Profiles of Valor
One of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball history, Bill Dickey’s career was actually started by accident. Born in Bastrop, Louisiana in June of 1907, Dickey was a member of a baseball playing family. One of seven children, Dickey’s older brother played semi- professional baseball in Arkansas and his younger brother George went on to play in the Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox. Dickey was filling in as a catcher for a friend of his who was playing in a semi-pro league in Arkansas, when the manager of the Little Rock Travelers, a minor league team, came to scout a teammate of Dickey’s. The manager was immediately impressed by Dickey’s arm strength behind the plate and signed him to his team, jump-starting Bill Dickey’s career.
He would go on to put together an impressive career playing for the New York Yankees. Dickey posted a career batting average of .313 while slugging 202 home runs and 1,209 RBI’s over the course of his career. He was voted an All-Star eleven times and backstopped eight World Series Championship teams. He also managed the Yankees to six World Series Championships. Dickey held the record for highest single season batting average by a catcher for over seventy years when he hit .362. Joe Mauer broke that record in 2009 when he batted .365. A model of consistency, Dickey set another Major League record by catching at least one hundred games in thirteen straight seasons. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954 and was a finalist for the All-Century team in 1999.
Bill Dickey’s greatness extended beyond the diamond, as he served in the United States Navy during World War II. Hejoined the Navy in 1944 despite having a serious sinus condition. He was an athletic officer and organized recreational activities for soldiers serving in the Pacific from 1944-1945 until he was discharged from the Navy with the rank of lieutenant senior grade in 1945. Bill Dickey was not only a Hall of Fame baseball player but also a true patriot.