For those of us whose minds tend to gravitate toward the obscure and trivial, baseball cards can serve as a stimulate for this brain disorder. For example, the magic mushroom that sent me falling down the rabbit hole recently was a 1961 Seattle Rainiers’ popcorn card of Ted Schreiber.
I’ve had the card for several years, but recently purchased an off grade 8×10 glossy of the same photo as appears on the card. Curious to know more about Mr. Schreiber, I sought out online information on the infielder. Of course, it didn’t take the “men from to chessboard to tell me where to go.”
Since I couldn’t “go ask Alice,” The SABR Bioproject was my destination. Bioproject is an invaluable resource. The forgotten and obscure players are given the same scholarly treatment as the all-time greats. Mr. Rory Costello’s biography of Schreiber is well written and provides some surprising information. After reading it, I felt like I was “given the call” to tell you about Mr. Schreiber, aided by a look at his few, but wonderful, cards. By the way, Topps never issued a card for him.
Though no “Red Queen” ever tried to “off” Schreiber’s head, he did make “off” from his Brooklyn home in the late 1950’s destined for Queens-where he donned the “red” of the St.John’s Redmen. Ted played basketball for legendary coach Joe Lapchick and baseball for long-time coach, Jack Kaiser. Since my son graduated from St. John’s, I’ve developed an interest in the school’s sports history. This connection heightened my interest in Schreiber’s story.
Mr. Costello’s biography provided a great piece of trivia. Ted hit two home runs at Ebbets Field in 1959. Turns out, St. John’s played three home games there against Manhattan College.
Schrieber’s exploits on the diamond for the Redmen drew the attention of scout Frank “Bots” Nakola. If your “mind is moving low” and this name doesn’t ring a bell, he is the Red Sox scout who signed Yaz, Rico Petrocelli and Chuck Schilling out of the New York area. After a workout at Fenway Park, Ted signed with Boston.
In 1961 and 1962, Ted played in Seattle-the Red Sox AAA affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. From 1954 to 1968, the Rainiers/Angels issued smallish, glossy cards in boxes of popcorn. For reasons unknown, there are two variations of Schreiber cards in both 1961 and 1962. The 1961 “action” card misspelled Ted’s name. If you want to know more about popcorn cards, here are links to my previous posts
During the off season, the Mets selected Schreiber in the Rule 5 draft. Since his route to Boston was blocked by second sacker, Chuck Schilling, this was a good break for Ted. However, Ron Hunt won the starting job at second base for the Mets. As a bench player Schreiber appeared in only 39 games, but he did take center stage in a piece of Mets history.
On September 26, 1963, Ted pinch hit for his old St. John’s teammate, Larry Bearnath. He promptly hit into a game ending double play, thus making the last out in the history of the Polo Grounds. Though Topps never produced a card for Schreiber, there is a team issued photo from 1963.
Returning to the minors in 1964, Schreiber would never make back to the “show.” His one year in the “bigs” secured a card in Larry Fritsch’s 1983 “One Year Wonders” set. Also, Ted shows up in the 1966 Elder Postcards, 1976 SSPC set commemorating the ’63 Mets and in the 1971 “Wiz” Mets set.
Since “logic and proportion has fallen sloppy dead,” and you would rather hear “the White Knight talking backwards” than continue with me chasing rabbits, I will stop. But remember what the Bobby “Doerr-mouse” said: “Feed your head” with Bioproject.