Pee Wee Reese

Harold Henry Reese
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1984
Primary team: Brooklyn Dodgers
Primary position: Shortstop

“Pee Wee didn’t want accolades, but he had an ego and he knew that he was an exceptional athlete, and had been blessed with attributes far more important than size. He was brimming with things that made him a leader, one filled with class beyond compare.” - Sports Columnist Earl Cox in The Voice-Tribune (08/18/1998).

Pee Wee Reese was the heart and soul of the Dodgers, playing shortstop from 1940-57 (he served in the Navy from 1943-45) in Brooklyn, and for one season in Los Angeles. With Reese, numbers don’t tell the whole story. He was a natural leader who was named captain of the team in 1950.

He was a 10 time All-Star, and his Dodgers won seven pennants—and one World Series against the Yankees. He never won an MVP award, but eight times he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting.

His nickname came not from stature, but from his child-hood days as a marbles champion in Louisville. He broke in with the Dodgers in 1940, became a regular the following year, and by 1942, was leading the league in putouts and assists, and making the first of ten consecutive All-Star appearances.

He was a versatile ballplayer, and his contributions to the team were varied: he led the NL in walks with 104 in 1947, in runs in 1949, and in stolen bases in 1952. Defensively, he led the league four times in putouts, twice in double plays, and once each in fielding percentage and assists.

But his most important action on a baseball field may have been prior to a game. In 1947, the Dodgers were visiting Cincinnati, and the fans and opposing players were getting on rookie Jackie Robinson. Reports of the game state that Reese calmly walked over to Robinson, put his arm around his teammate’s shoulder, and chatted. The gesture is remembered as an important moment in both Robinson’s career and the acceptance of African Americans in baseball—and American society.

Earlier, Reese had refused to sign a petition circulating among Dodger teammates concerning Robinson’s participation on the team. Jackie’s widow, Rachel Robinson, said, “I thought it was a very supportive gesture, and very instinctive on Pee Wee’s part. You shouldn’t forget that Pee Wee was the captain, and he led the way. Pee Wee was more than a friend. Pee Wee was a good man.”

"He was the heart and soul of the "Boys of Summer". "
Vin Scully

Career stats

Year Inducted: 1984
Primary Team: Brooklyn Dodgers
Position Played: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Ekron, Kentucky
Birth year: 1918
Died: 1999, Louisville, Kentucky
Played for:
Brooklyn Dodgers (1940-1942)
Brooklyn Dodgers (1946-1957)
Los Angeles Dodgers (1958)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG