Former Cardinals manager Vern Rapp was born on this date in 1928.
A 15-year minor leaguer, Rapp spent nine seasons at the Class AAA level before making the switch from player to a coach in 1960. He managed in the minors from 1961-62 and 1965-76 and was hired to pilot the big league Redbirds despite the fact that he never played or coached at the major league level previously.
A strict disciplinarian who was used to treating aspiring minor league players like children, Rapp's methods didn't play well in St. Louis. Especially his orders that players cut their hair and shave off their whiskers. The move didn't go over well with Ted Simmons or Al Hrabosky, leaders of the position players and pitchers.
The Birds stumbled to a third place finish in 1977 and got off to a lousy 6-11 start in 1978, which cost Rapp his job in April. Jack Krol took over the manager's job temporarily and was eventually permanently replaced by Ken Boyer.
He briefly managerd for the Reds in 1984, putting together a 51-70 record before being replaced with Pete Rose. He later was a coach for the Expos but never again served as a big league skipper.