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Ernie Lombardi

Hall of Fame Inductee - 1986
National League MVP 1938
All-Star Selection 1936-1940, 42-43, 45

Full Name: Ernesto Natali "Schnozz" or "Bocci" Lombardi
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 230 lbs.
Born: Apr 06, 1908 in Oakland, CA
Major League Debut: Apr 15, 1931
Died: Sep 26, 1977 in Santa Cruz, CA

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CAREER STATISTICS - BATTING TOTALS

BATTING
YR
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
TM
Bro
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Bos
NY
NY
NY
NY
NY
LG
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
POS
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
G
73
118
107
132
120
121
120
129
130
109
117
105
104
117
115
88
48
AB
182
413
350
417
332
387
368
489
450
376
398
309
295
373
368
238
110
R
20
43
30
42
36
42
41
60
43
50
33
32
19
37
46
19
8
H
54
125
99
127
114
129
123
167
129
120
105
102
90
95
113
69
31
2B
7
22
21
19
23
23
22
30
26
22
12
14
7
13
7
4
5
3B
1
9
1
4
3
2
1
1
2
0
1
0
0
0
1
1
0
HR
4
11
4
9
12
12
9
19
20
14
10
11
10
10
19
12
4
RBI
23
68
47
62
64
68
59
95
85
74
60
46
51
58
70
39
21
TB
75
198
134
181
179
192
174
256
219
184
149
149
127
138
179
111
48
BB
12
41
16
16
16
19
14
40
35
31
36
37
16
33
43
18
7
IBB
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Totals G
1853
AB
5855
R
601
H
1792
2B
277
3B
27
HR
190
RBI
990
TB
2693
BB
430
IBB
0


BATTING BASERUNNING PERCENTAGES
YR
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
TM
Bro
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Bos
NY
NY
NY
NY
NY
LG
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
K
12
19
17
22
6
16
17
14
19
14
14
12
11
25
11
24
9
HBP
0
4
4
3
3
7
2
0
3
7
0
1
3
1
5
3
0
SH
2
0
3
0
0
0
0
0
6
0
0
0
1
1
1
3
1
SF
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
GDP
0
0
26
24
11
15
12
30
24
18
19
17
18
23
12
8
4
SB
1
0
2
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
CS
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
SB%
1.000
-.---
1.000
-.---
-.---
1.000
1.000
-.---
-.---
-.---
1.000
1.000
1.000
-.---
-.---
-.---
-.---
AVG
.297
.303
.283
.305
.343
.333
.334
.342
.287
.319
.264
.330
.305
.255
.307
.290
.282
OBP
.340
.371
.322
.335
.379
.375
.362
.391
.342
.382
.325
.403
.347
.317
.387
.347
.325
SLG
.412
.479
.383
.434
.539
.496
.473
.524
.487
.489
.374
.482
.431
.370
.486
.466
.436
AB/HR
45.5
37.5
87.5
46.3
27.7
32.3
40.9
25.7
22.5
26.9
39.8
28.1
29.5
37.3
19.4
19.8
27.5
AB/K
15.2
21.7
20.6
19.0
55.3
24.2
21.6
34.9
23.7
26.9
28.4
25.8
26.8
14.9
33.5
9.9
12.2
Totals K
262
HBP
46
SH
18
SF
0
GDP
261
SB
8
CS
0
SB%
1.000
BAVG
.306
OBP
.358
SLG
.460
AB/HR
30.8
AB/K
22.3


CAREER FIELDING STATISTICS
YEAR TEAM LG POS G Ch PO A E DP FPCT
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
Bro
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Bos
NYG
NYG
NYG
NYG
NYG
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
50
110
95
111
82
105
90
123
120
101
116
85
73
100
96
63
24
245
378
283
449
353
399
402
594
609
448
576
298
342
410
482
315
99
218
288
223
383
298
330
333
512
536
397
496
251
296
350
425
272
86
23
76
52
61
49
54
58
73
63
46
70
41
36
47
49
36
11
4
14
8
5
6
15
11
9
10
5
10
6
10
13
8
7
2
5
6
3
8
4
10
3
8
7
5
9
3
8
11
8
7
2
0.984
0.963
0.972
0.989
0.983
0.962
0.973
0.985
0.984
0.989
0.983
0.980
0.971
0.968
0.983
0.978
0.980
Totals G
1544
Ch
6682
PO
5694
A
845
E
143
DP
107
FPCT
0.979


ALL-STAR STATISTICS - BATTING TOTALS

BATTING PERCENTAGES
YR
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1942
1943
1945
TM
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Cin
Bos
NY
NY
LG
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
NL
G
0
0
1
1
1
1
1
0
AB
0
0
4
4
2
1
2
0
R
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
H
0
0
2
2
1
0
0
0
2B
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3B
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
HR
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
RBI
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
TB
0
0
2
2
1
0
0
0
BB
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
K
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
SB
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
BAVG
-.---
-.---
.500
.500
.500
.000
.000
-.---
SLG
-.---
-.---
.500
.500
.500
.000
.000
-.---
AB/HR
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
AB/K
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
--.-
Totals G
5
AB
13
R
0
H
5
2B
0
3B
0
HR
0
RBI
1
TB
5
BB
1
K
0
SB
0
AVG
.385
SLG
.385
AB/HR
--.-
AB/K
--.-


WORLD SERIES STATISTICS - BATTING TOTALS

BATTING PERCENTAGES
YR
1939
1940
TM
Cin
Cin
LG
NL
NL
G
4
2
AB
14
3
R
0
0
H
3
1
2B
0
1
3B
0
0
HR
0
0
RBI
2
0
TB
3
2
BB
0
1
K
1
0
SB
0
0
BAVG
.214
.333
SLG
.214
.667
AB/HR
--.-
--.-
AB/K
14.0
--.-
Totals G
6
AB
17
R
0
H
4
2B
1
3B
0
HR
0
RBI
2
TB
5
BB
1
K
1
SB
0
AVG
.235
SLG
.294
AB/HR
--.-
AB/K
17.0


WORLD SERIES FIELDING
YEAR TEAM POS G Ch PO A E DP FPCT
1939
1940
Cin
Cin
C
C
4
1
24
4
22
4
1
0
1
0
0
0
0.958
1.000
Totals G
5
Ch
28
PO
26
A
1
E
1
DP
0
FPCT
0.964


TEAM ABBREVIATION KEY
YEARS
1931
1932-1941
1942
1943-1947
TM
Bro
Cin
Bos
NY
LG
NL
NL
NL
NL
TEAM NAME
Brooklyn Robins
Cincinnati Reds
Boston Braves
New York Giants
LEAGUE NAME
National League
National League
National League
National League

Early on, Ernie Lombardi would be dubbed "Schnozz" or "Bocci," saluting his large nose and Italian heritage.

Ernie couldn't run, but he sure could hit! Ernie Lombardi's slowness afoot was legendary; but evertheless the Reds' catcher hit .306 over 17 seasons (ten times batting over .300), winning batting titles in 1938 and '42 and earning the N.L. MVP award in 1938. He held his hands low, with an interlocking golf grip and a quick stroke. A good handler of pitchers, he had an outstanding throwing arm from a crouch position, rifling the ball with a sidearm release.


Famed for his long hits, lead feet, and large nose, Lombardi was one of baseball's top catchers during the 1930s and 1940s. The only catcher to win two batting titles, his consistently high batting averages were achieved despite his legendary lack of speed. Contemporary Billy Herman said later: "I don't think anybody could top him. But he was so slow afoot that those infielders could play him so deep that he just didn't have any place to hit the ball. He had to hit it over the fence or against the fence or just too hard for anybody to be able to make a play." Lombardi's powerful line smashes were legendary; he hit with his fingers interlocked so he could grip his bat, the league's heaviest, closer to the end. Lombardi broke into baseball with Oakland of the Pacific Coast League at age eighteen. After being sent out to Ogden for seasoning, he had three outstanding seasons, catching 120, 164, and 146 games and hitting .377, .366, and .370. The Dodgers bought his contract in 1931, but though he hit a strong .297, they traded him to Cincinnati in a six-player deal in March 1932.

His greatest years were with the Reds, catching over 100 games for ten straight seasons and hitting .300 in seven. Twice he led NL catchers in fielding. In 1938, he won the NL MVP award by becoming only the second catcher to ever lead a major league in hitting (.342), while cracking 19 homers and driving in 95 runs. That season he caught Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters. He was a mainstay for the 1939 Reds pennant winners and 1940 World Champions.

The 1939 WS saw an incident that haunted his career. In the 10th inning of the fourth and final game, Yankee Charlie Keller crashed into him in a close play at the plate. Lombardi was stunned and another Yankee run scored while he lay on the ground. Newspapers unfairly called it "Lombardi's Swoon."

Sold to the Braves in 1942, he won his second batting title (.330) and then spent his final five ML seasons with the Giants.

In his later years, he was bitter because he was not named to baseball's Hall of Fame. Eight years after his death, he was enshrined by the Veterans Committee.


Ernie Lombardi fit the catcher stereotype-big and slow-but his measured manner behind the plate and on the baselines disappeared when he came to bat. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound righthander hit ferocious line drives that struck fear into opposing fielders. A career .306 hitter, in 1938 Lombardi led the National League with a .342 batting average.

The Oakland native broke in with Brooklyn in 1931 and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds the following year. The league quickly learned to play infielders on the outfield grass because Lombardi could never beat out a grounder, and the distance gave the fielders more time to react to his wicked line drives. Lombardi once confessed that shortstop "Pee Wee Reese was in the league three years before I realized he wasn't an outfielder." Pitchers did not have the luxury of playing deep against Lombardi, and in 1937 he lined a ball back at the Chicago Cubs' Larry French that broke three of the pitcher's fingers.

Capable of getting very hot at the plate, on May 8, 1935, Lombardi hit a double in each of four consecutive innings off four different pitchers. And on May 9, 1937, he tallied six hits in six at bats. In 1938 he caught both of Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters, but Lombardi also led the league in passed balls in nine separate seasons.

The lingering memory of his defensive abilities is the "Lombardi Swoon" in the 10th inning of Game 4 of the 1939 World Series, when the New York Yankees' Charlie Keller scored on Joe DiMaggio's hit. Keller knocked Lombardi senseless when he crossed home plate. Lombardi, though stunned, did recover in time to grab the ball and make a lunging tag, which Joe D eluded with a beautiful hook slide. It was an awfully hot day in Cincinnati and I was feeling dizzy…. When Keller came in he spun me around at the plate and I couldn't get up," Lombardi later explained. Lombardi has been unfairly maligned for this play all these years, primarily due to Grantland Rice having written about the event and describing Lombardi as lying semi-unconscious and letting Joe D circle the bases (which was entirely untrue!).

Following a poor 1941 season, Cincinnati General Manager Warren Giles sold Lombardi to Boston. Lombardi had feuded publicly with Giles over salary, calling Giles "the old goat," but with the Braves the catcher made his former boss look bad the next year by hitting .330. In 1943 Boston traded Lombardi to the Giants, and in 1947 he retired.

After a 1953 suicide attempt, seven years as a press box attendant in San Francisco, and a job in a gas station, Lombardi died in 1977 at the age of 69. Giles, an influential Hall of Fame member, successfully lobbied against admitting Lombardi to Cooperstown, but the Veterans Committee elected the catcher posthumously in 1986-after Giles died.