Robert Boden Scheffing was born on August 11, 1913 in Overland Missouri. During his playing days he was a catcher signed by the Chicago Cubs in the 1935. After six almost seven years in the minors he made it to the big leagues in 1941. He played briefly for two seasons with the Cubs before going off to the military for World War II.
Scheffing who was known as “Grumpy”, was primarily a second string catcher during his career. In 1947 & 1948 he played in over 100 games, posting fielding percentages in the top three of the league. In 1948 he played in 102 games batting a career high .300 with five HRs 18 doubles & 45 RBIs with a .351 on base %. Scheffing would also play for the Cincinnati Reds & St. Louis Cards before retiring in 1951 with a .263 lifetime average 357 hits 20 HRs 53 doubles & 187 RBIs.
After his playing days he became a coach for the St. Louis Browns in 1952 & 1953. He then was a manager, winning the Pacific Coast League championship in 1956 with the Los Angeles Angels. Next he became the Cubs manager for the 1958-1959 seasons, finishing in fifth place both times.
In 1961 he managed the Detroit Tigers to a second place finish with 101 victories. After a slow start in 1963 he was let go as manager but still worked as a scout & broadcaster in the Tigers organization.
In 1965 he joined the New York Mets organization as the director of player development. He eventually switched positions with Whitey Herzog and together they deserve credit for putting together two pennant winners & a Worlds Championship.
The Mets farm teams of the late sixties & early seventies developed many fine young players, especially pitchers.
In 1970 Scheffing replaced Johnny Murphy as Mets General Manager, after Murphy's sudden passing due to a heart attack. At first Scheffing didn’t actually want the job, but did it as a temporary favor to club President, M. Donald Grant. Scheffing would end up holding that position through 1974.
In 1972 Mets manager Gil Hodges suffered a fatal heart attack, and Scheffing immediately hired Mets coach Yogi Berra to fill the role. Berra was the more popular choice in New York, although Whitey Herzog was probably a better candidate. When M. Donald Grant wanted to fire Berra during the ’73 season, Scheffing refused to do it standing by his managerial choice, risking his own job. The Mets went on to win the division that year, beat the might Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS & fall one game short of a second world championship in five years.
Scheffing did pull off a few good trades like acquiring Rusty Staub, Felix Millan & George Stone for the ’73 pennant team. But he also takes the blame for such disasters like trading away Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi, although Ryan wasn’t happy in New York. Also there was the Amos Otis for Joe Foy trade that was mostly Gil Hodges doing.
Scheffing had enough after five years, leaving the G.M. position, being replaced by Joe McDonald in 1975. He remained in the Mets organization as a scout, retiring in Phoenix, Arizona.
Passing: In 1985 he passed away at the age of 72.