|Born: September 15, 1907|
|Died: December 17, 1957 (aged 50)|
|April 21, 1934, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1948, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Earned run average||3.99|
Frederick Raymond "Fritz" Ostermueller (September 15, 1907 – December 17, 1957) A left-handed pitcher, began his career in his home town of Quincey, Illinois, before finishing high school. Then in 1929 he was in the Western Association League with the Shawnee, Oklahoma Robins and had 95 strikeouts. He went to the Rochester Cardinals then major league baseball from 1934 to 1940 played for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns 1941-42, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. While with Pittsburgh, he coined the famous quote frequently misattributed to teammate Ralph Kiner: "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs; singles hitters drive Fords."
Ostermueller made his major league debut on April 21, 1934 with the Boston Red Sox, pitching seven seasons for them, chiefly as a starter. On December 3, 1940, he was sold to the St. Louis Browns, along with Denny Galehouse. He was the ace of the Pirates staff in 1947 and 48 at the age of 41 and was called "Old Folks."
In popular culture
In reality Ostermueller's first inning pitch hit Robinson on the left wrist, not his head, and he claimed it was a routine brushback pitch without racist intent. His family denied that he was a racist, it was just "a movie ploy." There was no fight on the mound afterwards. The climactic scene in which Robinson hit a home run to clinch the National League pennant for the Dodgers came in the top of the fourth inning of the game, did not clinch the victory (it made the score 2–0, and the Dodgers eventually won 4–2), and did not clinch the pennant; the Dodgers clinched at least a tie for the pennant on that day before clinching the pennant the next day. Also notable is that Ostermueller was portrayed as being right-handed.
Later life and death
- Kennedy, Wally. "Pitcher's daughter says movie unfairly casts him as racist". The Joplin Globe. Joplin, Missouri. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Kiner, Ralph; Peary, Danny. "BackTalk; The View From Kiner's Korner". The New York Times. April 4, 2004. Retrieved December 2, 2018. "Another quote that has been attributed to me is, 'Home-run hitters drive Cadillacs and singles hitters drive Fords.' That was actually first said by my Pirates teammate, pitcher Fritz Ostermueller."
- "Fritz Ostermueller Stats". baseball-reference.com. sport-reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- "Brooklyn Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates Box Score, September 17, 1947". baseball-reference.com. sports-reference.com. September 17, 1947. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Fritz Ostermueller at the SABR Baseball Biography Project, by John F. Green, Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors), or Retrosheet
- Fritz Ostermueller at Find a Grave
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