- SS, 3B, 2B, OF
- March 16, 1904
- 5' 10"
- 163 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-26-1925 with WS1
The Senators' Clark Griffith moaned that it was "the dumbest deal I ever made," after he traded Buddy Myer to the Red Sox for shortstop Topper Rigney in 1927. Rigney lasted for 45 games, while Myer led the league with 30 stolen bases and batted .313 in 1928; Griffith had to give up five players to get Myer back after the season. Myer became Washington's solid second baseman for a decade, leading the league in fielding in 1931 and 1938, and winning the AL batting crown in 1935 with a last-day splurge of base hits. He edged Joe Vosmik, .3495 to .3489, when the Cleveland outfielder tried to nurse his lead by sitting out a game on the last day of the season. Myer was a lefthanded batter so adept at dragging the ball that he beat out 60 bunts in one season. He batted over .300 nine times and retired at the start of WWII.
Myer was born in Ellisville, Mississippi. An excellent hitter, he batted .300 or better in eight full seasons, and retired with a career average of .303. He walked more than twice as many times as he struck out. Apart from a brief period with the Boston Red Sox in 1927–28, he spent his entire career with the Washington Senators.
Myer decided to go to college at Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State University). In 1923, he attracted many baseball scouts to watch him play. That same year, the Washington Senators offered him a contract. Buddy accepted the contract with the one condition, that he finish his college education. Myer graduated from Mississippi A&M in 1925.
He was discovered by baseball promoter, Joe Engel, who managed the Chattanooga Lookouts at Engel Stadium.
He broke in with the Senators in 1925 at the age of 21. In 1926 he batted .304. In May 1927 he was traded by the Senators to the Red Sox for Topper Rigney.
In 1928 he stole a career-high 30 bases for the Red Sox, leading the league, while batting .313, and was 5th in the league with 26 sacrifice hits. He came in 9th in AL MVP voting.
After the season, the Senators got him back, but had to give up five ballplayers in trade. In December 1928 the Red Sox traded him to the Senators for Milt Gaston, Hod Lisenbee, Bobby Reeves, Grant Gillis, and Elliot Bigelow.
In 1929 he batted .300, and the following year he batted .303 with an 8th-best 114 runs scored. In 1932 he had a career-high 16 triples (2nd), and scored a career-high 120 runs (6th). In 1933 he batted .302, and in 1934 he batted .305 with 102 walks (4th in the league) and a .419 on base percentage (6th).
In 1935 he won the American League batting title with a .349 mark. He had 215 hits (2nd in the league), a .440 on base percentage and 96 walks (4th), played in 151 games (5th), scored 115 runs (7th), and had 100 RBIs. He was voted to the All Star team, and came in 4th in MVP voting that year.
In 1933, Myer was involved in what many still consider to be baseball's most violent brawl, between him and the Yankees' Ben Chapman. It is alleged that Chapman – who later gained great infamy for his taunting of Jackie Robinson in 1947, while Chapman was the manager of the Phillies – not only spiked Myer, but hurled a number of anti-semitic epithets at him. While Myer was always considered Jewish, the baseball historian Bill James reported that Myer "told a home-town newspaperman shortly before his death in 1974 that he was not Jewish, he was German," but "he never set the record straight." Chapman and Myer's fight spread to the dugouts and the stands. Long suspensions for all involved followed.
In 1937 he played in the All Star Game, and ended the year with a .407 obp (9th in the league).
In 1938 he batted .336 (4th in the league), and was 2nd (to Jimmy Foxx) with a .454 obp, and 7th in walks (93). In 1939 he batted .302.
He died at age 70 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Myer was the shortstop on Stein's Jewish team.
Through 2010, he was first all-time in career hits (ahead of Shawn Green), and third all-time in career RBIs (behind Green) and batting average (behind Ryan Braun), among Jewish major league baseball players.
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