Buff Biographies: Joe Medwick

Joe Medwick Outfielder Houston Buffs 1931-1932, 1948

Joe Medwick
Outfielder
Houston Buffs
1931-1932, 1948

Joe Medwick wasn’t included in the 1948 autograph book about the 1948 Houston Buffs by Morris Frank and Adie Marks. He wasn’t supposed to be back in Houston that year.

19-year-old outfielder Joe Medwick wasn’t the easiest guy to get along with when he joined the 1931 Houston Buffs in 1931. Blessed with Hall of Fame baseball skills and a thin skin to the comments and trash talk of others, many of his teammates chose to stand-off rather than set off the young powder keg in the middle of a game situation. He seemed to get a little worse as he moved into his early to mid twenties before finally mellowing out with maturity during the latter years of his total baseball career (1930-49, 1951-52). He did not leave baseball, however, for a career in any of the commercial human relationships fields, nor did he seek or find work in the State Department’s diplomatic corp.

Columnist Lloyd Gregory and a Buffs fan hung the nickname "Ducky" on Joe Medwick. Of course, they did it from afar.

Columnist Lloyd Gregory and a Buffs fan hung the nickname “Ducky” on Joe Medwick. Of course, they did it from afar.

 

Medwick acquired his nickname, “Ducky”, in 1931 after a female fan wrote to Houston Post Dispatch columnist Lloyd Gregory, claiming that she hard started calling him by that name because she thought he waddled like a duck when he walked. Gregory apparently agreed with the fan and started using the moniker in his own public references to Medwick in his columns.

It stuck, or “resonated”, as we might say in 2013. The Houston public saw him as “Ducky” through a second season in 1932 and then sent their slugging and swifty center fielder onward and upward to St. Louis late in the 1932 season to waddle all the way to baseball greatness, starting with the St. Louis Cardinals’ Gashouse Gang.

Medwick hit .305 with 19 league-leading homers and 126 RBI for the 1931 Texas League champion Buffs. In 1932, Ducky raised his batting average to .354 with 26 HR; this time, not leading the league in either category.

Over the course of his 17-year MLB career with the St. Louis Cardinals (1932-40, 1947-48)); Brooklyn Dodgers (1940-43, 1946); New York Giants (1943-45); and Boston Braves (1945), Joe Medwick batted .324 with 205 HR and 1,383 RBI.

For his 7 seasons as a minor leaguer (1930-32, 1948-49, 1951-52), Ducky batted .336 with 83 HR. He also served as a manager at three different minor cities in his last three active seasons (1949, 1951-52).

Joe Medwick was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968 He died at age 63 on March 21, 1975.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Buff Biographies: Joe Medwick”

  1. Patrick Callahan Says:

    BILL: –
    Lloyd Gregory’s son Dr. Stephen Gregory was my father’s Doctor for many years, and mine also for a while. His practice was located in the large American General bldg. down on Allen Parkway.

    keep up the great work –
    Kind regards,
    Callahan

  2. Bud Kane Says:

    Bill, Medwick is buried here in South St Louis St Marcus Cemetery. Some years ago our local SABR group found out there was nothing on his marker to show he was even a ML player much less the last National Leaguer to win the Triple Crown (1937). We raised enough to get a better marker showing him as a Hall of Famer. We had a little ceremony at the cemetery; his widow and kids came up from Florida and local writers like Bob Broeg, plus Bing Devine and others and Stan the Man came in wearing a bright green jacket. So I go to talk to Stan for about 15 minutes about the ’41 team, ’42 team, ’44 World Series against the Browns, etc etc, until Lil came along and dragged Stan away. As you know Medwick turned down a football scholarship to Notre Dame to sign with the Cardinals. One tough hombre.

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