Dal Maxvill

Dal Maxvill
Born: (1939-02-18) February 18, 1939
Granite City, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 10, 1962, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1975, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average .217
Home runs 6
Runs batted in 252
Career highlights and awards

Charles Dallan Maxvill (born February 18, 1939 in Granite City, Illinois) is a former shortstop, coach and general manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). During his career, Maxvill played, coached, or was an executive for four World Series winners and seven league champions. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, he earned a degree in electrical engineering. Maxvill signed his first professional baseball contract in 1960 with the hometown St. Louis Cardinals.[1]

Playing career

Maxvill appeared in 1,423 regular-season games for the Cardinals (1962–72), Oakland Athletics (1972–73; 1974–75) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1973–74). He batted and threw right-handed. A smooth fielder but notoriously weak hitter, Maxvill set a number of dubious hitting records in his career. He batted .217 with just six home runs in 3,989 plate appearances over his 14-year major league career.[2] Due to the position he played – and the effectiveness with which he fielded – he was also the beneficiary of the convention that shortstops generally do not need to hit as well as other positions for their skills to be considered assets as Major League players.

Maxvill's best season with the bat was 1968 with the Cardinals. He set career highs in batting average (.253), on-base percentage (.329), and slugging percentage (.298). He also received his only Most Valuable Player award votes (finishing in twentieth place) and won his only Gold Glove.[2] Ironically, as the rest of baseball's pitching became more dominant and hitting trended downward that year, Maxvill's hitting trended upward. In the "Year of the Pitcher," he benefited in part from not having to bat against teammate Bob Gibson, who set the modern-day record for earned run average (ERA) at 1.12, or the rest of the Cardinal's pitching staff, which led the Major Leagues in ERA at 2.49.[3][4]

Although comfortably above the hitting prowess of the legendary Casey Wise, Maxvill holds the National League record for fewest hits for a batter playing in at least 150 games. He had 80 hits in 1970 in 399 at-bats in 152 games, just barely over the Mendoza line at .201. (The Sporting News Baseball Record, 2007, p. 19)

Cardinals fans of that era often said that when pitching Gibson took his turn, Gibson should bat ahead of Maxvill in the lineup, since he was the better hitter. Gibson's career average was 11 points lower than Maxvill's, but he was much more productive at the plate. Gibson had 24 career home runs in 2,000 fewer at bats. He also had 144 runs batted in (RBIs) compared with Maxvill's 252, meaning that Gibson had an RBI about every tenth at bat, whereas Maxvill had one about every 14th turn.

Despite Maxvill's relatively poor hitting, he frequented the postseason. Maxill appeared in five total World Series - three (1964, 1967 and 1968) with the Cardinals and two (1972 and 1974) with the Athletics. In the 1964 Series, which the Cardinals took from the New York Yankees in seven games, Maxvill caught Bobby Richardson's pop-up for the final out in the seventh game. In the 1968 Series, which the Cardinals lost to the Detroit Tigers in seven games, Maxvill went a record 0-for-22 at the plate. His overall World Series batting record was 7-for-61, a .115 percentage. Both of those figures are record lows for a position player.

Coaching and executive career

After his playing career ended, Maxvill served as a coach with the A's, Cardinals, New York Mets and Atlanta Braves (where he served on Joe Torre's staff). After the 1984 season, he became general manager of the Cardinals, spending a decade as the Cardinals' top baseball executive, and the team won two more National League pennants in 1985 and 1987.

The 1987 season was the last time one of Maxvill's teams made the playoffs. The Cardinals finished above .500 in 1989, 1991, 1992, and 1993, but their highest ranking was second place.[5] Longtime owner and president August "Gussie" Busch died in September 1989 and Anheuser-Busch took over operations of the team.[6]

Changes within the top levels in the organization continued to the point that most remnants of the Busch era turned over. The next season, longtime manager Whitey Herzog resigned and Torre was hired in his place.[7][8] However, the brewery did not appear as invested as Busch in making the Cardinals a winning team and began looking to sell the team. As a result, after new president Mark Lamping was hired in 1994, he sought to make changes to attempt to build a winner.[9] Three weeks after Lamping's hire, he fired Maxvill.[10] The next year, Anheuser-Busch sold the team to an investment group led by Fred Hanser, Drew Baur and William DeWitt, Jr.[11] At this point, Maxvill pursued no further baseball opportunities, citing the desire to spend more time with his family.[1]


Preceded by
Joe McDonald
St. Louis Cardinals General Manager
Succeeded by
Walt Jocketty
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