August 11, 1913|
|Died: October 26, 1985
|April 27, 1941, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 11, 1951, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||187|
Robert Boden Scheffing (August 11, 1913 – October 26, 1985) was an American baseball player, coach, manager and front-office executive. Nicknamed "Grumpy", the native of Overland, Missouri, is most often identified with the Chicago Cubs, for whom he played as a catcher (1941–42, 1946–50), coached (1954–55), and managed (1957–59). He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg) as an active player.
As a Major Leaguer, Scheffing batted .263 with 357 hits in 517 games with the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds (1950–51) and St. Louis Cardinals (1951). His career began in 1935 in the Cardinals' farm system, but he was unable to crack the Major Leagues until he was selected by the Cubs in the 1940 Rule 5 draft. En route to the Majors, he spent the 1939 season as the 25-year-old playing manager of the Washington Red Birds of the Class D Pennsylvania State Association.
Manager of Cubs and Tigers
As a full-time manager, Scheffing led the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League to the 1956 PCL championship, and was promoted to skipper of the parent Cubs the following season. In three full years at the Cubs' helm, Scheffing compiled a 208–254 (.450) record. His 1957 team finished 62–92 and tied for seventh place in the eight-team National League, but his 1958 and 1959 clubs won 72 and 74 games respectively and finished tied for fifth place each season.
Scheffing also spent 2½ years (1961 through June 16, 1963) as manager of the Detroit Tigers. Taking over a sixth-place team, he led the 1961 Tigers to 101 victories and second place in the American League. Although the Tigers eventually finished eight games out of first place, they led the league until July 25 and battled the world champion New York Yankees for the pennant until a devastating three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium in early September. The 1962 Tigers won 16 fewer games than 1961's team, and finished fourth. Then the 1963 club got off to a poor start (24–36) and was in ninth place in the ten-team league when Scheffing was replaced on June 19 by Chuck Dressen. Although Scheffing's mark with the Tigers was 210–173 (.548), his career managerial record fell nine games short of .500, at 418–427 (.495).
Mets' general manager
After working as a Detroit scout and radio broadcaster, Scheffing joined the front office of the New York Mets and became general manager early in 1970 following the sudden death of Johnny Murphy. The Mets won the 1973 National League pennant during his tenure, then fell in a seven-game World Series to the Oakland Athletics. But Scheffing is most remembered by many Met fans for his trade of young pitcher Nolan Ryan to the California Angels following the 1971 season. Ryan went on to set the all-time career strikeout record and earn a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame, while third baseman Jim Fregosi, the Angels' star whom the Mets received in the deal, struggled in New York. Scheffing was replaced by Joe McDonald as Mets' GM in 1975, although he continued in the organization as a scout.
|New York Mets General Manager