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Rollie Hemsley

All-Star Selection 1935, 36, 39, 40, 44
TSN Minor League Manager of the Year 1950 & 1963

Full Name: Ralston Burdett Hemsley
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 170 lbs.
Born: Jun 24, 1907 in Syracuse, OH
Major League Debut: Apr 13, 1928
Died: Jul 31, 1972 in Washington, DC

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CAREER STATISTICS - BATTING TOTALS

BATTING
YR
1928
1929
1930
1931
1931
1932
1933
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1942
1943
1944
1946
1947
TM
Pit
Pit
Pit
Pit
Chi
Chi
Cin
StL
StL
StL
StL
StL
Cle
Cle
Cle
Cle
Cin
NY
NY
NY
Phi
Phi
LG
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
NL
AL
AL
AL
NL
NL
POS
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
G
50
88
104
10
66
60
49
32
123
144
116
100
66
107
119
98
36
31
62
81
49
2
AB
133
235
324
35
204
151
116
95
431
504
377
334
203
395
416
288
115
85
180
284
139
3
R
14
31
45
3
28
27
9
7
47
57
43
30
27
58
46
29
7
12
12
23
7
0
H
36
68
82
6
63
36
22
23
133
146
99
74
60
104
111
69
13
25
43
76
31
1
2B
2
13
19
3
17
10
8
2
31
32
24
12
11
17
20
10
1
3
6
12
4
0
3B
3
7
6
0
4
3
0
1
7
7
2
3
3
4
5
5
2
1
3
5
1
0
HR
0
0
2
0
3
4
0
1
2
0
2
3
2
2
4
2
0
0
2
2
0
0
RBI
18
37
45
1
31
20
7
15
52
48
39
28
28
36
42
24
7
15
24
26
11
1
TB
44
95
119
9
97
64
30
30
184
192
133
101
83
135
153
95
18
30
61
104
37
1
BB
4
11
22
3
17
10
6
11
29
44
46
25
23
26
22
18
4
5
13
9
9
0
IBB
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Totals G
1593
AB
5047
R
562
H
1321
2B
257
3B
72
HR
31
RBI
555
TB
1815
BB
357
IBB
0


BATTING BASERUNNING PERCENTAGES
YR
1928
1929
1930
1931
1931
1932
1933
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1942
1943
1944
1946
1947
TM
Pit
Pit
Pit
Pit
Chi
Chi
Cin
StL
StL
StL
StL
StL
Cle
Cle
Cle
Cle
Cin
NY
NY
NY
Phi
Phi
LG
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
NL
AL
AL
AL
NL
NL
K
10
22
21
3
30
16
8
12
37
41
30
29
14
26
25
19
11
9
9
13
10
0
HBP
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
SH
3
9
10
0
3
4
0
1
11
10
4
5
4
11
5
3
0
2
6
6
4
0
SF
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
GDP
0
0
0
0
0
0
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
7
9
8
1
2
4
15
2
0
SB
1
1
3
0
4
2
0
0
6
3
2
0
1
2
1
2
0
1
0
0
0
0
CS
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
2
3
0
1
4
3
0
0
0
1
2
0
0
SB%
1.000
1.000
1.000
-.---
1.000
1.000
-.---
-.---
.750
.600
.400
-.---
.500
.333
.250
1.000
-.---
1.000
.000
.000
-.---
-.---
AVG
.271
.289
.253
.171
.309
.238
.190
.242
.309
.290
.263
.222
.296
.263
.267
.240
.113
.294
.239
.268
.223
.333
OBP
.292
.321
.301
.237
.362
.286
.230
.321
.355
.349
.343
.276
.367
.309
.304
.284
.143
.333
.290
.290
.270
.333
SLG
.331
.404
.367
.257
.475
.424
.259
.316
.427
.381
.353
.302
.409
.342
.368
.330
.157
.353
.339
.366
.266
.333
AB/HR
--.-
--.-
162.0
--.-
68.0
37.8
--.-
95.0
215.5
--.-
188.5
111.3
101.5
197.5
104.0
144.0
--.-
--.-
90.0
142.0
--.-
--.-
AB/K
13.3
10.7
15.4
11.7
6.8
9.4
14.5
7.9
11.6
12.3
12.6
11.5
14.5
15.2
16.6
15.2
10.5
9.4
20.0
21.8
13.9
--.-
Totals K
395
HBP
4
SH
101
SF
0
GDP
54
SB
29
CS
18
SB%
.617
BAVG
.262
OBP
.311
SLG
.360
AB/HR
162.8
AB/K
12.8


CAREER FIELDING STATISTICS
YEAR TEAM LG POS G Ch PO A E DP FPCT
1928
1929
1930
1931
1931
1932
1932
1933
1933
1934
1934
1935
1936
1937
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1942
1943
1944
1946
1947
Pit
Pit
Pit
Pit
ChC
ChC
ChC
Cin
StL
StL
StL
StL
StL
StL
StL
Cle
Cle
Cle
Cle
Cin
NYY
NYY
NYY
Phi
Phi
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
NL
AL
AL
AL
NL
NL
C
C
C
C
C
OF
C
C
C
OF
C
C
C
1B
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
49
80
98
9
53
1
47
41
27
6
114
141
114
2
94
58
106
117
96
34
29
52
76
45
2
157
302
383
40
283
2
195
135
115
12
595
628
421
7
415
404
566
660
452
218
115
270
345
217
3
127
240
325
35
236
1
173
109
98
12
487
510
340
6
332
358
499
591
401
199
103
234
298
170
3
24
48
50
5
40
1
17
22
13
0
92
105
68
1
70
38
58
65
42
15
11
31
41
42
0
6
14
8
0
7
0
5
4
4
0
16
13
13
0
13
8
9
4
9
4
1
5
6
5
0
4
7
11
0
5
0
3
1
2
0
15
10
16
0
13
5
7
8
8
3
3
3
7
10
0
0.962
0.954
0.979
1.000
0.975
1.000
0.974
0.970
0.965
1.000
0.973
0.979
0.969
1.000
0.969
0.980
0.984
0.994
0.980
0.982
0.991
0.981
0.983
0.977
1.000
Totals G
1491
Ch
6940
PO
5887
A
899
E
154
DP
141
FPCT
0.978


ALL-STAR STATISTICS - BATTING TOTALS

BATTING PERCENTAGES
YR
1935
1936
1939
1940
1944
TM
StL
StL
Cle
Cle
NY
LG
AL
AL
AL
AL
AL
G
1
0
0
1
1
AB
4
0
0
1
2
R
1
0
0
0
0
H
1
0
0
0
0
2B
0
0
0
0
0
3B
1
0
0
0
0
HR
0
0
0
0
0
RBI
0
0
0
0
0
TB
3
0
0
0
0
BB
0
0
0
0
0
K
0
0
0
0
0
SB
0
0
0
0
0
BAVG
.250
-.---
-.---
.000
.000
SLG
.750
-.---
-.---
.000
.000
AB/HR
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
AB/K
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
Totals G
3
AB
7
R
1
H
1
2B
0
3B
1
HR
0
RBI
0
TB
3
BB
0
K
0
SB
0
AVG
.143
SLG
.429
AB/HR
--.-
AB/K
--.-


WORLD SERIES STATISTICS - BATTING TOTALS

BATTING PERCENTAGES
YR
1932
TM
Chi
LG
NL
G
3
AB
3
R
0
H
0
2B
0
3B
0
HR
0
RBI
0
TB
0
BB
0
K
3
SB
0
BAVG
.000
SLG
.000
AB/HR
--.-
AB/K
1.0
Totals G
3
AB
3
R
0
H
0
2B
0
3B
0
HR
0
RBI
0
TB
0
BB
0
K
3
SB
0
AVG
.000
SLG
.000
AB/HR
--.-
AB/K
1.0


WORLD SERIES FIELDING
YEAR TEAM POS G Ch PO A E DP FPCT
1932
ChC
C
1
0
0
0
0
0
-.---
Totals G
1
Ch
0
PO
0
A
0
E
0
DP
0
FPCT
-.---


TEAM ABBREVIATION KEY
YEARS
1928-1931
1931-1932
1933-1942
1933-1937
1938-1941
1942-1944
1946-1947
TM
Pit
Chi
Cin
StL
Cle
NY
Phi
LG
NL
NL
NL
AL
AL
AL
NL
TEAM NAME
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Browns
Cleveland Indians
New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies
LEAGUE NAME
National League
National League
National League
American League
American League
American League
National League


Hemsley drank himself off four clubs before whipping alcoholism with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. Early on, his speed was above average for a catcher. Platooned in Pittsburgh, he was traded to the Cubs in 1931 to back up Gabby Hartnett, and then to the Reds in 1933. Waived to the Browns in 19933, he became a top AL receiver, hitting .309 in 1934. Despite a .222 batting average in 1937, Cleveland traded three players to get him, and he handled the bulk of the Indians' catching chores in 1939 after an injury to Frank Pytlak. He caught Bob Feller's 1940 Opening Day no-hitter, and drove in the game's only run with a triple. He became a backup after his December 1941 sale to the Reds. Hemsley was TSN Minor League Manager of the Year in 1950 and 1963. Rollie Hemsley is one of just 75 catchers who have served in the military. [See MILITARY CATCHERS.] Rollie served in the U.S. Navy during WWII in 1945.


[The story of Rollie Hemsley and Alcoholics Anonymous]
The first case of an anonymity break at the national level occurred in May 1940.
Ralston Burdett "Rollie" Hemsley was born June 24, 1907, in Syracuse, Ohio. His debut as a catcher was April 13, 1928.  He was the catcher for the Cleveland Indians, and had just caught a no-hit game pitched by Bob Feller when publicity about his alcoholism hit the papers.  Rollie had been sober for about a year at that time.  It was big news, not only in Cleveland and Ohio, but in the sports sections of newspapers throughout the country.
Rollie had once been called "Rollicking Rollie," during his drinking days.  He had set fire to a car, raised hell on trains, caught a ball dropped from Cleveland's Terminal Tower when drunk (and did it again sober), and was on the way out of the big leagues when he finally received help.
Dr. Bob called John R. in April 1939 and said: You're the only one around here who knows anything about baseball.  Do you know a player named Rollie Hemsley?
John replied: "Yes, sure I do.  He's a catcher for the Cleveland team."
Dr. Bob said: "Well, someone brought  him down  here, and we've got him over at the hospital.  You come up and talk to him." 
They had put him in the hospital under a false name which reportedly made a sportswriter at the Beacon-Journal very angry that Dr. Bob wouldn't reveal it.  When Rollie was released from the hospital he joined the Oxford Group in Akron.  When the Akron A.A.s left the Oxford Group, Rollie stayed with the Oxford Group for a time, but then joined the A.A. group in Cleveland.
So when the story of his alcoholism broke in 1940, credit for his recovery was given to the Oxford Group.  Then Rollie broke his silence for the first time, and gave the credit for his sobriety to Alcoholics Anonymous.  This caused some concern among AA's, but Rollie could hardly be blamed, and the story of his recovery in A.A. brought many new recruits.

The first story about A.A. that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (see Post 17) spoke "a former big league ball player who is recruiting officer ..."
Rollie explained the difference between the Oxford Group and A.A. like this: "You know, if someone gave me tips about baseball and I found out he never played, I wouldn't pay much attention to him.  It's the same thing with alcohol."
In the Dr. Bob collection at Brown University is a 1948 Cleveland Indians World Series baseball, signed by player and A.A. member Rollie Hemsley and his teammates.

Rollie died July 31, 1972, in Washington, DC.

Sources: Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers. A.A. Comes of Age.