As Manager / As Player #2 – Del Crandall

Many months after part 1, here’s part two of what’s always intended to be an ongoing series illustrating my fascination with the idea that managers used to be players as well.

When I was a kid, Del Crandall was just some old guy who managed the Brewers. Hey, when you’re nine years old, anybody who’s your parents age or older is “old”.
1974 Topps Del Crandall
He appeared on cards from 1973 to 1975, popped up again with the Mariners in the early 1980’s, and that’s pretty much what I knew about him.  As a manager, he was successful in the minors but wasn’t able to turn around losing teams in the Majors, never finishing higher than 5th.

At some point in the  last year or so, I picked up this 1956 Del Crandall, which is the first card I got of him as a catcher.  I looked up his playing record and, much to my surprise and delight, Del Crandall was good!
1956 Topps Del Crandall

He was an eight-time All-Star from 1953 to 1962 (all with the Braves), he won four Gold Gloves, lead NL catchers in putouts 3 times, lead NL catchers in assists 6 times, and was part of the 1957 World Champion Braves as well as the NL Champion 1956 Braves.  At the end of his career, he played a season each with the Giants, Pirates and Indians.

He also holds the distinction of having caught three no-hitters pitched by Jim Wilson, Lou Burdette and Warren Spahn.

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