1948-1950

LOU STRINGER   2B

Lou Stringer was born on May 13, 1917 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When he was three years old, his father moved the family to East Los Angeles. He first started playing ball with the St. Bridgetís grade school team in Los Angeles, competed in the local C.Y.O. league, and later attended Washington High School, where he played shortstop on the high school team. He played some semipro ball on city sandlots before signing with the Cubsí organization.

After signing his contract, he was told to report to Ponca City, Oklahoma, the Cubsí affiliate in the Western Association. He hit .263 the first year, and .286 the second, improving across the board in his power numbers at the same time. He ranked second or third in the league in several offensive categories, and Ponca City won the pennant that year.

The 19-year-old was earmarked for a year in Tulsa but got an invite to spring training when another player failed to show. Instead, he played in the Pacific Coast League for the Los Angeles Angels for both the 1939 and 1940 seasons. 

During the offseason, Lou worked hard at the North American Aviation Company plant.

In 1941, he had a very successful spring. He made the Cubs, debuting on Opening Day in 1941. He had played only second base, but  Billy Herman was a fixture at the keystone, so Lou filled in at shortstop. In May, Herman was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers and Lou had effectively beaten out Herman for the job.

Playing in 145 games, Lou hit .246, very good figures for a shortstop in that era. He played out the 1942 season, hitting .236, playing some at second base and some at third.

With the war under way, he enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps and graduated from Air Force Mechanics School at Williams Field Advance Flying School in Chandler, Arizona in January 1943. He went in as a mechanic and came out as a (physical training) instructor. He was sent to the Armyís Physical Training Instructors School at Miami Beach and graduated in November. He was named Soldier of the Month at Williams Field and also had a .425 average playing for the Williams Field Fliers.

Back from the war, Lou played second, short, and third for the Cubs in 1946. He was released to the Angels in January 1947 and the team won the Pacific Coast League pennant  while Lou batted .293. In February 1948, the Cubs sold him for the $10,000 waiver price to the New York Giants, who assigned his contract to the Hollywood Stars.

It was another season he very much enjoyed, this time hitting an even .333 and leading the league with 50 doubles, while driving in 99 runs. At seasonís end, he was named both the teamís MVP.

Right after Hollywood finished its season, the Red Sox purchased his contract, and he wasted no time getting to Boston. The Sox had another second baseman, named  Bobby Doerr, and Lou found himself in a utility role behind Doerr,  Vern Stephens and  Johnny Pesky

In 1949, Lour stayed with the Sox and got into 35 games, but mostly defensively, He only had 41 at-bats, batting .268 during his limited opportunities. Back for another full year in 1950, he had even less work witrh just 17 at-bats in 24 games and hit .294.

During the off-seasons, starting right after the war, Lou worked in the automobile business, selling cars in Los Angeles. The Red Sox let him go and Lou signed on with Hollywood for 1951, playing a full year. He wasnít entirely unhappy to be playing near home once more. After the season, he enjoyed a seven-week tour of Japan with  Joe DiMaggio and a number of other players.

He began 1952 with Hollywood, but then moved on to San Diego in May. The next year began with San Diego, but he moved to San Francisco and became player-manager there. The following four seasons saw him move to a new city, as a player-manager each year. He managed and played for Yakima (1954), Boise (1955), Pocatello (1956), and Des Moines (1957). The final season he started with the Des Moines Demons, where he lasted but 47 games. A month later, the Hollywood Stars offered him a contract and he played in an even dozen games for Hollywood and San Francisco, but his pro ball career was really done.

Lou spent a good deal of time appearing in a number of Hollywood films, particularly those with baseball themes such as The Jackie Robinson Story and The Monty Stratton Story. He did a fair amount of acting work but became tired of all the time standing around on movie sets, so he went back to selling cars.

Lou Stringer lived with his second wife Wilma in a retirement community near San Diego owned by his son and four partners. He died on October 19, 2008 in Lake Forest, California. He was 91 years old.