In 1926, the Cardinals defeated the Yankees in the World Series. Willie Sherdel along with Hall of Famers Jess Haines and Grover Cleveland Alexander were the pitching staff aces. The following May, Charles Lindbergh presented a World Series ring to Sherdel and the other Redbirds. Lindbergh was an American hero. He had just completed his record-breaking trans-Atlantic flight within the previous month. His flight was financed by several St. Louis businessmen and he named his plane "The Spirit of St. Louis."
The first thing to share about Wee Willie is his amazing career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Most people do not realize he still holds the record for most career wins by a left-handed pitcher - that's after retiring in 1932 over 85 years ago. Besides most lefty wins, he ranks fourth all-time in wins behind Bob Gibson, Bill Doak and Bob Forsch. Also, Sherdel ranks third in most games pitched and fourth in most innings pitched. As a hitter Wee Willie has the fourth most career home runs by a pitcher. His .337 batting average in 1923 ranks fifth. Sherdel's humility prevented him from bragging about his accomplishments.
Hello Everyone! This is my first blog post. I think it is appropriate to start my blogs by answering the question of why write a book about Wee Willie Sherdel. The obvious answer is that very few people know of his amazing baseball career.
Willie Sherdel lived most of his life in the Hanover, Pennsylvania, vicinity. He was born in Midway, grew up in Hanover and lived most of his adult life in McSherrystown. While I was growing up, I knew of Sherdel but not much was ever discussed. During my senior year in high school, he died. When I decided to write my first book on the Hanover Raiders, I dedicated a chapter to Sherdel and realized his life was a wonderful secret that needed to be shared. During his lifetime, Willie was so quiet and unassuming that most people did not know his incredible story.
As I thought about writing another book, I could not escape the need to tell Sherdel's story. It helped that I had developed a friendship with Willie's grandson, John. My research included many old newspapers from the St. Louis and Hanover area. Sherdel's story became even more interesting. The book almost wrote itself. I only hope that this story reaches a wide audience and that Sherdel's incredible life and accomplishments can live on through future generations.
In the next few blogs, I will share a few of the things that people do not know about Wee Willie Sherdel and hopefully encourage you to buy my book. Thanks!