Sep 19, 2016

Bronx Born New York Giants Hall of Famer: Frankie Frisch -"the Fordham Flash"

Frank Francis Frisch was born in the Bronx, New York on September 9th, 1898. He went to Fordham University and starred in four sports earning the nickname "The Fordham Flash".

He was signed by the hometown New York Giants right out of college playing for legendary manager John McGraw. His fiery competitiveness & solid second base play led to him being named the Giants team Captain. He would hit over .300 every year he played on the Giants, except his first year. He led the Giants to four straight pennants winning two World Series in 1921 & 1922.

In 1921 he had his first great year, leading the league in stolen bases (49) batting .341 (7th in the league) gathering 211 hits. He hit 17 triples (3rd in the NL) with 31 doubles scoring 121 runs (2nd in the NL) & driving in 100 runs (5th in the NL).

In the 1921 World Series Frisch hit .300 (9-30) with three walks, three stolen bases, five runs scored and a triple.

In 1922 he played in a bit fewer games (132) stealing 31 bases, with 5 HRs 16 doubles 13 triples & 51 RBIs. He had a good World Series batting .471 (8-17) with an on base percentage of .474%.

Post Season: In Game #1 he had two hits, including an 8th inning single which was the third straight single of the inning. He would score the games winning run on a sac fly by Ross Youngs.

He had two hits in each of the next two games, driving in two of the three runs in Game #3 at the Polo Grounds. In Game #5 Frisch doubled in the 8th inning & then scored the game’s tying run on High Pockets Kelly’s base hit. The Giants would go on to win the game & their second straight World Series.

In the 1923 regular season Frisch led the league in hits (223) total bases (311) stealing 29 bases (5th in the league). He was third in the NL with 111 RBIs, & third with 116 runs scored, hitting 32 doubles (9th in the NL) with 12 HRs & 10 triples.

Post Season: In the 1923 World Series he was 10-30 posting a .400 batting average with four doubles. In Game #1 he put the Giants ahead in the 3rd inning with an RBI single in a game they would win 5-3. In the final Game #6 he refused to go down quietly as he gathered three hits in the losing effort.


In 1924 he hit .328 (8th in the NL) leading the league in runs scored (121) gathering 198 hits (3rd in the NL) 33 doubles (4th in the NL) 15 triples (5th in the NL) 22 steals & a .387 on base % (10th in the NL). In the 1924 World Series he hit .300 (10-20) with five extra base hits against the Washington Senators.

He hit .331 the next year followed by a .314 year in 1926, stealing just over twenty bases each season. Manager John McGraw ripped into Frisch publicly after missing a sign that resulted in an August 1926 loss during a crucial game in the pennant race.

Frisch was furious about being criticized & spoke out against his manager. From that point on the two fiery personalities could barely tolerate each other. This resulted in a shocking off season, block buster trade in which Frisch went to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for the great Rogers Hornsby.

In St. Louis Frisch had a rough start replacing the popular Hornsby but eventually did win the Cardinal fans over. He was the driving force of the famous St. Louis "Gas House Gang" with his aggressive no bull style of play.

He would hit over .300 in his first five seasons with the Cardinals, lead the league in stolen bases twice, score over 100 runs three times & hit thirty or more doubles four times. He would hit over .300 in seven out of the next eight seasons for the Cardinals, and bat over .290 in eight out of ten years. The Cardinals would go on to play in four World Series after Frankie Frisch arrived, winning two Championships.

In 1927 & 1928 he led all second baseman in fielding. It was the first time he led the league in that category after coming in second three other seasons. In 1931 he was voted the NL MVP hitting .311 with a league leading 28 stolen bases, 4 HRs, 24 doubles 4 triples 96 runs scored 82 RBIs & a .368 on base %. That season he led the Cards to the World Championship over Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A's, hitting .259 in the Series with one RBI going 7-27.

He became a player/ manger in 1933 & played in the first three All Star games for the National League.

In 1934 he led the famous "Gas House Gang" to another World Series Championship batting .305 with 168 hits, 30 doubles, 6 triples, 75 RBIs & a .356 on base %. He averaged 55 at bats for every strike out he had, the best percentage in the NL & the third time in his career he led in that category.

Post Season: In the 1934 World Series Frisch drove in a run in Game # 3 gathering two hits. In Game #7 he cleared the bases on a third inning double giving the Cards a 3-0 lead, as they went on to go to an 11-0 romp over the Detroit Tigers winning the Championship. Although he drove in four runs in the Series, he only batted .194 in what would be his last Fall Classic.

Frisch played in eight World Series, 50 games overall batting .294 with 58 hits 10 doubles 3 triples 9 stolen bases 10 RBIs with a .335 on base %. He won four World Championships, two with the New York Giants & two with the St. Louis Cardinals.

He managed the Cards through 1938, & then took over as skipper to the Chicago Cubs from 1949-1951. In his managerial career he was 1138-1078.

He ended his 19 year playing career in 1937 with a .316 average (72nd all time), 2880 hits (39th all time) 1532 runs scored (59th all time) 105 HRs, 466 doubles (85th all time) & 138 triples (66th all time). 

The Flash had 419 stolen bases (61st all time), 1244 RBIs (132nd all time) 229 sac hits (53rd all time) & a .369 on base % playing in 2311 games (104th all time).

Defensively at second base, he committed 280 errors (39th all time) with 6026 assists (13th all time) with 4348 put outs (16th all time) & a .970 fielding %. He also played 459 games at third base (.953 %) & 75 games at short (.934%).

Frisch was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947 & served on the Veterans Committee until the time of his death. In 1999 the Sporting News voted him #88 of the All Time greatest players.

Retirement: He worked as a New York Giants coach & radio broadcaster in the 1950's, until a heart attack slowed him down in 1956.

He was a long time resident at 184 Fenimore Road in the Bonnie Crest neighborhood of New Rochelle, New York.

He later moved to Rhode Island & passed away there in 1973, at age 74 after complications from a car accident. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

Honors: A ball field on Webster Ave. at Mosholu Parkway & E. 201st St. in the Bronx, near his old school, Fordham University is named after him.

The field has a baseball diamond, a backstop, dug-outs, a drinking fountain and bleachers.

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