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Pee Wee Reese

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Full Name: Harold Henry Reese Primary Position: SS
Height/Weight: 5' 10"/160 First Game: April 23, 1940
Birthdate: July 23, 1918 Final Game: September 26, 1958
Birthplace: Ekron, Kentucky MLB Experience: 16 years
Died: August 14, 1999
Deathplace: Louisville, Kentucky
Bat/Throw: Right/Right


Biography

Harold Henry "Pee Wee" Reese (July 23, 1918 - August 14, 1999) was a professional baseball player who played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1940 to 1958. Reese was a ten-time All Star shortstop who contributed to seven league championships for Brooklyn.

Reese was a strong supporter of the first black Major League Baseball player, Jackie Robinson. He refused to sign a petition that threatened a boycott if Robinson joined the team. When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947 and traveled with them during their first road trip, he was heckled by fans in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson and put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support which silenced the crowd. The gesture was especially telling because Reese was born and raised near then-segregated Louisville, Kentucky. This gesture is depicted in a bronze sculpture of Reese and Robinson, created by sculptor William Behrends, that was placed at KeySpan Park in Brooklyn, New York, and unveiled on November 1, 2005.

Throughout that difficult first year in the major leagues, Reese helped keep Robinson's morale up amid all the abuse. Their rapport soon led shortstop Reese and second baseman Robinson to become one of the most effective defensive pairs in the sport's history.

At Reese's funeral, Joe Black, another Major League Baseball black pioneer, said:

"Pee Wee helped make my boyhood dream come true to play in the Majors, the World Series. When Pee Wee reached out to Jackie, all of us in the Negro League smiled and said it was the first time that a White guy had accepted us. When I finally got up to Brooklyn, I went to Pee Wee and said, 'Black people love you. When you touched Jackie, you touched all of us.' With Pee Wee, it was No. 1 on his uniform and No. 1 in our hearts."

Following his retirement as a player, Reese enjoyed considerable success as a play-by-play announcer on network television. He called games for CBS from 1960-1965 (with Dizzy Dean) and for NBC from 1966-1968 (with Curt Gowdy). Reese also broadcast several World Series for NBC radio.

In 1984, Pee Wee Reese was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In front of the main entrance into Louisville Slugger Field, stands a statue of Pee Wee Reese.

The friendship between Reese and Robinson is the subject of a popular 1990 children's book called Teammates (ISBN 0-15-284285-3), by Peter Golenbock.

Most people believe that Pee Wee Reese's best season was 1949, when he slugged 16 home runs, stole 26 bases, hit for a .279 average and knocked in 73 runs.

Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1940 BRO N 84 312 58 85 5 28 .272 .366 .372 8 4 45 42 1 3 15 0 1
1941 BRO N 152 595 76 136 2 46 .229 .311 .294 23 5 68 56 3 8 10 0 6
1942 BRO N 151 564 87 144 3 53 .255 .350 .332 24 5 82 55 0 9 15 0 8
1946 BRO N 152 542 79 154 5 60 .284 .384 .378 16 10 87 71 1 14 10 0 10
1947 BRO N 142 476 81 135 12 73 .284 .414 .426 24 4 104 67 2 8 7 0 7
1948 BRO N 151 566 96 155 9 75 .274 .363 .390 31 4 79 63 0 9 25 0 16
1949 BRO N 155 617 132 172 16 73 .279 .396 .410 27 3 116 59 4 6 26 0 5
1950 BRO N 141 531 97 138 11 52 .260 .369 .380 21 5 91 62 1 10 17 0 7
1951 BRO N 154 616 94 176 10 84 .286 .371 .393 20 8 81 57 2 12 20 0 19
1952 BRO N 149 559 94 152 6 58 .272 .369 .365 18 8 86 59 0 15 30 0 16
1953 BRO N 140 524 108 142 13 61 .271 .374 .420 25 7 82 61 4 15 22 0 15
1954 BRO N 141 554 98 171 10 69 .309 .404 .455 35 8 90 62 3 8 8 1 20
1955 BRO N 145 553 99 156 10 61 .282 .371 .403 29 4 78 60 3 13 8 1 22
1956 BRO N 147 572 85 147 9 46 .257 .322 .344 19 2 56 69 1 15 13 1 14
1957 BRO N 103 330 33 74 1 29 .224 .306 .248 3 1 39 32 1 6 5 1 7
1958 LA N 59 147 21 33 4 17 .224 .337 .381 7 2 26 15 0 6 1 0 3
Total 2166 8058 1338 2170 126 885 .269 .366 .377 330 80 1210 890 26 157 232 4 176

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1940 BRO N SS 83 0 0 190 238 18 41 0 0 0 0 0 .960
1941 BRO N SS 151 0 0 346 473 47 76 0 0 0 0 0 .946
1942 BRO N SS 151 0 0 337 482 35 99 0 0 0 0 0 .959
1946 BRO N SS 152 0 0 285 463 26 104 0 0 0 0 0 .966
1947 BRO N SS 142 0 0 266 441 25 99 0 0 0 0 0 .966
1948 BRO N SS 149 0 0 335 453 31 93 0 0 0 0 0 .962
1949 BRO N SS 155 0 0 316 454 18 93 0 0 0 0 0 .977
1950 BRO N SS 134 0 0 282 398 26 94 0 0 0 0 0 .963
1950 BRO N 3B 7 0 0 9 16 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1951 BRO N SS 154 0 0 292 422 35 106 0 0 0 0 0 .953
1952 BRO N SS 145 0 0 282 376 21 89 0 0 0 0 0 .969
1953 BRO N SS 135 0 0 265 380 23 83 0 0 0 0 0 .966
1954 BRO N SS 140 140 1253 270 426 25 74 0 0 0 0 0 .965
1955 BRO N SS 142 0 0 239 404 23 86 0 0 0 0 0 .965
1956 BRO N SS 136 0 0 263 367 23 79 0 0 0 0 0 .965
1956 BRO N 3B 12 0 0 6 21 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .931
1957 BRO N 3B 75 62 582 51 166 13 5 0 0 0 0 0 .943
1957 BRO N SS 23 20 188 46 62 6 16 0 0 0 0 0 .947
1958 LA N SS 22 19 166 26 52 6 14 0 0 0 0 0 .929
1958 LA N 3B 21 19 166 18 37 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 .932
Total SS 2014 179 1607 4040 5891 388 1246 0 0 0 0 0 .962
Total 3B 115 81 748 84 240 19 9 0 0 0 0 0 .945

Transactions

  • Signed as an amateur free agent by Pittsburgh Pirates (1938).
  • Sold by Boston Red Sox to Brooklyn Dodgers for $35000 and 4 players (July 18, 1939).
  • Released by Los Angeles Dodgers (December 30, 1958).

Trivia

See also

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