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Lonny Frey

Lonny Frey

Position(s):
SS, 3B, 2B, OF
Nicknames:
Junior
Born:
August 23, 1910
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 10"
Weight:
160 lbs
Major League Debut:
8-29-1933 with BRO

Intro

A three-time All-Star, Lonny Frey was practically run out of Brooklyn because of his shaky defensive play in the infield and his corrosive relationship with manager Casey Stengel. At one point during his stint as a Dodger, fans would boo and catcall each time a ball was hit in his direction, and respond with sarcastic applause when he completed a play without error. He was a fine hitter, and settled down defensively as a second baseman, enjoying his best seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, helping them to back-to-back pennants in 1939-1940. After missing two full seasons while he was serving in World War II, his career was essentially over. In 1969, as part of the franchise's 100th anniversary, Frey was selected the Reds all-time second baseman.

Replaced By

His last regular job was as the Reds' second baseman in 1943. After he went into the military, Woody Williams took that spot.

Best Season

Lonny set career-highs in batting average (.291), OBP (.388) and slugging (.452). He was also settling in at second base, committing just 18 errors, a modest figure compared to the totals he posted in Brooklyn.

Factoid 1

For the first five years of his big league career, Lonny Frey was a switch-hitter. In 1938, he switched to batting only from the left side.

Transition

December 5, 1936: Traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers to the Chicago Cubs for Roy Henshaw and Woody English. February 4, 1938: Purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the Chicago Cubs. April 16, 1947: Purchased by the Chicago Cubs from the Cincinnati Reds. June 25, 1947: Purchased by the New York Yankees from the Chicago Cubs. May 18, 1948: Released by the New York Yankees. August, 1948: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Giants. October 3, 1948: Released by the New York Giants.

Strengths

Frey had good judgment of the strike zone.

Weaknesses

Frey was one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball in the 1930s. Later, he was an average second baseman, at best, but palatable. In 34 games at short as a rookie, he made 18 errors. In 1936, he made 51 errors at short, posting a putrid .918 fielding percentage. In May he was benched when he made his 17th error in the first 38 games of the season. He was less of a liability at second, but he was never a star with the leather. He was a fan favorite in Cincinnati, however, which was a welcome change from the way the Brooklyn fans roasted him. The level at which Brooklyn fans hounded Frey was dramatic. The World-Telegram wrote, on July 22, 1936: "So prone to err in the field was [Frey] and so futile at bat that boos and catcalls became his daily salutation. Indeed, there were times when the sentiment against him caused [Dodger manager] Casey Stengel to take him from the line-up and there was considerable talk of shipping him down the river." One unidentified Dodger teammate said: "When they roast a ball player like that, a fellow might as well root to be traded. No one with any sensibilities at all can listen to that kind of a roar and not get the jitters and become ten times worse." Ironically, during his Dodger days, Frey seemed to thrive away from the boos at Ebbets Field. In away games he hit 20-30 points higher, and his fielding improved a bit, as well. Another weakness was his weak throwing arm.

Description

Frey was a sandlot star in St. Louis as a teenager, and received a tryout with the Cardinals when he was still quite young. He weighed just 130 pounds at the time and was dismissed. Later in his career, The Sporting News described him as a "rosy-cheeked 27-year old veteran whose secondbasemanship was an outstanding feature in Cincinnati's spring sensationalism..."

Notes

In 1936, the 25-year old Frey was named captain of the Dodgers. By May, he was benched for his poor defensive play... In the off-season, Frey worked as a bookkeeper and stenographer.

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Tagged:
1939 World Series, 1940 World Series, All Star, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Lonny Frey, New York Giants, New York Yankees, secondbase

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