Obituary: Jerry Schypinski (1931-2019)

RIP to Jerry Schypinski, a shortstop for the 1955 Kansas City athletics. He died on March 25 at the age of 87.

Gerald Schypinski was born on September 16, 1931 in Detroit, Mich. He attended University of Detroit Mercy college in Detroit and was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952. Schypinski’s pro debut came with the Cordele A’s of the Georgia-Florida League, and I can’t think of a more different place from Detroit than Cordele, Ga. Schypinski adjusted to the new environment pretty well, batting a fine .297 and once getting 7 base hits in 8 at-bats during a doubleheader. Whan the season ended, he went to the Western League’s Lincoln A’s, where he hit .271 in 18 games.

Schypinski appeared in just 7 games in 1953 and missed all of 1954, with what I’m guessing is military service. He returned to baseball with the Savannah A’s of the Sally League in 1955 and went back to being a solid hitter, with a .287 batting average and the only 2 home runs of his professional career. The A’s, by then located in Kansas City, brought him to the majors at the end of August when they lost their shortstop Joe DeMaestri to injury. He made his MLB debut on August 31, replacing Clete Boyer at shortstop during a blowout win by the Yankees.

Schypinski’s first major-league hit came a few days later against the Tigers on September 3. He doubled to right field off of Steve Gromek.and added a single later in the game. He played pretty consistently through the month of September, appearing in a total of 22 games. He had a slash line of .217/.229/.246 and had 15 hits, including 2 doubles and a walk. He knocked in 5 runs and scored 7 times.

Unfortunately, his last game of the season, and what would be the last game of his MLB career, ended rather abruptly. In the 7th inning on September 26, Schypinski and second baseman Jim Finigan collided while trying to reach a ground ball. Schypinski was knocked out and got a cut on his face, and he had to leave the game.

Schypinski spent just one more season in pro ball, splitting 1956 with Columbus (Ohio) and Columbia (South Carolina). He hit a combined .237 and had his contract purchased by the Reds at the end of the season. Nothing came of that, and his career was over at the age of 24.

Post-baseball, Schypinski became a long-time youth sports coach. He coached baseball at Notre Dame High School and basketball at St. Brendan’s grade school, both presumably in or around his Detroit home. Both his son Ron and grandson Steve played baseball in the area as well.

Oddly, Jerry Schypinski was a hard man to photograph, at least in his playing days. His Baseball Reference page picture shows him from the back, with only his #6 visible. In the 1990s, author Marc Okkonen released the book Baseball Memories, 1950-59, An Illustrated Scrapbook of Baseball’s Fabulous 50s. The book contains photos of every baseball player who appeared in the 1950s, except for three: Rudy Rufer, Eddie Malone and Schypinski. So here’s a photo of him in action from his brief time in the majors.

Bubba Phillips of the Tigers steals second base as shortstop Jerry Schypinski has some trouble with the throw. Source: The Kansas City Times, September 5, 1955.


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