Dick Stuart "Dr. Strange Glove": Short Time Met First Baseman (1966)

Richard Lee Stuart was born November 7, 1932 in San Francisco, California. The six foot four right handed hitting Stuart was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1951 & became a power hitter in the minor leagues. 

 In 1952 Stuart hit over thirty HRs then went off to military service the next two years. By 1955 he returned to hit 32 more HRs getting promoted. In 1966 Stuart hit a remarkable 66 HRs at A ball Lincoln enjoying success as a minor league star slugger. He even began signing autographs that read- Stewart66.

MLB Career: In 1958 he came up to the majors with the Pirates starting out as an outfielder. Defensively he was so bad in the outfield he was switched over to first base. The only reason he was kept in the lineup is because his HR hitting couldn't be ignored. 

One of the Games Worst Fielder Ever: Defensively Stuart was known as one of the worst fielders of his time, & all time. He set a record that still stands today, leading the league in errors seven times. Stuart led the National League in errors for every year he played in the league to start out his career (1958-1962). 

He earned the nick name “Dr. Strange Glove”. He was also called “Stone Fingers” & “The Man with the Iron Glove”. 

Trivia: He once picked up a hot dog wrapper on the field and the crowd gave him a huge ovation. They realized it was the only thing he had picked up all day and possible it could be his last.

When the public-address announcer at Pirates spring training said ''Anyone who interferes with the ball in play will be ejected from the ballpark,'' the Pirates' manager Danny Murtaugh added ''I hope Stuart doesn't think he means him.''

Stuart would play in Pittsburgh for five seasons.

1960 World Series: In 1960 he led the NL Champion Pirate team in HRs with 23 (9th most in the NL). He was third behind Roberto Clemente & Bob Skinner with 83 RBIs (10th in the NL). he batted .260 with 17 doubles & 107 strike outs. In the World Series he struggled going just 3-20 (.150) & was on deck when Bill Mazeroski hit his classic World Series walk off game winning Game #7 HR.

In 1961, he batted a career best .301 with 35 HRs (4th in the NL) 117 RBIs (5th most in the NL) & 28 doubles. He played in both All Star games that year going 1-2 & received votes for the MVP Award. The free-swinging Stuart also led the NL in strike outs with 162 times. 

In 1962 his batting average plummeted to just .228 & as he missed time with injures playing in just 114 games. He hit 16 HRs with 11 doubles & 64 RBIs. In November 1962 he was traded with Jack Lamabe to the Boston Red Sox for Jim Pagliaroni and Don Schwall.

Red Sox Career:
In his first year in Boston, he had his best season taking advantage of hitting the ball over Fenway Park's Green Monster. Stuart led the AL in RBIs (118) & was second to Minnesota's Harmon Killebrew in HRs with 42. He batted .261 with 25 doubles striking out a career high 144 times.

On the field, although he led all AL first baseman in games played, put outs & assists. He also led his new league in errors (29). He would lead the AL In errors two straight seasons, totaling seven straight years he led the league in errors.

In 1964 his batting numbers were down a bit but he still hit 33 HRs (5th in the AL) with 114 RBIs (2nd in the AL) & a .279 batting average. In his two seasons in Boston the Red Sox never finished better than seventh.

In December 1964 he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dennis Bennett. In Philly in 1965, he hit 28 HRs with 19 doubles driving in 95 runs. For the fifth time in his career, he struck out over 100 times.

His stay in Philly was short, as that winter he was traded to the New York Mets for Bobby Klaus, Wayne Graham and Jimmie Schaffer.

Mets Career:
Stuart debuted with the Mets on Opening Day batting cleanup & playing first base going 0-3. In his second game he collected his first Mets hit in a 3-1 win over the Braves. On May 8th, he hit his first Mets HR, it was at Shea Stadium off the Chicago Cubs Dick Ellsworth. 

Stuart didn’t hit another HR until May 31st, a two-run shot off the Phillies Chris Short in a 6-4 Mets loss. The next day he hit another HR, scoring the only run in a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

By mid-June, he was batting just .218 with just 4 HRs & 13 RBIs having played in 31 games. On the field at first base, he was his usual self, making six errors in 23 games played at first base (.974). 

At age 33 the talk around the league was that he was washed up & the Mets released him.

Post Mets Career: He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers having one last power surge in his career, hitting three HRs with seven RBIs in the last week of the month. 

Nippon Professional League: In 1967 & 1968 he played baseball in Japan, where he became known as "Moby Dick" hitting 33 HRs in his first season.

MLB return: He returned to the majors in 1969 playing 22 games with the California Angeles batting .157 with a HR.

Career Stats: Stuart ended his ten-year career with 1055 hits, 228 HRs with 157 doubles 30 triples & 743 RBIs batting .264. He posted a .316 on base % .489 slugging average & .806 OPS.

Stuart averaged a HR every 17.5 time at bat, which is 75th best all time. 

Strike Outs: Stuart struck out quite often going down 957 times in 3997 at bats. He had four seasons of 100 plus strike outs leading the league in Ks in 1961 (121) & would finish in the top five in that department five times. From 1963 to 1965 he struck out over 130 times each season.

Dr. Strange Glove: Stuart made 169 errors at first base (42nd most all time). As mentioned, he led the league in errors seven straight seasons. 

Stuart made twenty or more errors at first four times with a career high 24 in 1964. He also played the most games at the position in 1963 & 1964.

Actor & TV Host: Stuart appeared in the movies D-Day & The Sixth of June as an acting extra.
He also had a few TV appearances & hosted a sports show in Boston after the Sunday night news.

Family: Dick was married twice. He & his first wife Debbie had a daughter. He & his second wife Lois had two children, both boys.

Passing: Stuart passed away in Redwood, California, at the age of 73 in 2005.


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