Chuck Diering, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1947 to 1951, died Friday at the age of 89.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the elderly former outfielder fell in his Spanish Lake, Miss. home on Thanksgiving and was later found by his son, Bob. He passed away at a hospital a few hours later from cerebral hemorrhaging.
Diering, who was born Charles Edward Allen Diering on February 5, 1923, began his professional baseball career over 70 years ago. After losing three years in the military to World War II, he still played in over 750 major league games.
Spending over half of his big league career with the Cardinals, the speedy Diering was a serviceable backup outfielder to the likes of Hall of Famers Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial and reliable cog Terry Moore.
In 396 games with the team, he hit .252 with eight home runs, 75 RBI and 127 runs scored. He knew how to draw a walk, posting a .367 on-base percentage in his five-year St. Louis career, with a high mark of .388 in 1949.
In fact, 1949 was the only season he received significant time as a regular while in a Cardinals uniform. He played in 131 games that season, starting 78 of them, with 123 of his appearances being in centerfield.
Not a slugger, the then 26-year-old still hit .263 with 21 doubles and eight triples in 369 at-bats that year, scoring 60 runs and driving in 38.
The following year, he started 50 of the 89 games in which he appeared.
World War II took a major chunk out of his playing career. In 1941, he began his professional career as a Cardinals farmhand at age 18. In 1942, the up-and-comer hit .305 with 25 doubles in 126 games with the Class-D Albany Cardinals.
Then the military called.
He was a private-first class in the Army who served in the United States and the Pacific Theatre of Operations from 1943 to 1945, but Diering's career was not entirely stunted as he continued to play while enlisted. According to Baseball in Wartime, he led one league with a .524 batting average and eight home runs in just 12 games.
He returned to professional baseball in 1946, spending the entire year in the minor leagues—in his first year back, he stole 19 bases for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.
After that year of re-acclimation, he made his major league debut on April 15, 1947, thus beginning his five-year skein with St. Louis.
On December 11, 1951, Diering was traded to the New York Giants with aging pitcher Max Lanier for similarly aging second baseman Eddie Stanky. He spent a year with the Giants before playing all of 1953 in the minor leagues. From 1954 to 1956, he was with the Baltimore Orioles, wrapping up his big league career.
Overall, Diering hit .249 with 14 home runs, 149 RBI and 411 hits in nine major league seasons. He played 752 games, scored 217 runs and had 76 doubles.