Del Crandall was born on Wednesday, March 5, 1930, in Ontario, California. Crandall was 19 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 17, 1949, with the Boston Braves. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Del Crandall baseball stats page.
"I think the most complete catcher during my time in the league was Del Crandall. He was sound defensively. He could catch the bad pitch and block the plate. He didn't have a strong arm, but he made up for it with a quick release and accuracy." - John Roseboro in Glory Days with the Dodgers, and Other Days with Others (Atheneum Publishing, 1st Edition 1978, Page 73)
Del Crandall Autograph on a 1991 Topps Archives Baseball Card (#197 | Checklist )
Del Crandall Pitching Stats
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Del Crandall Hitting Stats
Del Crandall Fielding Stats
Del Crandall Miscellaneous Stats
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Del Crandall Miscellaneous Items of Interest
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|1949 Boston Braves||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1950 Boston Braves||23||Undetermined||-||-|
|1953 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1954 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1955 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1956 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1957 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||-||Stats|
|1958 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||Stats|
|1959 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1960 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1961 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||-||-|
|1962 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1963 Milwaukee Braves||1||Undetermined||-||-|
|1964 San Francisco Giants||9||Undetermined||-||-|
|1965 Pittsburgh Pirates||16||Undetermined||-||-|
|1966 Cleveland Indians||7||Undetermined||-||-|
|Del Crandall Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Did you know that Del Crandall is one of only five ELIGIBLE players to appear in at least ten All-Star Games and not be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame? The eleven time All-Star is second only to Barry Bonds (14x), Roger Clemens (12x) and Mark McGwire (12x). Crandall is tied with Bill Freehan (11x) and one ahead of Steve Garvey (10x).
Sports Illustrated Volume 8, Issue 16, April 21, 1958 / Del Crandall
Sports Illustrated (Volume 8, Issue 16, April 21, 1958, 'Del Crandall On The Art Of Catching', Page) featured Del Crandall on the cover (image above) and a truly superb article written by Les Woodstock appeared inside with Crandall's "Big League Secrets" to catching:
TARGET for the pitcher
After giving the signal for the type pitch I want thrown, I give my pitcher another hand signal. I think this is very important. I indicate where I want the ball thrown, high or low, inside or out. The pitcher generally knows this, so it's usually a reminder. In some cases he doesn't. I want to eliminate as far as possible any chance of misunderstanding between my pitcher and myself as to where that pitch is supposed to go.
Now I give my pitcher a target to aim for. Some catchers use only the glove. Others prefer some part of the body. I believe in giving the pitcher all the help possible. And in my opinion, I can give him more help by using both my body and my glove as a target.
Some people might say this involves a lot of extra movement. But it's a matter of inches, shifting one way or the other when you set yourself to catch. It doesn't take any more out of you to shift to the left or right. I have to make a movement anyway, after I've given my signals, to get into a ready position to catch.
Others say that I tip off where the pitch is going by moving around behind the plate. But when I make my move for an outside or inside pitch, it's too late for the batter to do anything about it. I move when the pitcher starts his motion. The batter at this point has all he can do to watch the pitcher. The main thing here is that you can't move too soon—the batter will see you. Or too late—it won't help your pitcher.
With some pitchers I only have to move an inch or two outside and they will aim for the outside corner. With others I might have to move farther out in order to emphasize for him what I want him to do.
Now my body is where I want the pitch to go, either inside or out. If a low ball is to be thrown I try to get as low as possible. My rump is as high as I can get it without being awkward. Too many catchers let their rear end drag and are in a bad position to move. My weight is forward on my toes and away from my heels. For a high ball I raise the upper part of my body just a few inches. In either case my glove is in the same position as my body.
In any of these four positions, my glove and body are giving the best possible target for the pitcher. In my opinion, you're a bigger asset by moving around. It makes sense to throw at the whole of something rather than a part. It will help get the most out of your pitcher.
Giving the best target possible is so important because it is at the start of the whole pitching action. It is also a factor with the umpires. If you are where that pitch is supposed to come, it will certainly look better to the ump than if you're reaching all over the place for it, no matter how good it is. Also, by keeping your body as low as possible all the time, you give the ump a better look at the ball.
STRIKE the pitcher should get
The next way you can help your pitcher the most is in catching the ball properly. What you want to do here is to take charge of the ball after it is thrown and not let the ball take charge of you. This relates mainly to two types of pitches—pitches breaking outside or inside.
If you let the ball take charge on these pitches, the strike on the corner is going to look like a ball to the umpire. I meet the ball with my mitt and catch it firmly before it breaks out of the strike zone. If you're a sloppy catcher, the strike that is so close to being a ball will look more like a ball than a strike. This is no knock at the umps. All I'm doing is to make sure that they can get a good look at the pitch where it passes through the strike zone. I'm stopping the ball there.
This has nothing to do with cheating. This is a legitimate strike. If you cheat a little by taking the pitch and pushing it toward the middle of the strike zone, you won't fool the umpires very long. There's a natural tendency to make the pitch look better. But it's a policy which boomerangs. By pursuing it, you will later lose your pitcher the strike he's entitled to. Don't try to make something out of it that isn't there. Let the strike speak for itself.
It could mean the ball game. If you keep losing your pitcher his strikes you may not be in serious trouble for a while. But a point might come up when one pitch could lose the ball game if it goes against you. When you get in a spot like that, you want the ump to have every chance to look at the pitch. He's going to call it correctly.
BUNT situation and how to play it
There are times during a ball game when you and everyone else in the stands knows a bunt attempt is going to be made. When this situation comes up I hold my glove and body higher, because I want the pitch high. Ordinarily that will be more difficult to bunt. The main difference in my target stance is that I put my rear foot farther back than usual. My feet are then in a position similar to that of a trackman getting ready to run. What I want is a faster start. And I can get it this way with a full-step pushoff.
This is the only time I change my target stance with men on base. And only if my pitcher has his control. My main concern always is to help the pitcher. If he's wild and needs all the benefit of my target, I'll give him the full target and not try to get an extra step on the bunt.
On plays in front of me where I have to throw to second, I can do a better job by throwing overhand rather than sidearm. This is the catcher's natural throwing motion and gives him a stronger throw. Also, the ball sometimes does tricks when you throw sidearm. That's what used to happen with my throw. My infielders told me about it and I decided to change.
After the ball has been bunted in front of me I run out to it, block it with my glove and pick it up with my other hand. This way you're grabbing at a dead object and your margin of error is reduced. The play is to second, so I straighten three-quarters of the way up and let go overhand. What I might lose in time to make this extra motion I gain back by being able to throw naturally and getting more stuff on the ball.
LOW PITCH in the dirt
I think this is one of the most important things a catcher can learn. It could be the difference in giving a kid the reputation as a good handler of low pitches or not. And that could be the difference in his making it to the majors or not.
What you want to do here is cover up all the holes. Get the ball that bounces high with your body and get the low bounces with your glove. Getting the low ones with your glove is just a matter of being able to catch the ball. You can catch or you can't. It's the ones that bounce off your body that will give you trouble. You've seen low pitches bounce high off a catcher's chest protector and bound away from him. He's in trouble if someone is on base.
When falling to get the outside pitch on the ground, I have found that if I keep my body facing the ball, I won't lose it. If it hits my chest, it's going to drop in front of me. There is no angle to make it bounce away. As I'm falling to my right, I also pull my left leg in as far as possible. That way I'm covering up all the holes. My glove is low for the ball that skitters in the dirt. I'm in a comfortable position to catch the ball or block it. As long as I keep my body in line with the ball, it won't get away from me. There will be no advancement of the runner.
POP FOUL around the plate
You've seen catchers chasing a pop-up behind the plate, glove outstretched and chasing after the ball. The wind takes it and he's in trouble. That catcher is playing the ball and is at the mercy of the elements. He's struggling with it.
I'm not going to say this is always the wrong way. I've had to do it that way too. But if conditions are right and I have enough time, I want to catch that ball coming toward me, not away from me. I call this playing the area. I sight the area where that ball is going to come down and run toward that area as fast as I can go. My eyes are always on the ball, but I'm not simply drifting with it. When I get to the area I adjust myself again to the spot where the ball is going to fall and catch it coming toward me. I hold my glove up high and catch the ball near my chest. That way I can trap it with my body if it misses my glove.
In other words, I surround the ball. It's a lot easier to catch it coming toward you than falling away. You are eliminating as much chance for error as possible.
Crandall-Mathews-Aaron-Adcock | 1958 Topps (#351) | Baseball Almanac Collection
Del Crandall was a "hell of a defensive catcher" and he "couldn't hit with ( Roy ) Campanella , but strictly as a catcher he was the best." That isn't our opinion, those are the words of teammates Hank Aaron and Joe Adcock , respectively. A closer look at his Gold Glove years easily illustrates his ability behind the plate: 1958 Gold Glove : #1 Fielding Percentage (.990), #1 Games Caught (124), #1 Putouts (659), #1 Assists (64) and #1 Caught Stealing (29); 1959 Gold Glove : #1 Fielding Percentage (.994), #1 Games Caught (146), #1 Assists (71), #1 Double Plays (15), #1 Caught Stealing (32); 1960 Gold Glove : #1 Games Caught (141), #1 Putouts (764), #1 Assists (70); and his 1962 Gold Glove : #1 Fielding Percentage (994).