Sunday, June 04, 2006

June 4th, 1957

Paul Krichell Dies

A look at Paul Krichell's statistics on BaseballReference would seem to suggest a pretty forgettable guy. Krichell saw time in just two seasons, 1911-12, as a back-up catcher with the St. Louis Browns. He played in just eighty-seven games over two years, managing a .222/.295/.259 line that was every bit as bad as looks. He also managed to make twenty-one errors (and allow six passed balls) in just eighty-four games behind the plate. As I said, very forgettable.

Krichell is remembered, however, and rightly so, for something else entirely: Krichell might have been the greatest scout who ever lived. After coaching for the Red Sox in 1919, Krichell followed Ed Barrow to New York and became a scout for the Yankees. Krichell would serve as a scout until his death. The collection of players he discovered and/or signed goes a long way to explaining the Yankees' dominance in that period. Krichell is credited with bringing in all but one member of the Murderers' Row infield, as he was responsible for second baseman Tony Lazzeri, shortstop Mark Koenig and, most impressively, Lou Gehrig.

To find a player of Gehrig's caliber would be impressive enough for a scout, but Krichell found another Hall of Famer, the Chairman of the Board, Whitey Ford. Although not quite of Ford's quality, Krichell also found "The Springfield Rifle" Vic Raschi who won twenty-one games three years in a row for the Yankees, and was 5-3 with a 2.24 ERA in six World Series for the Yankees--all victories.

Krichell isn't in the Hall of Fame, no one is strictly for scouting, but if the Hall ever decides to start admitting scouts (and it really should) Krichell should be in the front of the line.

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