingbird”, was a Major League Baseball player, Major League umpire, county judge, U.S. military serviceman, and businessman from Arkansas.

In October 1936 the Cubs traded Warneke to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Ripper Collins and pitcher Roy Parmelee. The trade was not popular with many Cub fans and may have cost the Cubs the pennant. Cub’s Gabby Hartnett, player-manager from 1938 to 1940, said “That trade hurt us. It probably cost us the pennant in ’37.”

Without Warneke the Cubs finished 93–61, in second place, three games behind the New York Giants. Meanwhile, Warneke led the Cardinals staff with an 18–11 record. Parmelee went 7–8 for the Cubs and was sold the following year; Collins lasted two seasons with the Cubs. Warneke won 83 games for the Cardinals during his five and a half seasons in St. Louis.

In 1937, Warneke led the Cardinals’ staff with an 18–11 record. This was the only season in which Warneke and fellow Arkansas phenom pitcher Dizzy Dean were on the same team.

Warneke was 83-49  in his career Cardinals career with a 3.67 ERA. He pitched in 183 games and completed 70 of them. As a Cardinal, he fanned 434 and walked 326 batters.

With the Cardinals, Warneke played guitar and banjo and sang as a member of teammate John “Pepper” Martin’s “Mississippi Mudcats” band.