Lonny Frey, Second-Oldest Living Major Leaguer

Lonny Frey, now 98 years old, had probably his greatest day in baseball on June 26, 1938:

Lonny Frey of the Reds had eight hits in a doubleheader split with the Phillies. Frey had three hits in a 10-3 opening-game loss and five in the nightcap, won by the Reds, 8-5.

Then again, he did also win two World Series, in 1940 and 1947, played behind Johnny Vander Meer for his back-to-back no-hitters in 1938, made three All-Star teams, and played for all three New York teams, so Frey had a pretty full career. He summed it up: “Every day was a highlight.”

Frey also said this about Jackie Robinson in 1947: “He was running wild on us. He could do anything on the baseball field.”

A newspaper’s profile of Frey (pronounced Fry) a few years ago said:

Forced to play shortstop with a sore arm for the injury-riddled Dodgers when he first arrived in the majors late in the 1933 season, Frey made a whopping 18 errors in 34 games.

“You couldn’t believe the booin’ I’d get in Brooklyn!” Frey said, laughing heartily. “I couldn’t get the ball to first base.”

Frey walks everywhere like a 60-year-old, drives cars like a 40-year-old and rides bikes like a 20-year-old. The St. Louis native lives by himself in a small, meticulously clean house in the little North Idaho city of Hayden.

A 5-foot-10, 160-pound slap hitter, Frey batted .269 with 61 homers and 105 stolen bases (he led the National League with 22 steals in 1940) in 14 big league seasons. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest since finishing his baseball career in the minors with Seattle in 1950. Frey’s wife and two of their four children have died, but one son and other relatives live nearby.

“I’ve done quite a bit in my life,” Frey said with a wan smile.

In closing, Frey said this about Casey Stengel: “I had him long enough [as manager with the Dodgers]. All he thought of was himself. All he did was tell stories to reporters. He didn’t know what he was doing.”

P.S.: Frey just made it to 99 before dying on Sept. 13 in Coeur d’Alene, apparently of old age. He was a World War II veteran and his service in 1944 and 1945 took him out of MLB those years; he had a memorial Mass Monday, Sept. 21, at Sacred Heart Church in Bellevue, Washington.

Take a look at his ballplaying statistics.

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Nice article on Mr. Frey. With Joe Gordon in the Hall of Fame, a case can now be made for Lonny. Visit my blog BRETTKISER.WORDPRESS.COM to read the profile I have written on Lonny.

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