George Detore, catcher
Born: 11-11-1906 Died: 2-7-1991
Padres: 1937-44 Born in Utica, NY, George Detore played major league ball in 1930- 31 as an infielder with Cleveland. Slowed by injuries he switched to catcher, and for the 1937 champion Padres led the PCL with a .334 average. He managed the team from August 10, 1943 through the 1944 season, closing the era in which Bill Lane’s “estate,” headed by Major Lott, owned the team.
[George Detore interview by Jim Smith, 26 August 1989, tape recording.]
In 1935, I started catching in Milwaukee and in ’36 we won the [American Association] pennant and Little World Series. We had a little tiff on the train coming back home. The treasurer of the club came in our car and started gettin’ a little nasty about the money we were going to get. Rudy York [6’1″, 210] got up and I thought he was going to tear him apart. I jumped between them and pushed the treasurer out to the other car. He told the president I attacked him. Instead I saved his neck–which was a mistake. So I was sold to the Padres.
I was an Easterner, and had never been out West. But I was willing to try it, and had to make a living. I heard about the Coast League, and nobody said anything good about it . . . But you know one thing about the guys we had in ’37? Noboby ever made a mental mistake, a bonehead play. And Shellenback was a “beaut”–an excellent baseball man and hell of a guy personally.
In 1938, we were in Seattle and Shelly wanted to pitch. He had 296 PCL wins and wanted four more to make three hundred. We had ’em beat in the last of the ninth, 2-1, and all he’d thrown was spitters. Two men out. One man on base . . . then he threw a sidearm curve and it disappeared over a schoolhouse in left field, that was about 200 feet high. Shelly stood there, then came in and said, “How dumb can a guy be?” I said, “I wouldn’t know.” He never forgot that and he wouldn’t pitch again.
When I managed, Major Lott and I got along real well — but there wasn’t a lot of talent.