Ed Erautt, pitcher
Padres: 1954-57 Eddie Erautt came to the Padres after six solid years with the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. In 1955, he led San Diego pitchers with an 18-10 record and a 2.76 earned run average.
[Ed Erautt, interview by Bill Swank, 31 January 1995, transcript notes..]
Johnny Pesky was the clubhouse boy in Portland, then my brother and then me. They didn’t sign any of us. Six bucks a week is what they paid. I pitched in a semi-pro game when I was twelve- years-old and we won, 4-1. When I went to the Hollywood Stars in 1942, I was seventeen-years-old. They had a bunch of oldtimers like Charlie Root. The pitchers take batting practice first, but they wouldn’t let me bat. I was in the outfield shagging. I didn’t get batting practice that whole first year. They were rough on young guys. They’d walk past you and spit tobacco on your shoes. It was an initiation.
Old Billy Shuster . . . he was intelligent, but what a nut! He’d ground out to the pitcher and run to third base. Other times, when he’d ground out, he’d take a wide turn at first and run through the opponents dugout. He’d kick guys and throw gloves. There were guys who just hated him, but he did a lot to bring excitement to the fans. He knew what he was doin. He’d be a monkey and climb the backstop. But I saw him get decked one night in Hollywood. He tried to beat out a bunt. They were way behind and it was at the end of the game. Our pitcher, Ray Joiner, threw him out. Shuster came running to the mound and probably said something. Joiner just decked him. The games was over and everybody walked off the field and left Shuster laying there.
When I was with the Padres, two guys came down from Philadelphia: Charlie Bishop and Joe Astroth. Chris Pellakutis was the umpire and he had a big nose. One day, Charlie said, “If you had a nose on the back of your head, you’d look like a pick.” He got tossed, but it sure made everybody laugh.
And, old Jimmie Reese, he was tremendous. I never saw him mad. He’d work for hours with that fungo helping ballplayers. He loved broken bats, because he knew just how to break them for his fungo bats. He’d use half a bat. I used to put on the catcher’s glove and he’d hit strikes to me from the mound. Remember how they used to leave their gloves on the field? Jimmie Reese would always roll his up and put a rubber band around it and toss it in the field. In all the years I played ball, I saw a glove get hit only once.
Lefty O’Doul was a great hitting instructor. He’d tie ropes on guys and nail their shoes to the ground with a big spike to keep them in the box. Charlie Grimm was a funny guy and he kept everybody loose. One time, he was told, “Hey, Charlie, I’ve got a great pitcher for you. He pitched a no-hitter in the minors and only one guy hit a foul ball.” Charlie said, “I don’t want the pitcher. I want the guy who hit the foul!”
My glove with the Padres cost me $5 from a guy who came down from Detroit. He got a new one and was going to throw it away and I said, “I’ll give you five bucks for it.” I used it for two years until it fell apart. We had to buy all our own equipment back then. Now, they’ve got weight rooms and all that medical attention. When we’d get a sore arm, they’d just spit tobacco on it and say, “Go get ’em!” It’s a business now; it’s not a sport anymore. When I played, you’d start looking for a job during the last week of the season. You had to work to support your family!