Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - Page updated at 08:16 PM
Former major-leaguer Lonny Frey dies
By Seattle Times staff
Lonny Frey, who played 14 seasons in the major leagues and three All-Star games, died Sunday in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Frey, who had been the oldest surviving Pacific Coast League baseball player, was 99.
Mr. Frey finished his professional career with the Seattle Rainiers in 1950, then moved his family from St. Louis to Seattle after that season. The family settled in Bellevue, then Mr. Frey and his wife Mary moved to Snohomish in the late 1960s.
When Mary Frey died in 1982, Mr. Frey moved to Coeur d'Alene.
"He was a warm, very down-to-earth guy," said Pacific Coast League historian Dave Eskenazi. "He shared a number of entertaining baseball anecdotes, mainly about his old teams and teammates. I remember him telling me that Ernie Lombardi hit the ball harder than anyone else he'd seen, and he'd seen them all.
"He was modest, but rightly proud of his terrific major-league career."
Mr. Frey played in the major leagues from 1933 through 1948, missing the 1944 and 1945 seasons while serving in World War II. He was a second baseman and shortstop who played in three World Series.
Mr. Frey began his major-league career with Brooklyn, playing four seasons for the Dodgers before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs.
After one season with the Cubs, he was purchased by Cincinnati. Mr. Frey played seven seasons for the Reds, and was an All-Star in 1939, 1941 and 1943. The Reds played in the World Series in 1939 and 1940. He is a member of the Reds' Hall of Fame.
Mr. Frey split the 1947 season between the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees, playing in the World Series with the Yankees. He played for the Yankees and the New York Giants in 1948, his last season in the majors. Mr. Frey was the last surviving player to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and Yankees.
Mr. Frey, originally a switch-hitter who began batting exclusively left-handed at the end of the 1938 season, was a .269 career hitter, with 61 home runs. In 1940, he led the National League with 22 stolen bases.
After one season with the Buffalo Bisons of the Class AAA International League, Mr. Frey played the 1950 season for the Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. Playing third base for the Rainiers, he hit .267 with two home runs.
In 2000, on his 90th birthday, Mr. Frey threw out the first pitch of a Mariners game against the Yankees.
A memorial Mass is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday at Sacred Heart Church in Bellevue.