Jimmie Reese, second base
Dates: 10-1-1901 to 7-13-1994
Padres: 1937-1938 Jimmie Reese was involved in professional baseball for 78 years. A major leaguer with the Yankees (1930-31, rooming with Babe Ruth) and Cardinals (1932), he earned distinction as the second baseman on the all-time PCL team. He was a Padre as player, coach (1948-60) and short-term manager (1948, 1960-61). As California Angels conditioning coach, renowned for his fungo hitting and host of friends, he was honorary AL captain in San Diego’s 1992 All Star Game.
[Jimmie Reese interview by Jim Smith, 18 September, 1989, tape recording.]
I was a batboy with the Angels in 1917. Frank Chance was the manager–of the Cubs prior to that, but he came out here for his health. I broke in [playing] with Oakland in 1924 . . .
I came to the Padres in 1937. “Tiny” Chaplin was one of the finest young pitchers I’ve ever seen. He had an accident: coming from Tijuana, somebody hit him from the rear and he died right there. It really broke me up. Ted Williams used to stand in front of a mirror in the clubhouse and take different poses with the bat. Williams believed in himself, and Babe [Ruth] was the same . . .Bill Starr became the owner and knew more about the game than anybody.
The Coast League, when they had DiMaggio, Williams and Oscar Eckhardt and those fellas, it was the finest minor league in the country. Very close to the major leagues. The only thing missing was the majors had a good pitcher out there every day. It was a good league, an eight club league. There were a lot of guys who made a career in the PCL. By 1950 it was more of a farm system. Now, of course, it’s a different sort of league. The [expanded] major leagues are taking all the top players, the cream of the crop. I miss the old Coast League.