Joe Schultz

Joe Schultz bigraphy, stories - Major League Baseball player, manager, coach

Joe Schultz : biography

August 29, 1918 – January 10, 1996

Joseph Charles Schultz, Jr. (August 29, 1918 – January 10, 1996) was an American Major League Baseball catcher, coach and manager. Schultz was the first and only manager for the Seattle Pilots franchise during their lone season before they became the Milwaukee Brewers. Seattle had entered the American League as an expansion franchise in 1969, and moved to Milwaukee the following season.


Schultz died in St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of 77, and is interred at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

Seattle Pilots

The success of the Cardinals led to Schultz’s 1969 opportunity with the Pilots. Although they were badly outdrafted by its fellow expansion team, the Kansas City Royals, during the player selection lottery, Schultz and general manager Marvin Milkes actually thought the Pilots would finish third in the newly formed American League West. Indeed, Schultz managed to keep his patchwork team within striking distance of .500 for most of the early part of the season. However, a 9–20 July effectively ended any chance at respectability, and the Pilots finished last in the new West, with a mark of 64-98 (.395).

However, it can be argued that Schultz’s efforts were hamstrung by the Pilots’ off-the-field problems. They played at a former minor league park, Sick’s Stadium, that was clearly inadequate even as a temporary facility. The Pilots were also plagued by an unstable, undercapitalized ownership; they were nearly broke by the end of the season.

Schultz was replaced as manager by Dave Bristol as the team struggled in limbo during the 1969-70 offseason. Only weeks before the 1970 season opener, the Pilots were purchased by a group headed by Bud Selig and transferred to Milwaukee, where they have remained since.

He coached with the Royals (1970) and the Detroit Tigers (1971–76) before leaving baseball. After Billy Martin was fired with 28 games left in the 1973 season, Schultz took over as interim manager for the rest of the way, compiling a mark of 14–14. Counting his interim stint with the Tigers, he had a career record of 78–112 (.411) as a major league skipper. Apart from that assignment, Schultz never managed in the majors again after the Pilots collapsed.

Portrayal in Ball Four

His career may not have been helped by an unflattering portrayal of him in Ball Four, the controversial memoir of the 1969 season by Seattle pitcher Jim Bouton that was released in 1970. Bouton tells humorous anecdotes about Schultz and some of the motivational speeches he gave to the Pilots. According to Bouton, Schultz’s speeches were heavily laced with profanity, even with some original curses (such as "shitfuck"). The author claims that Schultz was well liked by his team, but some of his choices were questioned by the players. In a later anthology on managers Bouton edited, I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad, however, Bouton noted Schultz’s sense of humor and added that, given the circumstances of the last-place team, "I couldn’t have had a better manager than Joe Schultz."

Coaching career

In 1949, Schultz served as a coach with the Browns, and then managed in the minor leagues from 1950–62, returning to the Cardinals’ organization in 1958. He became a Cardinals coach in 1963 and worked with three National League pennant winners (1964, 1967 and 1968), and two world championship clubs (1964, 1967) through 1968.

Schultz also served as a third-base coach for the Kansas City Royals in 1970 and the Detroit Tigers from 1971-76.

Playing career

Born in Chicago, Illinois, he was the son of a Major League baseball player — Joe (Germany) Schultz, an outfielder who played for seven of the eight National League clubs (1912–1916; 1919–25) and who later became a manager in the St. Louis Cardinals’ extensive farm system. In 1932, at age 13, Joe Jr. appeared in his first professional game, as a pinch hitter for the Houston Buffaloes of the Class A Texas League; the elder Schultz was managing Houston and Joe Jr. was serving as the Buffaloes’ batboy that season.

Joe Jr. had a distinguished prep career at St. Louis University High School and signed his first contract with the Cardinals, but was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, where his father had become minor league director. After appearing in only 22 games for Pittsburgh between 1939–41, Schultz made his way back to St. Louis with the Browns of the American League, where he spent six seasons (1943–48) as a backup catcher and pinch hitter. In 328 major-league at bats over all or parts of nine MLB seasons, Schultz batted .259 with one home run.