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Cardinals of Yore: Bob O'Farrell

January 22, 2009

Cardinals of Yore: Bob O'Farrell


Following a decade with Cubs during which he played in as many as 100 games a season only twice, Bob O'Farrell was traded to the Cardinals in 1925 for Mike Gonzalez and Howard Freigau.

His timing couldn't have been better. The Redbirds were in need of a starting catcher and, with a team loaded with talent and led by superstar Rogers Hornsby, they were poised to with their first World Series championship in 1926.

In 147 games for St. Louis in 1926, O'Farrell hit .293 with seven homers and 68 RBIs. His 492 at bats were by far the most of his career and the (up to that point) part time player rode his solid offensive season -- along with his great defense and leadership -- to the National League MVP award.

In the World Series, O'Farrell starred with a .304 batting average. But he was best known for throwing out baseball immortal Babe Ruth to end the Fall Classic when the Bambino tried to steal second base with his team down 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in game seven.

When Hornsby was traded off after following a contract dispute after the Cardinals' first World Series win, O'Farrell took his place as player-manager. He led the Cardinals to a 92-61 record and a second place finish to the Pirates. That wasn't good enough, apparently, and he was replaced as skipper by Bill McKechnie. Shortly after the start of the 1928 season, like Hornsby, O'Farrell was traded to the Giants.

The veteran catcher had two more stints with the Cardinals. He played for the team in 1933 and again for 14 games in 1935 before he retired at the age of 38.

After a relatively slow start to his career, O'Farrell played a total of 21 seasons in the big leagues and is amongst the all-time leaders in games caught. He was born in and died in Waukegan, Ill., passing away at 91 years old in 1988.

Pictured at the top of this page is a 1933 O'Farrell card. It is one of my personal favorite baseball cards of all time because it depicts such a classic, perfect image of a hitter.