Red Kress

Ebullient Red Kress led AL shortstops in fielding in 1929, but in errors in 1930. The Browns moved him off SS so Jim Levey could move in; Levey, in turn, led the league in errors. The next season, St. Louis traded Kress (after three seasons of hitting over .300 with over 100 RBI a year) to the White Sox, who were unveiling Luke Appling at SS. Kress therefore adapted to whatever position he had to, even pitching, to the detriment of his batting average. The Senators got him next and he competed with Joe Cronin, who was not only the shortstop but the manager; Cronin released Kress. After he spent 1937 in Minneapolis (American Association), hitting .330 and leading shortstops in total chances, the Browns reacquired him. Played at short, he responded by hitting .302 and leading the league in fielding. Traded to Detroit in 1939, he broke his leg during the season. In 1940, the pennant-bound Tigers released the hard-luck Kress. He loved baseball enough to quit after coaching for the hapless 1962 Mets. That November, his heart gave out.