Cheap Seats

Remembering Ernie Orsatti

A tip of the View From the Cheap Seats cap to Ernie Orsatti, a veteran of four Cardinals World Series clubs, who died on this date in 1968 just four days shy of his 66th birthday.

Orsatti played his entire career, which spanned from 1927-35, helping the Gashouse Gang to win four pennants (19, 28, 30, 31 and 1934) and two World Series titles in 1931, 34) as an outfielder and occasional first baseman -- even though he stood only 5-foot-7. He hit .306 in 2,388 career plate appearances.

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Orsatti was never really a starter. He played in 90 or more games only four seasons of his nine-year career. But he made a big impact during the time he earned on the field. In 1932 he was 13th in National League MVP balloting -- despite playing in only 101 ballgames and the Cardinals traded Chick Hafey to make room for him to take over as the starter in centerfield. He batted .336 that season. But his time as a regular was short lived. In 1936 Terry Moore arrived and Orsatti was demoted to the minors. He decided to quit, although he was only 32 years old, intead of going back to the bush leagues.

A native of Los Angeles, Orsatti worked in the movie industry before his baseball career working on sets of films doing everything from being a camera man to a stunt double. And he went back to his original profession after his baseball career was over.

Orsatti became an agent in Hollywood upon his retirement and represented stars including the comdey duo Laurel and Hardy.