|Second baseman / Third baseman / Coach|
|Born: October 1, 1901|
New York City, New York
|Died: July 13, 1994 (aged 92)|
Santa Ana, California
|April 19, 1930, for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 25, 1932, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Runs batted in||70|
|Career highlights and awards|
Reese was born James Herman Solomon to a Jewish family in New York City and was brought up in Los Angeles. In order to avoid the brunt of prejudice against Jewish baseball players, he adopted the name of Jimmie Reese, which he used throughout his baseball career.
The Oaks won the PCL pennant in 1927, with Reese batting .295 in 191 games. He had a league-leading fielding percentage of .984 that year.
New York YankeesEdit
In 1930 he batted .346 in 188 at bats, striking out only 8 times. Only Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth hit for higher averages on the team. He was the primary back-up at second base (48 games) behind Tony Lazzeri (77 games).
St. Paul SaintsEdit
In November, 1931, he was sent by the Yankees to the St. Paul Saints (American Association), to complete an earlier deal made in June, 1931, for Johnny Murphy, Jack Saltzgaver, cash, and 2 players to be named.
St. Louis CardinalsEdit
Reese played the 1932 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, who had selected him off of waivers in June.
Los Angeles Angels (PCL)Edit
The Los Angeles Angels (PCL) purchased Reese's contract from the Cardinals in February, 1933. He missed most of the season due to injuries and illness, but hit .330 in 104 games. The following year he batted .311 with 12 triples, and had a fielding percentage of .972 (the best among second basemen that season). He continued to play for the Angels in 1935 and 1936.
San Diego Padres (PCL)Edit
In 1937, he was traded to the San Diego Padres (PCL), where he hit .314. The Padres won the Governor's Cup that year.
Semi-retirement as playerEdit
He all-but retired as a player after the 1938 season, spending the 1939 season with two Western International League teams and playing just 2 games for the 1940 Angels (in addition to his coaching duties).
After his playing careerEdit
|Jimmie Reese's number 50 was retired by the California Angels in 1995.|
After the war, he worked as a scout for the Boston Braves for two years, and coached in San Diego from 1948 until 1960, when he was appointed manager. But he preferred to coach, so he resigned partway through the 1961 season. "I'm best suited as a liaison man, as a coach", he said. "I just am not suited to give a guy hell."
Reese never married, had no children, and was mostly estranged from his extended family. In 1972, at age 71, he asked the Angels for a job, and was hired as conditioning coach, whose job was to get the players into shape. Reese's main specialty, however, was hitting fungos in practice, using a fungo bat he made himself. Numerous Angels players remarked on his seemingly uncanny ability to place fungos where he wanted. He even occasionally "pitched" batting practice with his fungo bat, standing at the pitcher's rubber and consistently hitting line drives over the middle of the plate. He was regularly called "the nicest man in baseball,” and had a friendship with Nolan Ryan when he was with the team; Ryan would name one of his sons Reese in his honor. He was listed as an Angels coach for 22 years, until his death on July 13, 1994, in Santa Ana, California. He died peacefully of aspiration pneumonia and respiratory failure.
His uniform #50 was retired by the club in his memory. At his death, Reese was believed to be the oldest person ever to regularly wear a uniform in an official capacity in the history of organized professional baseball in North America. His record was surpassed in 2016 by Red Schoendienst, who served as a special assistant coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, wearing a Cardinals uniform in that role, until his death in 2018 at age 95. Ted Radcliffe and Buck O'Neil made appearances in professional games at older ages, but those were one-off ceremonial events.
He was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame in 2003.
In popular cultureEdit
In the film Jack Reacher (2012), Tom Cruise in the title role uses the name Jimmie Reese when trying to conceal his identity from a suspiciously, sexually overt local girl, Sandy (Alexia Fast). Later on, he confirms that whenever he uses an alias, he always uses the name of someone who played second base for the Yankees, such as Jimmie Reese.
Notes and referencesEdit
- Weiss, Bill; Wright, Marshall. "Minor League Baseball History, Top 100 Teams: Team #1 1934 Los Angeles Angels (137–50)". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- Neyer, Rob (2008). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends: The Truth, the Lies, and Everything Else. Simon and Schuster. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-7432-8490-5.
- Jimmie Reese at the SABR Bio Project, by Ralph Berger, retrieved February 1, 2011
- "Jimmie Reese, 92, A Baseball Coach – Obituary". New York Times. July 14, 1994. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
- Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame at BR Bullpen, accessed 2013-06-24