Bill Dickey

William Malcolm Dickey
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1954
Primary team: New York Yankees
Primary position: Catcher

Longest tenured Hall of Famer Bob Feller said “Bill Dickey is the best (catcher) I ever saw… He was as good as anyone behind the plate, and better with the bat. There are others I’d include right behind Dickey, but he was the best all-around catcher of them all. I believe I could have won 35 games if Bill Dickey was my catcher.”

In 1928, Bill Dickey was claimed on waivers from the Class-D Jackson, Miss., team. Yankee scout Johnny Nee thought so highly of Dickey that he told Yankee GM Ed Barrow “I will quit scouting if this boy does not make good”. Needless to say, the Yankees scooped him up and Nee didn’t need to quit scouting.

Dickey made his big league debut that year and became the Yankees regular backstop the following. Playing alongside Babe Ruth, Dickey tried to model his game on the Bambino’s. Manager Miller Huggins told Dickey “We pay one player here for hitting home runs and that’s Babe Ruth. So choke up and drill the ball. That way, you’ll be around here longer.” Dickey took his skippers advice and started driving the ball all over the field. He soon became a force in the Bronx Bombers line-up.

An 11 time All-Star and seven time World Series champion, Dickey reached double digits in home runs nine times, the 100 RBI mark four times, and batted better than .300 11 times.

And his defense, arm and game-calling ability were spectacular too. Yankee hurler Charlie Devens recalled “I was lucky to work with Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey, who was always one pitch ahead of the batters. He not only called a great game, but had the best arm I’d ever seen.”

On the field Dickey was all business but off the field he was mild mannered and well liked by all. As his career wound down he mentored young Yankee backstops. Yogi Berra said “I owe everything I did in baseball to Bill Dickey. He was a great man” and Elston Howard recalled “You’ve got to have Bill work with you to understand how much he can help you… The year I came to the Yankees from Toronto, I wasn’t as good as a lot of semipro catchers. Bill took me over and he talked to me. Then he worked with me. We’d go off in a corner and practice. Without Bill, I’m nobody. Nobody at all. He made me a catcher. Now when I start to slip and get careless, there’s old Bill to give me a hand.”

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1954
Primary Team: New York Yankees
Position Played: Catcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: Bastrop, Louisiana
Birth year: 1907
Died: 1993, Little Rock, Arkansas
Played for:
New York Yankees (1928-1943)
New York Yankees (1946)
Managed:
New York Yankees (1946)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
1789
At BatsAB
6300
RunsR
930
HitsH
1969
Doubles2B
343
Triples3B
72
Home RunsHR
202
RBIRBI
1209
Stolen BasesSB
36
WalksBB
678
Batting AverageBA
.313
OPSOPS
.868
On Base %OBP
.382
Slugging %SLG
.486