Frisch is probably one of the most important individuals in the history of baseball who is virtually unknown to modern fans. In college he was one of the most famous athletes in the country, starring in four sports: basketball, track, football, and baseball. When he signed with John McGraw’s New York Giants at the age of 20 it was a huge story. He immediately made an impact, finishing third in steals as a rookie. Within a year, McGraw made Frisch his team captain, and he essentially served as a manager on the field the remainder of his career. Just about everything he did on the field was flashy and made headlines. When he was traded to the Cardinals it was for Rogers Hornsby, the greatest second baseman of all-time. Frisch received MVP votes in nine of 12 seasons from 1924-1935. He won the award in 1931 for St. Louis.
In 1933 he became player/manager of the Cardinals, whom he guided to a World Championship the following season. He was the second baseman for the National League in the first three All-Star games and he was among the highest paid players in the league for much of his career.
Frisch was at his best in the post-season. He played in eight World Series, and he batted .294 in 50 games. In the 1922 Series against the Yankees he batted .471 with eight hits in five games. The next fall he punished Yankee pitching again to the tune of .400 (10-for-25) in six games.
Following his retirement as a player at the age of 38, Frisch managed for over a decade. He never had the same success as strictly a manager, but he still had a .514 winning percentage for his career. In 1947 he was elected to the Hall of Fame. As a Hall of Famer he was hugely influential in the voting process of the veterans committee (he was the chairman). Frisch outlived most of his enemies, and as the years passed he slipped several of his former teammates into the Hall of Fame. The list of “Frisch inductees” includes Dave Bancroft, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, George Kelly, Rube Marquard, Ross Youngs, and Jim Bottomley (the year after Frisch passed on). These inductees are among the very worst in Cooperstown, and Frisch should be blamed for them, but he still deserves to be remembered as a brilliant second baseman.
Quotes from Frankie Frisch
“Spring training is like country clubs without the dues.”