Historical Hitter

Historical Hitter September 10 1924: Frankie Frisch

Frankie Frisch Hitting Right Handed
The Fordham Flash batting right handed as a Giant.

On this day in 1924 the indomitable Fordham Flash knocked out a career high 6 hits in a Giants victory over the Braves, by the healthy score of 22-1. Frisch’s line that day was 6 for 7 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI.

The Giants feasted on especially generous and suspect Braves pitchers for 22 runs, 27 hits, and were aided by four walks and two errors. It took the Giants of Gotham just over two hours to accumulate these totals.

The switch hitting, hard-nosed competitor Frisch faced lefty part-time Center fielder and Pitcher Johnny Cooney, righties Tim McNamara, and Joe Muich. McNamara’s career lasted five years, as he won 14 lost 29 and had a healthy ERA of 4.78. Muich’s big league career lasted just three games all in month of September, 1924. It just was not a fair fight. In the 4th inning against McNamara he hit his home run left handed. His additional five singles were from both sides of the plate in facing Cooney and Muich.

The September 10th game was the first of a late summer doubleheader that was swept by the eventual National League Champions, by a cumulative score of 30-1 against the last place Bostonians. These two Giants victories were just what they needed as it helped maintain their slim lead over their cross-town rivals. 1924 was a typical Giants-Dodgers nail biter with the Giants winning the Pennant by 1.5 games.

He accumulated 2880 hits highlighted by batting over .340 three times. His 19 year career ended with a career average of superb .316 an OPS+ of 110 and 419 stolen bases. The Fordham Flash is one of two batters with 5,000 or more at bats to have hit over .300 from both sides of the plate. As a participant in the first two All-Star games, Frisch hit home runs from both sides of the plate.

Frisch never played a day in the minors, as he was signed by John McGraw after he graduated from Fordham University in the Bronx. He was a natural athlete and leader on the Rose Hill Campus having been selected captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. From his speed on the track at Fordham, he earned the nickname Fordham Flash. In keeping with his nickname, he led the National League in stolen bases three times, 1921, 1927, & 1931. He was immortalized in the 1949 Poem, “Line –Up for Yesterday” by Ogden Nash that went:

F is for Fordham

And Frankie and Frisch

I wish he were back

With the Giants, I wish

Frankie Frisch Hitting Left Handed
Player-Manager Frisch from the left side for the Cards.

He left the Giants in a blockbuster trade in 1926, for the Cardinals; away from John McGraw’s heavy hand, Frisch’s career blossomed. In St. Louis, he was player-manager, World Series Champion twice, and League MVP for the famous Gashouse Gang team of the 1930’s. He later managed the Pirates and Cubs. Frisch later became part of the inaugural class of the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

His illustrative baseball career stated in the summer of 1919 and ended with his untimely death in a car accident in 1973. During his 50-some years in baseball he was force to be reckoned with on and off the field as a player primarily at second; player-manager; radio play-by-play announcer; coach, and head of the veterans committee for the Hall of Fame. It was here as head of the Veterans committee that he pushed through some of his Giants and Cardinal teammates who have suspect credentials for the Hall.

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