|Catcher / Manager|
Born: May 11, 1928|
St. Louis, Missouri
|MiLB: 1946 for the Marion Cardinals|
|Last professional appearance|
|1976 for the Denver Bears|
As Minor League manager
As Major League Manager
Vernon Fred Rapp (born May 11, 1928) is a retired Major League Baseball manager and coach. A career minor league catcher and a successful skipper in the minors, Rapp had two brief tours of duty as a big league manager.
Minor League playing career
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Rapp signed his first playing contract out of high school in
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While managing the Modesto Reds in
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Minor League manager
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After spending two years out of baseball, he rejoined the Cardinals in
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St. Louis Cardinals
His success in Denver led to his hiring as Cardinals' manager for
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When the Cards suffered through a seven-game losing streak that saw their record fall to 5-11 early in the
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The Sports Huddle, WHDH in Boston
Inspired by the outpouring of tributes lavished on retiring Boston Red Sox star Carl Yastrzemski, the producers of Boston phone-in radio show The Sports Huddle on radio station WHDH, decided to do a satirical tribute to Rapp, who also planned to retire at the end of the
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The program turned out to be anything but a spoof, though. Cardinal broadcaster Mike Shannon spoke admiringly of the man, and Rapp, reached by telephone in Montreal, was choked up by the whole affair. WHDH also conducted a telephone interview with Sheldon Bender, vice-president of player personnel for the Cincinnati Reds. Until the station called, Bender was unaware that Rapp was leaving the Expos. Bender suggested Rapp at a meeting the next day at which the Reds' bosses were discussing whether to fire Manager Russ Nixon. One thing led to another, and Rapp received a surprise phone call from Howsam, who had returned from his own retirement to try to arrest the declining fortunes of the Reds.
Bender admitted "Vern wasn't a candidate for the job until the station called." Rapp decided that managing the Reds was worth unretiring for, and accepted the job on October 5. WHDH sent Rapp the cassette recording of what turned out to be a most momentous broadcast.
The Reds were only a half game back of first place with a 23-22 record, when things began to unravel. On May 27 against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, Reds pitcher Mario Soto shoved third base umpire Steve Rippley for incorrectly calling a long foul ball down the left field line hit by Cubs third baseman Ron Cey a home run. After conferring, the umpires changed their decision and ruled it a foul ball. However, for shoving Rippley, Soto was ejected, prompting him to charge the field and attack Cubs coach Don Zimmer, which triggered a ten-minute bench-clearing brawl.
The Reds won the game, completing a three game sweep of the Cubs, and followed that with a two game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The next day, National League president Chub Feeney suspended Soto five games for the incident on the 27th.
The Reds lost fourteen of their next seventeen, and had fallen ten games back of the San Diego Padres when a second incident involving Soto occurred on June 16. Leading off the fifth inning, Soto threw several brushback pitches at Atlanta Braves slugger Claudell Washington, who had homered in his last at-bat. Washington tossed his bat in the direction of Soto, appeared to go out to retrieve it, but instead walked toward the mound. Umpire Lanny Harris attempted to restrain Washington, but was thrown to the ground. Soto used the distraction to punch Washington. Several of Washington's teammates attempted to hold Washington to the ground. While they were doing that, Soto fired the baseball into the crowd of players, striking Braves coach Joe Pignatano. He was suspended three games for this incident; Washington received a five-game suspension for shoving Lanny Harris.
Following an 8-19 month of July, Pete Rose was acquired from the Expos on August 15, he was named the Reds' playing manager. Rapp was fired with a record of 51-70 while the Reds were on the road in St. Louis. His career MLB managerial record was 140 wins in 300 games, for a winning percentage of .467.
- "A Designated Disadvantage". Sports Illustrated. 1975-07-21.
- "This Card Is Certainly No Joker". Sports Illustrated. 1977-06-20.
- "Famous facial hair in baseball". StlToday. 2009-04-23.
- "St. Louis Cardinals 7, Montreal Expos 2". Baseball-reference.com. 1978-04-25.
- "The Week (September 2–8)". Sports Illustrated. 1979-09-17.
- "The Cincinnati Reds today hired Vern Rapp". The New York Times. 1983-10-05.
- "Scorecard". Sports Illustrated. 1983-10-17.
- "Cincinnati Reds 2, Atlanta Braves 1". Baseball-reference.com. 1984-06-16.
- "Hal McCoy: Scaling barbed-wire fences all part of the job". Springfield News-Sun. 2009-10-24.
- Career statistics and player information from The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Vern Rapp managerial career statistics at Baseball-Reference.com