There has been many professional baseball players that developed their talents here in the backyards of St.Louis. Many include Yogi Berra, Mark Buerhle, Jerry Reuss, and Dick Williams. These are just a few players that come to my mind that has made an impact in MLB and their hometown of St.Louis. Another name that also comes to mind is Charlie James. A product of Webster Groves High School that excelled in Baseball and Football eventually found himself the star Halfback for the Mizzou Tigers in 1958. Soon after Charlie was drafted by the St.Louis Cardinals. In 1960 he was brought up to the big league to play the outfield with Stan Musial until he retired.
Here are some fun facts about Charlie James:
-Jumped straight to AA upon signing, earning Texas League Rookie of the Year honors at age twenty when he hit .278 with 66 extra-base hits (36 doubles, 11 triples, 19 home runs) for the Houston Buffaloes.
-Was even better at AAA Rochester in 1959, hitting .300 with 63 extra-base hits (32 2B, 13 3B, 18 HR) for the Red Wings.
-Did better with more regular playing time the following year: .255, 19 doubles, 44 RBI in 108 games. He also helped the Redbirds tie a dubious record as one of three pinch hitters to strike out in an inning. It came in the ninth inning of a May 10 contest vs. the Reds, and Bill Henry was the Cincinnati reliever who nailed down the 3-2 victory. A fourth pinch hitter, Gene Oliver, walked during that inning.
-Hit two home runs each off of a pair of very good pitchers: Harvey Haddix and Sandy Koufax.
-Charlie is also my first cousin on my mom’s side
I was able to do a quick online interview with Charlie recently. So I hope you all enjoy Three Questions with Charlie James……
McBrayer: Can you tell us a little about how you handle the fans and success you had as a Cardinal in the early 1960’s
Charlie James: I never had any problem with the fans.They were always good to me.It is hard to get the “big head” in baseball because even though you get 3-4 hits one day you may not get any the next.Even your .300 hitters fail 7 out of 10 times.
McBrayer: What made you decide to leave Mizzou Football for ?
Charlie James: During my Jr.year at I received a severe thigh injury in fall football practice-had to be in the hospital for about 2-weeks.So,I figured if I was going to give baseball a shot I better do it soon or I may really get hurt seriously and not be able to pursue baseball.
McBrayer: What are you thoughts and concerns for the Cardinals during this off season?
Charlie James: The Cardinals need to find a very good left handed starter and maybe