- OF, 1B, 3B
- Jolly Cholly
- August 28, 1898
- 5' 11"
- 173 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 7-30-1916 with PHA
The Pirates changed regular firstbasemen almost every year between 1905 and 1919. When the team hit a Low in 1919 with veterans Fritz Mollwitz (.173) and Vic Saier (.223), the Bucs purchased 21year old Charlie Grimm, who had failed to stick as teen with the Phillies and Cardinals. When Grimm hit well in 14 late season games in 1919, he became the incumbant the following year and his play at first base, both rangy and consistent enough to lead the NL in fielding, impressed enough that he was able to hold his job for 1921 despite hitting just .227.
In ’21, Grimm improved his average to .274, hit seven homeruns and drove in 71. He also connected with Rabbit Maranville, the fun loving, hard-drinking shorstop.. The two were joined by Cotton Tierney and Possum Whitted in entertaining fans before games with their singing, banjo playing and comedic antics. Grimm not only hit and fielded lefthanded, but played the banjo as a southpaw as well. His happy-go-lucky nature led him to be called “Jolly Cholly.”
Grimm’s hitting improved in 1922 to .292 and in 1923 he had his best season, hitting a career high .345 while knocking in 99 runs. His numbers tailed off in 1924 to .288 with 63 rbi’s although he led firstbasemen for the third time in five years in fielding. Interestingly, all three seasons he led the league in fielding, his percentage was .995. Showing amazing consistency, the two years he didn’t have the highest percentage, Grimm fielded .994.
Barney Dreyfuss shipped Grimm with his friend Maranville and star pitcher Wilbur Cooper to the Cubs for Vic Adlridge, George Grantham and minor leaguer Al Neihaus following the 1924 season. Only 26-years-old, Grimm continued to play well, hitting over .300 four times and leading the league in fielding four more times while in Chicago. Jolly Cholly settled down enough to be named the Cubs’ player-manager in August, 1932, and led the Cubs to the pennant over the Pirates by four games as the team went 37-18 after he took over. Grimm also captured a pennant in 1935, and, when he was replaced as manager by Gabby Hartnett in 1938, became a Cubs’ broadcaster.
He returned to manage the Cubs in 1944 and won another pennant in 1945. Grimm later managed the Braves and returned to lead the Cubs for one last time, although for only 17 games in 1960. His final records, a .290 batting average as a player and 1,287-1,067 record as manager have caused some to campaign for him to enter Cooperstown on some type of meritorious service standard.
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