“Red was the toughest to give up,” Frank Lane, the Cardinals’ general manager, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. “He’s the type of ballplayer who could go out and make five errors in a row and the fans wouldn’t be mad at him.”
A year and a day after that, the Giants dealt Schoendienst to the Milwaukee Braves.
He led the National League in hits in the 1957 season with 200, helping propel the Braves to a World Series victory over the Yankees.
“A lot of people credited that trade with being the difference that helped them win it,” Joe Torre told The Kansas City Star in 1993, when Torre was managing the Cardinals and Schoendienst was his bench coach. “He was a sparkplug kind of guy, a leader.”
Schoendienst felt poorly for much of the 1958 season, though he hit .300 in the World Series, when the Yankees beat the Braves. In November 1958, he was found to have tuberculosis, and the following February a portion of his right lung was removed. He was sidelined until September 1959.
Notwithstanding his affable ways, Schoendienst had a steel will. He had overcome a severe eye injury from an accident while working for the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps as a teenager, and he later surmounted a chronically sore shoulder. He was determined to continue playing upon recovering from tuberculosis.
He was a backup with the Braves in 1960, then returned to the Cardinals, playing sparingly but proving an effective pinch-hitter and also serving as a coach. He retired as a player during the 1963 season with a career batting average of .289.
In his 14 years as the Cardinals’ manager, including his two tenures as an interim manager, he took a low-key approach, refraining from public criticism of his players. He posted a record of 1,041 victories and 955 losses.