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Muscle Sport Magazine

Father’s Day Present For the Schaive Family

Courtesy of Chad Schaive

EDITOR’S NOTE: We were overjoyed when longtime MuscleSport Magazine reader Chad Schaive informed us that his late father John was a professional baseball player and that he wanted to share some stories with us about him and his career. We are going to do a series of articles about John Schaive and would like to kick things off with an introduction, if you will, of the man from his son’s perspective and chose to do so on Father’s Day as a tip of the (baseball) cap to the Schaive family. 

“I wouldn’t know where to begin on stories,” Chad Schaive said of his father John, who played professional baseball in the 1950s and 60s and passed away in 2009 at the age of 75. “But a good one is when President John F. Kennedy threw out first ball in the 1963 season opener. I have picture of dad jumping to catch it. He also had a baseball signed by Kennedy and said it looked like chicken scratch and he gave it away! He kicked himself ever since.”

Born on February 25, 1934 in Springfield, Illinois, Schaive signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1953 as a right-handed hitting infielder and played in their minor league system. He was eventually acquired by the original Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) two years later and was climbing the ranks in their farm system (leading Class D – now known as AAA – in four offensive categories in 1955) before answering the call of duty the next two years in the military.

The 5’8″, 175-pound Schaive returned to Griffith Stadium for the 1958 season and played parts of that and the next two seasons in our nation’s capital. His son Chad recalls one of his father’s proudest moments, especially since he grew up a fan of the New York Yankees.

“He hit a home run off Whitey Ford in his first ever at-bat in Yankee Stadium,” a proud son exclaims of his father’s long ball against one of the all-time great pitchers who was known as the Chairman of the Board.

A strange set of circumstances began to take place a few years later for not only Schaive, but also the American League itself. After the 1960 season, the city of Minnesota was awarded an expansion franchise. The owner of the Senators, Calvin Griffith, made a strange request that the ‘junior circuit’ strangely accepted. The Sens would move to the Twin Cities and the expansion team would be given to Washington, D.C. and keep the same team nickname.

With a history that dated back to 1901, the Senators did enjoy some bright moments but were a perennial ‘second division’ club for the majority of their time in Washington. There’s an infamous saying in baseball, “First in war, first in peace and last in the American League,” about the Senators and their years of futility in the then-one division, eight-team league. Perhaps the longtime Griffith family ownership just wanted a fresh start elsewhere.

But before even getting a chance to get his feet wet in Minnesota, Schaive was selected by the “new” Washington Senators in the 1960 expansion draft and headed back east. He played with that ball club (who relocated to Texas in 1972 as the Rangers) until 1963 and had his most productive year in 1962 by playing in 82 games and batting .253 with six home runs, 15 doubles and 29 RBI.

“(My father) was one of a handful of guys who played on both the pre and post-expansion Washington Senators,” his son John stated.

Just one of the many things to be proud of on this special Father’s Day. John Schaive would have certainly enjoyed it.

Play ball!

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