Al Schroll was born on March 22, 1932, in New Orleans. He was lucky to be alive, not to mention making the major leagues with a serious lung operation that was required at the age of 15. He was laid up with pneumonia but regained his health, and then some, starring in baseball, basketball, football, and track in high school.
Al attended the Holy Name of Jesus School in New Orleans for seven years, then Bolton High School in Alexandria, Louisiana. He graduated in 1950 and went to McNeese State at Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Tulane, for two years. He played American Legion and C.Y.O. baseball, three years of high-school baseball, and one year of semipro. He made his mark early in Legion ball, throwing two no-hitters in 1949, striking out 16 batters in a seven-inning game for the second of the no-hitters. The Red Sox saw him pitch in an all-star game in New Orleans, and signed him up.
He started his professional career with the 1951 San Jose Red Sox (Class C California League in 1951. In 1952, he trained with Boston’s Birmingham ballclub, but spent most of the season with Roanoke in the Class B Piedmont League. Al stayed in one place for all of 1953, pitching for the Greensboro Patriots (Class B Carolina League).
In 1954, Schroll spent the full season in the Eastern League, pitching at the higher Class A level, and recorded a very impressive (and league-leading) 2.07 ERA for the Albany Senators. He was named to the All-Star team, advanced to a Triple-A Louisville contract, and pitched winter ball in Venezuela.
Al went to Sarasota to join the Boston Red Sox for spring training in 1955. In March, the team decided to place him in Louisville, where he proved himself good in Triple A, with an 11-6 record and a 3.87 ERA.
During the spring of 1956, Al battled soreness in his right shoulder, finally receiving a cortisone shot in late February. He was placed with the San Francisco Seals in April, but then was sent to pitch for the Oklahoma City Indians (in the Double-A Texas League). Despite a disappointing couple of seasons, the Red Sox weren’t ready to give up on him yet, and he was recalled to the major-league roster at the end of September, but did not appear in a game.
Al was discouraged, and in early 1957 he was optioned back to the Seals. He pitched for San Francisco, not recording a decision, then went to Oklahoma City, and ultimately pitched for the Double-A Dallas Eagles. He was again recalled to the Sox at the start of September, but remained on the bench.
It was back to Sarasota for spring training once again in 1958. He’d impressed manager Mike Higgins with his determination, and his arm was finally in good shape. His big-league debut came at Washington’s Griffith Stadium in April. He’d been without a decision and a 4.50 ERA for the Red Sox and was sent to Minneapolis in May.
In October, he had been obtained by the Philadelphia Phillies on a conditional basis. In May of 1959, the Phils returned him to the Red Sox because they were not satisfied.
The Sox sent him to Minneapolis, but he was brought back to Boston to pitch in July against the Indians. Al's first major-league start was for the Red Sox in Kansas City in July. By season’s end he appeared in 14 games for this second stint with the Red Sox, with a 4.70 ERA.
In December, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for the legendary, Bobby Thomson. Though Al had several bright spots in spring training, once the regular season began, he didn’t do much for the Cubs. He was sold outright to the Houston Buffs in May and he spent the rest of the year in the American Association.
Al pitched for Houston in the first part of the 1961 season, then found himself with Syracuse. The major-league Minnesota Twins bought his contract in July, and he was back in the big leagues. He worked an even 50 innings in 11 games for the Twins. His final victory was in September, when he had a no-hitter going through eight innings against the Cleveland Indians.
In 1962 and 1963, Al remained in the Twins minor-league system. He was with Vancouver in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1962, and was pitched his last season for the 1963 Charlotte Hornets in the South Atlantic League.
After baseball, he initially worked for Allstate, selling insurance. But he found a position that suited him, working for Sears Roebuck, selling large appliances at a retail store, and worked for Sears for 21 years. He also officiated football, for 20 years as a member of the Football Referees Association.
Al Schroll battled prostate cancer for six years and passed away, at age 67, on November 30, 1999, in Alexandria, Louisiana.