Now that the summer is almost over and baseball season is getting close to ending, some of us have to go back to school and some of us have to go back to our regular work schedules. But what did baseball players do back in the old days during the off-season or after they retired to bring in the moolah (before a lot of them made millions of dollars)? Well, read on, because this is Baseball with Matt's back to school and back to work blog!
Here are the jobs of some prominent baseball Hall of Famers during their baseball breaks: Grover Cleveland Alexander (aka Pete Alexander) worked in a flea circus after his career ended in 1930. After Cap Anson retired in 1897, he became the owner of a golf club (that failed miserably) and then won the office of Chicago City Clerk. In the 1968 off-season, Nolan Ryan was an air-conditioner installer. Yankees legends Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto, who won back-to-back MVP awards in 1950-1951, were employed in the winter by a NYC department store, where they sold men's suits (see picture below of Rizzuto). Whitey Ford and Don Newcombe, who were arch-pitching-nemeses in the World Series, did the same.
Now, although some baseball players may have grown up on a farm and didn't know how to read and write well, some baseball players did very well at school. In fact, some prominent Hall of Famers actually went to Ivy League colleges before becoming superstars. Here are a couple: Lou Gehrig, the Yankee and baseball legend went to Columbia University as a pitcher. The day Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, he struck out a Columbia record 17 batters at South Field in the Ivy League college. Good thing the Yankee scout watching the game converted him into a hitter, or else the Yanks may not have won as many championships! Eddie Collins also went to Columbia --- AS A QUARTERBACK! He ended up becoming one of the best shortstops of all time for the Athletics and White Sox.
Here are some other players in baseball history who also went to some great schools: Bill Almon became the first Ivy-leaguer to be drafted first overall in the MLB Draft in 1974 by the Padres (he went to Brown). Red Rolfe became a Yankee after graduating from Dartmouth and joined an already well-educated Yankee infield in 1931. Doug Glanville finished up at the University of Pennsylvania with a .414 average and 15 stolen bases and was drafted by the Cubs 12th overall in 1991. Ron Darling who pitched for the Mets and is a broadcaster for them now went to Yale. And Moe Berg went to Princeton, spoke ten languages, was a catcher and then became a spy!!!
So what's the bottom line here?? Work hard and study hard, because you never know what's going to happen in life. Not everyone can be a superstar baseball player.