Feb 12, 2021

Buddy Kerr: New York Giants Record Setting Short Stop (1941- 1951) & Former Mets Scout (1975- 2000)

John Joseph Kerr known as Buddy, was born November 6, 1922 in Astoria, Queens New York. Kerr's family moved to Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, where he grew up. It was a short subway ride away to the Polo Grounds when he rooted for the New York Giants. His idol was Hall of Famer, Mel Ott.

 In 1941 he was signed by the hometown Giants and played at their minor league, Jersey City team at shortstop. In September 8th, 1942 he debuted with the Giants & would play for his idol, Mel Ott who was the Giants manager. Kerr hit a HR in his first MLB at bat. 

Quotes- "I was so excited when the ball disappeared into the upper stands at the Polo Grounds that I stumbled and fell rounding first base." 

Kerr ended up hitting .286 in 27 games that season. 
By 1944 he became the Giants regular shortstop replacing Billy Jurges, remaining in that position through 1949. He was known as a steady, slick fielding shortstop. He led all NL shortstops in assists, putouts, and double plays in 1945, and would have the league’s best fielding average the following year.

In his first full season, he has career highs in doubles (31) HRs (9) RBIs (63) & stolen bases (14).

Trivia: Beginning at the end of the 1946 season into the 1947 season, he would play 68 consecutive games without committing an error. It was a major league record that stood for 41 years until it was broken by Mets short stop, Kevin Elster in 1988. At the time, Kerr was a Mets scout on was on hand for the game, where Elster broke his record.

He was such a good fielder, that he came in 11th for the MVP voting in 1946, even though he batted just .249. He was considered twice for the MVP Award. In 1947 he hit a career high .287 with 77 runs scored. He made the 1948 All Star team, led the league with 461 assists at short, while coming in second on fielding. Kerr was also one of the best sacrifice hitters in the league. 


In 1948 the Giants replaced Mel Ott with Leo Durocher. Durocher never got along with Kerr.
Kerr had broken Durocher's scoreless innings streak, which may have contributed to his dislike toward the player. Legend has it that, when Kerr too three days off to attend his fathers funeral, Durocher had replaced as the main short stop.

He only played 90 games in 1949 batting a low .209. That December 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 good one for the Giants, as those two players would have big roles in
the 1950’s Giants success. Kerr batted .227 his first season in Boston but fell to just .186 in 1951, then retired 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 in 1038 games at shot stop.

Retirement:
 Kerr went on to manage in the Giants organization in the late fifties & early sixties. 

Mets Scout: 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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