Nov 5, 2014

Queens Born New York Giants Player & Former Mets Scout: Buddy Kerr

John Joseph Kerr known as Buddy, was born November 6, 1922 in Astoria, Queens. He grew up in Washington Heights Manhattan, a short subway ride away to the Polo Grounds when he rooted for the New York Giants. In 1941 he was signed by the hometown Giants and played for their minor league, Jersey City team at shortstop.

He briefly appeared in 1942 with the big league Giants and hit a HR in his first MLB at bat. "I was so excited when the ball disappeared into the upper stands at the Polo Grounds that I stumbled and fell rounding first base," he recalled in a 1950 interview. Kerr ended up hitting .286 in 27 games that season.

By 1944 he was the Giants regular shortstop replacing Billy Jurges and remained there through 1949. He played a steady shortstop and was one of the best sacrifice hitters in the league. He led NL shortstops in assists, putouts, and double plays in 1945, and had the league’s best fielding average the following year. Kerr had a career high 9 HRs and 63 RBIs in his first full season, while batting .266 and stealing 14 bases. He was so good at short stop, he was 11th in the MVP voting in 1946 even though he only hit .249.

From the end of the 1946 season into the start of 1947, he played 68 consecutive games without committing an error at short. The feat was a major league record at the time that stood until 1988 when the Mets Kevin Elster broke it. At that time Kerr was on hand, as he was a scout for the New York Mets.

Kerr hit a career high .287 in 1947 with a .331 on base % & 77 runs scored. He then made the All Star team in 1948, coming in second for the second straight year in fielding, while making a league best 461 assists. He only played 90 games in 1949 batting a low .209, mostly due to the fact he never got along with new Giants manager that year Leo Durocher. In December 1949 he was traded along with Sid Gordon, Willard Marshall and Red Webb to the Boston Braves for Alvin Dark and Eddie Stanky.

The trade turned out to be a real good one for the Giants as the two would play big roles in the 1950’s Giants success. Kerr batted .227 his first season in Boston but fell to just .186 in 1951, retiring after the season.

In a nine year career he hit .249 with 903 hits 145 doubles 25 triples 31 HRs & 333 RBIs. With his glove he turned 548 double plays, posting a .967 fielding % with 2045 put outs (99th all time) in 1038 games at shot stop.

Retirement: He went on to manage in the Giants organization in the late fifties & early sixties. In 1975 he was hired by the New York Mets as a special assignment scout and remained in that position until 2000. He continued to live in New York City until his passing in November 2007 one day after his 84th birthday.

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