Frank Frisch Field
This field honors Frank Francis “Frankie” Frisch (1898-1973), a Bronx native and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Born on September 9, 1898, Frisch attended Fordham University where he was nicknamed “The Fordham Flash” for his skill in football, basketball, track, and baseball. When he graduated in 1919, Frisch signed with the New York Giants under the management of John McGraw. Throughout his career Frisch, a switch hitter and right-handed fielder, was an excellent defensive player, a base stealing threat, and one of the best hitters in the league. From 1921-1931 Frisch batted at least .300 every season and led the Giants to four pennants between 1921 and 1924. When the Giants slumped in 1925 and 1926, McGraw traded Frisch to the St. Louis Cardinals for second-basemen Rogers Hornsby.
As a Cardinal, Frisch was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1931 with a .313 batting average and 28 stolen bases. As player-manager of the Cardinals from 1933-37, Frisch became part of the famous “Gas House Gang,” so named for their prankish behavior and unkempt appearance. The Gas House Gang, mostly products of General Manager Branch Rickey’s farm system, included pitchers “Dizzy” Dean and “Daffy” Dean, third baseman Pepper Martin, shortstop Leo Durocher, and left fielder Joe Medwick. The group led the Cardinals to pennant victories in 1934 and 1935, winning the World Series in 1934. Frisch was not only an All-Star from 1933-1935, but also kept the Cardinals as the National League’s premier team through his intense managerial style.
Frisch retired as a player in 1938 and became the Boston Braves radio announcer before managing the Pittsburgh Pirates (1940-1946) and Chicago Cubs (1949-1951). Frisch was known for his contempt of umpires. As the Pirates’s manager in 1941, he was ejected from a game when he appeared on Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field with an umbrella to protest the playing conditions. The incident was immortalized by Norman Rockwell in “Three Umpires” on the cover of the April 23, 1949, Saturday Evening Post. In 1947, Frisch was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 136 out of 162 votes. The same year he began doing radio play-by-play for the Giants and became the Giants coach in 1948. He ended his coaching career with the Chicago Cubs in 1951. Frisch suffered a fatal car accident on March 12, 1973 in Wilmington, Delaware. He held the record for hits by a switch-hitter until Pete Rose surpassed him in 1977.
Frisch Field is bounded by the Mosholu Parkway, Webster Avenue, and East 201 Street. Borough President Fernando Ferrer provided $234,000 for a renovation completed in January of 1998. The field has a baseball diamond, a backstop, dug-outs, a drinking fountain and stadium bleachers.
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